Zoology

Undergraduate

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Wednesday 26 May 2021

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  • Get up close and personal with animals across the taxonomic spectrum, from microbes to man and beyond.
  • Gain firsthand experience out in the field, at home and abroad, studying carnivorous plants, slippery eels and South African ‘big game’ animals.
  • Give your career a head-start and develop your knowledge and experience by applying for a one-year work placement, after year two.
  • Build your zoological knowledge and learn the latest laboratory techniques from well-respected experts.
  • 94% of our graduates in work or further study within six months (Destinations of Leavers of Higher Education 2018 results).

Summary

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. 

From the smallest organisms, birds and primates, to biodiversity, aquatic biology, habitat management and the threat of climate change, on our BSc Zoology you’ll study a wide range of fascinating animals and how they interact with their environments.

The 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.  

With a strong emphasis on practical work, you will have plenty of opportunities to work in the field, both locally and overseas, to gain valuable skills for your career. 

The degree is taught by leading biologists, ecologists, zoologists, 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.  

Our zoology academics 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 studied parkour athletes as a way to find out how apes travel effectively through tree-tops. You can read more about their amazing work and research here

Academic staff are part of Roehampton's Centre for Research in Ecology, Evolution and Behaviour - a wide-ranging research group dedicated to understanding the natural world. 

How you will learn 

You will be based at Whitelands College, with beautiful views overlooking nearby deer-filled Richmond Park, where you will conduct field study, and learn 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 survey the environment, take measurements, collect samples, perform biochemical analysis in practical laboratory work, and interpret your data by creating reports and giving presentations on the results of your findings. 

You will undertake a conservation biology practical on London's Wimbledon Common. You will go to Wales to explore 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 gain field-based skills in ecology, animal behaviour and animal physiology.  

An optional and student-funded module, Conservation, People and Wildlife: South African Field Course, 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’s a unique opportunity to get first-hand insight into the reality of conservation in Africa, and gain valuable experience of another culture and country. 

Year one 

  • 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. 
  • Attend lectures, practical lab activities, interactive exercises and field trips. 

Year two 

  • Carry out further studies in key aspects of animal biology, building on what you learnt in year one.  
  • Choose 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.  
  • Use state-of-the-art equipment including microscopes, imaging software, flow-through cytometers for counting bacteria and DNA sequencing tools. 

Year three 

  • Undertake an independent research project and collect original data.  
  • Take advanced modules of your choice focusing on key aspects of zoology such as animal cognition, aquatic biology, palaeoanthropology, habitat level management 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:

Year 1

Chemistry of Life
Biometrics: Physiology, Statistics and Maths
Cell Biology
Diversity of Life
Core Skills in Zoology
Introduction to Evolution

Year 2

Required modules:
Biosciences Field Course
Understanding Behaviour
Comparative Zoology
Ecology and Evolution
Biosciences Research Methods

Optional modules (students take one of the following):
Molecular Biology: Theory and Practice
Humans and other Primates

Particular Circumstances: The following module is only available to students in particular circumstances and with prior agreement of the Programme Convener:
Field Work Methods in Ecology

Year 3

Compulsory Module
Biosciences Research Project or Biosciences Independent Study

Optional Modules
Advances in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology
Conservation Ecology
Aquatic and Invertebrate Biology
Animal Behaviour and Welfare
Molecular Ecology
Data Analysis for Zoologists and Bioscientists
Conservation, People and Wildlife: South African Field Course (optional student funded module)
Palaeoanthropology 
Human Osteology and Diversity
Primate Behaviour and Cognition

 

Compulsory and Required modules
Compulsory and/or required modules may change when we review and update programmes. Above is a list of modules offered this academic year.

Optional modules
Optional modules, when offered as part of a programme, may vary from year to year and are subject to viability.

This course offers all students the option to apply for a one-year paid work placement. If you successfully secure a work placement, you will undertake the placement following year two of your programme and return following the placement to complete your studies.

