|Ecology and Conservation
|Ecology and Conservation
|Ecology and Conservation
- Explore the fascinating world of animals and gain expertise in evolution, physiology, animal behaviour, ecology and conservation, preparing you for an exciting career in the field of zoology.
- As a student, you'll be exposed to a wide range of practical and theoretical techniques, making your learning experience dynamic and hands-on.
- Our course places a strong emphasis on fieldwork, both in the UK and abroad. These field courses offer you the chance to apply classroom knowledge to real-world situations.
- Learn from experts in the field and actively participate in world-class research as a member of one of our research teams.
4th in the UK for Zoology
The Guardian University Guide 2024
Top 20 in the UK for world-leading research in Biological Sciences
REF 2021, based on 4-star research
Top 10 in the world for Ecology
9th in the ShanghaiRankings Global Ranking of Academic Subjects 2022
Opportunities to undertake study abroad or a year’s placement in business or industry
Entry requirements (typical offer)
AAB (with Professional Placement/Study Abroad)
B in a science subject*
A in a science subject* (with Professional Placement/Study Abroad)
34/665 (with Professional Placement/Study Abroad)
HL5 in a science subject*
HL6 in a science subject* (with Professional Placement/Study Abroad)
DDD (with Professional Placement/Study Abroad)
|Applicants studying one of the following BTEC Extended Diplomas will be considered without GCE A-level Science: Applied Science, Animal Management, Agriculture, Countryside Management, Environmental Sustainability, Fish Management, Forestry and Arboriculture, Marine Biology
|C or 4 and B or 5
|Grade C or 4 in GCSE English language and grade B or 5 in Mathematics
|Access to HE
|24 L3 Credits at Distinction Grade and 21 L3 credits at Merit Grade.
30 L3 credits at Distinction Grade and 15 L3 credits at Merit Grade (with Professional Placement/Study Abroad)
To include 12 L3 Credits at Merit grade in accepted science subjects*
To include at least 15 L3 credits at Distinction Grade in accepted science subjects* (with Professional Placement/Study Abroad)
|T-Levels not accepted
Prof. Placement/Study Abroad:
Specific subject requirements must still be achieved where stated above. Find out more about contextual offers.
|Other accepted qualifications
|English language requirements
International students need to show they have the required level of English language to study this course. The required test scores for this course fall under Profile B2. Please visit our English language requirements page to view the required test scores and equivalencies from your country.
NB General Studies is not included in any offer.
Grades advertised on each programme webpage are the typical level at which our offers are made and provide information on any specific subjects an applicant will need to have studied in order to be considered for a place on the programme. However, if we receive a large number of applications for the programme we may not be able to make an offer to all those who are predicted to achieve/have achieved grades which are in line with our typical offer. For more information on how applications are assessed and when decisions are released, please see: After you apply
*Accepted science subjects: Biology/Human Biology; Chemistry; Environmental Studies, and Environmental Science; Geography; Life and Health Sciences (Double Award only); Marine Science; Maths/Pure Maths/Further Maths; Nutrition and Food Science; Physics; Psychology
This programme will provide you with the skills, concepts and experience to understand all aspects of modern zoology. The programme encourages an interdisciplinary approach and you will be exposed to a wide range of theoretical and practical techniques used to study the biology of animals of all types.
The modules we outline here provide examples of what you can expect to learn on this degree course based on recent academic teaching. The precise modules available to you in future years may vary depending on staff availability and research interests, new topics of study, timetabling and student demand.
Explore animals in the context of the environments in which they live. You will examine zoology from molecules to ecosystems and get experience with the modern techniques used to generate knowledge about animal systems.
90 credits of compulsory modules, 30 credits of optional modules.
|Skills and Careers
|BioP S1 BSc-MSci Zoo opt 2021-2
|Ecology and Conservation
|Introduction to Human Sciences
Explore how animal development relates to the diversity of animal forms and examine animal behaviour as it relates to life history and adaptive evolution. You will experience a residential field course to gain an understanding of habitats and biodiversity.
