Bsc Hons Zoology


BSc (Hons)

Immerse yourself in the theory and practical application of zoology, for a fulfilling career conserving the biodiversity of our planet and protecting animal species across the globe.

You’ll explore how animals evolve, interact and function, how human activity affects animal populations, how zoos contribute to conservation, and much more. The field course module allows you to see the impact of conservation first-hand, and you get to choose whether you do this in either South Africa, Devon, or more locally, around Gloucestershire. There is also a residential field course with a UK zoo.

Key Information

Course Duration: 3 or 4 years full time; part-time available
UC UCAS Code: D320
Part or Full Time: Full Time / Part Time
Level of Study: Undergraduate Degrees
Placement Year: Optional
Typical Offer: 112 UCAS tariff points or equivalent

Course information

You’ll learn from experienced animal scientists, conservationists and industry practitioners to develop field and laboratory skills which are in great demand by employers.

You’ll have the option to spend a year in industry, either in the UK or overseas, to gain additional experience. You'll also be able to undertake a flexible professional study experience in your second year.

Our facilities provide fantastic opportunities to develop real-life experience. These include a range of laboratories, a 70-species Animal Collection, and commercial animal therapy centres. Our 360-hectare estate is ideal for learning a range of survey techniques and for studying British wildlife.

  • UCAS | A typical offer for this course is 112 UCAS tariff points or equivalent.

  • GCSE | A minimum of five GCSEs at grade 9 to 4, (or A* to C grades if relevant) or equivalent, to include English Language and Mathematics.

  • A-Level | Typical offer is BBC or equivalent. This must include a minimum of two A Levels including one in Biology at grade D or above.

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

  • Access | Typical offer is 112 UCAS tariff points in an Access to Higher Education Diploma to include a minimum of a pass in a Biology module at Level 3.

  • IB | Typical offer is 112 UCAS tariff points in an IB Diploma, to include a minimum of two Highers at H3 or above, including one in Biology. This must also include Maths and English Language at a minimum of Standard Level S3 if equivalent GCSEs have not been obtained.

  • Scottish Highers | Typical offer is 112 UCAS tariff points in Scottish Highers. This must include a minimum of one Advanced and One Higher, to include Biology.

  • Irish Leaving Certificate | Typical offer is 112 UCAS tariff points in the Irish Leaving Certificate. This must include a minimum of two Highers including one in Biology at H4 or above. This must also include Maths and English Language at a minimum of Ordinary Level.

  • OCR Cambridge Technical | Typical offer is a DMM in a Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma in a relevant subject.

  • T Level | Typical offer is Merit in you T Level overall grade in a relevant subject.

The minimum academic entry requirement for this programme is 80 UCAS tariff or equivalent providing this is combined with relevant experience.

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

The optional integrated placement year is the main opportunity to gain work experience as part of this programme. We’ll support you to find a suitable work placement based on your interests and career aspirations. Placements can be paid or unpaid, and can be anywhere in the world. Previously, we’ve supported students to complete work placements in the Seychelles, Kenya, New Zealand, across Europe, and in a variety of locations in the UK. Students have completed placements at a range of zoos, with a reptile breeder/retailer, conservation organisations and NGOs.

You could gain work experience using our on-site facilities, often with the opportunity to work with real clients, supervise others or participate in special events, such as the world-class equestrian events that take place at Hartpury every year.

Alongside the opportunities on campus, you’ll have ample opportunities to undertake volunteering with the wide range of zoos, wildlife parks, wildlife hospitals, nature reserves and animal welfare charities in the region – many of which we have strong links with and graduates working at.

Field trips and guest lecturers

There are two residential field trips as part of your programme. In year two, you’ll have the option of travelling to South Africa for a two-week stay at Mankwe Wildlife Reserve, studying bushveld ecology and animal behaviour, and developing your field work skills further.

In year three, you’ll attend a residential trip to a UK zoo, to explore all aspects of captive-based conservation, including zoo husbandry, reintroduction breeding and conservation education.

You’ll go on day trips throughout the degree, to organisations such as Cotswold Wildlife Park, Guide Dogs’ Breeding Centre, and Bristol Aquarium amongst others.

Recent guest speakers have included zookeepers, conservationists, and sustainability experts.

Study internationally

Our study abroad programme means you can make the most of opportunities to study a semester of your degree at one of our partner institutions, while achieving credits towards your degree.

Graduate destinations

As a zoology graduate, you could go on to work in zoos, aquariums, wildlife parks, or rescue, conservation or welfare centres. 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. Recent graduate destinations have included:

  • Instructor, Guide Dogs for the Blind
  • Animal Welfare Assistant, Blue Cross
  • Editorial Assisatant, BSAVA
  • Zookeeper, Bristol Zoo
  • Guest Experience Manager, Bristol Aquarium
  • Postgraduate Study - MRes Animal Behaviour and Welfare, MRes Anthrozoology
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

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.

You’ll study a broad range of zoology-related topics through your core modules, which will address evolution, ecology, conservation biology and the structure and function of animals.

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.

