BSc (Hons) in Zoology


Program Description

Course description

With an excellent reputation for quality, our undergraduate zoology course gives you a head start in a fascinating, rewarding and varied career.

  • Our course is a Royal Society of Biology accredited degree and a Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management accredited degree pathway, providing you with many additional benefits and opportunities.
  • Gain industry experience through placements and projects with organisations like Sea Life, Twycross Zoo, Derby Museums and Derbyshire Wildlife Trust.
  • Put theory into practice by conducting exciting fieldwork in the UK or abroad: in the past, our students have been as far afield as the Maldives.
  • Be inspired by a teaching team which includes world-renowned researchers and which was rated as ‘excellent’ by quality inspectors.
  • When offered, take the opportunity to apply on a competitive basis to go on paid internships with the University or relevant employers.

Gain an in-depth understanding

Focusing on animal biology, our zoology course covers a broad range of topics such as wildlife conservation, ecology and animal behaviour. You’ll also cover the sciences that underpin zoology including genetics, biochemistry and statistics.

This is a hands-on, practical course with plenty of opportunities to undertake fieldwork and laboratory work, develop your technical skills and gain the experience that employers want to see in graduates. Modules are taught through lectures, practical sessions, tutorials and fieldwork.

Professional credibility

Royal Society of Biology

Our zoology course was one of the first of its kind in the country to receive accreditation from the Royal Society of Biology, an accolade which carries significant weight within the sector and is only granted after a rigorous independent assessment.

This means that, when you graduate, you’ll meet the requirements for Associate Membership of the Society (AMSB). Following the appropriate professional experience, you can then apply for full membership, which is widely recognised throughout the industry and by potential employers.

The Royal Society acts as a single unified voice for biology, advising the government, influencing policy, advancing education and professional development, and encouraging public interest in the life sciences. It only accredits degrees that offer students a solid academic foundation in subject knowledge, technical abilities and transferable skills.

Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management

In addition, we also have an accredited degree pathway status from the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM). The course has been assessed by CIEEM and has been found to offer students the underpinning knowledge and practical skills, including core ecological and environmental theory and significant practical experience, which are required by employers seeking to recruit graduates for a wide range of applied practitioner roles.

Exciting fieldwork opportunities

Fieldwork is a vital element of this course and underpins our CIEEM accreditation.

Our zoology students are, for example, introduced to a variety of survey techniques for a wide range of species, have studied animal interaction at Twycross Zoo, and conducted ecological projects in Majorca. Those selecting our optional Tropical Marine Biology module have undertaken scientific investigations in the Maldives.

In your final year, you’ll complete an independent research project, which will help you strengthen your analytical skills and specialise in an area of your choice.

Take a look at the below video created by our second year BSc (Hons) Zoology students during a one-week trip to Mallorca as part of their optional module in ‘Field Biology’. Surrounded by stunning landscapes, they went on short excursions around the island, explored the natural plant diversity, searched for invertebrates, went on scenic hikes and found wild goats.

Strong employer links

You’ll benefit from our close working relationship with a broad range of employers from zoos and wildlife parks to museums, conservation organisations, ecological consultancies and government bodies.

We encourage you to undertake work experience throughout your degree to gain real insights into zoology and related areas.

You could also get involved in voluntary work with zoology related industries and the wider community, contributing to initiatives which help safeguard local nature sites and improve the region's green spaces.

Far-reaching research

You’ll learn from an enthusiastic and dedicated teaching team, most of whom are active researchers. They are pursuing important studies into diverse topics including the evolution of animal mating strategies; disease-causing agents in corals; bioremediation of freshwater ecosystems; the welfare of captive orangutans; and the genetics and conservation of natterjack toads.

Our staff publish influential papers, speak at global conferences, serve on the editorial boards of scientific journals and are in demand as media commentators. There is also the opportunity for you to meet professionals from the world of zoology and related fields so you can keep up to date with the latest theories and developments.