60 credits of compulsory modules, 60 credits of optional modules.
a You must take either BIO2431 or BIO2437 (you cannot choose more than one module from this group).
b It is compulsory to take a field course in the second year. BIO2454 Bio Penryn 2nd Year Field Course represents your Field Course module, with more information about destination and specific activities available from the department. If you are unable to go on a field course, you will be required to take BIO2450 Biosciences Penryn Virtual Field Course instead; BIO2450 is only available if you are not going on the field course.
c You may take either GEO2449 or LES2002 (you cannot choose more than one module from this group).
|Analysis of Biological Data
|The Biology of Mammals [See note a above]
|Biology of Aquatic Vertebrates [See note a above]
|Biosciences Penryn Virtual Field Course [See note b above]
|Bio Penryn 2nd Year Field Course [See note b above]
|BioP S2 BSc-MSci Zoo opt 2021-2
|Evolution of Human Societies
|Biology of Birds
|Applied Insect Ecology
|Mathematics of the Environment
|Exploitation of the Sea
|Biodiversity and Conservation
|Population and Community Ecology
|Development of Behaviour
|Oceans and Human Health
|Remote Sensing for Environmental Management
|Introduction to Ecological Consultancy
|BioP Employability opt [See note c above]
Find out more about placement and study abroad options under Course variants.
with Professional Placement
120 credits of compulsory modules.
with Study Abroad
120 credits of compulsory modules.
For your year abroad you will agree a suite of modules in your host institution with the College Study Abroad Coordinator. Details of individual modules that may be taken whilst abroad can be found by accessing the partner institution’s website via http://www.exeter.ac.uk/studyabroad/outbound/research/where/.
|One Year Study Abroad
Put your analytical and experimental skills to use through your research project with a member of academic staff. Work side-by-side with researchers, developing an independent research project. You will have the opportunity to go on one of our final year field courses.
75 credits of compulsory modules, 45 credits of optional modules.
d It is compulsory to take a field course in the final year. BIO3441 Bio Penryn 3rd Year Field Course represents your Field Course module, with more information about destination and specific activities available from the department. If you are unable to take a field course, you will be required to take BIO3440 Global Research Skills Virtual Field Course plus either BIO3407 Literature Review in Evolution and Ecology or 15 other credits. BIO3440 and BIO3407 are only available if you are not going on the field course.
|Literature Review in Evolution and Ecology [See note d above]
|Global Research Skills Virtual Field Course [See note d above]
|Penryn 3rd Year Field Course [See note d above]
|Preparing to Graduate
|BioP SF BSc-S3 MSci Zoo opt 2021-2
|Human Behavioural Ecology
|Primate Biology and Conservation
|Living with Environmental Change
|Ocean Management and Conservation
|Literature Review in Evolution and Ecology
|Animal Life Histories
|Ecological Responses to Climate Change
|Evolutionary Biology of Health and Disease
|The Complexity of Human Societies
|Marine Vertebrate Conservation
|Frontiers of Global Health
|Trends in Ecology and Evolution
|Living in Groups
|Science in Society
|Major Transitions in Evolutionary History
|Symbiosis in Marine Systems
|Mathematics for Environment and Sustainability
UCAS code: C304
Why choose a professional placement year?
During your placement year you will gain valuable experience, apply the skills learnt during the first and second years, improve personal and transferable skills, make new contacts and enhance your employability.
Work placements allow you to develop your career focus and are extremely valued by employers.
Where can I do my placement?
On this four-year variant of the BSc Zoology degree you will spend your third year on a self-organised work placement with an organisation relevant to your degree. We have established collaborations with local, national and international organisations that you can consider when applying for placement positions.
Previous placement destinations include:
- Aigas Field Centre
- Field Studies Council
- JBA Consulting
- Living DNA
- Newquay Zoo
- Paignton Zoos
- Wildfowl and Wetland Trust
What support is available during my placement?
