Hartpury student holding a tortoise
BSc (Hons)

Zoology (with Foundation Year)

UCAS Code: DF20

Typical offer: 32-48 UCAS tariff points or equivalent

Duration: 4 or 5 years full time; part-time available

Placement year: Optional

Awarding body: Hartpury University

Apply for this course here: https://www.hartpury.ac.uk/university/courses/undergraduate/bsc-hons-zoology-with-foundation-year/bsc-hons-zoology-with-foundation-year-2024/


Course overview

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.

The foundation year will provide the ideal springboard to the rest of the programme, supporting you in developing an understanding of scientific principles and key practical skills.

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.

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.

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

What you'll study

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.

Level three foundation year (year one)

Develop the key knowledge and skills to succeed in the remaining three years of the degree. Gain an understanding of biological principles, animal science and research skills, and work with animal students from across the department.

Compulsory modules

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

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

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.

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

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.

Optional modules

There are no optional modules during this year. Your learning is focused on compulsory modules to ensure you have a thorough understanding of key topics to prepare you for module choices in your subsequent years.

Level four (year two)

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

Optional modules

There are no optional modules during this year. Your learning is focused on compulsory modules to ensure you have a thorough understanding of key topics to prepare you for modules choices in your subsequent years.

Level five (year three)

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

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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

Integrated placement year (optional)

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

Level six (final year)

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 in your third and final years may contribute towards your final degree classification.

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.

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

YearContact learningPlacement learningIndependent learning
Level three foundation year (year one)30%0%70%
Level four (year two)30%0%70%
Level five (year three)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.

YearWritten examPractical examCoursework
Level three foundation year (year one)28%44%28%
Level four (year two)43%34%23%
Level five (year three)50%0%50%
Placement year (optional)0%0%100%
Level six (final year)25%11%64%

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


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

During your Foundation Year, you’ll gain practical experience through an internship, completing work experience hours at one of our on-site facilities.

You will also have the opportunity to gain work experience during the optional integrated placement year 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 three, 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 your final year, 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


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:


A range of specialist laboratories supporting animal microbiology, dissection, microscopy and animal health-related analysis.

Animal Collection

Our Animal Collection includes a specialist reptile and aquatics facility, Walled Animal Garden complete with an aviary, and the paddocks. We have over 70 different species on campus, including meerkats, prairie dogs, skunks, rabbits, rodents, and tortoises. You’ll use these facilities to develop applied skills in the study of behaviour, nutrition and health amongst other aspects of zoology learnt in lectures.

360-hectare estate

The Hartpury estate is home to a wide range of British wildlife species, on mixed commercial farmland. Recently, we’ve recorded badgers, foxes, hedgehogs, great crested newts, deer and at least four species of bat on campus.

Commercial farm

The farm houses cattle, sheep and pigs, under contract for a range of major food suppliers. You can complete volunteering and work experience, participating in lambing, calving, and milking, to enhance the learning in your course.

Equine Centre

With stabling for 250 horses, indoor and outdoor arenas and a cross country course the equine centre provides an opportunity to study equine behaviour, management and performance.

Canine and Equine Therapy Centres

These commercial facilities provide an excellent opportunity for work placements and research projects. Gain experience working with real clients and understand how hydrotherapy, physiotherapy and other techniques can aid recovery from illness or injury, or manage fitness and weight in domestic species.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

  • UCAS | A typical offer for this course is 32-48 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 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.

    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 32-48 UCAS tariff points in Scottish Highers. This must include a minimum of one Advanced 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:

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 (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 £1,750)

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

  • Year 3 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 £1800, the trip to Devon costs around £600 while the trips around Gloucestershire will be free to those students who choose this option.

  • Final year compulsory module, Wildlife Management and Conservation Genetics, 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.

Do what you love

We have some of the best teaching in the UK thanks to our TEF Gold award, we're second in the UK for job prospects (WhatUni Awards) and 98% of our graduates are in employment or further study within six months (HESA 2018). 

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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 2021.