Course details

Study options

Full-time: 3 years, Part-time: Up to 6 years

UK fee

£9,250 per year (2022/23)

International fee

£14,045 per year (2022/23)

UCAS points

112-120 (September 2023 entry)

UCAS code

C300

Course level

Undergraduate

Qualification

BSc (Hons)

Start date

September

Location

Kedleston Road, Derby Campus

If you do not achieve the typical entry points required, you may want to consider studying this course with foundation year.

View with foundation year optionView with foundation year option

Course description

This is a truly hands-on course. We will give you the intellectual and practical skills you'll need to understand the complexities of the animal kingdom. You'll learn about behaviour, ecology, conservation and genetics.

Key highlights

  • Fieldwork opportunities in the UK and overseas
  • Use of our Aquatic Research Facility, glasshouse, insectary, and specialist laboratories
  • Research-active lecturers in fields such as coral reef conservation, evolution of primate behaviour, and climate change
  • Course content aligns to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals
  • Accredited by the Royal Society of Biology
  • Accredited degree pathway status from the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management
  • Placements and internship opportunities 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. You can also watch exclusive subject content by signing up to Derby on Demand.

Dr David Elliot, Programme Leader in Biology.

View Biology and Zoology - your questions answered! video transcript

Zoology at Derby

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

Are you passionate about protecting endangered species? Safeguarding habitats? Enhancing the knowledge and understanding of animals in the wild and in captivity? If so, then this course is for you.

Our focus is on equipping you with strong intellectual, technical, research and personal skills. We will help you 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, such as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. This ensures you graduate with the scientific skills and knowledge needed to transform the issues of today.

Our Zoology course focuses on animal biology. And we cover topics such as wildlife conservation, ecology and animal behaviour. You’ll also cover 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 dedicated to applying their passion, knowledge and skills to help safeguard the survival of Earth’s natural environments and animal populations.

Being inspired

Some of our Zoology and Biology students tell us about the moments that inspired them to study the course.

What inspired me to study Zoology/Biology

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

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
Top 20for Zoology**The Guardian University Guide 2023
9thfor student satisfaction**The Complete University Guide 2022, Biological Sciences Subject area

Expert teaching

You'll be working with lecturers and tutors who have a wealth of knowledge and experience. They 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
  • Animal ecology
  • Coral reef systems and megafauna

Dr Michael Sweet, Associate Professor in Aquatic Biology, is one of the lecturers you will work with on the course. Before coming to Derby, he travelled the world working on a variety of projects:

  • Biodiversity index surveys in the Philippines and Malaysia
  • Radio tracking Sumatran rhinos in Borneo
  • 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.

We carry out research within our Environmental Sustainability Research Centre. We address local, national and global goals for sustainable development, environmental understanding and clean growth.

Fish swimming aroud 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. Every stage of your studies will be enriched with fieldwork opportunities. The cost of mandatory fieldwork is included in your course fee. Through our fieldwork programme, we have introduced 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
  • Undertaking scientific investigations in the Maldives (for students on our Tropical Marine Biology module)
  • Investigating plant adaptations at the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew

You'll also have opportunities to apply for work placements and paid internships. All of this means you'll be well placed to launch your career, either in a graduate job or in further study or research.

Field Biology

Our second-year students went to Mallorca for a week as part of their optional Field Biology module. They went on short excursions, explored plant diversity, searched for invertebrates, went on scenic hikes and located wild goats. And, all the time, surrounded by stunning island landscapes.

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. This accolade carries significant weight within the sector. It is only granted after a rigorous independent assessment.

The Royal Society acts as a single unified voice for biology. It advises the government, influencing policy, advancing education and professional development. And it encourages public interest in the life sciences.

The Royal Society 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. This is recognised widely throughout the industry and by potential employers.

We also have accredited degree pathway status from the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM). CIEEM approval means this course offers you the knowledge and practical skills required by employers for a wide range of applied practitioner roles.

A yellow bug sitting on a leaf

Kirk's passion for Zoology gained national exposure

BSc (Hons) Zoology student, Kirk Mason received his first taste of fame after a short video of his was featured on BBC’s popular nature show Springwatch.

