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BSc (Hons)

Zoo Biology

Chameleon
  • UCAS code(s): C300 / C303
  • Level(s) of study: Undergraduate
  • Study mode(s): Full-time / Sandwich
  • Location: Brackenhurst Campus
  • Starting: September 2021
  • Course duration: 3 / 4 year(s)
  • Entry requirements: More information

This course represents a unique opportunity for you to study a wider range of species than those covered in traditional animal science degrees. Your learning will focus on the biology of exotic species, namely non-domestic and non-UK wildlife. Your lectures will cover major scientific principles, including anatomy and physiology, behaviour, genetics, ecology and nutrition. You’ll apply these principles to the management and conservation of zoo species.

If you have any questions about our Zoo Biology course, you can now chat to our experienced lecturers and course leaders through Unibuddy.

Why choose this course?

  • We have strong links with UK zoos and wildlife parks.
  • We're ranked in the top ten in the UK for our animal science courses (The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021).
  • You will have access to our modern Animal Unit on campus which houses around 250 animals of 70 different species.
  • You'll get the opportunity to take part in field trips to animal health, welfare and conservation organisations, zoos, safari parks, aquaria and breeding centres.
  • Teaching is informed by current research undertaken by academic staff in the School.
  • NTU is a member of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) and the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA). We are also a teaching provider for Species 360s’ animal record keeping system (Zoological Information Management System: ZIMS).
  • We've recently redeveloped this course in conjunction with external academic and industry professionals to ensure your learning is right at the forefront of advances in the subject area.

Which course is right for you?

We offer four animal science degrees, each with a different focus:

  • BSc (Hons) Zoo Biology (this course) - focuses on captive housed zoo animals and exotic species.
  • BSc (Hons) Animal Biology - focuses on managed domestic species such as companion, working and farm animals.
  • BSc (Hons) Zoology - covers a diverse range of invertebrate and vertebrate species in relation to their biology, evolution, taxonomy and identification.
  • FdSc Animal Science - is more vocational, with greater emphasis on practical and applied skills.

Accredited by:

ZIMS-Zoo-Biology
Eaza-Zoo-Biology

What you'll study

This course will give you a sound knowledge and understanding of animal biology, with a particular focus on zoo species.

Your lectures will cover major scientific principles, including:

  • anatomy
  • physiology
  • behaviour
  • genetics
  • ecology
  • nutrition.

You will learn to apply these principles to:

  • welfare
  • breeding
  • conservation
  • management.

You will focus on the biology of exotic animals, namely non-domestic and non-UK wildlife and apply this to all aspects of management and species conservation of both captive and non-captive populations.

  • Year One

    Animal Physiology

    Gain a broad understanding of animal structure and function across a range of species.

    Animal Husbandry

    Learn how to successfully manage animal collections and develop practical handling skills across a range of species.

    Animal Behaviour

    Study patterns of behaviour and the reasons why animals behave as they do in managed housing systems.

    Nutrition Principles

    Learn the nutrition principles associated with nutrients’ classification, digestive systems in animals and the basics of animal metabolism.

    Animal Reproduction and Genetics

    Learn the underpinning principles of animal genetics and how these link with reproductive physiology. Practical sessions will investigate assisted reproductive technologies and how these increase an animal’s reproductive success in captivity.

    Animal Health and Disease

    Gain an understanding of the causes of disease, the function of the animal immune system and influences of management on animal health. Develop technical and analytical laboratory skills relevant to the animal industry and gain an understanding of how these techniques are utilised in animal disease investigation.

  • Year Two

    Animal Cognition and Training

    Understand how animal cognition affects training. Develop training skills to enable you to apply different approaches to training animals and reducing behavioural problems.

    Zoo Conservation and Education

    Understand the role of zoos in the contexts of in-situ and ex-situ conservation. Explore how education within zoos can contribute towards conservation.

