BSc (Hons)

Zoo Biology

  • UCAS code(s): C303 / C300
  • Level(s) of study: Undergraduate
  • Study mode(s): Sandwich / Full-time
  • Location: Brackenhurst campus
  • Starting: September 2016
  • Course duration: 4 / 3 year(s)
  • Entry requirements: More information
  • ***The entry requirements may be different while in clearing***

This course focuses on the biology of exotic animals, namely non-domestic and non-UK wildlife. This is applied to all aspects of management and species conservation of both captive and non-captive populations. You will study the major principles of anatomy, physiology, nutrition, conservation, behaviour, ecology and animal management.

Why choose this course?

  • We have strong links with UK zoos and wildlife parks.
  • You will have access to our modern animal unit on campus which houses over 200 animals.
  • Field trips include zoo visits and an optional conservation project trip in Mauritius.
  • Teaching is informed by current research undertaken by academics 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 zoo animal record keeping via the Zoological Information Management System (ZIMS).

What you'll study

This course will give you a sound knowledge and understanding of animal biology and the ability to apply this to the rapidly expanding animal industry. Lectures cover the major scientific principles of:

  • anatomy
  • physiology
  • behaviour
  • 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

    • Anatomy and Physiology

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

    • Exotic Animal Management

    Learn successful approaches to zoo animal management and the constraints imposed by captivity. Animal handling skills are also developed.

    • Animal Behaviour

    Study patterns of behaviour and the reasons why animals behave as they do, both in captivity and in the wild.

    • Principles of Animal Science

    Understand key biological and chemical principles of relevance to Animal Science including growth, nutrition, reproduction, and animal health and welfare. You will also develop a range of practical laboratory skills necessary to underpin your future studies.

    • Biodiversity and Ecology

    Learn about the diversity of life on Earth. You will study topics including conservation, species diversity, biodiversity and ecology.

  • Year Two

    • Zoo Animal Health and Disease

    Learn the principles of animal health and disease. The module covers a range of pathogenic organisms and looks at a variety of common diseases, their symptoms, treatment and prevention.

    • Management of Reproduction in Exotics

    Understand genetics, reproduction and breeding. You will explore the factors affecting reproductive success in the captive and endangered species, and how these can be addressed through knowledge of reproductive physiology and anatomy.

    • 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. Teaching is supported in the laboratories and Animal Unit.

    • Biological Basis of Behaviour

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

    • Zoo Nutrition

    Explore the issues facing the feeding of captive animal populations, specifically looking at the restrictions placed on dietary provisions in captivity.

    • Zoo Organisation

    Learn about the background and historical development of zoos and the legislation relating to them. Understand the organisational structure of zoological collections and the implications for their management.

  • Year Three

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

    • Adaptive Physiology

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

    • Issues Relating to Exotics

    Discuss and critically analyse topical issues relating to exotic species. You will develop an understanding of the importance of ethical theories and scientific method in formulating your views.

    • Zoo Animal Management

    Evaluate the complexities and limitations of managing zoo species in captivity. You will explore zoo animal welfare, natural behaviours, and methods to to measure, evaluate and increase these.

    • Zoo Conservation and Education

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

    • 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 exotic species.

Course specification

View the full course specification
Please note that course specifications may be subject to change

How you’re taught


You will be assessed using a variety of methods including the following.

Coursework 63%

  • Assignments - 30%
  • Portfolio - 33%

Practical 4%

  • Verbal assessment - 4%

Exams 33%

Careers and employability

Your career development

Graduates from this course could potentially become a:

  • animal health officer
  • animal trainer and presenter
  • biochemistry technician
  • education officer
  • laboratory technician
  • toxicologist
  • tropical fish consultant
  • veterinary care assistant
  • veterinary receptionist
  • wildlife conservation advisor
  • zoo keeper.

You could work for companies such as:

  • Department of Conservation for New Zealand
  • Hôpital du Bocage
  • Huntingdon Animal Research Life Sciences
  • London Zoo
  • Natural England
  • NoveThera
  • PDSC
  • Royal Zoological Society of Scotland
  • Yorkshire Wildlife Park.

Excellent placement opportunities

We will support you to undertake work experience placement opportunities where possible or a full sandwich year placement during your third year.

Links with industry enable you to gain valuable experience at zoological and wildlife parks throughout the course. Students have also gained valuable experience through placements at companies such as:

  • Animal Health Trust
  • Blackpool Zoo
  • Bristol Conservation and Science Foundation
  • Cheetah Outreach
  • Chester Zoo
  • Clearwater Marine Aquarium, Florida, USA
  • Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust
  • Endangered Primate Species Centre, Southern Vietnam
  • Mauritius Wildlife Foundation
  • Paignton Zoo
  • West Midland Safari Park

Entry requirements

For 2016 entry you will need one of the following:

  • 280 UCAS tariff points from three A-levels (or two AS-levels and two A-levels) including A-level Biology grade C or above, excluding General Studies)
  • a BTEC Extended Diploma grades Distinction, Merit, Merit (including relevant Biology modules).

Applicants without A-Levels will have their qualifications assessed for subject compatibility.

You will also need GCSE Maths, English and Science at grade C or above.

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.

Getting in touch

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

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.

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 our step-by-step guide. 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.

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.

  • For a step by step guide on making an application to the University please visit our how to apply page.
  • For advice on applying for a visa please visit our visa information page.
  • For advice on how to write a good personal statement please visit our personal statement page.

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.

Further information on how to apply

Need help with your application?
For admissions related enquiries please contact us:
Telephone: +44 (0)115 848 4200

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 on +44 (0)115 848 2494.

While we aim to keep any extra study costs to a minimum, please see our page on Additional costs and optional extras to find out about any additional expenses you may incur on your course.

Please see our fees page for more information.

We offer prestigious scholarships to new international students holding offers to study at the University.

Still need help?

+44 (0)115 941 8418