Animal Behaviour and Welfare, BSc

Animal Behaviour and Welfare, BSc


Exciting opportunity for students with an HND in Animal Care to enter year 3 of Scotland’s only BSc programme in Animal Behaviour and Welfare.

Study Information

At a Glance

Learning Mode
On Campus Learning
Degree Qualification
24 months or 48 months
Study Mode
Full Time or Part Time
Start Month
Location of Study

Our BSc Animal Behaviour and Welfare prepares students for graduate careers by providing an exciting opportunity to explore the science that underpins our understanding of animal behaviour and welfare.

We are the only University in Scotland to offer HND Animal Care students the opportunity to “top up” their qualifications with a BSc Honours degree. This additional qualification will enhance your employability and open up additional opportunities in terms of career options and further study.

Upon completion of the programme, you will have:

  • Developed a thorough knowledge and understanding of core and critical concepts in animal behaviour and welfare.
  • Become skilled in collecting, manipulating and analysing data that is relevant to research questions in animal behaviour and welfare.
  • Learned how to plan, execute and present an independent piece of work.
  • Developed the skills and confidence to construct a reasoned argument to support your position on ethical issues relevant to animal welfare.
  • Practised communication of science with both peers and non-scientists.

Part Time Study

Part time study options are available for this programme.

What You'll Study

Year 3

Students enter Year 3 of the programme and complete 120 course credits in Year 3 and 120 course credits in Year 4. This comprises four compulsory courses in Year 3 and three compulsory courses in Year 4. Students also complete three elective courses in each year from a selection of courses.

Compulsory Courses

Year 3 consists of the following courses:

ZO3515 - Animal Evolution and Biodiversity

ZO3813 - Practical Skills in Animal Behaviour

Statistical Analysis of Biological Data (BI3010)

15 Credit Points

You will utilise a robust approach to statistical analysis, a skill highly valued by employers and researchers.Lectures provide context, background and step-by step guidance on how to conduct and interpret a selection of statistical analyses.Through a series of exercises, you learn to explore data, to specify appropriate linear models for your research question and to interpret their results.Online tests structured around the exercises and lecture content allow you to demonstrate your achievement of course learning outcomes.Working with biological and environmental datasets in a structured and supportive environment, you will gain confidence and proficiency with data analysis.

Animal Management and Welfare (ZO3309)

15 Credit Points

This course considers the evolution, physiology and behaviour of domestic, companion and captive wild animals in relation to their husbandry and care.

You will apply your knowledge of biology and zoology to the improvement of management practices and to the enhancement of animal welfare. Field trips to local farms and a wildlife park will allow you to observe industry standards for captive animal welfare.

By researching and presenting a seminar on ethical issues related to animals in captivity, you will develop critical thinking skills and build experience in constructing and evidencing an argument, and also gain skills in group working and oral communication.

Behavioural Biology (BI3505)

15 Credit Points

Fundamental concepts of animal behaviour are introduced through a series of lectures and practicals, essential knowledge for those interested in better understanding animal behaviour as well as potentially undertaking an animal behaviour Honours project.

During the practicals students are encouraged to reflect on the theoretical knowledge learned during the lectures and apply that in explaining the observed behaviour of animals.

Students will have the opportunity to demonstrate their understanding of animal behaviour by producing an innovative multimedia presentation on the observed behaviour of a species of their choice.

Gateway to Honours Project (BI3511)

This non-credit bearing course will facilitate your preparation for your Honours project.

Lectures and workshops will clarify expectations for project work and provide training in risk assessment, consideration of ethical issues, environmental impacts and project planning.

Resources to help you define and plan your project will be made available through MyAberdeen, helping you to be confident that your project planning is sufficiently advanced by the end of your Programme Year 3.

Submission of an agreed (with your supervisor) project outline, completed checklists and preliminary risk assessment will allow you to demonstrate engagement with your project.

Optional Courses

Plus select 45 credit points from courses of choice.

Year 4

Compulsory Courses

SBS Honours Project (BI4016)

45 Credit Points

This independent research project develops your skills in scientific inquiry and critical analysis, as well as important generic skills, including presentation and time management.

Projects are field-, lab- and/or desk-based, developed on a topic of your interest under the direction of a supervisor.

Training in skills needed to perform your project is provided by world-leading researchers and their teams.

Workshops and drop-in sessions provide training in data analysis and thesis production.

This skill set will be appropriate for advanced study in the field of biological science or other careers where the generic skills that you will develop are highly valued.

Behavioural Ecology and Conservation (ZO4543)

15 Credit Points

This course will give you the opportunity to learn about contemporary topics in fundamental behavioural ecology and how this knowledge can be applied to improve the conservation and management of animals.

Academics working at the cutting edge of behavioural research will report on the state-of-art in their field., while you will gain direct experience of in silico approaches regularly used by researchers. Directed learning activities will encourage further exploration of the latest advances in the field through recorded lectures and conference presentations and the critical examination of journal articles and pre-prints.

You will develop your understanding of the state of the art in the field and be introduced to the process of research planning by reviewing grant proposals.

Topics in Animal Welfare (ZO4821)

15 Credit Points

Animal welfare is a concept based in science as well as philosophy – welfare can be measured and is important from an economic as well as moral point of view.This course uses a mix of class discussions, site visits, guest lecturers and self-directed study to provide a framework on which students can build and synthesise their knowledge of the science of animal welfare.

Student-led activities promote the development of transferable skills such as time management, project planning and reporting.