A placement year is the perfect opportunity to implement the skills and knowledge that you will learn in year one and two, while gaining valuable work experience. The opportunity to make connections in your chosen industry will greatly improve your career prospects and equip you with the skills and experience you need to secure graduate-level employment.

The University Careers and Placements team will support you to develop your CV and skills though webinars, workshops and 1-2-1 appointments. You will also benefit from regular communication about available opportunities to aid your placement search.

Please note while the University will support you with your placement search and applications, a placement cannot be guaranteed.

Careers within Zoology include conservation management and consultancy, museum curating and researcher positions. Graduates develop transferable high-level skills in team work, organising and communicating complex information, and analysis and evaluation, making them suitable for a great range of careers inside and outside of Biology.

Many of our graduates also go onto specialise further at postgraduate study, and take up places on our MRes Primate Biology, Behaviour and Conservation and MbyRes Ecology, Evolution and Behaviour.

Our careers team is available to support you from the start of your studies until after you graduate. They will help you build your CV, prepare for interviews, and meet and learn from successful graduates working at the top of their careers. You’ll also have opportunities to work with our partners across London and beyond, and to attend a Roehampton jobs fair where you can find out about graduate opportunities and meet employers. 

Dr Volker Behrends
Senior Lecturer

Dr Volker Behrends

I'm Volker and I am the programme convenor for the Biological Science and Zoology programmes. I am a microbiologist with a strong interest in both infection biology and metabolism. My main interest is the bugs you could pick up in a hospital setting, finding out how they exploit and manipulate their host and how we can treat these infection using novel approaches. I have been at the university since 2014 and I am involved in most of the microbiology teaching across the Department of Life Sciences, for example in the 3rd year module Medical Microbiology. I really like how Roehampton's Life Sciences programmes combine different perspectives. Depending on module choice, students can look at how mammals (humans included) perceive their environment and react to it at a neurological, behavioural or ecological level.

Dr Andrea Perna
Senior Lecturer

Dr Andrew Perna

I am Andrea. I am a Senior Lecturer in Biology and Zoology, but I also like subjects at the interface between biology and other disciplines: before joining Roehampton I worked in a mathematics department (at the University of Uppsala, in Sweden), in a computer sciences department (at the University of Nantes, in France), and even in a research institute for Future Energy (in Paris). I am very happy that at Roehampton I get an opportunity to teach precisely these subjects that I like: I convene the third year module on biological data analysis and I teach sessions in ecology and biometrics. In the picture you see me studying a termite nest; understanding how tiny insects coordinate together to build such large structures is one of my research passions.

Dr Maria Teresa Esposito
Senior Lecturer

Dr Maria Teresa Esposito

I am Dr Maria Teresa Esposito. I'm a cancer biologist and my research focuses on mechanisms of chemotherapy resistance of leukemic cells. I joined Roehampton in 2017. I love working in a multidisciplinary small department surrounded by green! I also enjoy working with students and helping them to realise their potential. My favourite module to teach is Cell Biology. I love to teach this module because I love cells and I love to show students how microscopic phenomena happening in our cells affect our daily life, how we fight a bug or cancer or how we feel hungry.

Dr Robert Busch
Senior Lecturer

Dr Robert Busch

Hello, I am Robert. As a senior lecturer, I teach all years of the Biomedical Science programme. As the smallest independently-living units in our body, the vital processes that sustain cells and their mutual cooperation are fundamental to how we survive, adapt, and suffer illnesses, so this subjects is a great introduction to living systems. My research is about key mechanisms by which immune cells communicate about infectious agents to mount immune defences, and about how the same mechanisms go haywire in immune-related illnesses. I have worked in the United States and Germany and started at Roehampton in 2013. I love Roehampton's human scale, its commitment to research excellence and inclusive teaching, and its friendly staff. The sunsets over Richmond Park, seen from the rear windows of Parkstead House at Whitelands, are a lovely bonus!

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