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What makes Animal Biology and Ecology at Worcester special?

Please note this course is no longer running. You may be interested in other School and Science and Environment courses.

Animal Biology and Ecology complement each other and make an excellent combination for students wishing to gain a greater understanding of animals and how they interact with their environment.

This degree programme combines the ecological understanding of species populations and the communities and ecosystems in which they occur with the biological skills of animal behaviour analysis, genetics, genomics and bioinformatics. There is a strong emphasis on wildlife biology and conservation with hands-on training in biological surveying and conservation genetics.

The University of Worcester is superbly placed geographically to take advantage of numerous local sites of interest, including nature reserves, areas of outstanding natural beauty and zoos and wildlife parks. This provides an excellent opportunity for students to gain unrivalled amounts of hands-on ecological and biological experience, including species identification and biological surveying and animal behavioural analysis.

A key strength of this course is that most modules include practical sessions, enabling students to learn and develop new skills and put theory into practice.



Key features

  • Small class sizes (typically 15-30 students)
  • Exceptional staff contact time (typically 12-16 hours per week)
  • Numerous field sites within 45 minutes of the University campus
  • Strong emphasis on students attaining field and lab-based skills
  • Enthusiastic and experienced lecturers committed to delivering high-quality research-based teaching
  • A friendly and supportive learning environment with an open-door policy and support from a personal academic tutor
  • Authentic assessments that prepare students for the real world
  • Strong links with the environmental and conservation sector
  • Opportunities to study abroad (Erasmus)
  • Tailor your course to your individual needs with a joint honours degree

Animal Biology and Ecology Science Events

The University hosts a variety of events across the year. To meet course leaders and find out more about the course and the University of Worcester, come along to one of our open days.

We also offer 'Applicant Days' for students that have applied to study the course. Applicant Days give you the opportunity to further explore our facilities by taking part in academic activities, and to find out more about student life at the University of Worcester. For further information or to request a place please email

Entry requirements

What qualifications will you need?

Entry requirements

104 to 120 UCAS Tariff points.

Must include A2 or AS in Biology, Maths and other sciences, including Environmental Science and/or Geography, are accepted as part of these requirements.

We consider each application on its individual merits and will recognise a range of qualifications not currently included in the Tariff, including Access courses, European Baccalaureate and pre-2002 qualifications such as GNVQ. Non-standard entries are also accepted.

Other information

If you have any questions about entry requirements, please contact the Admissions Office on 01905 855111 or email for advice.

Further information about the UCAS Tariff can be obtained from UCAS

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Course content

What will you study?

Our courses are informed by research and current developments in the discipline and feedback from students, external examiners and employers. Modules do therefore change periodically in the interests of keeping the course relevant and reflecting best practice. The most up-to-date information will be available to you once you have accepted a place and registered for the course. If there are insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, this might not be offered, but we will advise you as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative. 

Year 1


  • Introduction to Ecology
  • Animal Diversity
  • Cell Biology
  • Environmental Skills & Applications
  • Classification and Identification of Species
  • Basis of Biological Surveying

Year 2


  • Ecology - Individuals to Ecosystems
  • Molecular Genetics and Conservation
  • Research Practice & Professional Development


  • Animal Behaviour
  • Geographical Information Systems (GIS)
  • Field Techniques & Identification Skills
  • Animal Sense and Survival
  • Invertebrate Biology
  • Work Experience


Year 3


  • Independent Research Dissertation
  • Restoration Ecology
  • Landscape Ecology
  • Behavioural Ecology
  • Physiological Ecology


  • Mediterranean Environments Field Course
  • International Biology Field Trip
  • Zoo-based Conservation
  • Environmental Impact Assessment
  • Project Management
  • Applied GIS & Remote Sensing
  • Mammalian Reproduction
  • Animal movement
  • Genomics and Bioinformatics
  • Animal Welfare and Ethics
  • Parasitology

Joint Honours

Discover our full range of joint degrees and read about how your degree will be structured.

Find out more
Teaching and assessment

How will you be taught?

We enable you to develop the independent learning capabilities that will equip you for lifelong learning and future employment, as well as academic achievement.

A mixture of independent study, teaching and academic support through the personal academic tutoring system enables you to reflect on progress and build-up a profile of skills, achievements and experiences that will enable you to flourish and be successful.

Teaching staff

You will be taught by a teaching team whose expertise and knowledge are closely matched to the content of modules on the course. The team includes senior academics with strong research backgrounds, academics with practical and sector experience, and guest lecturers from outside the University (e.g. Wildlife Trusts, Bristol Zoo, Marine Conservation Society). Practical sessions are fully supported by a dedicated team of technicians, which serves to enhance the student experience.

