Zoology BSc (Hons)

Full-time undergraduate (3 years, 4 years with foundation year, 4 years with placement)


January, September

Intermediate awards: CertHE, DipHE


From world-class zoos to wildlife in Africa, you’ll explore and understand the lives of animals on this Cambridge-based course. Take part in cutting-edge research in our specialist labs, closely linked to Cambridge University, and study animal behaviour in marine and terrestrial systems in the field. Recognised by the Royal Society of Biology, this course offers an optional placement year, giving you both the scientific training and practical skills for a career in zoos, wildlife conservation or environmental consultancy.

Full description


We work with employers to make sure you graduate with the knowledge, skills and abilities they need. They help us review what we teach and how we teach it – and they offer hands-on, practical opportunities to learn through work-based projects, internships or placements.

We’ll encourage you to do voluntary or paid work at every opportunity to build your practical experience and help to attract employers. For example, you could support your local wildlife trust.

Our course will open up a world of professional careers relating to the biology of animals. You’ll have good general training as a scientist, so you could choose to work in the field, in the laboratory, or both – and anywhere in the world.

After graduating, you might work for a zoo, a government agency, an environmental consultancy, a wildlife conservation organisation, or an education or research establishment. Graduates of this course have gone to work for leading zoos, the RSPB, local wildlife trusts, the BBC Natural History Unit, and fieldwork and research teams in exciting places from Costa Rica to Africa.

As a graduate of this course, you’ll be able to apply for membership of the Zoological Society of London, the Royal Society of Biology, and other professional organisations.

Graduation doesn’t need to be the end of your time with us. If you’d like to continue your studies we offer a range of full-time and part-time postgraduate courses including MSc Animal Behaviour: Applications for Conservation and MSc Applied Wildlife Conservation.

Modules & assessment

Level 3 (foundation year)

  • Foundation in Optometry, Medical and Life Sciences
    This module will provide students with the necessary skills to begin studying at level 4 in courses related to Optometry, Medical Science and Life Sciences. Students will be introduced to the core skills necessary to succeed in higher education, including thinking critically, researching and referencing appropriately, demonstrating appropriate numeracy and ICT skills, and communicating effectively verbally and in writing. In addition to these fundamental study skills, Students will be given an introduction to the various scientific disciplines underpinning the life sciences. Fundamental mathematical skills will be covered in order to support students’ other subjects and give them confidence in manipulating data. Students will be introduced to molecular and cellular biology, and how these fields are applied to real-world investigations. Students will also study the biology of micro and macro organisms, with reference to both human and animal structures. Students will be introduced to the core concepts of chemistry, with a particular focus on organic chemistry, and will also be given a grounding in the core principles of physics, applied to living organisms. The module is made up of the following eight constituent elements: Interactive Learning Skills and Communication (ILSC); Information Communication Technology (ICT); Critical Thinking; Maths for Scientists; Cellular Biology; Biology – Physiology; Chemistry; Physics for Life Sciences.