Find out more about Kirk's experienceFind out more about Kirk's experience

Strong employer links

You’ll benefit from excellent opportunities for work experience and internships. We have our partnerships with organisations such as Sea Life, Derby Museums and the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust. We encourage you to undertake work experience throughout your degree. This will give you real insights into zoology and related areas.

You could also get involved in voluntary work with zoology-related industries and the wider community. This could include helping to safeguard local nature sites and improving the region's green spaces.

Giraffes and zebras grazing in a zoo

Ben secures highly sought-after zoo internship

BSc (Hons) Zoology student, Ben Thornley’s dedication to studying and gaining work experience has paid off with an exceptional summer internship. He has successfully secured himself a paid Large Mammals Internship with Bristol Zoo Gardens.

Read more of Ben's storyRead more of Ben's story

Sea Life project

Ibrahim Fetin carried out his third-year research project on blacktip reef sharks at Sea Life.

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. They are pursuing important studies into diverse topics including:

  • The evolution of animal mating strategies
  • Disease-causing agents in corals
  • Bioremediation of freshwater ecosystems (using living organisms, such as microbes and bacteria, to improve the environment)
  • The welfare of captive orangutans
  • The genetics and conservation of natterjack toads

Our staff publish influential papers and conduct research locally, nationally and globally.

Zoology Programme Leader Dr Maren Huck completed her postdoctoral research at the Owl Monkey Project in the Formosa province of northern Argentina. She worked with Professor Eduardo Fernandez-Duque (then University of Pennsylvania, now Yale University).

Owl monkeys are unusual. They are the only night-active true monkeys, and also belong to a handful of mammal species that are pair-living and genetically monogamous. And the male is the main carer for the infants.

Maren is still collaboration with Eduardo and other colleagues on the project. They continue to investigate the evolution of pair-living, monogamy, and male care, as well as other aspects of owl monkey behaviour. They do this using 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
A close up of a dragon fly

Abbie secures her dream job at the Natural History Museum

It’s a Zoologist’s dream. Working at the Natural History Museum exploring climate change and biodiversity research. And that is BSc (Hons) Zoology graduate Abbie Herdman’s job.

Read more about Abbie's storyRead more about Abbie's story
A turtle swimming in the sea surrounded by plastic.

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.

Read our news storiesRead our news stories

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

    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

    2023 entry

    These are the typical qualification requirements for September 2023 entry.

    RequirementWhat we're looking for
    UCAS points112-120
    A LevelBBB-BBC (At least a grade C in Biology)
    T LevelMerit in Science
    BTECDDM-DMM
    GCSEGCSE Maths and English Grade 4/Grade C (or above) or equivalent qualification
    Access to HEPass Access to HE Diploma with 60 credits: 45 at Level 3 with a minimum of Distinction: 15, Merit: 24, Pass: 6. Must include passes in compulsory Level 3 subjects

    English language requirements

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

    Fees and funding

    2022/23 Fees (August 2022 - July 2023)

     Full-timePart-time
    UK

    £9,250 per year

    £1,155 per 20 credit module

    International

    £14,045 per year

    N/A

    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

    Full-time students applying to start in September should apply for this course through UCAS.

    Part-time students should apply directly to the University.

    Apply through UCASApply directly to the University
    International students

    On-campus courses starting in September 2022 and January 2023 are now closed to new applications from international students due to unprecedented demand. Applications for September 2023 will open in October. If you have any questions, please email askadmissions@derby.ac.uk.

    Apply through UCASApply directly to the University

    Careers

    "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
    • Wildlife trusts
    • RSPCA
    • Environment Agency
    • Veterinary practices
    • Conservation
    • Teaching
    • Scientific Civil Service
    • Conservation campaigns

    Others have progressed to teaching and lecturing careers after completing postgraduate study, or have advanced to gain veterinary and medical qualifications

    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
    • Digital competency
    • Laboratory and fieldwork analysis 
    • Critical awareness
    • Project management

    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 - certain combinations of modules on this course will make you eligible for membership of the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA).

    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.

    Please also note that due to the current Covid-19 situation, if your course offers fieldtrips, the location of these may change or be cancelled. If this happens, you will be communicated to in advance and we will do our very best to seek out other practical opportunities to ensure your experience is not affected.

    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

    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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