Learn how animals function, behave and evolve, and how they’re affected by interaction with humans; such as through nutrition, welfare and study. You’ll develop your practical skills in the laboratory and in the field. Receive training in a variety of field survey methods, such as small mammal trapping, bat surveying, and animal and plant identification. You’ll develop academic skills in assignment writing and research, ready for the rest of your degree.

Compulsory Modules 

Comparative Animal Physiology

This module will cover the structure and function of animals and explore how they have adapted to their natural environments, and how they may be affected by changing climates. Anatomy, physiology, nutrition and evolution are brought together in a comparative way.

Animal Health and Disease

Discover how diseases affect animals and how to apply informed decision making.

Genetics, Biodiversity and Evolution

Understand genetic and evolutionary principles and explore how they generate the diversity of life we see in the natural world.

Animal Behaviour and Welfare

Introduces the problems and insights of animal behaviour and welfare, including the study of ethical issues and legislation.

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.

Principles of Ecology

Develop understanding of how populations, communities and ecosystems function, with a focus on establishing practical wildlife surveying skills, including collaborative team working.

Explore the real-world problems associated with a human-dominated world and consider how animals evolve both in natural and human-altered landscapes. You’ll understand a range of research methods, ready to use in scientific research projects and choose to go on one of the three exciting field trips. These choices are Mankwe reserve in South Africa, the south coast of Devon or to more local sites around Gloucester.

Compulsory Modules 

Conservation Biology

An introduction to the fundamental principles of wildlife conservation. Apply knowledge learnt in year one; including genetics, biodiversity and tackling current industry issues.

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.

Behavioural Ecology

Explore the ecological and evolutionary basis for animal behaviour and the role of behaviour in enabling an animal to adapt to its environment.

Field Course

Learn a variety of field techniques to collect data about a wide range of taxa including plants, invertebrates, birds, and mammals. This module includes a residential trip, which in the past has been to South Africa and Devon.

Measuring Animal Behaviour

This module introduces the use of sampling and recording methods, recording media, surveys and analysis techniques to measure animal behaviour and welfare across a wide range of species.


Optional Modules 

Animals in Education

You will learn the roles that animals can play in educational settings, both formally and informally. You will evaluate the evidence base for their use, and analyse how their welfare can be safeguarded.

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.

Professional Experience in the Animal Sector 1

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

An optional year between the second and final year offers the opportunity to put knowledge and skills into practice and gain valuable industry experience.

Learn about the impact of conservation, both in the wild and in captivity, including contact with zoos, nature reserves and industry experts. You’ll undertake a scientific research project, with the opportunity to work with an industry partner to ensure it addresses real industry issues. Previous students have worked with West Midlands Safari Park, Cotswold Wildlife Park, Gloucester City Council, Operation Wallacea and Vale Wildlife Hospital amongst others. Students have presented research at national or international conferences, and been published in peer-reviewed academic press.

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.

Wildlife Conservation in Captivity

Work with a UK zoo to apply the principles of biology to the practical zoo environment, through a residential trip. Explore topics such as wildlife reintroduction and breeding for conservation.

Biodiversity and Conservation

Build on knowledge from the second year to examine global patterns of biodiversity, the processes that determine diversity and the causes of biodiversity declines. Critically analyse conservation methods in protecting nature.

Professional Skills in Zoology

Elevate your professional readiness for roles in the zoology sector by refining key skills and identifying your career developmental needs.

Optional Modules


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


You will study how diseases are transmitted and spread through populations and understand how the dynamics of this spread can be studied and monitored. You will use this knowledge to analyse appropriate methods to help avoid, track and control disease epidemics.

The modules contain a mixture of scheduled learning – lectures, workshops and practical sessions – alongside independent learning. Students are 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. The course is taught in English.

Year Contact learning Placement learning Independent learning
Level four (year one) 30% 0% 70%
Level five (year two) 24% 0% 76%
Placement year (optional) 1% 80% 19%
Level six (final year) 17% 0% 83%

You will 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 via a mixture of written bullet point-style feedback and/or oral feedback.

Year Written exam Practical exam Coursework
Level four (year one) 34% 53% 13%
Level five (year two) 35% 3% 62%
Placement year (optional) 0% 0% 100%
Level six (final year) 25% 23% 52%

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 (circa £100)

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 £2,000)

Many field trips are included in the course fees, however, a couple are not, as follows:

  • Year 2 core module, Field Course, offers one of three field trip options. The first two are residential trips to Mankwe Wildlife Reserve in South Africa and Slapton Ley in Devon, respectively. The third option consist of day visits to sites more locally around Gloucestershire. On each of these trips the students will study the ecology and ethology of the local area. The South Africa trip is popular, and places are limited and costs in the region of £2000, the trip to Devon costs around £600 while the trips around Gloucestershire will be free to those students who choose this option.

    • As a core module, a £150 bursary is available to all Zoology students to support the costs of the field trip.

  • Year 3 compulsory module, Wildlife Conservation in Captivity, includes a residential trip to a UK zoo, costing around £150 for accommodation.

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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Get in touch

Whether you're looking for more details with regards to a specific course, or information on your own academic options or life at Hartpury, please don't hesitate to get in touch with our friendly and knowledgeable Admissions team. 

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.