Undergraduate Course

Accredited by the Royal Society of Biology

Zoology with Foundation Year

BSc (Hons)

Course details

Study options

Full-time: 4 years

UK fee

£9,250 per year (2024/25)

International fee

£14,900 per year (2024/25)

UCAS points

72 (September 2024 entry)

UCAS code


Course level



BSc (Hons)

Start date



Kedleston Road, Derby Campus

The best bits

  • Fieldwork opportunities in the UK and overseas - the costs of mandatory trips are included in your course fee
  • Facilities include an Aquatic Research Facility, glasshouse, insectary, and specialist laboratories
  • Tailor to your career ambitions through a range of modules
  • Learn from research-active lecturers - current research includes coral reef conservation, the evolution of primate behaviour, and climate change
  • The content of this course is aligned to the priorities of global initiatives, like the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals
  • This course was one of the first of its kind in the country to receive accreditation from the Royal Society of Biology - we also have accredited degree pathway status from the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management
  • Gain practical experience through placements and internships with our partner organisations. This course can be studied with or without an Industrial Placement Year

This hands-on course, including fieldwork and placement opportunities, will give you the intellectual and practical skills needed to understand the complexities of the animal kingdom, such as behaviour, ecology, conservation and genetics. 

Biology and Zoology - your questions answered

Programme Leader for Biology Dr David Elliott answers your frequently asked questions about Biology and Zoology. 

Dr David Elliot, Programme Leader in Biology.

View Biology and Zoology - your questions answered! video transcript

Foundation Year - helping you to achieve more

Including a foundation year as part of your four-year study programme will give you a head start in your academic and professional life. The foundation year offers the chance to strengthen your skills, knowledge and confidence – with extensive support from our expert staff – before you advance to stage one of your honours degree. It could also be beneficial if you are planning a career change and want to get to grips with aspects of subjects which are new to you.

Our degrees with a foundation year are continuous, meaning that you won’t need to apply again once you have successfully completed the first year.

Top10for student experience - Animal Science subject areaThe Times and Sunday Times University Guide 2024
Top10for career prospectsZoology subject area - The Guardian University Guide 2024
Top10for satisfaction with feedbackZoology subject area - The Guardian University Guide 2024
Top15for satisfaction with teachingZoology subject area - The Guardian University Guide 2024

Zoology at Derby

Despite global efforts from government officials and policy makers to promote coexistence between humanity and our ecosystems, human progress is disturbing the natural balance of our environment. This is a decisive moment in our history, requiring leaders who are bold and innovative in their approach if we are to restore and protect for future generations.

If you are passionate about protecting endangered species, safeguarding habitats and enhancing the knowledge and understanding of animals in the wild and in captivity, this course is for you. Our focus is on equipping you with strong intellectual, technical, research and personal skills to build an impressive CV and meet the needs of employers. We have mapped the content of our courses to the priorities of global initiatives, like the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, to ensure you graduate with the scientific skills and knowledge needed to transform the issues of today.

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. Zoology is a practical subject, so you will learn in the laboratory, field and classroom. Whatever you are studying, we will encourage you to link with employers, from short-term work experience to a full year in industry.

You’ll join a community of staff and students who are dedicated to applying their passion, knowledge and skills to help safeguard the survival of Earth’s natural environments and animal populations. In the below video, some of our Zoology and Biology students tell us about the moments that inspired them to study the course.

Biology and Zoology students from the University of Derby speak about their experiences on their course so far.

View What inspired me to study Zoology/​Biology video transcript

Expert teaching

As a Zoology student at the University of Derby you'll be working with lecturers and tutors who have a wealth of knowledge and experience, and are carrying out research designed to offer fresh perspectives on important issues. Their wide-ranging work includes research into:

Dr Michael Sweet, Associate Professor in Aquatic Biology, is just one of the lecturers you will work with during your studies. Before coming to Derby he travelled the world working on a variety of projects including biodiversity index surveys in the Philippines and Malaysia, radio tracking Sumatran rhinos in Borneo, and being a game ranger in mainland Africa and Madagascar. Michael is now the manager of our Aquatic Research Facility and teaches on several of our undergraduate modules. He is also involved in a major research project looking at diseases that affect coral reefs.