Year one, core modules

  • Animal Form and Function
    The ways in which animals cope with the demands of everyday life, from feeding, moving and respiring to sensing the outside world and each other are as diverse as the animals themselves. This module will examine the variety of ways in which an animal's form and physiology are adaptations to the many tasks it faces to survive.
  • Introduction to Wildlife and Conservation
    This module provides an introduction to wildlife taxonomy, conservation, distribution and ecology, with a focus on vertebrates found in Britain. For each major taxonomic group (birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles) and for selected individual species, key conservation and management issues are addressed. You will also consider historical changes in the distribution and abundance of wildlife, and learn to assess the problems and challenges posed by both re-introductions and by the release/introduction of non-native species. By taking this module you will acquire basic skills and knowledge relevant to a range of careers in ecology, conservation and wildlife biology.
  • Biomeasurement
    This module introduces the use of statistics and computing software in the biosciences. Although we focus on biological applications, the quantitative and IT skills you will gain will be of benefit in a number of graduate employment roles. You will be shown how to use information in the form of data to answer questions about biological systems, and learn a range of visual data presentation and statistical techniques. We will also show you how to choose the most appropriate technique for a range of data types and circumstances, perform and interpret numerical and graphical analyses correctly, and communicate the results clearly and transparently.
  • Introduction to Animal Behaviour
    In this module the philosophy and multidisciplinary origins of the scientific study of behaviour are reviewed. The ethically sound use of the scientific study of animal behaviour in pure and applied disciplines will be considered, especially in the context of the assessment of animal welfare. Differences in the emphases between the fields of psychology and animal behaviour are discussed, with particular reference to the learning process, and the synthesis of these fields is presented using a framework of proximate (developmental and mechanistic) and ultimate (functional and phylogenetic) explanations. Fundamental processes influencing animal behaviour will be considered, including the relative contributions of evolutionary processes, gene expression and environment in the elucidation of behaviour, and how the structures and processes of the nervous system underpin the biological bases of behaviour.
  • Origins of Life
    The origin of life on earth is one of the great mysteries of our age. It is of special interest to biologists, as it addresses the fundamental question of where we (and all other living things) came from. This module will begin with a philosophical exploration of the meaning of life and the role of science in exploring life (i.e. biology). We will discuss different interpretations of life through time, across cultures, and through academic disciplines and consider some basic background in history of science and philosophy of science. The module will give students an introduction to geological time, the origins of the planet Earth and changing environmental conditions (e.g. climates). It will then ask questions such as: When did life originate? Where did life originate? How did life originate? We explore the methods that modern biologists use for asking questions about the origins of life, and the different hypotheses about how life may have evolved from simple organic molecules (and whether life originated on Earth, or whether it may have been ‘seeded’ from elsewhere). We will discuss the major transitions in evolution, including the origins of replication, cell membranes, metabolic processes, multicellularity, sexual reproduction, the colonization of land and the emergence of plants, invertebrates and vertebrates (including the K/T boundary and the Cambrian explosion).
  • Ecology
    You will be provided with a broad introduction to animal and plant ecology and facilitate the study of ecological modules at higher levels. You will be introduced to ecological terminology, the scope of ecology and the potential role of ecological science in providing guidance on the sustainable use of the biosphere.
  • Evolution and Biodiversity
    This will introduce you to the major principles of evolutionary theory and highlight the major transitions that have occurred in the diversification of life. This module will begin by focussing on the early events in evolution, including the origin of life, the symbiotic creation of the eukaryotic cell, and the advent of multicellularity. It will go on to investigate the challenges and opportunities that multicellular life forms had to face, and the processes that led to diversification in some groups, with an emphasis on the theories and mechanics of speciation.
  • Introduction to Marine Biology
    This module introduces you to the range of marine environments and marine life within the biosphere - and the factors which generate this variety. It provides the basis for studying other 'marine' modules later in the course. You'll cover aspects of the biology, ecology and environmental physiology of selected marine organisms around the UK shores and beyond. A range of marine habitats will be illustrated through the use of video (Blue Planet) while marine biodiversity will be covered 'practically' by a visit to a marine aquarium. The module will also involve a full day (weekend) field trip to a coast in East Anglia to study plant and animal life at the interface of land and sea. This field trip will require a certain amount of walking over rough terrain.

