University of Plymouth

Degree level: Undergraduate

Animal Behaviour and Welfare

There are other course options available which may have a different vacancy status or entry requirements – view the full list of options

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Course summary

TEF Silver

University of Plymouth has opted into the TEF and received a Silver award.

Find out more about the TEF.

Are you passionate about understanding animal behaviour and applying it to improve welfare? Do you want to understand the evolution of behaviour across a range of organisms? Applying an understanding of animal health and metabolism, you will understand a broad range of aspects of behaviour and welfare. Designing and carrying out behavioural studies in a range of settings - working within legal frameworks to protect welfare - and analysing your data, you will gain skills sought by employers.

  • You will build a strong foundation in the fundamental science that underpins the study and understanding of behaviour and welfare - including ecology, evolution, microbiology, physiology, nutrition, health and disease. You will then build onto this with in-depth study of behaviour, welfare and their links in your second and final years of study.
  • You will take part in residential field courses in South Devon and the Netherlands, allowing you to develop and apply the understanding you gain through lectures and to study animal behaviour in both wild and captive settings - the latter including zoos and agricultural settings.
  • You will benefit from our collaborations with Dartmoor Zoo, Paignton Zoo, Newquay Zoo, the Donkey Sanctuary and National Marine Aquarium, which enable a number of field-trips throughout your course to look at captive animal behaviour, welfare, conservation and rehabilitation.
  • You will have opportunity to boost your employability by taking a Placement Year between your second and final years of study, working in the industry, anywhere in the world - you can read more about this in the 'course details' section of this page.
  • You can broaden your horizons by taking your second year at one of a range of universities overseas offered in our Year Abroad scheme.
  • You will be supported pastorally and academically by a Personal Tutor throughout your studies, and will have regular 1:1 meetings to discuss your progress formally.
  • You will interact with and be lectured by academic staff who are research-active and well regarded in their fields.
  • You will undertake self-study throughout your course, using our well-equipped Library and range of online scientific journals, as well as LABPlus, our unique laboratory and resource centre designed for science and engineering students, which will provide you with flexible workspace, computing facilities, specialist software and bioinformatic applications, access to microscopes, cameras and bespoke resources designed by academic staff to support specific modules as well as more general self-study.

Course details

Modules

In your first year, you will learn the core skills and fundamental science required to be able to study animal behaviour and welfare, since it is critical when working in these fields to have a strong understanding of the underlying science. You will study evolution, behaviour, physiology, microbiology and ecology, whilst developing your skills in experimental design and interpretation. You will understand the importance of statistical analyses in behavioural studies and will be able to perform fundamental data analyses. You will gain these skills and through a mix of lectures, tutorials and laboratory practicals. You will also undertake a field trip to Slapton Ley in South Devon, where you will study the ecology and behaviour of organisms in the wild and in an agricultural setting. In your second year, you will understand the factors that influence how and when animals interact with one another and with their environment. You will develop a deeper understanding of animal physiology and metabolism, and how it can be applied to promote health, reproduction and growth in a range of animal species. You will develop your understanding of experimental design and data analysis, building on material covered in your first year. You will be able to interpret studies published in the scientific literature and will be able to compare and contrast your data with those of other studies. You will undertake a second field trip, this time to the Netherlands, where you will study welfare and behaviour of animals in a wide range of zoos, allowing you to study a range of exotics in a captive settings, as well as being able to compare different philosophies and practices in animal husbandry, and their impacts on welfare and behaviour. Many of our students carry out an optional placement year between their second and final years. You can undertake either two 3 month work placements or one 6 month placement, though many of our students opt to spent up to 12 months at their placement provider. In your final year of study, you will study a core module in animal welfare and ethics, as well as a selection from a range of optional modules, allowing you to specialise in behavioural ecology, applied conservation biology, animals and society, and animal nutrition. You will also study our Advanced Skills and Concepts module, within which you will select three 'podules', allowing you to specialise in key practical-focused areas that have been developed to give you industry-relevant skills not typically found within undergraduate programmes. In common with all honours degrees in the UK, a major part of your final year is your research project, in which you will apply the skills and understanding you have developed through your studies to a piece of research, supervised by a member of academic staff. The modules shown for this course are those currently being studied by our students, or are proposed new modules. Please note that programme structures and individual modules are subject to amendment from time to time as part of the University’s curriculum enrichment programme and in line with changes in the University’s policies and requirements.

Assessment method

32% of assessment is by exam, 64% by coursework and 4% practical assessment

Professional bodies

Professionally accredited courses provide industry-wide recognition of the quality of your qualification.

  • Royal Society of Biology

How to apply

Application deadlines

If your application is completed by the following date, it’s guaranteed to be considered:

15 January

*If you apply after this deadline, universities or colleges don’t have to consider your application if they’ve filled their spaces, so the sooner you apply, the better!

Application codes

You will need these codes when you add a choice to your application.

