Introduction

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?

This programme is studied on campus.

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 Aberdeen 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.

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Key Programme Information

At a Glance

Learning Mode
On Campus Learning
Degree Qualification
BSc
Duration
48 months
Study Mode
Full Time
Start Month
September
UCAS Code
C300

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.

Year 1

Year 1

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 (PD1001)

This course, which is prescribed for level 1 students and optional for level 2 students, is studied entirely online and covers topics relating to careers and employability, equality and diversity and health, safety and wellbeing. During the course you will learn about the Aberdeen Graduate Attributes, how they are relevant to you and the opportunities available to develop your skills and attributes alongside your University studies. You will also gain an understanding of equality and diversity and health, safety and wellbeing issues. Successful completion of this course will be recorded on your Enhanced Transcript as ‘Achieved’ (non-completion will be recorded as ‘Not Achieved’). The course takes approximately 3 hours to complete and can be taken in one sitting, or spread across a number of weeks and it will be available to you throughout the academic year.This course, which is prescribed for level 1 students and optional for level 2 students and above, is studied entirely online and covers topics relating to careers and employability, equality and diversity and health, safety and wellbeing. During the course you will learn about the Aberdeen Graduate Attributes, how they are relevant to you and the opportunities available to develop your skills and attributes alongside your University studies. You will also gain an understanding of equality and diversity and health, safety and wellbeing issues. Successful completion of this course will be recorded on your Enhanced Transcript as ‘Achieved’ (non-completion will be recorded as ‘Not Achieved’). The course takes approximately 3 hours to complete and can be taken in one sitting, or spread across a number of weeks and it will be available to you throughout the academic year

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Frontiers in Biological Sciences (BI1009) - 15 Credit Points
  • Eleven themes are explored in engaging lectures, exploring organismal biology and introducing you to the science that underpins current understanding of biology.
  • Structured practical sessions and class activities help you to develop your study and laboratory skills, and provide you with a strong foundation for a successful transition into university study.
  • Regular assignments, a mix of online tests, practical reports and reading assignments, structure your activities and help you progress through the course material.
  • Weekly guest lectures about current research helps you to see how basic biological concepts are being applied to real world problems.

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Diversity of Life 1 (BI1012) - 15 Credit Points

A walk through the evolutionary tree of life, examining the amazing diversity of major groups of organisms from plants through fungi to invertebrates.Learn about how each group of organisms arose, their characteristics, and how they achieved success.

Practical activities provide hands on experience of materials demonstrating the diversity of plants and invertebrates.

You will be assessed by a combination of laboratory reports, on which you will get detailed feedback to help you develop your skills, and an exam.

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Ecology and Environmental Science (BI1511) - 15 Credit Points

This course will take you on a journey through the physical workings of the Earth, the interactions between species and their environments and then on to the effects humans are having on the planet, potential solutions and thoughts on the future.

Teaching is by staff with different subject specialisms who give both variety and immediacy to course material.

Exposure to the problems we are facing both now and in the future will help you make informed choices in their everyday lives.

A range of ‘wet’ and computer-based practicals enhance the classroom teaching and develop generic scientific skills.

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Diversity of Life 2 (BI1512) - 15 Credit Points
  • A walk through the evolutionary tree of life, examining the amazing diversity of advanced invertebrates and vertebrates.
  • Learn about how each group of organisms arose, their characteristics, and how they achieved success.
  • Practical activities provide hands on experience of materials demonstrating the features of amphibians, fish, birds and mammals.
  • You will be assessed by a combination of laboratory reports, on which you will get detailed feedback to help you develop your skills, and an exam.

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The Cell (SM1501) - 15 Credit Points
  • cells are the fundamental unit of life – without them life could not exist, and as such understanding how they function is crucial to our understanding of biology and medical science;
  • this course provides theoretical knowledge in a diverse range of topics covering the fascinating world of cells, from molecules like DNA, to how different cell types function within our bodies;
  • all practical classes are research based and will provide theoretical knowledge and skills training in many areas of molecular and cell biology;
  • employability skills will also be explored through a highly interactive session run by the Scottish Institute for Enterprise

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Optional Courses

  • Select a further 45 credit points from courses of choice
Year 2

Year 2

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 (BI2017) - 15 Credit Points
  • look at how instructions in genes are transformed by natural selection to produce the diversity of life on Earth;
  • learn how species evolve, how we determine evolutionary relationships;
  • why populations change, understand why humans (and other organisms) must carry genetic diseases;
  • meet enthusiastic staff; each teach about areas we are expert on;
  • take 3 Genes & Evolution Practicals to gain hands on experience of approaches used by researchers to map genes, estimate rates of evolution, and determine evolutionary relationships;
  • keep up to speed with in-course tests, understand basic statistics, see why mutations are not the only evolutionary currency

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Biological Enhanced Skills Training (BEST) (BI2018) - 15 Credit Points

The course will help you consolidate and develop skills in experimental design, sampling, analysis, presentation, and interpretation of data. You will be encouraged to seek to improve your academic writing and develop other transferable skills.