Year two, core modules

  • Biological Research Skills
    Learn how to plan research projects in preparation for the rest of your studies. These skills will be key to your final year where you will develop your own research project. You will be introduced to the knowledge and skills needed to ask critical biological questions and plan a project to discover the answers in a scientifically valid, ethical and safe way, through lectures. You will then consolidate your knowledge and practice what you have learnt during hands-on workshops. The quantitative, communication, critical thinking and IT skills that you’ll gain from this module are applicable to a wide range of graduate employment opportunities.
  • Field Skills in Biology
    Having gained extensive background knowledge, you will have the opportunity to develop your skills in the various components of field biology and put them into practice in a week-long residential field course. You will acquire the research techniques necessary to conduct fieldwork in temperate habitats, starting with the use of taxonomic keys to identify UK fauna and flora, a key skill for those wanting to work with conservation programmes and ecological consultancies. You will complete a set of exercises during the first part of the field course, where you will receive training in field techniques within marine, terrestrial and behavioural ecology. These short-term group exercises will be your introduction to conducting comprehensive field research projects from start to finish. You will then as a group choose to present the results from one of these exercises. Presentations are a major part of scientific conferences where research findings are formally discussed; thus this process will introduce you to the important transferable skills of field project implementation, analysis and communication. Careful project design is vital to ensuring the successful completion of field-based investigations. In the second part of the module, you will learn how to develop a specific research question under the guidance of an academic supervisor, and review relevant literature to support your idea. You will then develop appropriate methods of data collection and analyses, and carry this project out on the field trip, culminating in the production of an individual research project report. This module therefore also allows you to develop key transferable skills in self-management, problem-solving, teamwork, and scientific communication, ideal for future employment in the ecological sector and in research roles more widely.
  • Invertebrate Biology
    Invertebrates account for over 99 % of all animal species. It is estimated that the total number of animal species on Earth may exceed 30 million although only around 1 million have been named. In this module we introduce the diverse world of invertebrates focussing on aspects of their classification, structure and function, ecology and behaviour.
  • Vertebrate Biology
    Vertebrates account for less than 1% of known species of animal life. Yet vertebrates (including humans) are some of the most successful and widely adapted animals on Earth. Vertebrates inhabit almost all corners of our planet, except the deepest parts of the oceans, close to the poles and on top of the highest mountain peaks. Vertebrate species may be terrestrial, arboreal or marine; they burrow, swim, run, climb, fly or glide. They include the so called "charismatic megafauna" such as tigers, eagles, elephants and pandas, as well as top predators such as sharks and crocodiles. You will study how these animals came to occupy their current dominant position among animal life on Earth.
  • Principles of Genetics and Evolution
    Genetics unifies the biological sciences. Whether you are interested in animal behaviour, biodiversity, conservation or zoology, genetics is pivotal, offering a biological basis for morphological, physiological, and even behavioural traits in an organism. Genetics also gives us a molecular mechanism for the generation and maintenance of variation, and the raw material for evolution. Building on your knowledge of genetic concepts, you will learn how the rules of inheritance translate into the organisation of the gene-pool of a population and species. You will develop a detailed understanding of the relationship between genetic variation and evolution and will also be introduced to some of the genetic techniques used to answer behavioural, ecological and evolutionary questions. Your understanding of genetic processes will be developed through a variety of integrated lectures, workshops, case studies and laboratory sessions. You will expand your skill-set, developing your expertise in laboratory techniques and report writing useful in research and industry settings, as well as teamwork, problem solving, collection, handling and presentation of data.

Year two, optional modules

  • Marine and Terrestrial Communities
    What is a species? What is a community? The answers to these questions are not as simple as they may sound. In this module you will apply ecological theories in the lab and field to learn how the complex interactions between biological organisms scale up to form communities and functioning ecosystems. You will be challenged to create your own aquatic microcosm, a task that will require you to consider the fluxes of nutrients and energy that must be balanced in a stable ecosystem. You will learn about the ecological principals that influence species distributions within marine and terrestrial communities. Lectures will be backed up by workshops and computer sessions that will teach you about sampling and interpreting patterns of biodiversity, strengthening skills in IT and numeracy. These skills will be directly applied in the field, where you will investigate how bird communities differ between habitats in a coastal Nature Reserve. You will analyse and interpret your own ecological datasets, using techniques such as the calculation of biodiversity metrics and the creation of ecological interaction networks. By the end of this module, you will have a new understanding of the complexity and structure of natural systems, essential for anyone considering a career in biodiversity, conservation or ecology. You will also have developed a range of desirable and transferable employability skills, such as statistical analysis, report writing and critical thinking through the interpretation of literature and complex datasets.
  • Evolution of Behaviour
    You will receive a detailed overview of the study of animal behaviour. The application of hypothesis testing to questions about behaviour is reviewed and used as a basis for illustrating recent advances in the scientific understanding of animal behaviour.
  • Animal Health and Nutrition
    This module will introduce you to the study of animal health and nutrition with particular emphasis on the relationship between health, disease, nutrition and welfare in domesticated animals. You will examine the essential components of food and learn how they contribute to a balanced diet in domesticated animals. We will discuss comparative digestive anatomy and physiology, as well as the impact of appropriate and inappropriate nutrition on animal health and welfare. You will examine the agents of significant animal diseases including epizootics and zoonoses, and the transmission, management and prevention of disease. We will discuss the use of veterinary intervention, drugs and feed supplements and the impact of these measures on welfare. We will also consider the ethical implications of their deployment in problems of animal disease.
  • Biological Bases of Behaviour
    In this module you will examine the 'machinery of behaviour', covering the anatomy, physiology and biochemistry of the nervous system and relevant components of the endocrine system. We will also investigate mechanisms associated with motivation and emotion and how these are thought to be mediated by the brain and endocrine systems. An important topic for any student of behaviour is the relationship between thinking, consciousness, learning and memory and how these relate to the physical 'machinery' of the brain. We will review the localised behavioural functions of the brain using the 'split brain' (the difference between the right and left hemisphere) as an explanatory model. We will also discuss the evolution of the nervous system and brain.
  • Parasitology
    Parasitism is the most prevalent lifestyle among organisms. It is estimated that at least every plant and animal possesses at least one parasite. You will explore the unique relationship between a parasite and its host from a number of perspectives.
  • Biological Oceanography
    Oceans cover two thirds of our planet, and the deep ocean covers half of it. We will explore the biology, ecology and exploitation of the less familiar pelagic (open ocean) and deep-sea realm. We will examine ocean structure in terms of currents and environmental gradients, and, ocean biodiversity, with a novel focus on bacteria and other microbes as well as the ‘usual’ phytoplankton, zooplankton, fishes and top predators (cetaceans, seabird and seal). You will discuss how these organisms have adapted to the ocean environment with an emphasis on buoyancy, feeding, camouflage and signalling. Ocean food chains are incredibly productive, and yet very fragile, and you will explore this by evaluating fishing and other exploitations of marine resources that can impact on ocean ecology and socially responsible conservation. Biological oceanography will equip you with transferable skills that have a broad range of application to your other modules and in your future studies or employment. You will develop these skills through weekly hands-on practicals where you will gain experience of handling, sorting, identifying and recording organisms in plankton samples; culturing and recording marine microbes; and the computer analysis of oceanographic, plankton distribution and fisheries data.

