Hartpury College
BSc (Hons)

Animal Behaviour and Welfare



Course Overview

The Animal Behaviour and Welfare degree programme will provide you with the knowledge, practical abilities and intellectual skills needed to understand current scientific thinking, develop new ideas and evaluate current processes and practices in both animal behaviour and animal welfare science. You will develop the ability to measure the behaviour and assess the welfare of animals. The curriculum is underpinned by research and will encourage you to reflect on behavioural theories and the principles behind animal behaviour and welfare practice. There are a number of topic streams running through the programme including companion animal behaviour and welfare, behavioural ecology and animal training and management which allow you to tailor your degree around your own areas of interest.

We encourage students to not only attend academic conferences but to present their dissertation research at them. Preparing for, and participating in conferences, will provide you with essential practice in conference preparation and presentation and will allow you to network with employers and other academics working in your field. The college is one of the institutions responsible for organising the UFAW Student Animal Welfare Conference where students can present their research. We also regularly present student research at the Universities Federation of Animal Welfare Conference, British Society of Animal Science Conference and the Student Mammal Society Conference.

Follow us on Twitter: @HartpuryABW

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

To help you make the most of your degree at Hartpury we have decided to provide professional related accreditation for exceptional students starting at Hartpury this September. We will support you in membership of the Universities Federation for Animal Welfare. Membership benefits include regular updates and information on UFAW activities and developments in the Annual Report and in the UFAW Newsletter; preferential subscription rates to the scientific journal Animal Welfare; a 35% discount off all books in the UFAW Wiley book series and off virtually all other Wiley books; and notification of new publications and forthcoming UFAW meetings and symposia. To find out more visit http://www.ufaw.org.uk/membership/become-a-member-of-ufaw

Or if you prefer we will support you in membership of the Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour. Membership benefits include ASAB’s journal, Animal Behaviour, and a regular newsletter ; access to membership grants including Research Grants, Undergraduate ScholarshipsConference Attendance Grants; and as a student member access to their Easter Conference, which includes a one-day Postgraduate Workshop. For more information visit http://www.asab.org/join


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

240 (typical offer)

A level subjects grades

Two A2s to include a biological science 

Level 3 Extended Diploma subjects grades

MMM in a science subject

International Baccalaureate

24 points


Yes - must include a biology/biological science subject


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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08 Oct 2016 University Open Day Saturday 8th October

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In Brief


3 Years

Tuition fees

Fees for September 2016 entry

UK / EU students: £9,000
International: £11,250
Please contact us to discuss part-time fees.

The fees you pay at registration will cover the costs associated with the learning outcomes of the programme. 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 2016 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 enquire@hartpury.ac.uk  to request a part-time university application form.

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Course breakdown

Work in the laboratory and the field will provide you with experience in the application of the theories learned in lectures. Visits to external organisations (including Sequani, Slimbridge, Bucklebury Farm, Guide Dogs Training Facility, Birmingham Sealife Centre and Bristol Zoo) will allow you to appreciate how these theories are applied in commercial organisations.

There are also two optional residential field trips available as part of the programme. A field course module to South Africa runs in the second year of the programme. This will give you an opportunity to explore African ecology and ethology. Activities will include animal tracking, day and night game drives, a visit to Pillansberg National Park and individual student projects.

In the third year of the course there is a three day field trip to Marwell Wildlife Park that is part of the Wildlife and Zoo Management module. This trip will enable you to identify and evaluate the environmental and behavioural needs of a range of non-domestic animal species and provides the opportunity to investigate the necessary criteria for the reintroduction of animals into the wild. Much of the teaching for this module is delivered by full-time zoo staff, including the vet and a stud book keeper.


  • • Animal Behaviour
    • Introduction to Animal Welfare
    • Wildlife Ecology
    • Animal Genetics
    • Systems Biology
    • Animal Health and Disease

    • Animal Welfare Assessment
    • Ethics and Welfare
    • Field Course
    • Management of Domestic Animals
    • Companion Animal Behaviour and Training
    • Behavioural and Evolutionary Ecology
    • Behavioural Measurement
    • The Research Process
    • Independent Report
    • Wildlife and Zoo management
    • Anthrozoology
    • Animal Psychology
    • Pet Behaviour Counselling
    • Animal Trade and Welfare
    • Human Behavioural Ecology
    • Dissertation
    • Developments in Animal Science


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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
20 Sep 2016

Funding boost to help give Tom an even brighter farming future

Agriculture degree student Tom Saunders, has become the second Hartpury recipient of the new Joe Henson bursary, aimed at helping aspiring agriculturalists to take their studies further.

Read On

Career Opportunities

The Animal Behaviour and Welfare programme will equip you with the knowledge and skills which are required by organisations such as animal charities, welfare organisations, education and research establishments and government bodies.

Possible careers include animal health and welfare officers, laboratory and field research technicians, zoo education officers, researchers and education. Further study can lead to accreditation as an animal behaviour therapist or specialist in the fields of behaviour, welfare or conservation.

Past students have gone onto successful careers working at the RSPCA, Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency, Guide Dogs for the Blind, the Dogs Trust, Battersea Dogs Home, Cats Protection League, Sequani, Brinsbury College, and Customs and Excise. In addition students have also progressed to postgraduate programmes at the University of Exeter and the University of Lincoln.