Your module convenor provides support while you are researching and applying for positions and you are encouraged to consider a range of organisations, including consultancies, charities, NGOs, research institutes and universities. During your placement you will have regular contact with the module convenor to identify what support you might need.
Is the placement paid?
It is your responsibility to decide which placements will be suitable for you financially. We present ideas of paid placements and those that have a stipend and/or accommodation.
Does it count towards my degree?
The professional placement year counts towards your degree through the completion of your placement and associated coursework. It contributes to your final degree classification, and the words ‘with Professional Placement’ will appear in your degree title.
How does it affect my tuition fee?
If you spend a full year on a work placement (in the UK or abroad) you will pay a reduced fee. Find out more.
How do I apply?
You can apply to BSc Zoology with Professional Placement directly through UCAS using the code above. You must achieve an average mark of at least 60% in Year 1 to progress to the Professional Placement year.
How are the placements organised?
You are responsible for organising your own placement; however, we have established collaborations with local, national and international organisations that you can consider when applying for placement positions and we provide you with help and support with your applications.
UCAS code: C301
Why study abroad?
Students who have studied abroad demonstrate initiative, independence, motivation and, depending on where they stay, may also have gained a working knowledge of another language – all qualities employers are looking for.
Where can I study abroad?
If you choose to take the four year ‘with Study Abroad’ degree, you have the option to spend your third year abroad, studying in a university with which we have established links. We have over 30 partner institutions around the globe; you can find a complete list of International Exchange partner universities on the Study Abroad website.
What will I study whilst I am abroad?
This depends on the university you attend and the modules that are offered there. Once a place has been confirmed, students will liaise with both their host institution and the Exeter study abroad coordinator to decide a programme of study during their year abroad.
Does it count towards my degree?
Credit for academic work during your year abroad is arranged by agreement between the University of Exeter and the host institution. These marks are then translated back into your degree at Exeter.
Transferring to a Study Abroad programme
If you are not sure about studying abroad when you apply for your degree, it may be possible to apply to transfer to a four-year programme at the end of the first year of a three-year programme. Permission to take part in Study Abroad in all cases will depend on your academic progress and the places available in your chosen country.
How does it affect my tuition fee?
If you spend a full academic year studying abroad you will pay a reduced fee. Find out more.
How do I apply?
You can apply to BSc Zoology with Study Abroad directly through UCAS using the code above. To qualify for your Study Abroad year, we would expect you to have successfully completed your Year 1 studies with an average mark of at least 60%.
See our study abroad information on the Biosciences Current Students page for information about your tuition fees and additional information from some of our students who have studied abroad during their Biosciences degrees.
For further information on where you can go and all the issues surrounding study abroad, see the Study Abroad website.
Taking up the opportunity to study abroad at Carleton University was one of the best decisions I have made at University. Studying in a new country allows you to immerse yourself in a completely new culture and exciting surroundings, and also gives you the opportunity to learn more knowledge about your subject in a different perspective.
In addition to learning more about the Canadian culture, the year abroad also gives you a chance to be a part of an international community, and it’s a great way to meet people from across the globe.
BSc Zoology with Study Abroad
Tuition fees for 2024 entry
UK students: £9,250 per year
International students: £29,700 per year
Year Abroad and Professional Placement
If, as part of your four-year degree programme, you spend a full academic year studying abroad you will pay a reduced fee of 15 per cent of the maximum fee for that year. If you spend a full year on a work placement (in the UK or abroad) you will pay a reduced fee of 20 per cent of the maximum fee for that year.
Please note, some optional/alternative field courses may incur additional costs. When participating in these optional field courses, you will be expected to cover the cost of travel to some locations, which will be outlined clearly beforehand. However, field courses with no additional travel costs are available to select in each year.
