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What makes Zoology at Worcester special?

In the face of the current biodiversity crisis and the impacts of climate change, Zoology offers an insight into how we can positively affect the distribution of animal life in the future. Our Zoology course engages with a wide field of activity, giving our graduates the expertise that they will need to access a variety of Zoological careers. You will study Zoology from the smallest cellular and physiological levels through to whole organisms and their interactions with each other and the environment.

At Worcester, you will benefit from small class sizes and easy access to the lecturing staff in the course team, helping you to study in a friendly and productive learning environment. The great thing about studying BSc Zoology at Worcester is that you will be taught by experts with a wide range of experience from behavioural studies, through physiology to practical conservation. This means you have a wide choice when it comes to choosing your modules for the final year and in choosing what kind of research project you want to pursue for your dissertation.

Overview

Overview

Key features

  • Accredited by the Royal Society of Biology who praised the comprehensive range of skills included in the students’ “skills passport” and positive learning environment
  • Explore the wonders of the animal kingdom, including their evolution, taxonomy, physiology, behaviour and conservation
  • Shape a degree to suit you – build a firm foundation in core principles, whilst selecting from a wide range of optional modules such as microbiology, genomics & bioinformatics, parasitology current topics in zoology & conservation and a residential field trip
  • Follow your interests and career aspirations by choosing your Research Project. Past studies have looked at genetic diversity in European populations of Eurasian Lynx, identification of Nosema apis fungus from soil moisture and faeces from honeybee hives, a comparison of activity budgets and social behaviours of barbary macaques with and without dependent young, and suitable habitat for recolonisation of wolves in Central Europe
Royal Society of Biology accredited degree logo

Accredited by the Royal Society of Biology

Accredited by the Royal Society of Biology who praised the comprehensive range of skills included in the students’ “skills passport” and positive learning environment.

"I really enjoyed being at a smaller university with smaller class sizes, getting the attention of the professors and the support of the University and the staff."

Tiffany Slater, Biology graduate, now Postdoctoral Researcher, University College Cork.

Student views

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

UCAS tariff

96 UCAS Tariff points MUST include A2 Biology and A2 another science, maths or statistics.

104 UCAS Tariff points MUST include A2 Biology.

T Levels may be used to meet the entry tariff requirements for this course. Find out more about T levels as UCAS tariff points here.

Don't quite meet the entry requirements or returning to education? Consider studying a Biological Science with Foundation Year.

Language Requirements

Applicants for this course must have a good command of reading, writing and spoken English.

Applicants whose first language is not English are required to provide a language test certificate as evidence of their proficiency and must ensure that it is, or is comparable to, Academic IELTs of 6.0 with a score of at least 5.5 in each component.

Other information

International Students – Making an Application

If you are applying as an EU or Non-EU student you are strongly advised to apply online through the Universities & Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).

If you are using The Common Application, you can add the University of Worcester to your list of colleges via this link and complete the application there. Further information can be found here “Making an International Application”.

Mature Students

We welcome applicants who hold alternative qualifications/experience and mature students who can demonstrate the ability to benefit from the course and show their potential to complete the course successfully. Although recent preparatory study at an appropriate level (e.g. an Access to Higher Education Diploma) is recommended, students may be considered on the basis of prior evidenced professional/work experience and/or other assessment procedures, and the assessment of personal suitability. University Admissions Office staff can offer information, advice and guidance on this process. The university website also provides information about studying as a mature student.

A Greater Double-collared Sunbird is sitting on a perch

Biological Sciences (Zoology) BSc (Hons) with foundation year

If you don't quite meet the entry requirements or you're returning to education then you might consider studying this degree with a foundation year.

Find out more about courses with a foundation year
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Book your place
Course content

Course content

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

Mandatory

Your first year will comprise core, mandatory modules that will underpin and prepare you for more advances, subject-specific modules in your second year.

  • Cell Biology
  • Health and Disease
  • Biological Diversity
  • Chemistry for the Life Sciences
  • Comparative Physiology

Year 2

Mandatory

  • Molecular Genetics and Conservation
  • Project and Career Development
  • Animal Behaviour
  • Plant Biology
  • Surveying Species and Habitats

Optional

Year 3

Mandatory

  • Research Project
  • Physiological Ecology
  • Behavioural Ecology
  • Welfare and Ethics in Biology
  • Residential Biology Field Trip

Optional

  • Genomics and Bioinformatics
  • Current Topics in Zoology and Conservation
  • Parasitology
  • Mammalian Reproduction

First Year Module in Focus: Biological Diversity

This module introduces students to the incredible array of life forms and ecosystems that exist on our planet. Starting with prokaryotic organisms, we will climb the evolutionary ladder through to mammals and humans, learning about evolution, diversity, classification and ecosystems through a range of classroom, field- and lab-based activities. We will learn about the applications of organisms to technology by creating biofuel from cyanobacteria, estimate population sizes using mark-recapture techniques and reconstruct lineages using phylogenetic analyses in our practical classes. Studying in a period of massive biodiversity loss and limited funding for conservation, you will work within a team to create a compelling video advocating for the conservation of a threatened species of your choice, bringing together your scientific knowledge and creativity to communicate to a broader audience.