Teaching is informed by research and consultancy, and more than 85% of lecturers have a higher education teaching qualification and/or are Fellows of the Higher Education Academy. You can learn more about the staff by visiting our staff profiles.

The small class sizes allow you to get to know your lecturers well, which ultimately benefits your learning. It also means you get to know all the students on your course and become part of a vibrant student community.


You are taught through a combination of lectures, field trips, laboratory practicals and interactive workshops.

Interactive workshops take a variety of formats and are intended to enable the application of learning through computer based activities, discussion and small group activities.

Seminars enable the discussion and development of understanding of topics covered in lectures, and laboratory and field practicals are focused on developing subject specific skills and applied individual and group project work.

Talks by environmental practitioners are also an important part of the course relating theory to practice.

In addition, meetings with personal academic tutors are scheduled on at least four occasions in the first two years of the course and in the third year close contact should be kept with your Independent Study supervisor.

You use industry-standard analytical equipment throughout the course and have access to computer laboratory facilities with the latest software for geographical information systems (GIS), statistical analysis, and genomics and bioinformatics modelling. You also use a wide range of field equipment, including small mammal traps and wildlife trail cameras.

You have an opportunity to undertake a semester long work placement module in the second year of the course, and are strongly encouraged to undertake wildlife conservation-focussed paid or voluntary work during vacations and/or volunteer during semester. We have close links with environmental and conservation organisations which offer numerous opportunities.

The academic year is divided into two semesters, each consisting of 12 weeks of teaching. In year One and Two, you can expect to have 12-16 contact hours of teaching each week, whilst in your final year you will normally have slightly less contact time to enable time to complete the student-led independent study research dissertation.

The type of teaching activities varies per module, but a typical week in Year One would be structured around:

  • 3-4 hours of group lectures
  • 3-4 hours of supervised lab practicals
  • 4 hours of field trips
  • 4 hours of interactive workshops or seminars

Independent self-study

In addition to contact time with University teaching staff, you are expected to undertake around 28 hours of personal self-study per week. Typically, this will involve: reading through your lecture notes and adding to these; reading additional material provided by lecturers, undertaking research in the library and online; collecting information for individual and group projects; and working on module assignments.

Independent learning is supported by a range of excellent learning facilities, including The Hive and its library resources, the virtual learning environment (Blackboard), and extensive on-line learning resources (e.g. e-books).


The course provides opportunities to test understanding and learning informally through the completion of practice or 'formative' assignments. Each module has one or more formal or 'summative' assessments which are graded and count towards the overall module grade.

Assessment methods include written examinations and a range of coursework assessments such as essays, laboratory and field reports, presentations and a final year independent studies project.

The precise assessment requirements for an individual student in an academic year will vary according to the mandatory and optional modules taken, but a typical formal summative assessment pattern for each year of the course is:

Year 1

  • 2 x essays/reports/laboratory reports
  • 2 x practical files
  • 6 x formal examinations or in-class tests of 1-1½ hours' duration
  • 1 x reflective/field diary/notebook
  • 1 x portfolio

Year 2

  • 6 x essays/reports/laboratory reports/critiques
  • 1 x group presentation
  • 2 x reflective/field diary/notebook
  • 6 x formal examinations or in-class tests of 1-1½ hours' duration
  • 1 x case study

Year 3

  • 8 x essays/reports/laboratory reports
  • 1 x group presentation
  • 2 x individual presentations
  • 2 x formal examination of 1½ - 2 hours' duration
  • 2 x portfolio
  • 2 x reflective/field diary/notebook
  • 1 x Dissertation (Independent Study report)


Feedback is intended to support learning and you are encouraged to discuss it with your personal academic tutor and module tutors as appropriate. You will receive feedback on practice assessments and on formal assessments undertaken by coursework. Feedback on examination performance is available upon request from the module leader. We aim to provide you with feedback on formal course work assessments within 20 working days of submission.

Programme specification

For comprehensive details on the aims and intended learning outcomes of the course, and the means by which these are achieved through learning, teaching and assessment, please download the latest programme specification documents for Animal Biology and Ecology.


Dr John Dutton

Dr John Dutton joined the University of Worcester in May 2009 with a strong and extensive lecturing background having lectured at the Associate Faculty of UWE, Hartpury College and at Otley College, Suffolk. He has eclectic research experience, which includes investigating the role of rabbits in sand-dune conservation, small mammal habitat use, restoration ecology and the reintroduction of European beavers, wild boar in the Forest of Dean and expedition-based ecological research.


Dr Mike Wheeler

Mike is currently investigating the function of a large family of secreted proteins likely to be involved in cell-cell communication in the model plants, Arabidopsis thaliana and Physcomitrella patens.

