- Must understand the process of doing scientific research
- Be comfortable with figures and information technology
- Must be able to work with technical apparatus
- Be precise, thorough about details and the accuracy of information
- Think analytically but often also creatively
- Need good computer skills to capture, manage, analyse and present their data
How to enter
Schooling & school subjects National Senior Certificate meeting degree requirements for a degree course.Each institution has its own entry requirements.
What to study
Degree: BSc degree in a Science Faculty at a university or university of technology. This is a 3 or 4 year degree, depending on the university.
Post-graduate: Often students choose to follow this with an Honours degree, which can take 1 or 2 years. Ideally, they would go on to complete a Masters degree (MSc, also 1 to 2 years) followed by a PhD (typically 2 to 3 years), to give them the in-depth knowledge needed to be really knowledgeable in their field.
To support scientists through these years of study, government and other agencies provide bursaries. It is also possible to start working after completing one or more degrees, and then to complete the remaining degrees through part-time study or as part of one’s job.
Possible Career Paths Scientists can choose a number of fields in which to specialise. As post-graduates, they can continue to do research and also train others in a university or a research institute such as CSIR, SAIAB or SANBI.
They may become managers of protected areas such as national parks, or senior managers of companies, government departments or organisations. They can also set up their own businesses and consult to government and industry.
A strong background in the sciences can give an individual credibility and valuable skills, including the ability to keep learning and contributing to knowledge production.
Scientists that focus on plants, animals and ecosystems, work in a variety of organisations, including:
- South African National Parks
- South African Environmental Observation Network (SAEON)
- SA Weather Service
- Research institutes such as the CSIR, SANBI and SAIAB,
- Almost all universities in South Africa, where they will teach others about their field and how to do research
- Consulting firms and NGOs such as WWF South Africa and the Endangered Wildlife Trust