Second Year Module in Focus: Animal Behaviour

This module examines animal behaviour in terms of evolutionary history and different learning mechanisms, the underlying processes that produce behaviour and the benefits this brings to animals. It provides a scientific basis for the consideration of current topics in animal behaviour in the context of domestication and natural habitats. Aside from lectures, you will spend some time observing dogs and training horses. You will be designing an observational study into animal behaviour and spending a day at an animal collection gathering data which will be further examined over the rest of the module. There will be exercises in class, along with plenty of video footage, a very interactive learning environment, including case studies from the lecturer’s veterinary experience. Many students choose to use this module for their dissertation project and many have gone on to work in a related field. Aspects of this module are extended in ‘Welfare and Ethics in Biology’.

Third Year Module in Focus: Behavioural Ecology

Animals regularly face alternative ‘decisions’ that may differ in consequence for their survival and reproduction. ‘Decisions’ such as where to feed and what to feed on or whether to defend their young from a predator or flee to breed again involve cost and benefit trade-offs that will potentially influence the animal’s success or failure. Behavioural ecology investigates the roles of behaviour in enabling an animal to adapt to situations it might face in it. It examines the potential advantages of specific behaviours in terms of increasing an animal’s survival and reproduction (fitness) when faced with environmental conditions or interactions with other species.

In the first year the modules allow you to develop a comprehensive understanding of the key elements of the subject. In Years 2 and 3 the topics become more specialised, and our modular scheme allows you to focus on the aspects of animal life which you find most interesting, ranging from animal behaviour to eco-physiology. A strong practical emphasis runs throughout the course, complementing a traditional approach to learning and giving you the chance to develop the practical skills which could be of great value in later employment.

In your final year you will undertake a Research Project on a subject of your choice, having been well prepared for this by a Project and Career Development module in Year 2. Past studies have included topics such as genetic diversity in European populations of Eurasian Lynx, identification of Nosema apis fungus from soil moisture and faeces from honey bee hives, a comparison of activity budgets and social behaviours of barbary macaques with and without dependent young, and suitable habitat for recolonisation of wolves in Central Europe.

Teaching and assessment

Teaching and assessment

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

You are taught through a combination of lectures, practical work, field work, video presentations, group tutorials, discussions, directed reading, and formative assessments. The first year also includes study skills sessions. The course is very practical and offers you the opportunity to undertake an independent research project in your third year. The emphasis on the development of 'hands on' practical skills will provide you with useful skills for your future career.

In addition, meetings with personal academic tutors are scheduled on at least 4 occasions in the first year and three occasions in each of the other years of a course.

You have an opportunity to take a work experience module in your second year, to engage with an Erasmus scheme and spend a semester abroad, or to become involved in staff research through the Vacation Research Assistantship Scheme.

Contact time

In a typical week, students will have at least 12 contact hours of teaching, most of which will be on campus. The precise contact hours will depend on the optional modules selected and in the final year there is normally slightly less contact time to allow students to focus on their research project.

Typically, class contact time will be structured around:

  • 4 hours of lectures/seminars
  • 7 hours of supervised laboratory practicals
  • 1 hour of group workshops
  • 1 hour of Study Skills (Year 1 only)

Independent self-study

In addition to the contact time, you are expected to undertake around 24 hours of personal self-study per week. Typically, this will involve:

  • Reviewing lecture notes and reading around topics to reinforce and expand on content
  • Directed and self-directed reading and watching of video content
  • Working through problems in appropriate texts and online
  • Preparation of coursework assignments and revising for exams
  • Working with colleagues on team tasks and projects

Independent learning is supported by a range of excellent learning facilities, including the Hive and library resources, the virtual learning environment, and extensive electronic learning resources.

Teaching staff

You will be taught by a teaching team whose expertise and knowledge are closely matched to the content of the modules on the course. You will mainly be taught by senior academics, but visiting speakers with specialised expertise may deliver some sessions. Technicians support practical sessions.

Teaching is informed by the research and consultancy. All lecturers in Biological Sciences are Fellows of the Higher Education Academy or working towards this. Twenty per cent also have Teaching Fellowships from the University of Worcester. You can learn more about the staff by visiting our staff profiles.

Assessment

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 practical reports, presentations, posters, on-line activities, essays and examinations (which may be practical, written, data analysis, seen exams or open book exams).

Feedback

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. Feedback is intended to support learning and you are encouraged to discuss it with personal academic tutors and module tutors as appropriate.

We aim to provide you with feedback on formal course work assessments within 20 working days of hand-in.

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 document.

Meet The Team

You will be taught by a teaching team whose expertise and knowledge are closely matched to the content of the modules on the course.

