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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:

  1. Get a good matric exemption so that you can study at university.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.


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