Work placement (optional placement year)

Year three, core modules

  • Wildlife Conservation
    Conservation science applies scientific methods to the challenges of maintaining and restoring global biodiversity and ecosystem services. We shall critically evaluate current research underlying conservation biology and explore the multi-dimensional issues faced by professional wildlife biologists. You will examine real-life conservation problems, including their important socio-political dimensions and the ways in which conservationists set out to find solutions to these issues. You will evaluate the principle that protecting biodiversity is not only about protecting species, but also about protecting functioning ecosystems, habitats, evolutionary and ecological processes, and genetic diversity. Conservation genetics is an increasingly important area within this discipline - and you will discuss the application of new genetic technologies in conservation, including the management of captive breeding of endangered species. Identifying priorities for the conservation of global biodiversity and assessing the successes and failures of conservation initiatives are key areas that you will critically examine. You will also explore how to make conservation initiatives more effective by discussing the principle that human interests must be included during conservation planning. The complexity and multi-faceted nature of wildlife conservation will be explored using a range of examples. A substantial part of the scheduled teaching will include group discussion and active learning sessions. You will learn, through a combination of lectures and practical exercises, how to plan conservation projects and apply for funding. This approach will help you develop key skills in grant writing, team-work, communication, and critical analysis, which are applicable to a range of careers in conservation and wildlife management.
  • Behavioural Ecology
    Behavioural ecology has been an established discipline within the natural sciences since the 1970s, bringing together the theoretical understanding of evolution and ecology with the observational practices of early ethologists. The underlying premise is that the survival value of behaviour depends on environmental circumstances, both physical and biological. You will explore this premise across four major themes: communication; finding resources and avoiding being eaten; living with others of the same species; and producing the next generation. You will discover the different analytical approaches used by behavioural ecologists, through a wide range of examples and in what context these have been used. You will also examine cost-benefit analysis to predict optimal behavioural strategies, which is a key feature of research in this field. Through this module, you will take a research-focussed approach, critically evaluating and discussing relevant primary literature from a range of sources. You will acquire a skill base relevant to a range of careers, including any roles that require data interpretation and analysis. In addition, the quantitative and critical evaluation skills you will develop are applicable to a wide range of graduate employment opportunities. You will develop your understanding of this subject through lectures, workshops, group discussions, research seminars, practical exercises and reading textbooks and journal articles.
  • Undergraduate Major Project
    You will create in a substantial piece of individual research and/or product development work, focused on a topic of your choice. You could choose your topic from a variety of sources including research groups, previous/current work experience, your current employer, a suggestion from your tutor or a topic you are specifically interested in. You will identify problems and issues, conduct literature reviews, evaluate information, investigate and adopt suitable development methodologies, determine solutions, develop hardware, software and/or media artifacts as appropriate, process data, critically appraise and present your finding using a variety of media. Regular meetings with your project supervisor will ensure your project is closely monitored and steered in the right direction.