Optional Courses

Plus 45 credits from courses of choice, at least 15 of which must be from courses delivered by the School of Biological Sciences (i.e. BI, EK, EV, FY, PL, or ZO courses) at level 4.
A graduating curriculum for the Honours programme must include at least 90 credit points from Level 4 courses.

We will endeavour to make all course options available. However, these may be subject to change - see our Student Terms and Conditions page.

How You'll Study

Our teaching methods are diverse and are based on research on how students learn. We use lectures, seminars, class discussions, group-based tasks, site visits, presentations from practitioners, and independent research to underpin assignments.

Field skills are taught and practiced in the field on day trip excursions, through supervised and independent practical work undertaken as part of your project.

You will learn to critically evaluate and interpret both scientific literature and real-world animal welfare scenarios through practical activities in class and self-study for assignments.

Data analysis and interpretation skills are learned in our compulsory courses and you will be encouraged to present information and your considered opinions, in essays, opinion pieces, scientific reports, oral presentations and group debates. Students gain high level competence with standard software.

Learning Methods

  • Field Trips
  • Field Work
  • Individual Projects
  • Lectures
  • Research
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials
  • Workshops

Assessment Methods

Students are assessed by a combination of assessments methods which include:

  • online tests
  • oral and poster presentations
  • production of video
  • fieldwork notebooks
  • grant proposal
  • essay, thesis and project report
  • written exam

Why Study Animal Behaviour and Welfare?

  • You will benefit from a curriculum that builds on what you have learned in your HND studies and which offers practical and applied learning opportunities relevant to animal behaviour and welfare. 
  • You will have the opportunity to participate in visits to field sites including farms, wildlife parks and natural areas.  
  • Your learning will be enriched by the world-leading research activity undertaken by the academic staff at the School of Biological Sciences.
  • You will develop a set of graduate attributes and transferable skills that prepare you for a variety of jobs in animal science and the biosciences.
  • We are the only University in Scotland to offer HND Animal Care students advanced entry to year 3 of our BSc Animal Behaviour and Welfare.

Entry Requirements


The information below is provided as a guide only and does not guarantee entry to the University of Aberdeen.

General Entry Requirements

2024 Entry

This programme is only available as direct entry into Year 3 for candidates holding a relevant HND qualification eg. HND in Animal Care or HND Applied Sciences (240 SCQF credit points).

Candidates are expected to have achieved an A in all Graded Units.

Curriculum to include: Ecology and Ecosystems (H39A 34) or University of Aberdeen online Introductory Ecology course and Statistics for Science (H8XT 33) or Aberdeen University Online Statistics Course (BI2021).

2025 Entry

his programme is only available as direct entry into Year 3 for candidates holding a relevant HND qualification eg. HND in Animal Care or HND Applied Sciences (240 SCQF credit points).

Candidates are expected to have achieved an A in all Graded Units.

Curriculum to include: Ecology and Ecosystems (H39A 34) or University of Aberdeen online Introductory Ecology course and Statistics for Science (H8XT 33) or Aberdeen University Online Statistics Course (BI2021).

The information displayed in this section shows a shortened summary of our entry requirements. For more information, or for full entry requirements for Sciences degrees, see our detailed entry requirements section.

English Language Requirements

To study for an Undergraduate degree at the University of Aberdeen 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 - 59 with: Listening - 59; Reading - 59; Speaking - 59; Writing - 59

Cambridge English B2 First, C1 Advanced or C2 Proficiency:

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

Read more about specific English Language requirements here.

Fees and Funding

You will be classified as one of the fee categories below.

Fee information
Fee category Cost
EU / International students £24,800
Tuition Fees for 2024/25 Academic Year
Home Students £1,820
Tuition Fees for 2024/25 Academic Year
RUK £9,250
Tuition Fees for 2024/25 Academic Year

Scholarships and Funding

Students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland, who pay tuition fees may be eligible for specific scholarships allowing them to receive additional funding. These are designed to provide assistance to help students support themselves during their time at Aberdeen.

Additional Fees

  • In exceptional circumstances there may be additional fees associated with specialist courses, for example field trips. Any additional fees for a course can be found in our Catalogue of Courses.
  • For more information about tuition fees for this programme, including payment plans and our refund policy, please visit our Tuition Fees page.

Our Funding Database

View all funding options in our Funding Database.


Graduates in Animal Behaviour and Welfare will have a set of graduate attributes that prepare them for a variety of jobs in animal science and the biosciences including:

  • animal sanctuaries
  • zoos or wildlife parks
  • relevant industry and conservation organisations
  • education or research

Students who complete this programme at an appropriate level of achievement will also be able to continue with postgraduate study in a relevant discipline.

Nature on our Doorstep

Current and former students tell us why they choose to study biological and environmental sciences at Aberdeen

Our Experts

Programme Coordinators
Dr Lesley Lancaster
Mrs Cath Dennis

Information About Staff Changes

You will be taught by a range of experts including professors, lecturers, teaching fellows and postgraduate tutors. However, these may be subject to change - see our Student Terms and Conditions page.


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Zoology Museum

Zoology Museum

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Research facilities

Research facilities

Our research facilities on campus include animal holding facilities, greenhouses, fresh and salt-water aquaria, an insectarium, molecular and analytical laboratories, and a state of the art genomics lab.

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Science Teaching Hub

Science Teaching Hub

Our state-of-the-art Science Teaching Hub provides students with a digitally focussed environment including advanced analytical tools, research-grade equipment and flexible laboratory spaces.

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