What you will study

You’ll study modules such as:

Stage one

  • Induction Module
  • Ecology
  • Evolution of Life
  • Genetics
  • Human Biology
  • Invasion of the Land
  • Chemistry of Life

Stage two

  • Research Methods
  • Invertebrates
  • Vertebrate Biology
  • Independent Research and Professional Development
  • Optional modules:
  • Biological Basis of Animal Behaviour
  • Field Biology
  • Human Reproduction
  • Microbiology
  • Rainforests, Deserts and Oceans
  • Molecular Biology

Industrial Placement Year (optional)

  • This course offers an ‘Industrial Placement Year’ giving you the opportunity to enhance your practical skills by putting theory into practice, network in your industry and stand-out in the graduate job market. The placement year takes place in your third year, once completed, you would return to University to complete your final year of studies.
  • Applied Professional Practice
  • Contemporary Issues in Professional Practice

Stage three

  • Independent Studies for Biosciences
  • Applied Entomology
  • Behavioural Ecology
  • Habitat Management
  • Oncology and Immunology
  • Science Communication
  • Vocational Module (Work Placement)
  • Wildlife Conservation
  • Ecological Consultancy
  • Tropical Marine Biology
  • Advanced Methods in Zoology
  • Student Initiated Module

How you will learn

You’ll be taught through lectures and tutorials, supported by hands-on practicals and fieldwork. You could study rutting red deer, or spend a week completing a project in the Mediterranean. You’ll also conduct an independent research project to develop your analytical skills in an area of your choice.


Assessment is varied and includes computer-based assessments, scientific posters and oral presentations, professional reports, essays, making short videos, fieldwork and laboratory reports, as well as traditional written examinations. Many assessments can be tailored to suit your own interests and career goals.

Work placements

We offer full support to you if you decide to do a work placement in year three, which we strongly recommend. Work placement allows you to apply in a working environment the skills and knowledge you have gained on your course. This will give you more desirability in the eyes of potential employers. There is also a vocational module so you can gain credits by doing work related to your degree.

Entry requirements

September 2020 typical entry requirements

UCAS points 120 (up to 16 from AS-levels)
Specific requirements at A-level

C at A level in Biology

Specific requirements at GCSE GCSE Maths and English Grade C/Grade 4 (or above) or equivalent qualification
IELTS 6.0 (with 5.5 in each skills area)
Interview / Audition N/A
Portfolio N/A


Our focus is on ensuring you develop strong intellectual, technical and personal skills to build an impressive CV and meet the needs of employers.

On completion of this course, you’ll have not only in-depth knowledge of zoology but also analytical skills to interpret data, written communication skills to produce reports, and project management skills from undertaking experiments and conducting research.

You could find work as a zoologist, ecologist, marine scientist, environmental consultant or nature conservationist, to name but a few roles. Recent graduates have gone on to work in zoos, wildlife parks, wildlife trusts, the RSPCA, the Environment Agency, veterinary practices and environmental consultancy. There are also opportunities to progress to careers in research, teaching, the museum sector, the media, the scientific civil service and areas such as biomedical science.

In addition, our zoology course provides an excellent preparation if you would like to move on to further study, including medical qualifications, a masters degree or a PhD.

You could choose to continue learning with us by embarking on our MSc Conservation Biology or MSc Environmental Assessment and Control, on which certain combinations of modules will make you eligible for membership of the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA).

Last updated Jan 2020

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About the School

Here at the University of Derby, we believe anything is possible. With a broad range of courses at foundation, undergraduate and postgraduate level, we can help you get your career off to a great star ... Read More

Here at the University of Derby, we believe anything is possible. With a broad range of courses at foundation, undergraduate and postgraduate level, we can help you get your career off to a great start. We know how important it is to have the best teaching, and we’re proud to be rated Gold in the Teaching Excellence Framework; but we also offer so much more, with some of the best university facilities in the country, opportunities for industry experience and practical, hands-on learning to make your studies relevant to life after graduation. To help broaden your horizons, we offer a wide range of opportunities to study abroad, whatever your subject – a great way to experience a different culture, meet new people and add to your CV. Read less