BSc (Hons)

Zoo Biology

Leopard in tree
  • UCAS code(s): C303 / C300
  • Level(s) of study: Undergraduate
  • Study mode(s): Sandwich / Full-time
  • Location: Brackenhurst Campus
  • Starting: September 2018
  • Course duration: 4 / 3 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 zoo species, namely non-domestic and non-UK wildlife, and how to apply this to all aspects of the management and conservation of captive populations.

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 around 150 animals of 40 different species.
  • Field trips include zoo visits and optional project trips to Jersey Zoo, Mauritius and Madagascar.
  • 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 zoo animal record keeping via the Zoological Information Management System (ZIMS).


100% of our undergraduate students are satisfied with the quality of this course (National Student Survey 2017).

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.

    Zoo Animal Husbandry

    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.

    Introduction to Zoology

    An introduction to the study of animal life. You will study topics including evolution, species diversity, biodiversity and ecology.

    Professional Development for Animal Scientists

    Enhance transferable and professional development skills which are essential to your academic growth. You will undertake work experience and continuing professional development (CPD) hours, and receive guidance on writing CVs and covering letters.

  • Year Two

    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, and their symptoms, treatment and prevention.

    Management of Reproduction in Zoo Animals

    Understand genetics, reproduction and breeding. You'll explore the factors affecting reproductive success in 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 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.

  • Year Three

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

    Zoo Animal Science

    Evaluate the complexities and limitations of managing zoo species in captivity. You'll explore the scientific justification for appropriate zoo animal management based on various factors, including natural behavioural repertoires, environmental enrichment and positive reinforcement training.


    You'll 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 species.

    Animal 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.

    You'll also choose two optional modules.

    Examples include:

    Adaptive Physiology

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


    Explore all facets of human-animal interaction, including animal-assisted intervention, the role of animal in society, and the human-animal bond.

    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.

Course specification

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

100% of students on the BSc (Hons) Zoo Biology sandwich course were satisfied with their course (National Student Survey 2017)

How you’re taught

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

Assessment methods

  • Year 1 coursework (64%), written (33%) and practical (3%)
  • Year 2 coursework (67%), written (33%) and practical (0%)
  • Year 3 coursework (76%), written (17%) and practical (7%)

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 (24%), independent study (64%) and placements (12%)
  • Year 2 lectures/seminars/workshops (27%), independent study (73%) and placements (0%)
  • Year 3 lectures/seminars/workshops (20%), independent study (80%) and placements (0%)

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

Field trips on this course include zoo visits and an optional conservation projects trip to Mauritius.

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
  • zookeeper.

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

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 150 animals from 40 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 and maths 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.

We also consider equivalent qualifications and combinations.

If you are unsure whether the qualifications you have, or are currently studying for, meet the minimum entry requirements for this course, please contact us before submitting an application through UCAS.

The UCAS Tariff

We've created a UCAS Tarrif calculator to help you work out how many UCAS points your qualifications relate to.

Getting in touch

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

Don't meet the entry requirements? If you're 19 or over and would like to study at degree level but haven't got the usual standard qualifications then our Access to Higher Education (Animal Science) Diploma could be the perfect solution. Advanced learner loan available.

We accept qualifications from schools, colleges and universities all over the world for entry onto our undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. 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 contact 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 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.

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.

Tel: +44 (0)115 848 2494

What do the course fees cover?

All mandatory costs for the course are covered in the course fee. In addition, most study modules will recommend one or more core textbooks, which most students choose to purchase. Book costs vary between courses and further information is available in the University’s bookshop. A good supply of these essential textbooks are available in the University libraries which students can easily borrow or access directly whilst studying in the library.

Students may choose to apply for a placement option during their course. If successful, students will be expected to pay for accommodation, travel and living costs whilst on placement.

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.

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.

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.

Still need help?

+44 (0)115 941 8418