Year three, optional modules

  • Advanced Approaches in Animal Management
    Historically animal behaviour has been under emphasised in strategies designed to protect (1) human and non-human animal health and; (2) conserve and manage populations. This module addresses this by exploring the interfaces between animal behaviour, disease processes and management strategies. You will explore the integration of animal behaviour with established and emerging approaches to identifying, monitoring and controlling non-human animal based problems. This will utilise techniques including geographical information systems, veterinary epidemiology and population ecology modelling.
  • Zoos and Zoo Animal Management
    In this module we will address the question 'What are zoos for?' and consider the current and historical role of zoos under the broad headings of recreation, education, conservation and research. Starting with an overview of the history and philosophy of wild animal collections, we'll move on to consider the various roles of zoos in modern society. Zoos today face both biological (e.g. captive breeding) and non-biological (e.g. finance and public relations) problems relating to the management of collections of wild animals in captivity. We will consider zoo management problems from a number of perspectives, ranging from the welfare of the animals themselves to the perceptions of the general public when visiting zoos. We'll also present the complexity of political, ethical and legal aspects of keeping wild animals in captivity. The module has a compulsory field course. Please see the 'Additional costs' in the 'Fees and funding' section for more information.
  • Biogeography
    Biogeography explores the distribution of living things in both space and time, and how they have been affected by global change. This 'synthetic' science contains elements of climatology, geology, geography and computer applications, but is firmly rooted in biology. Many 19th-century naturalists, including Darwin, wrote the fundamental theories on large scale distribution patterns within the natural world. We will use computer technologies to verify and model these theories. You will use a group of animals, plants or microbes that is of interest to you, as a model to show your understanding of ‘biogeography’ through computer analyses of distribution and physical and molecular characteristics appropriate to your group. You will combine your analyses with maps of modern and ancient Earth to develop an integrated, evolutionary history of your chosen group. You will become proficient with a range of relevant computer techniques including cluster analysis, ordination methods, area cladograms, and track analysis, as well as phylogenetic analysis of both the structure and DNA of your chosen group of organisms. This module will enable you to become familiar with arrange of computer software which will support your work and give you key competencies in data handling.
  • Mammalogy
    There are approximately 6,400 known species of living (extant) mammals on the planet. They range in size from tiny shrews to the blue whale - the largest animal that’s ever lived. Mammals are found right across the planet, from orcas and leopard seals in the Arctic Ocean to Bactrian camels in the Gobi Desert; from semi-aquatic desmans in mountain streams to moles burrowing beneath our meadows. You will learn about the biology of the mammals and consider mammalian taxonomy, morphology, physiology, ecology, distribution, evolution, and behaviour. A key theme of the study of mammalogy is the analysis of underlying similarities and differences between mammalian taxa (also known as comparative zoology), based on an understanding of mammalian evolution and adaptive radiation. You will explore and make comparisons between mammals adapted for terrestrial, aquatic, fossorial (underground) or arboreal (living in trees) lifestyles. You will learn how to identify all extant Orders of mammals, on the basis of distribution and morphology, in particular, the anatomy of their skulls and dentition, whilst exploring the large collection of skulls and other bones held in our labs. You will gain hands-on experience through weekly practical classes. You will develop your understanding of mammalogy through team-based learning, supported through on-line videos, active learning sessions and laboratory-based practical classes. The online videos, accompanying notes and other materials are accessible via Canvas, allowing you to learn about the exciting diversity of this order of animals at your own pace. This module will thus provide you with key skills within the field of mammalogy, as well as relevant skills in team-work, problemsolving, and critical thinking. These are transferable skills that would be relevant for a wide-range of careers.
  • Cognition, Evolution and Behaviour
    This module will give you the skills to identify and then develop a detailed knowledge and understanding of topics at the forefront of the study of Animal Behaviour or Animal Welfare. It will improve your time management, team work, self evaluation, communication and critical evaluation skills, applicable to a wide range of graduate employment opportunities. You will work in groups to research and then communicate to fellow students (and lecturers) topics at the cutting edge of research and debate in Animal Behaviour, Animal Welfare or related sub-disciplines (e.g. Behavioural Ecology, Socioecology).
  • Countryside Management
    You will gain knowledge and skills appropriate for working in practical ecology or conservation in the UK countryside or for continuing to a higher degree in this area. You will cover aspects of the following areas: woodlands and forestry in the countryside, agriculture in the countryside, urbanisation of the countryside, management of rivers and wetlands, legislation relevant to managing the countryside, habitat restoration, national parks and upland management.
  • Population Ecology and Wildlife Management
