Hartpury College

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 behaviour and 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

Our students have gone on to some fantastic careers in a wide range of industries and enjoyed some exceptional work placements all over the world, helping them open doors to their dream careers. 

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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


If you do not have a background in science you can complete the Principles of Animal Biology module in your first term


For the most up to date information on your programme, you can find your course information sheet here

Next Open Day

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07 Dec 2016 University Open Day Wednesday 7th December 2016

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In Brief


2 Years

Tuition fees

Fees for September 2017 entry

UK: £9,250
EU fees: Will remain the same as UK students, £9,250
International: £11,250
Please contact us to discuss part-time fees 

EU students starting this course in Sept 2017 will be eligible to apply for UK student loans for the duration of their course. 

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 2017 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 Admissions team on +44 (0) 1452 702244 or email admissions@hartpury.ac.uk  to request a part-time university application form.

Click to see more course information


    • Animal Practice
    • Animal Behaviour
    • Introduction to animal Welfare
    • Systems Biology
    • Principles of Animal Biology
    • Animal Health and Disease
    • Biodiversity
    • Animal Industry (includes work experience)
    • Animal Welfare Assessment
    • Ethics and Welfare
    • Companion animal Behaviour & Training
    • Behavioural and Evolutionary Ecology
    • Behavioural Measurement
    • Field Course
    • Management of domestic animals
    • Undergraduate research process

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What I do

Blue Cross is an animal welfare charity and it’s entirely funded from public donations and fundraising activities. We do not get any government support. It has rehoming centres, where I work. We take in unwanted or abandoned pets and try to find new homes for them. The other side is our hospital services. We’ve got four hospitals in the UK which treat animals for people who couldn’t otherwise afford veterinary care. I’ve been working for Blue Cross for 16 months now. 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.

I work as an animal welfare officer. There are 15 of us who work in that role. 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; finding out what animals they’re looking for, what home they can offer, and to match that to 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.

Why I studied at Hartpury

My degree looked at all animals - companion animals, farm animals and wildlife. There was quite a lot on evolution; understanding where animals come from. I studied where companion animals come from and 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. We looked at the behaviour of animals and how you can understand what they are communicating by the way they behave. Everything I do in my job links back in some way to the modules I studied on my degree. Advice for people wanting to work with animals Try to gain as clear a picture as possible about the path you think you’re going to want to take when you go into the workplace. I think that can be really hard to do when you’ve just left school, so 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.

course blog post

Animal and Land
06 Dec 2016

Hartpury’s farming entrepreneurs banking on budding business ideas

Our third year agriculture students got the opportunity to expand their entrepreneurial experience when advisors from NatWest visited Hartpury. 

Read On

Career Opportunities

BSc (Hons) Animal Behavior and Welfare or Animal Management

Animal Welfare Officer

Pet shop manager

Laboratory research technician

Zoo Keeper