You will unlock the secrets of the animal kingdom, learn how animals survive in the wild, and understand how important they are to the world’s ecosystems.
Our BSc Zoology degree explores the biology of a wide range of fascinating animals from the smallest organisms to birds and primates. This course covers the evolution, anatomy, physiology, behaviour and ecology of animals, along with how to care for and conserve them. You will gain an expert understanding of modern zoology in all its forms from conservation management to paleoanthropology to molecular biology. We place a strong emphasis on practical and field work with opportunities to work in the field, locally and overseas, to gain valuable skills required for your career.
Our Zoology degree is taught by leading biologists, biomedical scientists and anthropologists who have links to the Wetlands Centre in Barnes, international wildlife trusts, and citizen science projects such as the Riverfly Partnership. The degree is highly rated by students with 90% student satisfaction for teaching (National Student Survey 2016). The course is taught at Whitelands College with beautiful views overlooking nearby deer-filled Richmond Park, where you will conduct field study, learning about animal behaviour and river restoration. You will learn core laboratory skills such as titration, pipetting, and how to design and carry out laboratory experiments such as addressing climate change or identifying biological or physiological traits of animals.
You will undertake a conservation biology practical on London’s Wimbledon Common and you can visit different field sites in Wales representing various UK habitats including river ecosystems, sand dunes, woodlands and rocky shores. This week-long trip will provide you with the perfect experience for work in either habitat or conversation management as you will gain field-based skills in ecology, animal behaviour, and animal physiology. You will survey the environment, take measurements, collect samples, perform biochemical analysis in practical laboratory work, and interpret your data creating reports and giving presentations on the results of your findings.
There is an optional and student-funded module, called ‘Conservation, People and Wildlife: South African Field Course’ which involves a two-week adventure to South Africa. You will learn directly from people living and working in conservation and related fields, and study South Africa’s wildlife including elephants, lions and rhinos. It will give you a unique insight into the reality of conservation in Africa, and will provide you with a valuable experience of another culture and country. Read about Sarah Crudington’s experience.
Our Zoology tutors from the Department of Life Sciences are dedicated to understanding and improving the living world through ground-breaking advances in scientific research. They have discovered new chameleon species in Tanzania, reintroduced Iguanas back into the wild and have studied parkour athletes as a way to find out how apes travel effectively through tree-tops.
In your first year, you will explore the diversity of life on our planet, learning about the evolution and biology of vertebrate and invertebrate animals, vertebrate physiology, cell and plant biology, basic biochemistry, and how to analyse and interpret your data. You will be taught in lectures, in practical lab activities, interactive exercises, and on field trips.
In your second year, you'll carry out further studies in key aspects of animal biology, building on the knowledge gained during your first year. You will have the option to take specialist modules on ecology, molecular biology and ethology, and develop a research proposal on a zoological topic of your choice. A residential field course in rural south Wales will provide you with a week-long immersion into field and lab data collection. Within the lab, you will have access to state-of-the-art equipment including microscopes, imaging software, flow-through cytometers for counting bacteria and DNA sequencing tools.
In your final year, you will undertake an independent research project during which you will collect original data. You will also take advanced modules of your choice that focus on key aspects of zoology such as animal cognition, aquatic biology, palaeoanthropology, and conservation. An optional self-funded module based in South Africa will provide you with an opportunity to observe wildlife and learn from the conservation experts based in the field.
Here are some examples of the various modules we currently offer:
Animal Behaviour and Cognition
Advances in Molecular Biology & Biotechnology
Conservation, People and Wildlife: South African Field Course (optional student funded module)
Aquatic and Invertebrate Biology
Primate Biology and Conservation
"The research facilities are amazing and the lecturers are all professionals in their field. We have been able to collect our own data in Richmond Park nearby, and we have been on field trips to Wales and Kew Gardens. We looked at different plant species to understand how they formed as a part of our evolution module which I have really enjoyed."
Poppy Venus Warner
2017 entry: 128 points
3 years (full-time)