Please select a course option – you will then see the application code you need to use to apply for the course.

Points of entry

The following entry points are available for this course:

  • Year 1
  • Year 2
  • Year 4

International applicants

The University of Plymouth has a dedicated International Student Advice (ISA) service who will support you from the day you accept an offer at the University, right through to graduation. They will offer help and advice so you can get the most out of your studies, and your time in the UK, visit www.plymouth.ac.uk/student-life/services/international-students/international-student-advice for more information. Once you have applied through UCAS, your conditional offer letters will also be sent to you by email, so be sure to enter your current email address on your application and to check this email regularly. You'll need your unconditional letter, and the Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) that we'll send you, when applying for your student visa to the UK. A minimum £2,000 tuition fee deposit will be required before we'll send you the CAS. We're a licenced Tier 4 Sponsor under the Points Based System. To comply with our duties as a Tier 4 sponsor, we're required to check other aspects of your application in addition to your academic achievements, for example any previous studies, financial status and your immigration history in the UK. For course entry requirements (inc. English requirements) please refer to the specific page for the course you are interested in (www.plymouth.ac.uk/study). A recognised English language qualification (e.g. IELTS) would be required or successful completion of one of the University's pre-sessional English Language courses. Check our country pages to find out more about application from your specific home country www.plymouth.ac.uk/international/study/international-students-country-guides. International fees, please visit our fees and funding pages www.plymouth.ac.uk/study/fees If you have any questions please contact [email protected]


Entry requirements

Qualification requirements

QualificationOfferFurther information
UCAS Tariff 112 - 128 points To include A level Biology and a second relevant subject (Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Geography, Geology, Environmental Science or Environmental Studies, Applied Science, Marine Science, Psychology, Science in Society, Use of Maths) at grade C. Exclude General Studies
A level 112 to 128 UCAS points To include A level Biology and a second relevant subject (Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Geography, Geology, Environmental Science or Environmental Studies, Applied Science, Marine Science, Psychology, Science in Society, Use of Maths) at grade C. Exclude General Studies.
Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma (first teaching from September 2016) DDD - DDM Relevant science subject. Depending upon subject and modules within.
Access to HE Diploma Pass Access, 45 at Level 3, 33 at Merit/Distinction to include 12 in Biology with Merit, remainder should be in science with Merit or above. Maths and English GCSE at C/4 or above.
Scottish Higher 112 to 128 UCAS points to include Advanced Highers Biology and a second relevant science (Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Geography, Geology, Environmental Science or Environmental Studies, Applied Science, Marine Science, Psychology, Science in Society, Use of Maths)
AS Considered in combination
Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Diploma (first teaching from September 2016) Considered in combination
Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Foundation Diploma (first teaching from September 2016) Considered in combination
Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Certificate (first teaching from September 2016) Considered in combination
Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Certificate (first teaching from September 2016) Considered in combination
Scottish Advanced Higher 112 to 128 UCAS points to include Advanced Highers Biology and a second relevant science (Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Geography, Geology, Environmental Science or Environmental Studies, Applied Science, Marine Science, Psychology, Science in Society, Use of Maths)
International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme 30 points to include 5 @ HL Biology and 5 @ HL in a second relevant science. Maths and English accepted within
Welsh Baccalaureate - Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate (first teaching September 2015) will consider points alongside relevant A Levels
Extended Project OK to consider points in combination
Leaving Certificate - Higher Level (Ireland) (first awarded in 2017) H2, H2, H3, H3, H3 - H2, H2, H2, H3, H3 To include Biology and a second relevant science (Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Geography, Geology, Environmental Science or Environmental Studies, Applied Science, Marine Science, Psychology, Science in Society, Use of Maths) GCSE Maths and English at Grade C/4
AQA Certificate in Mathematical Studies (Core Maths) Considered in combination
City & Guilds Certificate in Using and Applying Mathematics (Core Maths) Considered in combination
OCR Certificate in Quantitative Problem Solving (MEI) (Core Maths) Considered in combination
OCR Certificate in Quantitative Reasoning (MEI) (Core Maths) Considered in combination
Pearson Edexcel Certificate in Mathematics in Context (Core Maths) Considered in combination
WJEC Eduqas Certificate in Mathematics for Work and Life (Core Maths) Considered in combination

Must have GCSE Maths and English at grade C /4 or above.


Fees and funding

Tuition fees

EU £9250 Year 1
England £9250 Year 1
Northern Ireland £9250 Year 1
Scotland £9250 Year 1
Wales £9250 Year 1
Channel Islands £9250 Year 1
International £13800* Year 1

*This is a provisional fee and subject to change.

Additional fee information

* Full and part time fees shown are per annum. * Fees are correct at the time of publication and may be subject to change. * For all information about tuition fees, please visit our fees and funding pages. * International fees, please visit our fees and funding pages. * ‘Islands’ refers to fees for both the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.
Animal Behaviour and Welfare at University of Plymouth - UCAS