    Physiology of Behaviour

    Explore the way in which animals behave in relation to their environment. Learn and understand key areas of mammalian physiology and pharmacology, and how this relates to behaviour.

    Research Skills

    Explore the principles of scientific investigation in relation to animal science. Topics covered include experimental design, data generation and collection, and data analysis. You'll also explore commonly used statistical packages.

    Nutritional Health

    Investigate how nutrition affects animal health and understand diet formulation in a variety of species.

    Zoo Conservation Genetics

    Apply the theory of traditional population genetics with the practicalities of captive breeding. You'll look at the goal of retaining long-term evolutionary potential in endangered species.

  • Year Three

      This is a placement year for students on the four-year course.
  • Final year

    Zoo Biology Field Course

    Evaluate the complexities and limitations of managing zoo species. Topics include behavioural management, advanced nutrition, enclosure design and management, and preventative health care. Learning takes place on a residential trip in a real-life zoo environment (aka Zoo Tour)!

    Welfare Science

    Evaluate methods of assessing and monitoring animal welfare, including physiological and behavioural indicators of good and poor welfare. You'll apply your knowledge to a variety of situations in various management systems and levels of confinement, and across a range of species.

    Dissertation

    You will undertake an independent research project. This is an opportunity to take an in-depth look at a subject of personal interest to you within the field of zoo biology.

    Anthrozoology

    Explore all facets of human-animal interaction, including implications on wild animal behaviour and conservation, the use of zoo animal ambassadors, human-animal relationships and the human-animal bond.

    You'll also choose one optional module:

    Adaptive Physiology

    Study the physiological challenges presented by different environments and the adaptations that enable animals to overcome them.

    Advanced Animal Nutrition

    Study advanced topics in nutritional science. These include clinical nutrition, recent advances in the field, ethical and sustainability issues in nutritional provision for animals under human care, and research methods relevant to the nutritional sciences.

100% of students would recommend studying at Nottingham Trent University to others (BSc (Hons) Zoo Biology sandwich, National Student Survey 2020).

How you’re taught

You will be taught through a variety of methods including group seminars, lectures and practical sessions.

Throughout the course, you’ll hear from external industry professionals through guest lectures and visits to a range of zoological and wildlife parks. Your assessment will be based on coursework and formal examinations.

Assessment methods

  • Year 1 coursework (67%), written (33%)
  • Year 2 coursework (67%), written (33%)
  • Year 3 coursework (83%), written (17%)

Contact hours

A full-time student on average can expect to spend 1200 hours a year learning which will typically be broken down as follows:

  • Year 1 lectures/seminars/workshops (26%), independent study (74%)
  • Year 2 lectures/seminars/workshops (27%), independent study (73%)
  • Year 3 lectures/seminars/workshops (20%), independent study (80%)

A placement year may be taken between year 2 and year 3 of study

NTU is ranked 7th in the UK for courses in Animal Science (The Times and The Sunday Times League Table, 2021).

Careers and employability

Your future career

Developed in conjunction with representatives from industry, the course is designed to maximise your potential in a broad range of animal-related careers.


These include various roles within zoos both in the UK and abroad, working in areas such as conservation education, research, and zookeeping.

Our graduates have gone on to work with companies such as:

  • Yorkshire Wildlife Park
  • London Zoo
  • Department for Conservation for New Zealand
  • Huntingdon Animal Research Life Sciences.

You could also progress on to postgraduate study.

Placement opportunities

You’ll also be encouraged and supported to gain important and relevant industry experience at appropriate organisations throughout the course.. Our students have previously been based at organisations such as welfare organisations or feed manufacturers.

Students have carried out placements at companies such as:

  • Woburn Safari Park
  • Bristol Zoo
  • Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust: Paignton Zoo
  • Dao Tien Endangered Primate Centre (Vietnam)
  • Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust (Jersey)
  • UmPhafa Private Nature Reserve (South Africa).

This course is recognised by the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA), the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) and the Zoological Information Management System (ZIMS).

