Bsc Hons Animal Training And Performance L6

Animal Training and Performance (with Foundation Year)

BSc (Hons)

Develop the skills and expertise to transform your passion for training animals into a fulfilling career with this Animal Training and Performance degree.

The foundation year entry provides an alternative route into degree-level study. It’s ideal for those who need to gain subject-specific knowledge and skills in order to progress with the full BSc qualification.

Key Information

Course Duration: 4 or 5 years full time; part-time available
UC UCAS Code: CF65
Part or Full Time: Full Time / Part Time
Level of Study: Foundation Year Degrees
Placement Year: Optional
Typical Offer: 32-48 UCAS tariff points or equivalent

Course information

You’re joining the rapidly growing animal sector at an exciting time. Almost 85 million households in the US have a pet – that’s increased from 56% to 68% over the past 30 years (Forbes 2018). Your skills and expertise in animal training will be in high demand.

Emerging science and technology allows us to understand animal performance like never before. Training methods place priority on the physical and psychological needs of an animal to maximise wellbeing and performance.

You’ll learn from the latest advances in the field and use industry-standard technologies. Develop your expertise with access to our 70-species animal collection and benefit from our connections with animal trainers, scientists and behaviourists across the UK.

All training is underpinned by the strictest ethics and supported by the latest scientific evidence. This programme has been formally recognised by the ABTC Programme Recognition Committee as delivering the academic elements necessary for an individual to achieve ABTC recognition as an Animal Trainer (AT) and Animal Training Instructor (ATI). To become ABTC registered, a student will then need to undertake an assessment via an ABTC Practitioner Organisation.

  • UCAS tariff points | A typical offer for this course is 32-48 UCAS tariff points or equivalent.


  • GCSE | A minimum of 5 GCSE A* to C, (or 9 to 4 where numeric grades are being awarded) or equivalent, to include English Language and Mathematics.


  • A-level | Typical offer is EE-DD or equivalent. This must include a minimum of two A-levels.


  • Vocational Award | Typical offer is a PPP in an Extended Diploma in a relevant subject.


  • Access | Typical offer is 32-48 UCAS tariff points in an Access to Higher Education Diploma.

  • IB | Typical offer is 32-48 UCAS tariff points in an IB Diploma, to include a minimum of one Highers at H3 or above.
  • Scottish Highers | Typical offer is 32-48 UCAS tariff points in Scottish Highers. This must include a minimum of one Higher.

  • Irish leaving Certificate | Typical offer is 32-48 UCAS tariff points in the Irish Leaving Certificate. This must include a minimum of one Highers.
    This must also include Maths and English Language at a minimum of Ordinary Level.
  • OCR Cambridge Technical | Typical offer is a PPP in a Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma in a relevant subject.
  • T Level | Typical offer is Pass in your T Level overall grade in a relevant subject.

We welcome students with equivalent qualifications. Please contact us to discuss.

We may interview mature applicants and those with non-traditional qualifications to ensure this is the right course for you.

Previous learning towards a university-level qualification or relevant work experience may count as credit for this course.

Please contact us for further information.

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Your career

Industry opportunities on this course are diverse to ensure you develop the skills, experience and connections needed for your graduate career. Many of our students secure graduate roles with their work placement employers.

Work placements and experience

These form part of optional modules, alongside an optional integrated placement year. We’ll support you to secure a placement with a UK-based or international employer, to match your interests and career goals – you’ll undertake coursework. Placements can be paid or unpaid, depending on position. Students have worked with organisations such as the Blue Cross, West Midlands Safari Park, Guide Dogs for the Blind and BSAVA.

Our commercial canine and equine therapy centres also offer opportunities for students to gain industry experience ready for their careers – either on work placements or as part of voluntary roles. Alongside this, we’ll encourage you to find a voluntary role with a local organisation such as an animal rescue shelter, wildlife rehabilitation centre or a zoo.

Field trips and guest lecturers

Field trips and industry professionals in lectures form an important part of your learning, enabling you to experience different businesses, careers and best practices.