    Population ecology is the study of the factors that affect a population, and how and why a population changes. Knowing how populations will respond to interventions is vital to wildlife management. You will explore the first principles of population ecology and the quantitative methods used, prior to seeing how these theories are applied practically in wildlife management. We will study the demography and dynamics of wildlife populations and you will be guided in how to use the mathematical tools and models to understand population change. Population ecology can also be explored in the wider context of current developments in population genetics, evolutionary biology and animal behaviour. Through the study of examples, you will review and assess the factors which are important in the population dynamics, management and conservation of wild populations. The current scientific literature is a critical resource; you will read scientific papers relating to marine and terrestrial ecosystems, looking at both exploited and threatened populations that are conservation priorities. You will work in groups to address practical challenges in population ecology, developing skills in teamwork, problem solving and the application of IT. An important theme throughout the module is the development of critical thinking skills and their application in understanding the advantages and limitations of population models when applied to real world ecological systems. These are skills that are relevant to a wide-range of careers in biology and ecology, as well as in other industries.
  • Practical Marine Biology
    Practical Marine Biology is comprised of a series of lectures and practical workshops in preparation for a residential field course at a UK marine biology field station. On the field course you will learn advanced skills relevant to marine science including species identification, interpretation of oceanographic data and experimental design. The fieldwork will focus on four aspects of British coastal and inshore marine biology: surveying and collecting samples from varied shore environments. You will go on to use these samples to explain the distribution of fauna and flora in terms of ecological gradients and biological pressures. Collecting samples from offshore environments via a research vessel. These samples may include plankton, mid-water and/or benthic trawls, grab samples, electronic (GPS, sonar, sounding, photographic etc) data. Creating a detailed diagnostic guide to a shoreline or offshore collected material. Analysing the behaviour of animals in the field and/ or within a holding facility, working within the confines of appropriate ethical constraints. Your skills and knowledge acquired from this field course will help you to develop key project design, project management and team-working skills on site at a marine laboratory. This field course would normally run at the end of Semester 2 in your third year. Please see the 'Fees and funding' section for any costs relating to this module on your course.
  • Tropical Ecology and Management
    The tropical regions of our world have always held a fascination for biologists due the amazing and varied biodiversity that can be found there. You will be able to experience some of this firsthand on the tropical ecology field course, which forms the core of this module. You will also have a series of classroom-based learning sessions with a mixture of lectures and interactive learning. On the field course you will work in groups to undertake fieldwork on a range of aspects of tropical ecology and you will visit one or more locations to observe, record and interpret various aspects of tropical fauna, flora and habitats. Through your experience of the country where the field course takes place and the classroom-based sessions, you will be made aware of a range of anthropogenic influences and pressures on tropical habitats (e.g. effects of population growth, tourism, economic development etc) and how these relate to conservation. The field course normally takes place in the time of between levels 5 and 6 (years 2 and 3) and is self-funded. The field trip can be challenging physically, and you will find yourself living in more basic conditions than you may be used to. If you are interested in researching in the tropics or in conservation-based careers more generally, this module provides very valuable practical experience. You will gain a greater understanding of complex ecosystems and conservation issues as well as the very different cultural contexts that can be found in the tropics. The fieldwork you will practise in this module are valued in ecological consultancy and research-based jobs. You will also gain further practice in transferable skills such as teamwork, data analysis and written communication skills that are useful in a wide range of employment.
  • Coastal Marine Biology
    Coastal areas are hotspots of primary productivity and are very important for biodiversity and ecosystem functioning and services. Indeed, they are economically crucial for many sectors such as fisheries, tourism and bioenergy. Human population densities are, however, also very high in coastal regions and this can place stress on both terrestrial and marine environments. In this module, which is largely student-led, we will explore various coastal environments, their structure, dynamics, communities and biological processes along with the potential impacts of natural factors (tides, weather related phenomena’s) and human activities (resources exploitation, energy generation, and climate change).
  • Animal Communication
    This module examines the processes by which animals communicate, i.e. provide information to other individuals, and how they can incorporate this information into their decision making. We will discuss different communicative modalities, such as olfactory, tactile, visual, and acoustic signals. We will address fundamental questions in animal communications, for example how do these signals evolve, how are they produced and which functions do they serve? The module will cover the physical and biological bases of signal production and perception. We will discuss animal communication as a rapidly growing field of research and how an understanding of animal communication can inform many aspects of animal behaviour, such as emotional expression, learning and sexual behaviour. We will explore cognitive underpinnings of animal communication. You are exposed to tools and skills that will allow you to conduct research in this area yourself - through lectures, practical demonstrations and exercises. We will consider similarities and differences between animal and human communications and evaluate theories of language evolution.
  • Applied Ethology and Animal Welfare
    This module addresses applied aspects of the science of animal behaviour and shows how behavioural theory and research can be applied to a wide range of practical problems, from pest control to captive breeding and the management of wild populations. We will cover the application of behavioural research to vertebrate and invertebrate husbandry, and the history, philosophy and development of the relatively recent science of animal welfare. You will consider the variety of ethical approaches to the use of animals by humans for varying purposes and the controversial issue of how to assess animal welfare through behavioural and physiological indicators. We will also introduce you to the specialist techniques that support these assessments.