Teaching on this course is supported by our purpose-built Animal Unit - home to around 250 animals from 70 different species.

Entry requirements

What are we looking for?

  • A-levels – BBC, including Biology grade C and excluding General Studies; or
  • BTEC Extended Diploma – DMM, including relevant Biology modules; or
  • 112 UCAS Tariff points from three A-levels or equivalent qualifications, including an A-level grade C equivalent in Biology and excluding General Studies; and
  • GCSEs – English, maths and science grade C / 4.

Other requirements: Work experience in the animal sector is highly desirable – sectors include pet shops, zoos, animal conservation projects, wildlife sanctuaries, stables, veterinary practices, kennels, RSPCA and similar.

Applicants without A-levels will have their applications assessed for subject compatibility.

Other qualifications and experience

We consider equivalent qualifications and combinations, please see UCAS course search for details and use our calculator to help you work out how many UCAS points your qualifications relate to.

We may also consider credits achieved at other universities and your work/life experience through an assessment of prior learning. This may be for year one entry, or beyond the beginning of a course where applicable, for example, into year 2. Our Recognition of Prior Learning and Credit Transfer Policy outlines the process and options available for this route.

Contextual offers

As well as assessing your application and qualifications, we use contextual data and information to make offers for this course. Depending on your circumstances, we may make you an offer up to two grades below the standard entry criteria. Find out how we assess your application.

Getting in touch

If you need any more help or information, please email our Admissions and Enquiries Team or call on +44 (0)115 848 4200.

What are we looking for?

We accept qualifications from schools, colleges and universities all over the world for entry onto our courses. If you’re not sure how your international qualification matches our course requirements please visit our international qualifications page.

Foundation courses

If you need to do a foundation course to meet our course requirements please visit Nottingham Trent International College (NTIC). If you’re already studying in the UK at a school or college and would like to know if we can accept your qualification please visit our foundation courses page.

English language entry requirements

If English is not your first language you need to show us that your language skills are strong enough for intensive academic study. We usually ask for an IELTS test and we accept some alternative English language tests.

Help and support

If you have any questions about your qualifications or about making an application to the University please email our International Team for advice.

NTU may admit a student with advanced standing beyond the beginning of a course, through an assessment of that student's prior learning, whether it is certificated or uncertificated. Our Recognition of Prior Learning and Credit Transfer Policy outlines the process and options available to these prospective students, such as recognising experiential learning or transferring to a similar course at another institution, otherwise known as credit transfer.

All prospective students who wish to apply via Recognition of Prior Learning should initially contact the central Admissions and Enquiries Team who will be able to support you through the process.

How to apply

Ready to join us? Then apply as soon as you can. Just click the Apply button at the top of the page and follow the instructions for applying. Make sure you check the entry requirements above carefully before you do.

Writing your application and personal statement

Be honest, thorough and persuasive in your application. Remember, we can only make a decision based on what you tell us. So include all of your qualifications and grades, including resits or predicted grades.

Your personal statement is a really important part of your application. It’s your chance to convince us why we should offer you a place! You’ve got 4,000 characters to impress us. Make sure you use them to show how your skills and qualities are relevant to the course(s) you’re applying for. For more hints and tips, take a look at our page on how to write a good personal statement. Remember to mention any relevant work experience.

Keeping up-to-date

After you’ve applied, we’ll be sending you important emails throughout the application process so check your emails regularly, including your junk mail folder.

You can get more information and advice about applying to NTU on our Your Application page. Good luck with your application!

Getting in touch

If you need any more help or information, please email our Admissions Team or call on +44 (0)115 848 4200.

Please read our notes on the University's commitment to delivering the educational services advertised.

You can apply directly to the University for an undergraduate course if you’re not applying to any other UK university in the same year. If you are applying to more than one UK university you must apply through UCAS.

Apply as early as you can so that you have time to prepare for your studies. If you need a visa to study here you need to plan this into your application.

