Three prairie dogs in the Hartpury animal collection
BSc (Hons)

BSc Animal Behaviour and Welfare (Level 6 Entry)

UCAS Code: D316

Typical offer: A pass at Foundation Degree or HND in an animal science or management related subject

Duration: 1 year full-time; part-time available

Placement year: Optional

Awarding body: Hartpury University

Apply for this course here:


Course overview

Develop your expertise in animal behaviour and welfare and turn your passion into your career. Study the fascinating biology behind the behaviour and consider ethical issues.

Top-up your existing qualification to a full BSc degree. Whether you want to become a welfare officer, trainer or researcher, you’ll be well-prepared for a range of careers in the animal sector.

You’ll be exposed to the latest research in the field of animal behaviour and welfare, and develop industry-standard practical skills to assess welfare, measure behaviour, train animals and manage domestic, exotic and wild species.

Choose from a range of optional modules, including animal trade and welfare, wildlife and zoo management, anthrozoology, animal psychology, biodiversity, conservation and pet behaviour counselling.

Benefit from a 360-hectare campus that’s home to a diverse range of animals. Our 70-species animal collection provides opportunities to assess domestic and non-domestic animals in different contexts.

As part of your top-up year, you’ll undertake an applied research project. Delve deeper into an area you’re passionate about and contribute to research that’s making a difference to the lives of animals.

How to apply Contact us: +44 (0)1452 702244

What you'll study

What you'll study

This course builds on the knowledge you have gained in previous studies, to reach the level of a BSc (Hons) degree.

You'll study 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.

Level six (year one)

You’ll continue to advance your understanding of the key principles in animal behaviour and welfare. You’ll be exposed to contemporary challenges in the subject areas such as animal trade and welfare. Studying advanced theory, you'll gain an insight into where current research is focussing.

Applied research project

You’ll undertake a research project with one-to-one support from an academic. Delve deeper into an area of interest and be responsible for planning, implementing and reporting on a specialist topic. You’ll have an investigative skills module, which will help you to develop the research skills you need to succeed.

You could present your research at a national or international conference, or get your work published in peer-reviewed academic press.

Compulsory modules

Prepare for undertaking a research project.

Independent research and analysis in an animal-related field with one-to-one support from an academic.

The influence of the marketplace on animal welfare including commercial use of wildlife, animals as entertainment and transportation of animals.

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.

The module will enable students to analyse and evaluate real world biodiversity conservation challenges and develop practical management recommendations based on science and industry best practice. The assessments are based on applied case studies, and incorporate some practical field work, an introduction to QGIS and management planning.

Develop the ability to critically evaluate the evidence supporting cognitive abilities in non-human animals.

In this module you will learn about the very latest scientific research across the animal sciences, with research talks from academics at Hartpury and from universities across the UK. You will also refine your ability to develop your own research ideas.

You will be able to critically evaluate the effectiveness of treatment approaches in pet behaviour counselling, including developing your skills in professional communication and ability to take case histories.

This module provides the opportunity to work with a UK zoo to explore the application of the biology learnt throughout the course to the practical zoo environment, through a residential trip. Students will also explore topics such as wildlife reintroduction and breeding for conservation.

Please visit our document library for more module information.

Further module information

How you'll study

How you'll study

We're committed to supporting you to fulfil your unique potential, which is why you'll receive around 12 hours of scheduled teaching time per week.

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.

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.

Further details

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.

On successful completion of your modules, you’ll gain academic credit that accumulates towards your award. The marks you gain over the course of your programme will contribute towards your final degree classification.

The modules contain a mixture of scheduled learning – lectures, workshops, seminars and practical sessions – alongside independent learning. You're expected to dedicate at least two to three hours of independent study per contact hour.

The course is taught in English.

YearContact learningPlacement learningIndependent learning
Level six (year one)22%0%78%

Scheduled contact time will vary depending on the modules you select, but is typically around 12 hours per week.

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 with each assessment either via a feedback sheet or summary page, or via an academic tutorial.

YearWritten examPractical examCoursework
Level six (year one)31%7%62%

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
  • Part-time students may need to attend learning activities five days each week, depending on modules selected
  • Timetables are available during enrolment week


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

Our commercial canine and equine therapy centres offer opportunities for students to gain industry experience ready for their careers – either on work placement or within 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. Students have worked with organisations including the Blue Cross and West Midlands Safari Park.

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 to places such as Cotswold Wildlife Park, Bristol Aquarium and Guide Dogs for the Blind. Extra fees are required – please see the fees tab.

Our students have heard from inspirational guest lecturers who are Fire Investigation dog handlers, conservationists, dog training professionals and zookeepers.

Graduate destinations

As an Animal Behaviour and Welfare graduate, you may go on to work in zoos, aquariums, wildlife parks, 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:

  • Welfare Inspector
  • Instructor, Guide Dogs for the Blind
  • Dog Trainer
  • Animal Welfare Assistant, Blue Cross
  • Animal Carer
  • Editorial Assistant, BSAVA
  • Zoo Keeper, Bristol Zoo
  • Fundraising and Adoptions Officer
  • Animal Welfare Assistant
  • Livestock Engagement Officer
  • Researcher
  • FE Lecturer
  • Guest Experience Manager, Bristol Aquarium
  • Postgraduate study – MRes Animal Behaviour and Welfare, MRes Anthrozoology


World-class facilities

You’ll have access to a diverse range of facilities while you’re here, many of which are newly built and world class. Alongside lecture halls and workshop spaces, these include:


Our laboratories are modern and well equipped, providing the ideal spaces for scientific activities and research. Some are used for specialist microbiological culturing and analysis, others for biochemistry and physiology.

Animal Collections

We have a variety of animal collections including both domestic and exotic species. Activities within these areas include handling, management and welfare assessments. Technologies to enhance our understanding of animals include thermal imaging and biomechanics analysis, as well as a range of behavioural measurement tools.

Canine and equine therapy centres

Our commercial canine and equine therapy centres offer opportunities for you to gain industry experience ready for your career.

Study spaces

Our University Learning Centre has books, journals, ebooks, computers and breakout study spaces. In addition, we have a Study Lounge – an informal space with sports equipment, study booths and chill-out spaces to support both studying and relaxation.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

  • A pass at Foundation Degree or HND in animal science or management related subject.

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

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

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

  • Please contact us for further information:

Fees and funding

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.

Below, you'll find extra costs associated with studying this course.

Clothing and footwear

If you would like to help out in our animal collections, you’ll need to purchase appropriate clothing and footwear before you can start. The most important pieces of clothing are the animal management overcoat or overalls and steel toe cap boots for working at the farm. Everything is available from our supplier’s online shop.

Optional field trips (up to circa £150)

Some field trips may be included in the course fees, however, the below is not:

  • Year one optional module, Wildlife and Zoo Management, offers an optional residential trip to a UK zoo, costing around £150.

Accommodation and living costs

Please visit our student accommodation page for details.

The Hartpury experience

Join a university with countless opportunities to grow and develop for your dream career. Learn as part of the diverse Hartpury family, meet likeminded people and benefit from world-class facilities. Find out what sets us apart from other universities.

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Get in touch

We would love to hear from you, so please get in touch. You can ask a specific question or simply pop your details in to be kept up-to-date with news and events.

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.

*Reflects activities after 15 months for those who graduated in 2020.