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Zoology, BSc

Zoology, BSc

Course Overview


Are you looking for a degree in animal science that is flexible and offers a choice of courses from animal behaviour, ecology, conservation, evolution, and physiology?

Zoology is the study of all animal life; from primitive microscopic malaria-causing protozoa to large advanced mammals, across all environmental spheres from red deer in mountain forests to dolphins in deep oceans, and from underground burrowing voles to golden eagles in the skies. Some of these animals are useful to us and we nurture them as pets or livestock; some are serious pests or disease-causing; and some are simply splendid and awe-inspiring. No matter what our relation with the animals, we need to understand their behaviour, population dynamics, physiology and the way they interact with other species and their environments. That is Zoology!

The degree programme at Northampton provides you with a strong foundation in biological sciences, principles and methodologies, while providing you with expertise in zoology. Your courses include topics in animal diversity and evolution, behaviour, population ecology, physiology, parasitology, zoonotic diseases, marine biology and conservation management taught by lecturers who are world-leaders in their areas of zoology.

LEARNING MODE On Campus Learning
DURATION 48 months
What You'll Study

Each year you take a selection of compulsory courses and optional courses that can be chosen from those on offer across the institution. The first two years lay a foundation for the more specialised third and fourth years.

In year 1 you will complete eight courses. Some of these are compulsory courses and you will also choose optional elective courses from a wide range of options within the University.

Compulsory Courses

Professional Skills Part 1 (NT1001)
Frontiers in Biological Sciences (NT1009) – 15 Credit Points
Diversity of Life 1 (NT1012) – 15 Credit Points
Ecology and Environmental Science (NT1511) – 15 Credit Points
Diversity of Life 2 (NT1512) – 15 Credit Points
The Cell (NT1501) – 15 Credit Points

Optional Courses

Select a further 45 credit points from courses of choice.

In year 2 you will complete compulsory and elective courses. Popular elective courses are Conservation Biology, Ocean Biology, Genes & Evolution or courses relating to Biomedical Science, Plant Science or Geography.

Compulsory Courses

Genes and Evolution (NT2017) – 15 Credit Points
Biological Enhanced Skills Training (BEST) (NT2018) – 15 Credit Points
Ecology (NT2020) – 15 Credit Points
Principles of Animal Physiology (NT2510) – 15 Credit Points

Optional Courses

Select a further 45 credit points from courses of choice, plus one of the field courses listed below:

  • NT 25F4 Fish and Shellfish Biology Field Course
  • NT 25F3 Parasitology Field Course
  • NT 25F2 Coastal Biodiversity Field Course
  • NT 25F1 Freshwater and Terrestrial Ecology Field Course
  • NT 25F1 Littoral and Sublittoral Marine Biology Field Course 1

In year 3, in addition to compulsory courses, popular optional course choices include Animal Behaviour, Animals in Captivity, Marine Ecology and Ecosystems, Biology and Control of Infectious Diseases and Applied Marine Biology.

Compulsory Courses

Statistical Analysis of Biological Data (NT3010) – 15 Credit Points
Animal Evolution and Biodiversity (NT3011) – 15 Credit Points
Animal Population Ecology (NT3307) – 15 Credit Points
Environmental Physiology (NT3513) – 15 Credit Points

Optional Courses

Select a further 60 credit points from courses of choice, at least 30 of which must be from courses delivered by the School of Biological Sciences at level 3.

In year 4, the Honours year, you will carry out a research project as well as writing an extended essay and completing advanced courses of your choosing.

Compulsory Courses

SBS Honours Project (Semester 1) (NT4016) – 45 Credit Points

Optional Courses

Select 75 credit points from courses of choice, at least 30 of which must be from courses delivered by the School of Biological Sciences at level 4.

How You'll Study

Combine practice and theory

Typically, one third of your class time is practical and many courses include full-day practical classes and field visits. Most students take at least one residential field trip during their degree; these trips bring the subjects to life and provide the opportunity to make great friendships and get to know staff members.

Research experience

You are actively involved in scientific research throughout your degree. In Year 4, you conduct independent research which can be pivotal to your career choice whether it be in dolphins, sharks, water voles, honey bees, moorland animal ecology, climate change in the Arctic, or any one of a diverse range of other exciting topics!

Engaging and inspiring teaching

Our teaching methods are diverse, innovative and based on research on how students learn. For example, we use problem-based learning approaches, creative presentations, peer and self-assessment, presenting posters in public meetings, writing and editing wikis, writing grant proposals, science writing for publication, and the creation of portfolios using multi-media.

Opportunities for Study Abroad and work-related learning

You can take advantage of an optional year-out on a work placement in any of our degree programmes. Study Abroad is encouraged for students in their second year; we have established partnerships with institutions in the USA, Canada, Australia, China and numerous countries in Europe.

Assessment Methods

Students are assessed by any combination of three assessment methods:

  • coursework such as essays and reports completed throughout the course;
  • practical assessments of the skills and competencies learnt on the course; and
  • written examinations at the end of each course.

The exact mix of these methods differs between subject areas, year of study and individual courses.

Honours projects are typically assessed on the basis of a written dissertation.