Recent field trips have included visits to places such as Cotswold Wildlife Park, Crufts and Guide Dogs for the Blind. Extra fees are required – please see the fees tab.

Our students have heard from a range of guest lecturers, which have included dog training professionals, animal biomechanics researchers and zookeepers.

Graduate destinations

As an Animal Training and Performance graduate, you may go on to work in zoos, charities, animal rescue centres, boarding kennels or laboratories. You’ll also have the transferable skills you need for other graduate careers. Our careers team can support you to find and prepare to secure your perfect role.

After graduation students can achieve ABTC recognition as an Animal Trainer (AT) and Animal Training Instructor (ATI) via an ABTC Practitioner Organisation. This will allow you to join the ABTC Practitioner Register.

You may go on to work as a trainer or join behaviour teams, and progress on to:

  • Service dog handling
  • Animal warden/officer
  • Performance analyst for competitive sports (such as agility, greyhound racing, cani-cross or across equestrian sport)
  • Assistance work
  • Rescue and rehabilitation
Success Stories

Your support network

You'll benefit from a strong support network from day one to be the best you can be. This will range from your personal tutor and specialist academic support team (our Achievement and Success Centre) to dedicated wellbeing and employability (Innovation, Careers and Enterprise) centres.

Academic support

You’ll have your own personal tutor while you’re here who will support you to succeed in your studies. You’ll also have access to our academic and wellbeing support teams who run regular workshops and one-to-one sessions on campus and online.

Alongside this, we have a comprehensive bank of online study skills resources to help you make the most of your qualification.

Your learning experiences

You'll experience a range of teaching methods to strengthen your digestion of topics, including lectures, workshops and practical sessions, as well as supported work placement learning as part of many courses.

Your career

Each year of your course will be made up of two semesters, within which you’ll study compulsory and optional modules on different industry-focused topics, enabling you to develop your own unique portfolio of knowledge, skills and experience, ready for your career. The course is taught in English.


What you'll study

You’ll gain an in depth understanding of the key topics in the field of animal training and performance. Core subjects will range from management and training of the animal, to animal biomechanics.

This course is comprised of both compulsory and optional modules, which you'll be able to choose from to suit your interests and career goals. Optional modules change each year in line with student, industry and research demands - you'll find recent topics studied below. You can attend introductory sessions for optional modules before deciding which ones to study.

Module credits

On successful completion of your modules, you’ll gain academic credit that accumulates towards your award. The marks you gain in your second and final year contribute towards your final degree classification.

Develop the knowledge and skills to succeed in the remaining three years of the degree. You’ll focus on the key subjects including animal studies, academic skills and biological science, and work with animal students from across the department.

Compulsory Modules 

Foundation Skills Development

Learn about the scientific method and enquiry, team working, research skills and effective time management.

Academic Skills in Practice (Internship)

Undertake an internship role at Hartpury, linked to the degree, to develop reflective, practical and transferable skills in preparation for level 4 study (year two).

Reviewing Literature

Develop understanding and knowledge of literature reviews. Learn how to construct a rationale, summarise and present relevant information to suit a purpose, subject and audience.

Foundation Animal Studies

Study the fundamentals of animal care, husbandry and management for maximising animal health and welfare.

Foundation Biological Principles

Through the study of fundamental biological aspects, gain an understanding of how organisms come about and how they function and operate for survival and performance.

Your first year will focus on fundamental topics, including animal behaviour and animal nutrition, to help you gain fundamental skills and knowledge. You’ll develop essential transferable and practical skills, and gain the underpinning knowledge required to study the rest of your degree.

Compulsory Modules 

Introduction to Animal Training and Performance

Develop knowledge of the foundation principles relating to animal training and performance.

Animal Behaviour and Welfare

Explore the key concepts in the fields of animal behaviour and animal welfare.

Professional and Academic Skills in Animal Biology

Develop key academic and professional skills and the personal attributes needed to be successful in a career in the animal industry.

Systems Biology

Begin to understand the biological systems used during exercise.