Throughout the course, we’ll use a range of assessment methods to help you measure your progress. Besides exams, these include essays, practical reports, computer-based assessments, presentations, debates, classroom- or laboratory-based tests, and reviews of scientific papers.

Where you'll study

Your faculty

The Faculty of Science & Engineering is one of the largest of the four faculties at Anglia Ruskin University. Whether you choose to study with us full-time or part-time, on campus or at a distance, there’s an option whatever your level – from a foundation degree, BSc, MSc, PhD or professional doctorate.

Whichever course you pick, you’ll gain the theory and practical skills needed to progress with confidence. Join us and you could find yourself learning in the very latest laboratories or on field trips or work placements with well-known and respected companies. You may even have the opportunity to study abroad.

Everything we do in the faculty has a singular purpose: to provide a world-class environment to create, share and advance knowledge in science, technology and engineering fields. This is key to all of our futures.

Where can I study?

Lord Ashcroft Building on our Cambridge campus

Our campus is close to the centre of Cambridge, often described as the perfect student city.

Explore our Cambridge campus

Additional study information


This course gives you the opportunity to take a work placement year between years 2 and 3 of your studies. You’ll get experience of seeking and securing a job and working in an industry relating to your course. You’ll also get the practical experience and industry contacts to benefit your studies and enhance your long-term career prospects.

Although they can’t be guaranteed, we can work with you to find a placement using our contacts with a large number of employers. You’ll have regular contact with one of our course tutors and be supported by a supervisor from your placement company. Together they’ll monitor your performance and give you feedback.

To find out more about placement opportunities, email us at Placements@anglia.ac.uk.

Fees & funding

Course fees

UK & EU students starting 2020/21 (per year)


International students starting 2020/21 (per year)


Placement year (UK, EU, international students)


Fee information

For more information about tuition fees, including the UK Government's commitment to EU students, please see our UK/EU funding pages

Additional costs

  • Walking boots - £60
  • Waterproof coat - £50
  • Wellingtons - £25
  • Waterproof trousers - £20
  • Poster printing - £20
  • Cost of printing dissertation/individual project

Additional field trip costs

Field trips that are a compulsory part of your course have no additional cost. Optional residential field trips have an additional cost, as indicated below. You may be eligible for a grant to cover the costs of optional field trips. 

  • Isle of Rum field trip - £350
  • International diving trip - £1200
  • Netherlands zoo trip (Zoos and Zoo Animal Management module) - £350 
  • Uganda field trip (two weeks) (Tropical Ecology and Management module) - £2100 
  • Millport (Practical Marine Biology module) - £500

How do I pay my fees?

Tuition fee loan

UK and EU students can take out a tuition fee loan, which you won’t need to start repaying until after your graduate. Or alternatively, there's the option to pay your fees upfront.

Loans and fee payments

International students

You can pay your tuition fees upfront, in full or in two instalments. We will also ask you for a deposit of £4,000 or a sponsorship letter. Details will be in your offer letter.

Paying your fees


We offer a fantastic range of ARU scholarships, which provide extra financial support while you’re at university. Some of these cover all or part of your tuition fees.