Each week, there is one 1-hour introductory lecture. In two 2-hour sessions when will work through a series of computer-based data tasks, using relevant and realistic biological and environmental themes.

Teaching is informal and friendly. During sessions, staff will chat to you about your progress and provide help where necessary.

Assessments are two online multiple-choice tests (each 25%) and an individual project (50%).

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Ecology (BI2020) - 15 Credit Points

A range of practical and workshop classes will enable you to consider information from lectures in more detail and develop ideas.

A range of types of continuous assessment allow you to consolidate learning throughout the semester.

Weekly opportunities to practice writing skills needed for the exam and regular feedback provided on writing exercises.

Detailed feedback on practical assignments will help you develop essential scientific writing skills

You will use Peerwise to write multiple choice questions, requiring thorough engagement with taught material and developing an extensive set of questions for use in revision

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Principles of Animal Physiology (BI2510) - 15 Credit Points

Physiology is the study of the normal functions of living systems. This course will introduce you to the basics of invertebrate and vertebrate physiology.

Lectures will guide you through the various body systems and their interactions that maintain homeostasis in animals. Associated practicals allow you to explore particular systems in further detail and to develop relevant lab skills.

Through the study of examples from across different phyla, you will gain an appreciation of processes fundamental to all animals, and of differences across groups.

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Zoology Field Course (BI29Z3)

Optional Courses

  • Select a further 45 credit points from courses of choice
Year 3

Year 3

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 (BI3010) - 15 Credit Points

Review of basics of probability theory, data exploration and analysis using the linear modelling framework; depending on the option taken - fundamentals of using geographic information systems (GIS); bioinformatics and their application; statistical computing with R; capturing data; experimental design.

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Animal Evolution and Biodiversity (ZO3011) - 15 Credit Points

In lectures you are guided through the theory of evolution, complementing your other biological sciences courses and helping you make sense of the diversity in the living world.

In practical sessions on microevolution and phylogenetics, you gain insight into the processes of evolution and the tools used to study them.

Through talks and poster presentations you gain specialised knowledge and experience communicating complex ideas and synthesizing information from multiple sources.

With focus on the fundamental importance of evolution for our understanding of the natural world, you learn about the interactions between science and society and how science progresses.

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Animal Population Ecology (ZO3307) - 15 Credit Points

The students will learn about the basic ecological theory and modelling approaches required to understand population dynamics, and which are great importance for the successful management of animal populations to meet conservation or sustainable exploitation objectives. Students will have the opportunity to apply the theory learned in a series of field- and computer-based practicals. The course will provide the students with valuable analytical skills and an in-depth knowledge and understanding of population dynamics of animals.

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Environmental Physiology (ZO3513) - 15 Credit Points

Several themes explore how animals adapt to their environments within-life and during evolution, providing an overview of the integrated nature of physiology.

In groups, you will research how animals survive in extreme environments - presenting your findings as a scientific poster, developing skills in communication and team work.

The course has a practical where you will perform quantitative PCR - a keystone life sciences method for gene expression analysis.

All learning material is rooted in the research interests of teaching staff, meaning it is delivered effectively with enthusiasm.

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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
Year 4

Year 4

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) (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.

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Optional Courses

  • Either BI4017 SBS Honours Essay (Semester 1) OR BI4517 SBS Honours Essay (Semester 2)
  • Plus 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 4
SBS Honours Essay (Semester 1) (BI4017) - 15 Credit Points

You research a topic and write an extended essay, developing specialist knowledge and refining your synthesis and evaluation skills.

You choose your topic from a list that includes fundamental and cutting-edge issues, providing you with flexibility and an opportunity to pursue your interests.

An introductory workshop reminds you of good practice in writing an extended essay and a meeting with your essay supervisor provides you with feedback on your essay plan. You also have the opportunity to submit a draft essay for comments from your essay supervisor.

View detailed information about this course

SBS Honours Essay (Semester 2) (BI4517) - 15 Credit Points

You research a topic and write an extended essay, developing specialist knowledge and refining your synthesis and evaluation skills.

You choose your topic from a list that includes fundamental and cutting-edge issues, providing you with flexibility and an opportunity to pursue your interests.

An introductory workshop reminds you of good practice in writing an extended essay and a meeting with your essay supervisor provides you with feedback on your essay plan. You also have the opportunity to submit a draft essay for comments from your essay supervisor.