In addition to his research into plant molecular genetics Mike is also developing means of using molecular biology to solve problems in conservation biology which is a longstanding passion of his. In this area Mike is currently developing eDNA (environmental DNA) techniques to assess the effect of invasive and non-native species on species of conservation concern.


Dr Susanne Prankel

Susanne is a vet by training and has spent time in large, small and exotic animal practices in England, Germany and Zimbabwe. Her teaching is very much informed by this practical experience as well as her research experience (particularly from her time at Cambridge University where she completed her PhD on cadmium in the human food chain particularly investigating the accumulation of cadmium in animals). 

Her interests are also shaped by her study of philosophy, resulting in a strong interest in animal welfare and ethics.


Lorraine Weaver

Lorraine's interests range from the physiology and behaviour of large agricultural animals to the ecology of Bryophytes, the latter being one of her main research interests.

Lorraine also carries out research on learning and teaching. With other biology tutors, Lorraine has developed a Personal Development Planning scheme which is unique to Worcester. One aspect of this is that it recognises and records the skills which students can gain, including the practical skills.


Dr Kate Ashbrook

Kate's background includes four years of post-doctoral studies at the University of Bath and a period as a field researcher for the Canadian Wildlife Service where she contributed to long-term monitoring of a seabird colony in Nunavut, Canada.

Her research interests focus on using modelling to understand the dynamics of ecological systems and inform conservation management.

Chris Brown is standing next to a car holding a cup of tea

Dr Chris Brown

Chris studied at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. Following completion of his Honours degree, he joined the Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology where he worked on their sub-Antarctic programme for several years, which included over two years carrying out research on the energetics and ecology of penguins, albatrosses and petrels on Marion Island in the sub-Antarctic.


Dr Duncan Westbury

Dr Duncan Westbury joined the University of Worcester in 2011 after nearly 10 years of post-doctoral research and lecturing at the University of Reading. He has gained a very strong background in applying ecological principles to habitat creation and management, with specific research experience on the management of agro-ecosystems to support biodiversity whilst simultaneously supporting ecosystem services within agricultural landscapes.

Previously, Duncan has been a lead plant ecologist on several Defra-funded agro-ecology projects investigating methods of promoting biodiversity in arable and grassland habitats. At the University of Worcester, he leads the Ecology and Environment Research Group (EERG), which focusses on the delivery of ecosystem services, and wildlife management.


Where could it take you?

This joint degree will prepare you for a number of different career paths by equipping you with a range of intellectual, practical and social skills in addition to subject-specific knowledge. Skills much in demand by sector employers and wider graduate careers include technical and IT skills, data analysis and applied statistics.

Past graduates have gone on to jobs in ecological/environmental consultancy, nature and biodiversity conservation, education, health service. Wider careers have also included media, retail management and finance.

Many students continue their education by progressing onto an MSc, MRes, or PhD. Opportunities to pursue research careers at universities or research institutes are also available.

Cover of the 2020 University of Worcester prospectus

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How much will it cost?

Full-time tuition fees

UK and EU students

The standard tuition fee for full-time UK and EU students registering in the academic year 2019/20 will be £9,250 per year.

For more details, please visit our course fees page.

International students

The standard tuition fee for full-time international (non-EU) students registering in the academic year 2019/20 will be £12,400 per year.

For more details, please visit our course fees page.

Part-time tuition fees

UK and EU students

The standard tuition fees for part-time UK and EU students registering on this course in the academic year 2019/20 will be £1,156 per 15-credit module, £1,542 per 20 credit module and £2,313 per 30-credit module.

For more details, please visit our course fees page.

Additional costs

Every course has day-to-day costs for basic books, stationery, printing and photocopying. The amounts vary between courses.

If your course offers a placement opportunity, you may need to pay for a Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) check.


Finding the right accommodation is paramount to your university experience, and our welcoming student communities are great places to live and study.

We have over 1,000 rooms across our halls of residence. With rooms to suit every budget and need, from our 'Traditional Hall' at £102 per week to 'En-suite Extra' at £165 per week (2019/20 prices).

For full details visit our accommodation page.

How to apply

How do you apply?

Please note this course is no longer running. You may be interested in other School and Science and Environment courses.

Applying through UCAS

Animal Biology and Ecology BSc (Hons) - CC31


UCAS is the central organisation through which applications are processed for entry onto full-time undergraduate courses in Higher Education in the UK.


Read our How to apply pages for more information on applying and to find out what happens to your application.

Get in touch

If you have any questions, please get in touch. We're here to help you every step of the way.

Dr John Dutton

Course leader

Lorraine Weaver

Course leader