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Animal Behaviour and Welfare



Course Overview

The FdSc Animal Behaviour and Welfare will provide you with a detailed knowledge of the scientific principles crucial to understanding an animal’s behaviour and how its welfare can be improved. You will learn the practical skills that are so crucial to this applied science along with the work experience necessary to improve your employability and prepare you for a career in the animal welfare industry.

Hartpury’s Home Farm, equine centre, animal unit, and hydrotherapy centre on campus provide excellent facilities to support teaching, whilst links with a wide range of local and national organisations (including Guide Dogs for the Blind, Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust, Cotswold Wildlife Park and Bristol Zoo) provide great off site experiences.

Coupled with the opportunity to undertake field work in South Africa and work experience, you’ll leave Hartpury with everything you need to progress in this exciting, developing sector.

Follow us on Twitter: @HartpuryABW

The programme can be completed full time in two years; part time routes are available and should be planned with your programme manager

Entry Requirements


Five GCSEs at Grade C or above to include English, Mathematics and science

Tariff points range


A level subjects grades

One A2 preferably in a science subject. Students who do not have a A2 in a Biological Science must complete an equivalent Science module as part of course.

Level 3 Extended Diploma subjects grades


International Baccalaureate

24 Points


Yes - must include a biology/biological science subject

Next Open Day

View All 25 Oct 2014Higher Education Open Morning 25th October 2014 Register Now

In Brief


2 Year(s)

Tuition fees

Tuition Fees for 2015 entry

Full Time
UK & EU Students - £9,000
International - £11,250

The fees you pay at registration will cover the costs associated with the learning outcomes of the programme.  This programme requires a compulsory work placement of 222 hours in the animal industry. This placement can be in the UK or overseas, and can be on a paid or voluntary basis. The hours can be accumulated during holiday periods or during the week, as teaching is delivered over a maximum of four days. There are a number of opportunities to enhance your programme experience and employability through optional field trips. In your second year you could choose to complete the Field Course module, which involves a 12 day trip to South Africa (at a cost of approx. £1500). Module embedded trips to sites such as Bristol Aquarium, Bristol Zoo, and Cotswold Wildlife Park allow application of knowledge gained to be applied to the industry.   There is also an opportunity to gain nationally recognised qualifications in animal microchipping and animal first aid. An additional fee is charged for these activities however the College aims to keep any additional costs to the minimum and will frequently subsidise and support student in accessing funding routes for these optional activities.

When should I apply

You can apply for September 2014 entry now.  Please check the UCAS website for application deadlines.

How to apply

You must apply through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).
Hartpury is an Associate Faculty of the University of the West of England. The Hartpury UCAS code is H22. If you feel that you have accredited prior learning please contact us to discuss your application.
If you want to study this degree on a part-time basis, please apply directly to Hartpury. Contact the Enquiry Line on +44 (0) 1452 702345 or email  to request a part-time university application form.
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Course breakdown

View the programme specification here


  • Animal Practice
  • Animal Behaviour
  • Introduction to animal Welfare
  • Wildlife Ecology
  • Systems Biology
  • Principles of Animal Biology
  • Animal Health and Disease
  • Animal Industry (includes work experience)
  • Animal Welfare Assessment
  • Ethics and Welfare
  • Companion animal Behaviour & Training
  • Behavioural and Evolutionary Ecology
  • Behavioural Measurement
  • Field Course
Graduate Profile: Sara Alan-Smith

What I Do

I’ve been working for Blue Cross 16 months now as an animal welfare officer. We take in unwanted or abandoned pets and try to find new homes for them. We’ve got four hospitals in the UK which treat animals for people who couldn’t otherwise afford veterinary care. I did my eight week work placement here and then I volunteered for half a day a week while I was completing my degree at Hartpury. We work with the kennels, the cattery and the small animal section. The key parts of my job are the day to day care of those animals: feeding, cleaning, walking and training. The other side is the rehoming to the public, matching the animal they are interested in.

Why I chose Hartpury

I was working in public relations in the energy sector, which was a great job for a number of years, but I realised it wasn’t what I wanted to do for the rest of my working life. Going to Hartpury was great because I knew that was what I wanted to do. I found all the tutors were really passionate about what they did and they were really keen to support students. And it’s a lovely environment, a really nice campus in a nice location.

What I studied at Hartpury

Everything I do in my job links back in some way to the modules I studied on my degree. I studied where companion animals come from, how they’ve evolved to live in a domestic environment. We also looked at animal welfare, how you can measure it and what you can do to improve it and behaviour, how you can understand what they are communicating by the way they behave.

Advice for people wanting to work with Animals

Gain a clear picture about the path you’re going to want to take when you go into the work place. It is very useful to get some work experience before you choose a course. I would recommend voluntary work to see if that is really something you’re passionate about. If you want to develop a specialist position in an organisation or even become self-employed then you will need a higher qualification as well as practical experience.
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