Diploma in Nature Conservation

Dr Mduduzi Ndlovu

Programme Description

The Diploma in Nature Conservation is designed to build on the strategic and geographic advantage that the Mpumalanga Province has in the field of Nature Conservation. Nature conservation helps ensure the sustainability of protected areas, nature reserves, game parks and natural tourist attractions. Economic growth and the growth of the conservation industry increase employment opportunities and this requires effective management. The Diploma in Nature Conservation includes a combination of theory and practical skills in conservation ecology and the management of natural resources. There is also a strong focus on the inclusion of people in conservation management. During the third year of study, students gain work experience and work in teams with industry experts as part of their work integrated learning (WIL).  Completion of the Diploma in Nature Conservation will provide an important opportunity for progression for those students who wish to continue with their studies at the University of Mpumalanga. It will also provide a route into further postgraduate studies (Advanced Diploma, Post-Graduate Diploma, Masters and Doctoral studies). 
The focus of the Diploma in Nature Conservation is to produce graduates with strong theoretical and applied skills in Nature Conservation. During the first two years, students attend classes and undertake practical work on the Mbombela campus and with several strategic partners. In the third, and final year, students are placed at an appropriate employer in the conservation sector to complete a year of work integrated learning (WIL). The Diploma in Nature Conservation curriculum has been designed to take into consideration what the UMP considers to be key graduate attributes and to enhance graduate knowledge and employability: 

  • Understanding and engaging with conflicting conservation paradigms;
  • Knowledge of key biotic and abiotic drivers of ecosystems;
  • Knowledge of the process of adaptive management;
  • A basic understanding of the legislation relevant to the sector and
  • A basic understanding of infrastructure management, human resource management and simple book-keeping. 
  • The ability to collect, manage and manipulate biological and sociological data;
  • The ability to drive a motor vehicle (minimum code 08);
  • The ability to make careful observations of their natural surroundings (natural history);
  • The ability to carry out basic first aid;
  • The ability to communicate effectively as a manager, scientist and citizen;
  • The ability to handle a high-calibre firearm and
  • The ability to carry out basic law enforcement operations. 
  • Adequately developed inter-personal/managerial skills;
  • Appropriate time management skills and the ability to meet deadlines;
  • Motivated to succeed and
  • Respect for other individuals.  
The Diploma in Nature Conservation consists of 11 modules per year in the first two year, each worth 11 credits (240 credits in total). The final year consists of two modules, each worth 60 credits.

Teaching will be by contact and will include lectures, tutorials, practicals, field trips, group work and online learning. 

Admission Requirements

The minimum requirements for admission are: 

  • Admission Points Score of 30 or more. 
  • Minimum NSC requirements for diploma entry must be met. 
  • English (home language or first additional language) on at least level 4 (50 – 59%). 
  • NSC achievement rating of at least 2 (30 – 39%) for Mathematics or 3 (40 – 49%) for Mathematical Literacy. 
  • Recommended subjects: Life Sciences (4) and Geography (4) 
NC(V) Level 4 
Applicants must have completed an NC(V) level 4 in Primary Agriculture with:  
  • English (home language or first additional language) on at least level 4 (50 – 59%). 
  • Rating of at least 2 (30 – 39%) for Mathematics or 3 (40 – 49%) for Mathematical Literacy. 
Students will be considered on a monthly basis and students who meet or exceed the minimum entrance requirements will be offered places. 


The Diploma in Nature Conservation is at exit level 6 on the HEQSF, with a requirement of 360 credits as a minimum. The Diploma in Nature Conservation is offered over 3 years.  

Module Structure of the Program

Module Code Semester Credits Pre-requisites
End User Computing 1C1 CSC1C1 1 11 -
Num. and Academic Literacy 1C1 NUL1C1 1 11 -
Human Resource Management 102 HRM102 1 11 -
Conservation Ecology 101 CON101 1 11 -
Animal Studies 101 ZOO101 1 11 -
Environmental Management 111 ENV111 1 11 -
Mpumalanga in Context 100 MIC100 1 and 2 6 -
Resource Management 101 REM101 2 11 -
Animal Studies 102 ZOO102 2 11 -
Conservation Ecology 102 CON102 2 11 -
Plant Studies 101 BOT101 2 11 -
Environmental Law 102 ENV102 2 11 -
Plant Studies 202 BOT202 1 11 ZOO101; BOT101
Animal Studies 201 ZOO201 1 11 ZOO101; BOT101
Resource Management 202 REM202 1 11 REM101
Soil Science 2C2 SOIL2C2 1 11 -
Conservation Ecology 202 CON202 1 11 REM101
Accounting 1C1 ACC1L1 2 11 -
Human Resource Management 2C1 HRM2C1 2 11 HRM102
Communities and Wildlife 212 CON212 2 11 CON101; CON102
Plant Studies 201 BOT201 2 11 ZOO101; BOT102
Resource Management 201 REM201 2 11 CON102
Fire Ecology 201 FEC201 2 11 -
Nat. Conservation Applications (WIL) I WIL301 1 60 All 1st & 2nd  year modules
Nat. Conservation Applications (WIL) II WIL302 2 60 All 1st & 2nd  year modules


Students will be able to articulate horizontally and diagonally between this Diploma in Nature Conservation, and others offered by the University. Graduates from Diploma in Nature Conservation will be able to continue into the Advanced Diploma in Nature Conservation.  


Dr Mduduzi Ndlovu 
Programme Leader: Diploma in Nature Conservation and Advanced Diploma in Nature Conservation 

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