Animals in Society

Study the interactions and relationships between humans and animals.

Animal Health and Disease

Learn how diseases affect animals and how to apply informed decision making to maintain health across a range of animals.

Animal Nutrition

Study key nutritional principles and learn how these relate to health and disease in animals.

You’ll learn about concepts such as animal locomotion and the principles of assessing animal performance. You’ll also explore themes such as management and training of the animal, allowing you to develop your interests at a higher level. You can also select optional modules in areas of interest, such as ethics and welfare, and animal therapy.

Compulsory Modules 

Animal Structure and Motion

Gain a fundamental knowledge of biomechanics and animal locomotion.

Principles of Assessing Animal Performance

Learn how to measure and assess animal performance.

Management and Training of the Animal

Monitor and manage training, health and welfare across a range of species.

Research Methods for Agricultural and Animal Scientists

This module introduces students to the process of academic research, methods of research and analysis, helping to prepare them for reading research literature and conducting research projects in the future.


Optional Modules 

Animal Therapy 1

The first of two animal therapy specific modules that introduce a wide range of animal therapies.

Ethics and Welfare

Explore the influence of ethical theories upon attitudes towards animals and the consideration of animal ethics and welfare in a range of contexts.

Human Behaviour Change for Animals

Appreciate and apply the principles of how we can positively influence human behaviour in relation to animals and the environment.

New Venture Creation

This module allows students to the explore the principles and practices faced by entrepreneurs whilst working through the process of developing a new commercial venture. The assessment offers students the chance to engage with their own new business idea and present to both business professionals and academic staff in a ‘dragon’s den’ style pitch.

Professional Experience in the Animal Sector 1

Reflect on and evaluate a period of industry experience within the animal sector.

Integrated optional placement year (optional)

An optional integrated placement year between your second and final years gives you the opportunity to put your knowledge and skills into practice and gain valuable industry experience

Level Six (final year)

Your final year allows you to focus on areas that are of particular interest to you and will support you in your future career.

You’ll undertake a substantial research dissertation project, enabling you to experience the responsibility of planning, implementing and reporting on a specialist topic.

In addition, you’ll be exposed to contemporary challenges in the subject area and more advanced theory and practice, including gaining an insight into current research in the field of animal training and performance.

Compulsory Modules

Animal and Agriculture Dissertation

This module involves independent research and analysis in an animal or agriculture‐related field with one-to‐one support from an academic.

Advanced Animal Training

Learn about the theoretical and practical methods used in the advanced training of animals and the coaching of trainer, client and animal.

Advanced Animal Performance Analysis

Use advanced analytical methods to assess animal performance.


Optional Modules

Animal Therapy 2

This is the second module specifically exploring the details of types of therapies used within the animal industry.


Anthrozoology is the study of human-animal interactions, exploring the impact animals have on our lives, and the impact they have on ours.

Applied Business Management

Understand the essential operations of a small business, including, organisational culture and marketing.

The foundation year includes an internship using Hartpury’s on-site facilities and industry links.

The modules contain a mixture of scheduled learning – lectures, workshops and practical sessions – alongside independent learning. You'll be expected to dedicate at least two to three hours of independent study per contact hour. Your course may also include work placement learning as part of some modules.

Year Contact learning Placement learning Independent learning
Level three foundation year (year one) 30% 0% 70%
Level four (year two) 30% 0% 70%
Level five (year three) 23% 0% 77%
Placement year - optional 1% 80% 19%

Level six (final year)

17% 0% 83%

You’ll be assessed through a mixture of written exams, practical exams and written assignments. Many of the modules will be marked based on a mixture of assessment types, whilst others will be based solely on one type of assessment. Feedback will be given in a variety of ways including in taught sessions, on written assessments and in tutorials.