Peter Seville

Professor Peter Seville

In 2019, Peter joined University of Worcester as Professor and Head of the School of Science and the Environment, where he manages staff delivering a range of courses including Biology, Biomedical Science, Forensic and Applied Biology and Medical Science.  In this role Peter is also supporting the establishment of a new Medical School at the University.

Peter's interests and experiences cover a diverse range, including: human health in his role as a pharmacist; animal health through his education in veterinary pharmacy; pharmaceutical science particularly the aerosolisation of medicines into the lung arising from his research; and law both in his role as a Justice of the Peace and as the law relates to health care.

dr-kate-ashbrook

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-susanne-prankel

Dr Susanna Prankel

Susanna is a vet by training and has spent time in large, small and exotic animal practice in England, Germany and Zimbabwe. Susanna's 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).

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

mike wheeler

Dr Mike Wheeler

Dr Mike Wheeler is Course Leader for Medical Sciences and joined the University of Worcester in 2010 after researching in the area of plant molecular genetics. Mike developed a strong background in the biology of cell signalling in plants, with specific research into the mechanisms of self-incompatibility in poppy and the control of polarity in pollen tubes of tobacco.

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. Mike is also concerned with projects to help people engage with nature as a means to combatting poor mental health. He leads bird walks around the campus and is involved with projects aimed at increasing birdlife around campus to enrich the environment. He is currently involved in a scheme to improve winter feeding for farmland birds at Lakeside campus in partnership with the local RSPB group. He is a member of the Sustainable Environments Research Group.

Animal Biology degree graduate Rob Shotton

Former Shop Keeper Discovers a Talent for Academia on His Journey to Become a Zookeeper

A shop keeper who dreamt of becoming a zookeeper has discovered a talent for academia, which has resulted in him being awarded Best Research Paper of the Year by a leading science journal.

Rob Shotton, who left school with no qualifications due to health problems, joined the University of Worcester’s Animal Biology degree at the age of 30 with hopes of pursuing a new career with animals.

Animal Biology degree graduate Shannon Bolton

Shannon Bolton

Shannon Bolton achieved a First Class degree in Animal Biology, she has now gained a coveted place at Bristol Veterinary School to study Veterinary Science.

With her degree from Worcester, Shannon was able to take the Accelerated Graduate Entry Programme for Veterinary Science, meaning her studies will take four-years instead of the usual five.

Once qualified, Shannon plans to start off in mixed practice before eventually specialising in small animal cardiology.

Careers

Careers

Employability

Our Zoology degree will prepare you for a range of careers, including:

  • Wildlife trust officer/reserve officer
  • Conservation officer
  • Scientific advisor
  • Clinical trials data manager
  • Teaching and education
  • Progression to further study, such as a PhD
Animal Biology degree graduate Meera Solanki

Meera Solanki

Meera Solanki achieved two Academic Scholarship Awards during her studies at the University, in recognition of her top grades. She graduated with a First Class Honours degree in Animal Biology.

“Three years ago I wasn’t sure about going to university so if someone had told me back then that I would achieve this, I wouldn’t have believed them,” said the 21-year-old, from Solihull. “I hope to go on to study a Master’s in Biomedicine, researching human diseases including their causes and development.”

Read Meera’s story

Two students are walking next to each other and smiling

Careers and Employability

Our Graduates pursue exciting and diverse careers in a wide variety of employment sectors.

Find out how we can support you to achieve your potential
Costs

Fees and funding

Full-time tuition fees

UK and EU students

The standard fee for full-time home and EU undergraduate students enrolling on BA/BSc/LLB degrees and FdA/FdSc degrees in the 2024/25 academic year is £9,250 per year.

For more details, please visit our course fees page.

International students

The standard tuition fee for full-time international students enrolling on BA/BSc/LLB degrees and FdA/FdSc degrees in the 2024/25 academic year is £16,200 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 enrolling on BA/BSc/LLB degrees and FdA/FdSc degrees in the academic year 2024/25 are £1,156 per 15-credit module, £1,542 per 20-credit module, £2,312 per 30-credit module, £3,083 per 40-credit module, £3,469 per 45-credit module and £4,625 per 60 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 an Enhanced Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) check.

Accommodation

Finding the right accommodation is paramount to your university experience. Our halls of residence are home to friendly student communities, making them great places to live and study.

We have over 1,000 rooms across our range of student halls. With rooms to suit every budget and need, from our 'Traditional Hall' at £131 per week to 'En-suite Premium' at £221 per week (2024/25 prices).

For full details visit our accommodation page.

In addition to being intrinsically fascinating, the study of animal biology is becoming increasingly important to our understanding of significant aspects of the environment, agriculture and the wider economy.

Dr Rob Herbert, Head of Applied Sciences

How to apply

How to apply

Applying through UCAS

Biological Science (Zoology) BSc (Hons) – D300

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 Amy Cherry

Admissions tutor

SSE Academic Support Unit