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.
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 - take a virtual tour
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
Biology and Zoology - your questions answered
Programme Leader for Biology Dr David Elliott answers your frequently asked questions about Biology and Zoology.
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.
98%of students agreed that staff are good at explaining things**BSc (Hons) Zoology - National Student Survey 2022
Top 20for Zoology**The Guardian University Guide 2023
2ndin the UK for Student satisfaction with the course**Zoology subject area - The Guardian University Guide 2023
6thin the UK for student satisfaction with teaching**Zoology subject area - The Guardian University Guide 2023
11thfor careers 15 months after graduating**Zoology subject area - The Guardian University Guide 2023
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.
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:
Improving the resilience of coral reefs to climate change
The evolution of primates
Insect reproduction and behaviour
Coral Reef systems and megafauna
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.
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.
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:
studying animal interaction at Twycross Zoo
conducting ecological projects in Mallorca
those selecting our optional Tropical Marine Biology module have undertaken scientific investigations in the Maldives
investigating plant adaptations at the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew
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.
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.
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.
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.
Environment and Sustainability News
We're in the fortunate position of having a wealth of expertise and knowledge to help tackle some of the world's greatest challenges. Take a look at examples of how we are responding to the climate emergency.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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:
Zoos and wildlife parks
Scientific Civil Service
Through our Professional Development Package, you'll gain valuable skills, including:
Scientific writing and use of scientific software
Written and verbal communication
Research and statistical analysis
Data handling and analysis
Personal motivation, organisation and self-reflection
Laboratory and fieldwork analysis
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.
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.
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
You will receive a dissection kit, goggles and a laboratory coat. All equipment and consumables needed for your experimental/ fieldwork are provided by the University. This is subject to consumables being costed for the Independent Study and approved by your programme leader
Free membership of the Royal Society of Biology for a year after graduation
Students studying the three-year course will receive free membership of the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM) during their studies until they graduate
Costs (Excluding food) of non-residential mandatory fieldtrips in optional modules are covered, previous destinations have included Kew Gardens, Sea Life Centre and Hardwick Hall Woodlands. Residential fieldtrips are subsidised by the University.
Mandatory costs not included in your fees
If not already owned, appropriate footwear for fieldwork such as Wellington/Walking boots - approximate cost is between £5-£50
If not already owned, appropriate outdoor clothing such as a waterproof jacket and trousers - approximate cost is between £50-£100
Two bound copies of your Independent Study - approximate cost is £12
Most assessments are submitted electronically but where a hard copy is required printing will cost approximately 5p per page.
Optional costs not included in your fees
Recommended textbooks - approximate cost is £60
Additional international fieldtrip costs for optional modules as follows: Field Biology L5 (Majorca) - approximate cost is £480, Tropical Marine Biology L6 (Maldives) - approximate cost is £1,900
Travel to work experience/placements - cost is dependent on your placement venue of choice
Our links with the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM) give you the opportunity to gain Student Membership with CIEEM - approximate cost is £10
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.