Zoology with Foundation Year BSc (Hons)

Full-time undergraduate (4 years)

Cambridge

September 2017

Intermediate awards: BSc (without honours), CertHE, DipHE

Overview

Our four-year Society of Biology-recognised course is ideal if you don’t have the qualifications for our BSc (Hons) in Zoology. The foundation year gives you a really good grounding in science, and then you’ll join our BSc course. After that, the world’s your oyster (or zebra, lynx or yak).

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Full description

Careers

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Our course will open up a world of professional careers relating to the biology of animals. You’ll have good general training as a scientist, so you could choose to work in the field, in the laboratory, or both – and anywhere in the world.

After graduating, you might work for a zoo, a government agency, an environmental consultancy, a wildlife conservation organisation, or an education or research establishment. Graduates of this course have gone to work for leading zoos, the RSPB, local wildlife trusts, the BBC Natural History Unit, and fieldwork and research teams in exciting places from Costa Rica to Africa.

We’ll encourage you to do voluntary or paid work at every opportunity which will build your practical experience and help to attract employers. For example, you could support your local wildlife trust.

As a graduate of this course, you’ll be able to apply for membership of the Zoological Society of London, the Society of Biology, and other professional organisations.

Graduation doesn’t need to be the end of your time with us. If you’d like to continue your studies we offer a wide range of full-time and part-time postgraduate courses including MSc Animal Behaviour: Applications for Conservation and MSc Applied Wildlife Conservation.

Modules & assessment

Year one, core modules

  • Biology of Cells
    In this module practical sessions on cellular respiration, osmosis and cell diversity will support your lectures. You will study the structure and function of cellular organelles, membranes and transport systems, in both prokaryotes and eukaryotes. In addition, cell metabolism - the biochemical processes undertaken in living organisms - is a key component of this module. You will also cover Cellular respiration of glucose and the role of mitochondria. The fundamental principle of biology, the ability to renew (cells) and reproduce, both sexually and asexually and the mechanisms of cell division, including mitosis and meiosis, will be also be covered.
  • Biomolecules
    In this module you will focus on water and carbon and their central importance to biology. The composition, structure and function of the four groups of macromolecules - proteins, carbohydrates, nucleic acids and lipids - will be studied. A specific focus will be the mechanism of action of enzymes and factors such as pH and temperature that affect their function. The lectures will be complemented by practicals that build on the lecture material and teach a range of laboratory skills. The module will also focus on developing the academic skills required to be successful in higher education, particularly independent study, understanding the different forms of scientific writing (for example, practical reports and essays). Other skills taught will include finding reliable sources of information, citation and referencing and avoiding poor academic practice and plagiarism.
  • Mathematics for Science
    Foundation Maths for Science is a course that ensures students on the extended programmes for degrees in the departments of Life Sciences, Biomedical and Forensic Sciences, and Vision and Hearing Sciences have the necessary basic mathematical skills required for entry to level 4. By the end of this module, students will be able to carry out the basic mathematical manipulations and understand the relevant key concepts required in order to progress to their chosen degree course. Each mathematical concept is introduced by a lecture, in which examples of how to use and apply the concept are demonstrated. Students practise problems in a tutorial for each topic, using worksheets given out in advance of the sessions. The worksheets include problems applied to the various degree pathways to which the students will progress, to indicate the importance and applicability of mathematics to their future degrees. The subjects covered are a range of arithmetic skills, algebra, areas and volumes, trigonometry and basic statistics. In addition, there are sessions using Excel for manipulation of simple data sets using formulae and graphical presentation of the results. Students will be expected to apply the skills learnt in graphically presenting data to the other modules they are studying where applicable.
  • Chemical Principles
    This module provides an elementary introduction to chemical science for those with little or no prior experience of the subject. The study of materials and the undergoing chemical changes will be discussed. These principles will then be developed further by exploring the periodic table, chemical equations, calculating concentrations, quantitative chemical analysis such as colorimetry, chemical equilibria and organic chemistry. The practical component of the course will allow you to gain practice in some basic laboratory techniques based on the concepts covered in the lectures. In addition, tutorials will be held for students to practice questions further that arise from the relevant lectures. Laboratory experience and exposure will also equip students with required transferable skills. The focus will also be on good laboratory practice and sustainable approaches to chemistry.
  • Physical Principles
    This module provides an introduction to the principles and laws of physics which underpin all life sciences. No prior knowledge of physics is assumed, and the focus will be on those aspects which are specific to the requirements of students in their future pathways. The module will be taught with a mixture of lectures, workshops, tutorials and laboratory practicals. The module will encompass aspects such as how organisms move in relation to their environment, how they perceive their environment in terms of light and sound, how the physics of fluids and gasses affect the anatomy and physiology of organisms, how electricity is used to allow communication, and finally how radioactivity impacts on organisms, and the applications of physics in modern medicine The practical component of this module will allow the students to develop an understanding of how the theory they are taught in lectures is applied in practical situations. This module will allow the students to progress to their next level of study with a thorough grounding in aspects that are often considered to be challenging, but when understood, allow the students to appreciate fully how organisms interact with their environment, as determined by the fundamental laws of physics and chemistry.
  • Physiology
    Physiology is the science of body function and is related to the structure, or anatomy, or the organism. In this module the main organ and regulatory systems that work to enable the body to function and respond to change, whilst maintaining a constant internal environment, will be studied. Although this module will focus mainly on the human body as an example of a much studied organism, reference to other organisms will be made to illustrate particular principles or to contrast different systems and mechanisms. Laboratory-based practicals and workshops will be used to build on the knowledge gained from the lectures. The practical sessions will enable the development of a range of laboratory-based skills, which will include the recording of observational findings as well as experimental results.
  • Biological Diversity
    The Biological Diversity module will provide you with an introduction to key processes operating within living organisms, including energy provision, transport, control and co-ordination. The structural detail and functions are considered at a range of scales from cells, through organ systems to whole organisms and applied to the main micro-organism, animal and plant phyla as appropriate. Interactions between organisms and their environment are examined together with the biotic and abiotic factors which control their distribution and abundance. The systems and mechanisms required to control and regulation of water and temperature and how gas exchange is achieved will be studied. Basic principles of genetic inheritance will be introduced and considered in the context of Darwin’s theory of natural selection. Practical skills will be developed in laboratory session that will require observation and experimentation. Workshops related to genetics problems will be held to consolidate and expand the material introduced in the genetic lectures.
  • Introduction to Evolution
    This module is designed to develop fundamental scientific knowledge/ skills to enter level 4. It will also build on the Biology, Chemistry and Mathematics modules studied in semester 1. A variety of teaching modes will be utilized to investigate a range of topics in evolution and relationship with behaviour, ecology and physiology/ anatomy. A project related to evolutionary adaptation/ behaviour will start the development of the specialist skills required in your future degrees. The module will be assessed by a variety of coursework assignments, such as poster presentation, data analysis and tests.

