What is entomology?
Entomology is the study of insects although the term is often expanded to include other
creepy crawlies such as spiders, scorpions, centipedes and millipedes. An entomologist is
someone who studies insects.
How do you become an entomologist in South Africa?
To train as an entomologist you need to pass through the following stages:
- Get a good matric exemption so that you can study at university.
- Do a B.Sc. (3 years) or B.Agric. (3-4 years) degree, majoring in
Entomology, at one of the following universities: Pretoria, Natal, Rhodes, Free State,
Stellenbosch or Fort Hare. Other universities such as Cape Town and Wits offer Zoology
with some entomology training included. With a B.Sc. or B.Agric. you will be able to get a
job as an entomology technician.
- Do Honours in Entomology (1 year). During honours you learn how to do research.
With an honours degree you will be able to get a job as an entomology technician or if you
are lucky, you will be able to obtain a research position in which you can study further.
- Do an M.Sc. (1-2 years) and/or Ph.D. (2-4+ years) in Entomology (funds are
usually available to pay basic study and living expenses). M.Sc. students are often able
to upgrade to a Ph.D. thus skipping the M.Sc. stage. Once you have a Ph.D. you are in the
best position to obtain a research position but frequently Ph.D. graduates obtain
postdoctoral fellowships at universities which permit them to continue their research for
a number of years until they obtain a permanent job.