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Zoo Biology BSc (Hons)

  • Level(s) of Study: Undergraduate
  • UCAS Code(s): C300 / C303
  • Start Date(s): October 2022
  • Duration: Three years full-time or four years with placement
  • Study Mode(s): Full-time / Sandwich
  • Campus: Brackenhurst Campus
  • Entry Requirements:
    More information

Introduction:

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.

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.
  • You will have access to our modern Animal Unit on campus which houses around 250 animals of 70 different species. Teaching is informed by current research undertaken by academic staff in the School.
  • We have strong links with UK zoos and wildlife parks. 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.
  • 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.
  • 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).

Course accreditation

  • Eaza-Zoo-Biology
  • ZIMS-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.

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.

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.

Priorities for Modern Zoos

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.

Animal 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.

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

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.

Don’t just take our word for it, hear from our students themselves

Student Profiles

Ashleigh Bell

Zoo Biology

My studies at NTU gave me extensive theoretical zoo knowledge and a good level of understanding of animal behaviour and the care of animals.

Dan Stockdale

Zoo Biology

I have always been fascinated in animals and studying zoo biology has helped widen my knowledge and added to my interests. By studying zoo biology I hope to open doors into the zoo industry and follow my ambitions of working with exotic animals.

Freisha-Patel

Zoo Biology

My studies at NTU gave me extensive theoretical zoo knowledge and a good level of understanding of animal behaviour and the care of animals.

Savannah Storm

Zoo Biology

Choosing to study at NTU has been the best decision I have ever made. I’ve received so much support from all the staff in finding work, placements and getting the most out of my time here.

Keavy-McGrath

Zoo Biology

In my first year I really enjoyed all the practical aspects involved with the Exotic Animal Management module as it was a great opportunity to get more experience with a range of species.

Rory-Webster

Zoo Biology

The lecturers on this course are highly experienced with personal interests and research within the field

Rosie-Brigham

Zoo Biology

I thought the tutors were great – they were always willing to help if you needed it and were very friendly.

Holly-Astbury

Zoo Biology

I have learnt so much already from my course not only from the lecturers, but also from the trips I’ve done.

Michael-Hepher

Zoo Biology

NTU gave me a perfect grounding to get into the zookeeping industry. Having a degree in zoo biology allowed me to stand out from other job candidates.

Katie Hays

Zoo Biology

The skills and knowledge I gained at university helped me get to where I am now and still support me on the job.

Video Gallery

Take a look at what Tom Lanashire has to say about his time on the Zoo Biology course. Watch our Facility tour video which gives an insight of the equipment we use and what students do on the BSc (Hons) Zoo Biology course. Have a look at our taster session and see what you will learn on the course.
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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.

Contact hours

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

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

Staff Profiles

Samantha Ward

Senior Lecturer

Animal, Rural & Environmental Science

Samantha Ward

Stephen Harrison

Senior Lecturer

School of Animal Rural & Environmental Sciences

Stephen Harrison

Jacqueline Boyd

Lecturer

School of Animal Rural & Environmental Sciences

Dr Boyd is a lecturer in the School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences, specifically teaching across Animal and Equine courses. Her research relates to aspects of parasitology, genetics, performance

Samantha Bremner-Harrison

Senior Lecturer

School of Animal Rural & Environmental Sciences

Samantha Bremner-Harrison

Chris Royle

School Standards and Quality Manager

School of Animal Rural & Environmental Sciences

Chris Royle

How you’re assessed

  • Year 1 coursework (50%), written (33%), practical (17%)
  • Year 2 coursework (50%), written (17%), practical (33%)
  • Year 3 coursework (83%), written (17%)

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).

NTU Enterprise

You'll also have the opportunity to turn your ideas into a viable business with help from NTU Enterprise, NTU's purpose-built Centre for Entrepreneurship and Enterprise, a support centre to help students create, develop and grow their own businesses.

Campus and facilities

Animal Unit

During this course, your theoretical studies will be complemented by the use of our specialist Animal Unit. Housing over 250 animals and more than 70 species, you'll get the opportunity to study a diverse range of companion animals, reptiles, birds, fish and other small animals, as well as larger animals including donkeys, horses and goats. Qualified and experienced academic and technical staff provide expert tuition in animal handling, animal training, environmental enrichment and much more.