Year two, core modules

  • Animal Form and Function
    The ways in which animals cope with the demands of everyday life, from feeding, moving and respiring to sensing the outside world and each other are as diverse as the animals themselves. This module will examine the variety of ways in which an animal's form and physiology are adaptations to the many tasks it faces to survive.
  • Wildlife and Conservation
    This module provides an introduction to wildlife taxonomy, conservation, distribution and ecology, with a focus on vertebrates found in Britain. For each major taxonomic group (birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles) and for selected individual species, key conservation and management issues are addressed. You'll also consider historical changes in the distribution and abundance of wildlife, and learn to assess the problems and challenges posed by both re-introductions and by the release/introduction of non-native species. By taking this module you'll acquire basic skills and knowledge relevant to a range of careers in ecology, conservation and wildlife biology.
  • Biomeasurement
    A knowledge and understanding of maths is essential to being a skilled scientist. This module provides you with the core mathematical tools required to perform tasks in experimental design, data collection and data interpretation. By the end of this module you’ll be able to apply the skills learnt to specific biomedical science case studies. Each mathematical concept is introduced in a lecture where you’ll gain an understanding of the key principles. Each lecture will be followed by interactive tutorial sessions where you’ll be able to apply these principles to relevant biomedical situations. This will develop your understanding of and ability to use the mathematic principles as well as allowing you to visualize how they can be used in an appropriate real-life setting. Drop-in tutorial sessions are also held, making the module accessible for students with all levels of mathematic ability.
  • Introduction to Animal Behaviour and Welfare
    In this module you’ll review the philosophy and multidisciplinary origins of the scientific study of behaviour. You’ll also consider the ethically sound use of the scientific study of animal behaviour in pure and applied disciplines, especially in the context of the assessment of animal welfare. Through this module you'll gain foundation knowledge in the scientific study of animal behaviour, its potential applications, and the principles of sound experimental design. Such skills will be developed in subsequent modules and will prove useful in a wide range of scientific and animal management careers.
  • Animal Behaviour Research
    In this module your understanding of the study of animal behaviour is developed in a practical context. Psychological concepts such as learning, memory, motivation, emotion, personality, perception and sociality are developed through a series of exercises. The exercises are set in laboratory, field and virtual settings and give you experience of observing a wide variety of animals. Attention is paid to the rationale for choice of research design and measurement technique in relation to context in terms of the nature of the question being asked, the setting in which the observations are recorded, and the biology of the species observed. You are guided to communicate the results in an effective scientific manner.
  • Ecology
    You’ll be provided with a broad introduction to animal and plant ecology and facilitate the study of ecological modules at higher levels. You’ll be introduced to ecological terminology, the scope of ecology and the potential role of ecological science in providing guidance on the sustainable use of the biosphere.
  • Evolution and Biodiversity
    This will introduce you to the major principles of evolutionary theory and highlight the major transitions that have occurred in the diversification of life. This module will begin by focussing on the early events in evolution, including the origin of life, the symbiotic creation of the eukaryotic cell, and the advent of multicellularity. It will go on to investigate the challenges and opportunities that multicellular life forms had to face, and the processes that led to diversification in some groups, with an emphasis on the theories and mechanics of speciation.
  • Introduction to Marine Biology
    This module introduces you to the range of marine environments and marine life within the biosphere - and the factors which generate this variety. It provides the basis for studying other 'marine' modules at Levels 2 and 3. You'll cover aspects of the biology, ecology and environmental physiology of selected marine organisms around the UK shores and beyond. A range of marine habitats will be illustrated through the use of video (Blue Planet) while marine biodiversity will be covered 'practically' by a visit to a marine aquarium. The module will also involve a full day (weekend) field trip to a coast in East Anglia to study plant and animal life at the interface of land and sea. This field trip will require a certain amount of walking over rough terrain.