View detailed information about this course

Course Availability

We will endeavour to make all course options available; however, these may be subject to timetabling and other constraints. Please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

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.

Learning Methods

  • Field Work
  • Group Projects
  • Lab Work
  • Lectures
  • Research
  • Tutorials

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.

What Our Students Say

  • Stephanie Davidson
    Stephanie Davidson

    Stephanie Davidson

    The University has so much to offer and has a great range of opportunities for you to take part in and try. The campus is beautiful and is so diverse you meet people from all over the world.
  • Joe Marriott
    Joe Marriott

    Joe Marriott

    The best thing about being a student at Aberdeen University is the enthusiasm of all staff members for their particular field of study and their determination to help students achieve their full potential.

Entry Requirements

Qualifications

SQA Highers - AABB*
A Levels - BBB*
IB - 32 points, 5 at HL*
ILC - 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.

Advanced Entry - Advanced Highers ABB or A Levels ABB or IB 34 points (6 at HL), including Biology and Chemistry, one of which must be at A-grade.

Further detailed entry requirements for Sciences degrees.

English Language Requirements

To study for a degree at the University of Aberdeen it is essential that you can speak, understand, read, and write English fluently. Read more about specific English Language requirements here.

Fees and Funding

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

Fee Waiver

For international students (all non-EU students) entering in 2017/18, the 2017/18 tuition fee rate will apply to all years of study; however, most international students will be eligible for a fee waiver in their final year via the International Undergraduate Scholarship.

Most RUK students (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) on a four year honours degree will be eligible for a full-fees waiver in their final year. Scholarships and other sources of funding are also available.

Fee information
Fee category Cost
Home / EU £1,820
All Students
RUK £9,250
Students Admitted in 2018/19 Academic Year
International Students £18,400
Students Admitted in 2018/19 Academic Year

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 InfoHub Tuition Fees page.

Our Funding Database

View all funding options in our Funding Database.

Careers

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 University of Aberdeen 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.

Industry Links

We have strong local, national and international links to industry, government bodies, charities and other research institutions. You will benefit in several ways:

  • Exposure to policy-makers, practitioners, regulatory professionals and experts.
  • Our curriculum is informed by an employer advisory board that provides insight into changing requirements of employers.
  • You can take advantage of our collaborators' facilities and expertise for your research projects or placement.

Accreditation

This programme has been accredited by the Royal Society of Biology following an independent and rigorous assessment. Accredited degree programmes contain a solid academic foundation in biological knowledge and key skills, and prepare graduates to address the needs of employers.

This programme is accredited for the purpose of meeting in part the academic and experience requirement for Membership and Chartered Biologist (CBiol).

This degree holds accreditation from

What our Alumni Say

  • Mark Jamieson
    Mark Jamieson, Graduate Placement, Wildlife Operations Unit at Scottish Natural Heritage

    Mark Jamieson

    Job Details
    Graduate Placement, Wildlife Operations Unit, Scottish Natural Heritage
    Graduated
    The flexibility of the course selection at Aberdeen allowed me to gain knowledge in ecology at the molecular and ecosystem scale and package my interest into something that companies such as Scottish Natural Heritage can actually use!
  • Ewan McInness Campbell
    Ewan McInness Campbell, Research Fellow at University of Aberdeen

    Ewan McInness Campbell

    Job Details
    Research Fellow, University of Aberdeen
    Graduated
    This turned out to be the perfect degree programme for what I wanted to do as it gave me a wide base of knowledge. This platform has allowed me to work in such diverse subjects ranging from bird and mammal surveys to developing drugs for medicine.

Our Experts

Other Experts
Professor Xavier Lambin
Dr Daniel Macqueen
Programme Coordinator
Dr Alan Bowman

Information About Staff Changes

You will be taught by a range of experts including professors, lecturers, teaching fellows and postgraduate tutors. Staff changes will occur from time to time; please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

Only Scotland Accredited Zoology Programme

Our programme is the only accredited Zoology BSc Honours programme in Scotland

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Teaching laboratories

Teaching laboratories

Students in all degree programmes carry out practical experiments in our recently redesigned teaching laboratories.

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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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Field Centres

Field Centres

We have three field centres in Scotland that support our marine, ecology and conservation work. You have the opportunity to spend time at each of these during residential field courses

School of Biological Sciences Showcase

Our showcase film highlights the benefits for students who choose to study here, the breadth of research carried out at the School and the superb facilities on offer.

Key Information Set (KIS)

Unistats draws together comparable information in areas students have identified as important in making decisions about what and where to study. The core information it contains is called the Key Information Set.

You can compare these and other data for different degree programmes in which you are interested.

Get in Touch

Contact Details

Address
Student Recruitment & Admissions Service
University of Aberdeen
University Office
Regent Walk
Aberdeen
AB24 3FX