University of Plymouth

Degree level: Undergraduate

Animal Behaviour and Welfare

Course options

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

Make sure you check on the university, college or conservatoire website for any updates about course changes as a result of COVID-19.

Course summary

Are you passionate about understanding animal behaviour and applying this knowledge to improve welfare? Do you want to explore the evolution of behaviour in a variety of species? Applying an understanding of animal needs and health, you consider the many aspects of animal welfare, including an examination of the legal and ethical frameworks that safeguard welfare. You also undertake practical work, conducting behavioural and welfare assessment studies, gaining the skills sought by employers. In the 2020 National Student Survey, 100% felt that the staff made the subject interesting; 100% found the course intellectually stimulating; 96% of students felt staff on this course were good at explaining things; and 91% were satisfied with the quality of the course.

  • 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. Like your first year field trip, this is included in your tuition fees. You can alternatively undertake your second year at one of a selection of overseas universities through our Year Abroad scheme. When you return, you will go straight into your final year, so you degree still takes 3 years overall. 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. Given the opportunities a Placement Year gives and the positive impact it brings to employability, we strongly encourage all students to give serious consideration to undertaking a Placement Year. 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

Qualified teacher status (QTS)

To work as a teacher at a state school in England or Wales, you will need to achieve qualified teacher status (QTS). This is offered on this course for the following level:

  • Course does not award QTS

How to apply

Application codes

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 3

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 Sponsor under the Points Based System. To comply with our duties as a 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

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


Unistats information

Operated by the Office for Students
72%
Student satisfaction
70%
Employment after 15 months (Most common jobs)
80%
Go onto work and study

The student satisfaction data is from students surveyed during the Covid-19 pandemic. The number of student respondents and response rates can be important in interpreting the data – it is important to note your experience may be different from theirs. Read more about this data on the Discover Uni website.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

No fee information has been provided for this course

Additional fee information

For all information about tuition fees, please visit our fees and funding pages at www.plymouth.ac.uk/study/fees * Fees are correct at the time of publication and may be subject to change.
Animal Behaviour and Welfare at University of Plymouth - UCAS