Explore ARU scholarships

Funding for UK & EU students

Most new undergraduate students can apply for government funding to support their studies and university life. This includes Tuition Fee Loans and Maintenance Loans. There are additional grants available for specific groups of students, such as those with disabilities or dependants.

We also offer a fantastic range of ARU scholarships, which provide extra financial support while you’re at university. Find out more about eligibility and how to apply.

Funding for international students

We offer a number of scholarships, as well as an early payment discount. Explore your options:

Entry requirements

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BTEC modules

We require a final grade of DMM in the BTEC Extended Diploma in Animal Management.

We require the following eight mandatory units and an additional seven optional units to be completed, with at least four of these to come from the recommended units below.

Compulsory/recommended Unit
Mandatory Unit 1:Animal Breeding and Genetics
Mandatory Unit 2: Animal Biology
Mandatory Unit 3: Animal Welfare and Ethics
Mandatory Unit 4: Practical Animal Husbandry
Mandatory Unit 5: Animal Behaviour
Mandatory Unit 6: Animal Health and Diseases
Mandatory Unit 7: Work Experience in the Animal Sector
Mandatory Unit 8: Investigative Research Project
Recommended Unit 9: Practical Skills in Animal Science
Recommended Unit 10: Animal Metabolism
Recommended Unit 11: Advanced Animal Nutrition
Recommended Unit 17: Principles of Animal Nursing
Recommended Unit 18: Aquatic Animal Health and Husbandry
Recommended Unit 20: Human and Animal Interaction
Recommended Unit 21: Exotic Animal Health and Husbandry
Recommended Unit 23: Zoological Animal Health and Husbandry
Recommended Unit 24: Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Management

City and Guilds modules

We required a final grade of Distinction in the City and Guilds Level 3 Advanced Technical Extended Diploma in Animal Management.

We require you to have studied at least ten of the following modules. Some of these will be compulsory on your City and Guilds course.

Compulsory/recommended  Unit 
Recommended Unit 3202: Undertake and Review Work-Related Experience in the Land-Based Industries 
Recommended Unit 303: Animal Health and Husbandry
Recommended Unit 304: Animal Feeding and Nutrition
Recommended Unit 305: Animal Behaviour and Communication
Recommended Unit 306: Biological Systems of Animals
Recommended Unit 307: Animal Welfare and Breeding
Recommended Unit 308: Wildlife and Ecology Conservation
Recommended Unit 309: Wildlife Management and Rehabilitation
Recommended Unit 315: Animal Nursing
Recommended  Unit 316: Zoological Collections
Recommended  Unit 318: Fundamentals of Science
Recommended  Unit 319: Inheritance and Genetics
Recommended  Unit 320: Chemistry for Biology Technicians
Recommended  Unit 321: Cell Biology and Genetics
Recommended  Unit 322: Biochemistry and Microbiology
Recommended  Unit 324: Science Investigation and Report Writing
Recommended  Unit 328: Ecological Concepts and Application
Recommended  Unit 329: Population Surveys, Ecology and Conservation
Recommended  Unit 367: Undertake a Specialist Project in the Land-Based Sector

Important additional notes

Our published entry requirements are a guide only and our decision will be based on your overall suitability for the course as well as whether you meet the minimum entry requirements. Other equivalent qualifications may be accepted for entry to this course, please email answers@anglia.ac.uk for further information.

All tariff points must come from A levels. Points from AS levels cannot be counted towards the total tariff points required for entry to this course.

Foundation year entry requirements

  • 5 GCSE passes at grade 3 or D or above and evidence of two years post-GCSE study at Level 3
  • If you have achieved at least grade E in one A level, or equivalent, you are exempt from the two year post-GCSE study requirement, but you still have to meet the GCSE requirements
  • If English is not your first language you will be expected to demonstrate a certificate level of proficiency of at least IELTS 5.5 overall including 5.5 in each band/component
International students

We welcome applications from international and EU students, and accept a range of international qualifications.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you'll need to make sure you meet our English language requirements for postgraduate courses.

Improving your English language skills

If you don't meet our English language requirements, we offer a range of courses which could help you achieve the level required for entry onto a degree course.

We also provide our own English Language Proficiency Test (ELPT) in the UK and overseas. To find out if we are planning to hold an ELPT in your country, contact our country managers.

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