You will also need to provide your own specialist personal equipment appropriate to the field course destination, e.g. walking boots, rucksack, mosquito net, sleeping bag, binoculars. You may incur additional costs dependent upon the specific demands of the research project chosen.
The University of Exeter has many different scholarships available to support your education, including £5 million in scholarships for international students, such as our Global Excellence Scholarships*. Financial support is also available for students from disadvantaged backgrounds, lower income households and other under-represented groups to help them access, succeed and progress through higher education.
* Terms and conditions apply. See online for details.
We pride ourselves in offering an extensive range of field courses across our Biosciences degrees with exciting local, national and international destinations.
These field courses not only allow you to apply the knowledge gained in the classroom to real-world situations in superb locations, but also provide a fantastic opportunity to forge lasting relationships with fellow students and academics.
The residential field courses are an opportunity to apply your field skills first-hand in environments studied by our world-leading Ecological researchers. They are designed to complement your degree and highlight conservation issues at the forefront of the subject for terrestrial and marine species and habitats.
Please note, whilst a compulsory field course is included in the tuition fee, some optional/alternative field courses may incur additional costs. Field course destinations are subject to change.
My placement at Paignton Zoo helped me in a number of ways. It has given me experience running long-term research projects and grown my confidence. Overall the experience was amazing and I could not recommend it enough.
My main research project on my placement was looking into the effect of artificial UVB light on primate behaviour, focusing on brown spider monkeys, Goeldi’s monkeys and ring-tailed lemurs.
I chose the Penryn Campus because I fell in love with the atmosphere and the intimacy of the campus. When I visited initially, I could easily picture myself spending three years there. Penryn is an ideal place to study, and the ‘living laboratory’ environment allows you to put your learning into practice.
All my lecturers were brilliant; they all bring different attitudes to teaching that make it enjoyable and accessible. They are always happy to stay behind after lectures to answer questions, and were approachable and easy to learn from.
BSc Zoology with Professional Placement
Learning and teaching
How will I learn?
- Laboratory sessions
- Independent study
- Regular research seminars, by our staff and visiting lecturers
Learn from experts
We believe that every student benefits from being part of a culture that is inspired by research and being taught by experts. You will discuss the very latest ideas in seminars and tutorials and be an active member of a research team. Our academics bring their results from the laboratory and the field directly to their teaching, and our students also help to collect this data.
In your final year you will become an active member of our research team. We have very close links with a wide range of conservation organisations in the UK and overseas, such as the British Trust for Ornithology, Cornwall Wildlife Trust and Marine Conservation Society. These links mean you will benefit from frequent guest lectures, placement opportunities and project work.
Your first year does not count towards your final degree classification, but you do have to pass it in order to progress. All marks after your first year count towards your final classification.
Modules are assessed using a variety of methods including essays, exams, presentations, laboratory reports and a dissertation.
- Personal Tutor: You will have a Personal Tutor available for advice and support throughout your studies.
- Study skills: Help with essay writing, research skills, time management, presentations and more.
All first-years will have the opportunity to join dynamic weekly groups, hosted by both second-year and PhD Biosciences students in Cornwall, which span a range of key areas, such as:
- Social and pastoral care
- Key skills
- Discipline-specific support
These groups allow you to benefit from advice from your more experienced peers, helping ease your transition into university life.
The subject of the inaugural meeting is decided by the group leader, but you can then suggest subsequent session topics, so sessions are tailored to your direct needs.
Social media groups, such as on Facebook and Google, are also used for continued group discussions and communication outside of the weekly meetings.
There are direct links between session content and modules, which immediately follow lectures where possible.
Our facilities include:
- Teaching laboratories
- Computing suites
- Field equipment for research projects
- Library and online resources
Optional modules outside of this course
Each year, if you have optional modules available, you can take up to 30 credits in a subject outside of your course. This can increase your employability and widen your intellectual horizons.
Proficiency in a second subject
If you complete 60 credits of modules in one of the subjects below, you may have the words 'with proficiency in [e.g. Social Data Science]' added to your degree title when you graduate.