You'll also use our specialist cattle roundhouse that can be used for animal observations and to develop your handling skills of larger breeds.

Research

You’ll find a variety of equipment available at the Animal Unit to support your research project:

  • A thermal camera
  • Digital camcorders with specialist software
  • Time lapse camera
  • Mammal traps
  • Digital video recording facilities in some animal rooms

Volunteering

Why not broaden your horizons and give something back by taking part in our Animal Unit’s successful volunteer programme?

The animal unit volunteer programme is an extra-curricular opportunity open to all students at Nottingham Trent University. You’ll get the chance to work closely with our qualified and skilled team of technicians on a variety of tasks such as maintenance, health checks, medical administration and behaviour management such as enrichment and training.

These sessions are recognised and verified by the Higher Education Achievement Report (HEAR) to support your CV and boost your employability.

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?

  • 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.

International qualifications

We accept qualifications from all over the world – check yours here:

Undergraduate preparation courses (Foundation)

If you don’t yet meet our entry requirements, we offer Foundation courses through our partner Nottingham Trent International College (NTIC), based on our City Campus:

English language entry requirements

You can meet our language requirements by successfully completing our pre-sessional English course for an agreed length of time, or by submitting the required grade in one of our accepted English language tests, such as IELTS:

Advanced standing (starting your undergraduate degree in year 2 or 3)

You may be able to start your undergraduate course in year 2 or 3 based on what you have studied before.  This decision would be made in accordance with our Recognition of Prior Learning and Credit Transfer Policy.

Would you like some advice on your study plans?

Our international teams are highly experienced in answering queries from students all over the world. We also have members of staff based in Vietnam, China, India and Nigeria and work with a worldwide network of education counsellors.

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 which will contribute towards the cost of travel, accommodation and entrance fees where applicable. There will be a maximum charge of £400 for overseas residential fieldwork that is compulsory to your course. Non-residential day excursions are included in the tuition fee; other non compulsory opportunities, in the UK and abroad, may also be offered and these will be charged at additional cost to students. A valid passport and any associated visas and vaccinations 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.

Tuition fees for September 2022 entry

Mode of study

International tuition fee

Full-time

£15,600

Full-time with placement

£15,600 + £1,385 (placement year)

Tuition fees are payable for each year that you are at the University. The level of tuition fees for the second and subsequent years of your undergraduate course may increase in line with inflation and as specified by the UK government.

Scholarships

We offer scholarships of up to 50% of your tuition fee. You can apply for your scholarship when you have an offer to study at NTU.

Living costs

Get advice on the cost of living as an international student in Nottingham and how to budget:

Paying fees

Find out about advanced payments, instalment plan options and how to make payments securely to the University:

Would you like some advice on your study plans?

Our international teams are highly experienced in answering queries from students all over the world. We also have members of staff based in Vietnam, China, India and Nigeria and work with a worldwide network of education counsellors.

Complete this simple form to keep in touch with the International Office.

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 which will contribute towards the cost of travel, accommodation and entrance fees where applicable. There will be a maximum charge of £400 for overseas residential fieldwork that is compulsory to your course. Non-residential day excursions are included in the tuition fee; other non compulsory opportunities, in the UK and abroad, may also be offered and these will be charged at additional cost to students. A valid passport and any associated visas and vaccinations 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.

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.

You can apply for this course through UCAS. If you are not applying to any other UK universities, you can apply directly to us on our NTU applicant portal.

Application advice

Apply early so that you have enough time to prepare – processing times for Student visas can vary, for example.  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.

Writing your personal statement

Be honest, thorough, and persuasive – we can only make a decision about your application based on what you tell us:

Advice on writing a good personal statement

Would you like some advice on your study plans?

Our international teams are highly experienced in answering queries from students all over the world. We also have members of staff based in Vietnam, China, India and Nigeria and work with a worldwide network of education counsellors.

The University's commitment to delivering the educational services advertised.