Year Written exam Practical exam Coursework
Level three foundation year (year one) 28% 44% 28%
Level four (year two) 21% 60% 19%
Level five (year three) 24% 20% 56%
Optional integrated placement year 0% 0% 100%
Level six (final year) 9% 35% 56%

Each year of this course is taught over two semesters, normally consisting of 12 weeks of scheduled teaching and then assessment weeks, with an overview below:

  • scheduled teaching takes place between 8:30 to 20:30 Monday to Friday
  • Wednesday afternoons are normally reserved for sports and cultural activities
  • work placements may entail different days and hours
  • part-time students may need to attend learning activities five days each week, depending on modules selected
  • timetables are available during enrolment week
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Tuition fees and financial support

Please visit our student finance page for information on tuition fees and student loans, as well as non-repayable grants, bursaries and scholarships, eligible to different groups, to support with study costs.

Clothing and footwear

You’ll need to purchase appropriate clothing and footwear before you enrol, or during enrolment week. We’ll let you know exactly what you need to purchase in your enrolment guide – everything is available from our supplier’s online shop for approximately £100.

Optional field trips (up to circa £150)

Opportunities may require a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check, which you'll need to pay for. You're encouraged to engage in various trips and visits as part of the programme. While many of these are included in the course fees, there is the opportunity to engage in optional trips with additional costs involved.

Accommodation and living costs

Please visit our student accommodation page for details.

Fees & Finance

For further details about this course, including the programme specification and module descriptions, please visit our document library.

Resource library


Settle into an accommodation option to suit your taste and budget – at Hartpury University, undergraduate students can choose to live on-campus surrounded by Gloucestershire’s beautiful countryside or off-campus in the heart of Gloucester City centre. Enjoy the best of both worlds.

Hartpury University Accommodation


We can help you understand how it all works, and what you need to do next. Find out everything you need to know about tuition fees, student loans and bursaries and scholarships. In 2021/22, we provided assistance to over 1/3 of our students through bursaries, scholarships and grants, totalling a little under £1million.

Hartpury University Finance


When you become a student at Hartpury, you become part of our community. As a small university, we provide personalised support based on your individual requirements and aspirations. Our teams cover wellbeing, achievement and success, learning support, careers, and more. From wellbeing, safety and employability, to finance, accommodation and IT, our staff will answer your questions or get you set up with someone who can.

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TEF Gold

Our undergraduate provision has been awarded Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) Gold in all aspects - Overall, Student Experience, and Student Outcomes.

GUG 2024 Top 10 Teaching Quality Landscape

Teaching quality

Ranked in the top 10 universities for teaching quality (The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide, 2024).

Graduate Outcomes 2023 97Pc

Graduate employability

97% of our graduates are in employment, further study or other purposeful activity (Graduate Outcomes, 2023). 

NSS 2023 Academic Support

Academic support

We’ve been named as the top university in England for academic support (National Student Survey, 2023).

Skai Walker
“It's amazing that Hartpury offers the opportunity to work with different species as part of the degree. As part of the course, I did a 40-hour internship in the Animal Collection. I’ve been getting hands on with exotic animals – meerkats, skunks and prairie dogs. ”
Skai Walker
BSc (Hons) Human-Animal Interaction

Turn your passion into your career

The physical and emotional needs of animals is at the heart of everything we do. Working with research-active staff, our students contribute to studies that are helping us understand animals like never before.

Put theory into practice and boost your CV with access to over 70 species, laboratories, animal therapy and hydrotherapy centres, a new Equine and Animal Assisted Activities Area on a 360-hectare campus that provides an ideal environment.

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Female Student In Lab Using Microscope

Meet our academic team

Get to know our dedicated and passionate teaching staff who’ll help you achieve your very best. We’re proud to have been awarded Gold in all three areas of the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF): Overall, Student Experience, and Student Outcomes. This places Hartpury University in the top 15% of published institutions in England. Plus, we're ranked sixth in the UK for Teaching Quality, in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024.

Important information

Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of our published course information, however our programmes are reviewed and developed regularly. Changes or cancellation of courses may be necessary to ensure alignment with emerging employment areas, to comply with accrediting body requirements, revisions to subject benchmark statements or as a result of student feedback. We reserve the right to make necessary changes and will notify all offer-holders of changes as and when they occur.