Why Study Zoology?
  • We are one of the few Universities in Britain offering a Zoology degree and our programme is the only accredited Zoology BSc Honours programme in Scotland.
  • We are recognized internationally for our research on animal energetics and dietary studies; fish immunology and salmon farming; animal behaviour and hormones; conservation of UK and international wildlife; honey bee health; dolphin behaviour and shark genetics. Our breadth of expertise means your training is both broad and current and you are taught by world-leading researchers in their field.
  • Our programme is rich in hands-on practical sessions in the laboratory, on day-trips or residential field trips where you work directly with organisms and samples in order to develop both technical and generic and transferable skills useful for a career in Zoology or broader biology.
  • The degree programme consists of both compulsory core courses as well as optional courses. This arrangement ensures you have sound training in Zoology but also gives the flexibility to engage in other subjects as desired enhancing possible career options.
  • Students benefit from field course teaching throughout the programme at several places in the UK and the Mediterranean. This offers real-world experience putting classroom taught theories into context as well as skills training for future careers in Zoology.


Zoology courses are designed to provide a broad based set of specialist and generic skills. A considerable number of Zoology graduates continue their education by reading for higher degrees either in the UK or abroad. Graduates may also enter biology teaching or general science by taking a postgraduate diploma. Graduates often find full-time employment in a wide range of careers. Typical employers include universities, research institutes, government agencies (e.g. SEPA, SNH), environmental consultancies, environmental charities including WWF & RSPB, National Health Service, libraries and commercial enterprises in aquaculture, animal nutrition and animal health.

One of the great advantages of having a Zoology degree from the Northampton University is that it provides you with a very broad range of skills to offer employers.

Not only do we train students in scientific methodology in the laboratory and in the field, we incorporate what we call ‘graduate attributes’ into the whole curriculum. Employers now expect an impressive list of skills, knowledge and experience in their graduate recruits and we aim to help you acquire these.

Entry requirements


SQA Highers

Standard: AABB*

Applicants who have achieved AABB (or better), are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/ Advanced Highers may be required.

Minimum: BBB*

Applicants who have achieved BBB (or are on course to achieve this by the end of S5) are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/Advanced Highers will normally be required.

Adjusted: BB*

Applicants who have achieved BB, and who meet one of the widening participation criteria are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/Advanced Highers will be required.

* Including good performance in at least two Mathematics/ Science subjects by the end of your senior phase of education.


Standard: BBB*

Minimum: BBC*

Adjusted: CCC*

* Including good performance in at least two Mathematics/ Science subjects by the end of your senior phase of education.

International Baccalaureate

32 points, including 5, 5, 5 at HL*.

* Including good performance in at least two Mathematics/ Science subjects by the end of your senior phase of education.

Irish Leaving Certificate

5H with 3 at H2 AND 2 at H3 OR AAABB*, obtained in a single sitting. (B must be at B2 or above)

* Including good performance in at least two Mathematics/ Science subjects by the end of your senior phase of education.

English Language Requirements

English Language Requirements

To study for an Undergraduate degree at the University of Northampton University it is essential that you can speak, understand, read, and write English fluently. The minimum requirements for this degree are as follows:


IELTS Academic:

OVERALL – 6.0 with: Listening – 5.5; Reading – 5.5; Speaking – 5.5; Writing – 6.0


OVERALL – 78 with: Listening – 17; Reading – 18; Speaking – 20; Writing – 21

PTE Academic:

OVERALL – 54 with: Listening – 51; Reading – 51; Speaking – 51; Writing – 54

Cambridge English Advanced & Proficiency:

OVERALL – 169 with: Listening – 162; Reading – 162; Speaking – 162; Writing – 169

How to apply


This programm by online learning has start dates in September and January of each academic year. 

We recommend that you apply as early as possible; this is particularly important for applicants who may need to allow sufficient time to take an English language test

Documentation required

Applications are made online via the University Application Service, EUCLID.

Please follow the instructions carefully and make sure that you have included the following documentation with your application:

  • Degree certificates showing award of degree.
  • Previous academic transcripts for all past degree programmes.
  • A reference in support or your application. The reference should be academic and dated no earlier than one year from the start of study on the LLM programme.
  • Evidence of English language proficiency, if required.

If you are currently studying for your degree or you are not in a possession of an English test result you may still apply to the programme. Please note that it is your responsibility to submit the necessary documents.

After you apply

After your application has been submitted you will be able to track its progress through the University’s applicant hub.

Application processing times will vary however the admissions team will endeavour to process your application within four to six weeks of submission. Please note that missing documentation will delay the application process.

You will be informed as soon as possible of the decision taken. Three outcomes are possible:

  • You may be offered a place unconditionally
  • You may be offered a conditional place, which means that you must fulfil certain conditions that will be specified in the offer letter. Where a conditional offer is made, it is your responsibility to inform the College Postgraduate Office when you have fulfilled the requirements set out.
  • Your application may be unsuccessful. If your application has not been successful, you can request feedback from us or refer to our guidance for unsuccessful applicants, which explains some of the common reasons we why we reach this decision.
    View the University’s guidance for unsuccessful applicants
Terms and conditions of admissions
  • The University’s terms and conditions form part of your contract with the University, and you should read them, and our data protection policy, carefully before applying.

    Northampton University admissions terms and conditions