Apply now

Keeping up-to-date

After you’ve applied, we’ll be sending you important emails throughout the application process so check your emails regularly, including your junk mail folder.

Good luck with your application!

Getting in touch

If you need any more help or information, please email our Admissions Team or call on +44 (0)115 848 4200.

Please read our notes on the University's commitment to delivering the educational services advertised.

Fees and funding

Preparing for the financial side of student life is important, but there’s no need to feel anxious and confused about it. We hope that our fees and funding pages will answer all your questions.

Getting in touch

For more advice and guidance, you can contact our Student Financial Support Service.

Tel: +44 (0)115 848 2494

Additional Costs

Your course fees cover the cost of studies, and include loads of great benefits, such as the use of our library, support from our expert Employability team, and free use of the IT equipment across our campuses.

Library books

Most study modules will recommend one or more core text books, which most students choose to purchase. Book costs vary and further information is available in the University’s bookshop. Our libraries provide a good supply of essential text books, journals and materials (many of which you can access online) – meaning you may not need to purchase as many books as you might think! There may also be a supply of second-hand books available for purchase from previous year students.

Field trips

You will be charged a maximum of £60 for any compulsory residential trips in the UK, and a maximum of £300 for compulsory overseas residential field courses, as a contribution towards travel, accommodation and entrance fees where applicable. Non-residential day excursions are included in the tuition fee and other non-compulsory opportunities, in the UK and abroad, may also be offered, and these will be charged at full cost to students. A valid passport and any associated visas will also be required for field trips outside of the UK.

Placements

If you're undertaking a placement year, you'll need to budget for accommodation and any travel costs you may incur whilst on placement. Many of our placement students do earn a salary whilst on placement which can help to cover these living costs.

Print and copy costs

The University allocates an annual printing and copying allowance of £20 depending on the course you are studying. For more details about costs for additional print and copying required over and above the annual allowance please see the Printing, photocopying and scanning information on the Library website.

Other costs

All students will also be expected to provide their own appropriate fieldwork clothing, including walking boots (with ankle support), wellingtons and waterproof trousers and coat and overalls for working on the animal unit.

International fees and scholarships

For information on international and EU fees and advice on how to pay, please visit our international fees page.

We offer prestigious scholarships to new international students holding offers to study at the University. For details and an application form please visit our international scholarships information.

Additional Costs

Your course fees cover the cost of studies, and include loads of great benefits, such as the use of our library, support from our expert Employability team, and free use of the IT equipment across our campuses.

Library books

Most study modules will recommend one or more core text books, which most students choose to purchase. Book costs vary and further information is available in the University’s bookshop. Our libraries provide a good supply of essential text books, journals and materials (many of which you can access online) – meaning you may not need to purchase as many books as you might think! There may also be a supply of second-hand books available for purchase from previous year students.

Field trips

You will be charged a maximum of £60 for any compulsory residential trips in the UK, and a maximum of £300 for compulsory overseas residential field courses, as a contribution towards travel, accommodation and entrance fees where applicable. Non-residential day excursions are included in the tuition fee and other non-compulsory opportunities, in the UK and abroad, may also be offered, and these will be charged at full cost to students. A valid passport and any associated visas will also be required for field trips outside of the UK.

Placements

If you're undertaking a placement year, you'll need to budget for accommodation and any travel costs you may incur whilst on placement. Many of our placement students do earn a salary whilst on placement which can help to cover these living costs.

Print and copy costs

The University allocates an annual printing and copying allowance of £20 depending on the course you are studying. For more details about costs for additional print and copying required over and above the annual allowance please see the Printing, photocopying and scanning information on the Library website.

Other costs

All students will also be expected to provide their own appropriate fieldwork clothing, including walking boots (with ankle support), wellingtons and waterproof trousers and coat and overalls for working on the animal unit.

Still need help?

+44 (0)115 941 8418