Research is carried out within the University's Environmental Sustainability Research Centre which aims to address local, national and global goals for sustainable development, environmental understanding and clean growth.

Fish swimming around the corals in the Maldives

How we're helping corals survive

Coral reefs are dying off at an alarming rate. Our Aquatic Research Facility is carrying out work with organisations across the globe to make corals more resilient in the face of man-made afflictions.

Find out more about our coral reef researchFind out more about our coral reef research

Excellent fieldwork opportunities

Fieldwork is a vital element of this course and so every stage your studies will be enriched with fieldwork opportunities - the cost of mandatory fieldwork is included in your course fee. Through our fieldwork programme, we introduce students to a variety of survey techniques for a wide range of species, such as:

You’ll also have access to Cuckoos Tor, a site on the edge of the Peak District National Park and owned by the University of Derby that is dedicated to long-term research and ecological experiments. Current projects include restoration ecology, natural flood risk management, community engagement with biodiversity, and sustainable land management - and you’ll be able to get involved.

For further practical experience, you'll have plenty of opportunity to apply for work placements and paid internships. All of this means you'll be well placed to launch your career, whether you are looking for a graduate job or are planning to go into further study or research.

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 located wild goats.

Zoology fieldtrip to Mallorca

View Field Biology video transcript

Professional credibility

This 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. 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.

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

In addition, we also have accredited degree pathway status from the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM). After being assessed, CIEEM approved that this course offers 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.

A close up of a butterfly in a microscope plate

Strong employer links

You’ll benefit from excellent opportunities for work experience and internships through our partnerships with organisations like Sea Life, Derby Museums and the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust. 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. 

We are currently working with Derbyshire Wildlife Trust and Derby City Council on rewilding Allestree Park. This is the UK’s largest rewilding space which has involved a community consultation to find out what local people want. Some of our students are already working on independent studies projects in the park, with one test-driving the citizen science protocols for monitoring the changes in the park as the rewilding continues.

We have also just won two associate Knowledge Transfer Partnership with Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, lasting two years, to predict the trajectory of rewilding ecosystems. This will enable you to learn about the remote sensing and modelling we use for this. It will also enable staff to further stretch their research impact in a complex and growing subject area, as well as providing the chance to apply cutting edge, technical research to commercial activities. 

We have also been working for several years with Down to Earth Derby, on nature-based regeneration and connecting communities with nature and growing food. A major project we are working on at the moment, with the Eden Project, is a community garden on part of Sturgess Fields, a site owned by the University between Kedleston Road and Markeaton Street sites. The plan is to create a New Commons that will be managed with the community. There are lots of opportunities for you to work on here, both in creating and maintaining the site, undertaking ecological monitoring and getting involved in community education programmes.

Take a look at the below video for graduate, Ibrahim Fetin's experience at Sea Life where he carried out his third year research project on on black tip reef sharks.

A new partnership between the University of Derby and the National Sea Life Centre. James Robson, Curator at the Sea Life Centre illustrates why such a partnership is important for both institutes

View Sea Life Centre Partnership video transcript

Far-reaching research

You'll learn from a research-active teaching team who 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 and conduct research locally, nationally and globally, like Zoology Programme Leader, Dr Maren Huck. Before Maren joined the University of Derby she completed postdoctoral research with Prof. Eduardo Fernandez-Duque (then University of Pennsylvania, now Yale University) at the Owl Monkey Project in the Formosa province of northern Argentina. Owl monkeys are unusual not only because they are the only night-active true monkeys, but also because they belong to only a handful of mammals that are pair-living and genetically monogamous. Furthermore, males are the main carer of the infants.

Still in collaboration with the project, Maren, Eduardo and other colleagues continue to investigate the evolution of pair-living, monogamy, and male care, as well as other aspects of owl monkey behaviour – taking advantage of a database that spans more than 20 years of fieldwork. This even involved one of our Zoology students volunteering and collecting data for her final year project on owl monkeys in Argentina.

Owl monkey in the trees at dusk.
An owl monkey in northern Argentina photographed by Dr Maren Huck as part of her research into their nocturnal and parental behaviour

What you will study

Please note that our modules are subject to change - we review the content of our courses regularly, making changes where necessary to improve your experience and graduate prospects.