- A Foreign Language
- Social Data Science
Employer-valued skills this course develops
A degree in Biosciences will help you to develop a wide range of essential skills such as analytical problem solving, team work and organising and communicating information. Many of our students continue their studies in the subject by following a further degree and research in their chosen area.
Supporting your career in Biosciences
Each year Biosciences students are able to access a huge range of opportunities to support their future career options. Sector related careers and employability sessions are put on for the students over the course of their programme which include: career talks and networking events with visiting alumni and employers from a range of backgrounds, employability seminar series events hosted by employers, ‘Dragons Den’ style assessment days, mock interviews and an annual Careers Fair where students can develop networking skills.
We have a dedicated, award-winning Careers Service ensuring you have access to careers advisors, mentors and the tools you need to succeed in finding employment in your chosen field on graduation. We offer the Exeter Award and the Exeter Leaders Award which include employability-related workshops, skills events, volunteering and employment which will contribute to your career decision-making skills and success in the employment market.
The University of Exeter has an excellent reputation with graduate recruiters and our students and graduates compete very successfully in the employment market. Whatever path you wish to follow, we’re here to help and support you with all your career and employability needs.
Many of our graduates are employed in discipline-relevant roles in the UK and overseas including laboratory-based positions, conservation management, ecology, teaching and nursing. Others use the skills gained on their course to enter widely different career paths in law, business or management. Whatever you choose to do after graduation, your Biosciences degree will stand you in good stead, with excellent employment prospects and transferable skills.
Below are a few examples of initial jobs undertaken by graduates from our Biosciences undergraduate programmes*.
Recent graduates are now working as:
- Conservation professionals
- Biological scientists
- Environment professionals
- Laboratory technicians
- Welfare and housing associate professionals
- Web design professionals
- Public relations professionals
- Photographers, audio-visual and broadcasting equipment operators
- Archivists and curators
Recent graduates are now working for:
- Cornwall Science Community
- Darwin Ecology
- Ecology Solutions
- Fishtek Consulting
- Harris Lamb Property Consultants
- Natural England
- Society for the Protection of Turtles
- UKSTEM Ltd
- World Wildlife Fund
Further study is a popular choice for a number of students following graduation from a Biosciences undergraduate degree. Below are a few examples of further study undertaken by recent graduates of undergraduate programmes*.
- MPH/MRes/PhD Biological Sciences
- MPH Medical Studies
- MRes Ecosystem and Environmental Change
- MSc Conservation and Biodiversity
- MSc Environment and Human Health
- MSc Evolutionary and Behavioural Ecology
- MSc Immunology
- MSc Marine Environmental Management
- MSc Surveying and Land/Environmental Management
- MSc Toxicology
*This information has been taken from aggregating the responses from full-time, first degree, UK domiciled students who completed 2017/18 and 2018/19 Graduate Outcomes surveys. Please note that, due to data protection, the job titles and organisations are listed independently and do not necessarily correspond.
I chose to do zoology because I was always fascinated by the natural world, spending much of my childhood looking for critters. I loved learning, and the draw of learning everything to do with the animal kingdom was too difficult to resist.
I chose Exeter because of the setting; I grew up with family in Falmouth and loved Cornwall. Learning about animals whilst having tangible access to the coast and its creatures was incredible. One of the strongest memories from my time at Exeter was the variety of modules and the experts leading them.
After finishing my undergraduate degree, I went on to do a Masters by Research studying stingrays in the Bahamas, this was such an incredible experience and I still dream of stingrays almost every night. I then took a career break to walk from Mexico to Canada on the Pacific Crest Trail. Following this intensive lesson in resilience, I joined the Civil Service Fast Stream where I learnt how science was actually implemented and used in central government. From here I transferred within the Civil Service to Cefas. I am now a scientist within the shellfish team.
BSc Zoology (2016)