Applied Zoo Biology at University Centre Sparsholt - UCAS

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Course summary

Why choose this degree?

  • Taught by industry experts who are research active and have strong national and international links
  • Benefit from one of the largest collections of animals in our BIAZA-member Animal Health and Welfare Research Centre (AHWRC)
  • Possibility to undertake a six-month industry placement and research project
What makes UCS special? As a UCS student you will benefit from lecturers with a wealth of industry experience that comes from working with BIAZA and EAZA research committees/ working groups and a wide range of zoos. UCS is also supporting member of the ABTC and staff are members of the Fellowship of Animal Behaviour Clinicians. Our teaching staff have experience and expertise in all areas of animal work including veterinary nursing, health and welfare, research, zoo industry and husbandry and animal behaviour and training. UCS has an unrivalled collection of animals and species in its purpose-built Animal Health and Welfare Research Centre and was one of the first colleges in the country to be awarded a zoo licence and is part of The National Zoo Academy. The centre offers a wide variety of habitat styles and management systems to maximise the student learning potential and experience. What will I learn? Building on your Undergraduate knowledge, the course is designed to expand your knowledge of zoo animal biology and refine your research techniques in aspects of zoo animal welfare, behaviour, population management and the wider roles of the modern zoo such as visitor learning. In addition to traditional lectures and seminars, modules are delivered using the practical resources of our Animal Health and Welfare Research Centre, industry specific software and databases, conference attendance, guest speakers and off-site visits. Links are encouraged to external organisations, commercial companies and collaborative research projects. Previous students’ dissertations have been presented at the BIAZA and EAZA research conferences. Each year there is an opportunity for some students to undertake a six month industry placement at the Cotswold Wildlife Park or Colchester Zoo where they will gain valuable practical industry experience while conducting an industry-endorsed research project. How will I be assessed Modules are assessed by a mix of coursework, practical assessments, exams, case studies and project work. Emphasis is placed on the development of critical evaluation and research skills with the use of formative assessments throughout the programme of study. Where can I go from here? Career pathways include zoo or conservation research, environmental education or zoo management. Alternatively you may choose to study a doctorate or a career in lecturing.


• RESEARCH PROJECT AND RESEARCH METHODS The Research Project enables students to undertake a detailed experimental study in a chosen area to develop analytical research skills with the support of dedicated supervisors. The student profile is developed throughout the programme, utilising a range of advanced academic and research skills with an emphasis on the practical industry applications of research findings. Interpretation and critical evaluation of current research findings will enable the student to further develop links between the zoo industry and the scientific community. • EVIDENCE-BASED HUSBANDRY Zoo husbandry has traditionally relied on inference and anecdote but the need for an evidence based approach is now well documented. Practical application of species biology will be considered and developed alongside a range of methods that can be utilised to evaluate current welfare and husbandry standards. Behavioural analysis and enclosure utilisation studies will underpin this approach, along with wider consideration of health and nutrition. • CONTEMPORARY ISSUES IN ZOO BIOLOGY This unit sets the historical context of zoos and considers their evolution. The roles of the modern zoo are considered in line with the World Zoo and Aquarium Conservation Strategy with future trends identified and considered. Population management and conservation biology are discussed and applied to modern zoo theory with the use of industry specific software, e.g. ZIMS, integrated into this delivery. • VISITOR STUDIES AND INTERPRETATION Education is arguably the most important role of the modern zoo. This unit explores how visitors engage with and learn from the numerous opportunities provided within the zoo, drawing on the principles of interpretation, exhibitry and recreational learning theory. It explores the cultural and social context of the zoo and investigates visitor motivation and expectations. Methods of delivering the zoo message will be considered with evaluation of the effectiveness and impact of provision a key theme.

Assessment method

Units are assessed by a mix of coursework, practical assessments, exams, case studies and project work. Emphasis is placed on the development of critical evaluation and research skills with the use of formative assessments throughout the programme of study.

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

International applicants

We welcome applications from international students. For further details on the English language requirements, visa requirements and student life, please see our website

Entry requirements

BSc (Hons) in Animal Management, Animal Science or a related subject at 2:2 or above

English language requirements

TestGradeAdditional details
IELTS (Academic)7Overall score of 7.0 with minimum scores of 6.5 in any of Speaking, Reading, Writing and Listening (CEFR C1)
PTE Academic76Overall score of 76 with a minimum score of 76 in Speaking, Reading, Writing and Listening (CEFR C1)
Trinity ISEPassPass in each of Speaking, Reading, Writing and Listening (CEFR C1)

We will also accept the following qualifications from International Students: LanguageCert International ESOL SELT (CEFR C1) Minimum scores of 33/50 in Speaking, Reading, Writing and Listening (

Please email [email protected] for details

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

England £3425 Year 1
Northern Ireland £3425 Year 1
Scotland £3425 Year 1
Wales £3425 Year 1
Channel Islands £3475* Year 1

*This is a provisional fee and subject to change.

Additional fee information

10% discount for Sparsholt undergraduate students progressing directly from their BSc

Sponsorship information

If your household income is under £32,960 you could receive a bursary of up to £750 per annum. This can be used to help towards travel costs, books and equipment or anything else that will help you during your course. Depending on the financial information disclosed in your Student Loan application, UCS may make an automatic bursary award based on specific criteria as set out in our Access and Participation Plan. If this is not the case you may still be able to apply for financial support to the UCS HE Hardship fund by completing a Bursary Application Form (available from end of |Term 1). For more information please [email protected].

Applied Zoo Biology at University Centre Sparsholt - UCAS