I amstudying in grade 12, with physics, chemistry and biology as my main subjects. I’d like to pursue a career in herpetology. Are there any colleges or universities in the UAE that offer a course in this subject or in other areas of zoology? If not, which are the best places to pursue this subject? How many years would it take me get a PhD?
NAME WITHHELD ON REQUEST A herpetologist is involved in the study, research, identification, classification and care of amphibians and reptiles. To become a herpetologist, you need an undergraduate degree in the biological sciences followed by a specialisation in the subject. The number of years of study for a PhD can range from three to six. While in school, it’s advisable to opt for subjects such as physics, chemistry, biochemistry and statistics.
Apart from academic qualifications, it’s important to demonstrate patience, persistence and an appetite for hard work as the job may involve long and unusual hours. Patience is needed while looking for animals in their natural habitats during fieldwork. You’ll need a keen interest in research as it’s an important element in this field.
While it’s difficult to find a degree in herpetology at undergraduate level, you’ll find good options for institutions that offer programmes at an advanced level. Look for research opportunities and guidance from faculty members.
In the UAE, there are no academic programmes yet that focus on the subject. However, there are plenty of excellent opportunities in other parts of the world.
If you want to study in India, you can pursue an MSc in wildlife sciences at the National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bangalore or Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun. North Orissa University has a Master’s in wildlife and biodiversity conservation. The Madras Crocodile Bank Trust and Centre for Herpetology offers customised programmes for university students according to their area of interest.
In the US, good options for research are the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard as well as the environmental programmes at University of California, Berkeley. Bowling Green State University in Ohio offers biology with specialisation in ecology and conservation biology and has an excellent herpetology lab. Australia has amazing eco-diversity so is a good destination for study. James Cook University, University of Queensland and University of Melbourne are among the many options. In the UK, Bangor University offers a BSc in zoology with herpetology.