Kedleston Road, Derby Campus entrance

Undergraduate Open Days

The best way to find out if studying at Derby is right for you is to experience an Open Day. Get a feel for the city and campus, tour our first-class facilities and see where you could be living.

Book your Undergraduate Open DayBook your Undergraduate Open Day

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.

an iceberg

Environmental Sustainability Research Centre (ESRC)

Specialising in securing clean environments, nature recovery, and resilience to natural hazards, we work collaboratively to safeguard our planet for future generations.

Learn more about our research Learn more about our research

Personal academic tutoring

Your personal academic tutor will work with you to help you get the most out of your time at university. Having someone to talk to about your academic progress, your university experience and your professional aspirations is hugely valuable. We want you to feel challenged in your studies, stretched but confident to achieve your academic and professional goals.

Find out more about personal academic tutoring

Who will teach you

Maren Huck holding a cat around her neck

Dr Maren Huck
Programme leader

Dr Maren Huck is the Programme Leader for BSc (Hons) Zoology and also the subject lead for "with-Foundation" programmes in Environmental Sciences. Her teaching focuses on animal behavioural ecology and related topics.

View full staff profileView full staff profile

Entry requirements

2024 entry

These are the typical qualification requirements for September 2024 entry. Contextual offers may apply to students who meet certain criteria.

RequirementWhat we're looking for
UCAS points72
A LevelDDD
T LevelPass
GCSEGCSE Maths and English are preferred, however if you don't have these qualifications you will be able to undertake Maths and English at Level 2 as part of your course of study
Access to HEPass Access to HE Diploma with 60 credits: 45 at Level 3 with a minimum of Distinction: 0, Merit: 24, Pass: 21

English language requirements

IELTS: 6.0 (with at least 5.5 in each skills area)

Fees and funding



£9,250 per year



£14,900 per year


Further information about our fees and support you may be entitled to.

Additional costs and optional extras

How to apply

Please look at our application deadlines before you apply.

UK students

If you are in Year 13 and applying for a full-time undergraduate course (including our joint honours courses), we recommend that you apply through UCAS.

Apply through UCAS

If you are applying to study part-time, or already have your qualifications, or wish to join at Year 2 or 3, you should apply directly to the University.

Apply directly to the University


"Completing a research placement at Birmingham's National Sea Life Centre was an incredibly strong and positive addition to my studies at the University of Derby. It really helped develop my CV, enhanced my PhD applications and gave me a head start in my career pathway." Ben Mcilwaine, BSc (Hons) Zoology graduate

Our focus is on ensuring you develop strong intellectual, technical and personal skills to build an impressive CV and meet the needs of employers. With opportunities for internships, volunteering and placements, our hands-on approach to study will ensure you’re ready for the world of work.

Recent graduates have gone on to work in areas such as:

Through our Professional Development Package, you'll gain valuable skills, including:

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.

Careers and Employment Service

To boost your employment skills, you can access the University's Careers and Employment Service. The team can connect you with employers to help find opportunities for work placements, part-time jobs, and volunteering. Our careers consultants are also on hand to guide you through the career options for your degree, CV writing, or starting your own business - and we commit to helping you for three years after you graduate to find a job. 

Contact us

If you need any more information from us, eg on courses, accommodation, applying, car parking, fees or funding, please contact us and we will do everything we can to help you.

Contact us Contact us

Additional information about your studies

Teaching hours

Like most universities, we operate extended teaching hours at the University of Derby, so contact time with your lecturers and tutors could be anytime between 9am and 9pm. Your timetable will usually be available on the website 24 hours after enrolment on to your course.

Additional costs and optional extras

We’re committed to providing you with an outstanding learning experience. Our expert teaching, excellent facilities and great employability prepare you for your future career. As part of our commitment to you we aim to keep any additional study costs to a minimum. However, there are occasions where students may incur some additional costs.

The information provided on this page is correct at the time of publication but course content, costs and other individual course details do change from time to time and are updated as often as possible, so please do check these pages again when making your final decision to apply for a course. Any updated course details will also be confirmed to you at application, enrolment and in your offer letter.

Included in your fees
Mandatory costs not included in your fees
Optional costs not included in your fees

Please note: Our courses are refreshed and updated on a regular basis. If you are thinking about transferring onto this course (into the second year for example), you should contact the programme leader for the relevant course information as modules may vary from those shown on this page.

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