Year three, core modules

  • Being a Biologist
    This compulsory year two module prepares you for being able to conduct independent research and is particularly relevant to preparing you to undertake their third year research project. Knowledge and skills needed to ask and answer biological questions in a scientifically valid, ethical and safe way will be introduced through lectures and consolidated through hands-on workshops. The quantitative, communication, critical thinking and IT skills gained from this module are applicable to a wide range of graduate employment opportunities.
  • Field Skills in Biology
    This module is centred on a field course in north Devon that will allow you to develop skills in various components of field biology. It will introduce you to the research methods necessary for conducting fieldwork in temperate habitats including how to identify UK fauna and flora, and planning and conducting a research project. Through a range of exercises, you will receive training in field techniques in marine, terrestrial or behavioural ecology. Transport and accommodation are covered, but you will have to buy and cook your own food.
  • Invertebrate Biology
    Invertebrates account for over 99 % of all animal species. It is estimated that the total number of animal species on Earth may exceed 30 million although only around 1 million have been named. we'll introduce you to the diverse world of invertebrates and focus on aspects of their biology, ecology and behaviour.
  • Vertebrate Biology
    Vertebrates account for fewer than 1% of known species of animal life. Yet vertebrates (including humans) are some of the most successful and widely adapted animals on Earth. Vertebrates inhabit almost all corners of our planet, except the deepest parts of the oceans, close to the poles and on top of the highest mountain peaks. Vertebrate species may be terrestrial, arboreal or marine; they burrow, swim, run, climb, fly or glide. They include the so called "charismatic megafauna" such as tigers, eagles, elephants and pandas, as well as top predators such as sharks and crocodiles. You’ll study how these animals came to occupy their current dominant position among animal life on Earth.
  • Principles of Genetics and Evolution
    Genetics unifies the biological sciences. Through an integration of concepts at the population, organismal, cellular and DNA levels, you’ll develop an understanding of the core principles of genetics and their applications and an understanding of the relationship between genetic variation and evolution. You’ll study the structure and nature of genes and genomes and then consider the rules of inheritance from an individual basis and how do they translate into the organisation of the gene-pool of a population and species. You’ll also be introduced to some of the genetic techniques used to answer behavioural, ecological and evolutionary questions. Your understanding of genetic processes will be developed through a variety of problems, case studies and laboratory sessions.

Year three, optional modules

  • Marine and Terrestrial Communities
    In this module you'll explore the relationships between community ecology and ecosystem functioning in aquatic and terrestrial environments.
  • Evolution of Behaviour
    You’ll receive a detailed overview of the study of animal behaviour. The application of hypothesis testing to questions about behaviour is reviewed and used as a basis for illustrating recent advances in the scientific understanding of animal behaviour.
  • BioGIS
    In this module you'll learn to use a widely available commercial desktop GIS software package. We'll also explore the range of data input and sources used by GIS so you can create and manage spatial data for a broad range of applications. We'll explore primary data sources for GIS, including: aerial photographs and satellite imagery, GPS surveying and field data collection, metadata and the creation of maps.
  • Parasitology
    Parasitism is the most prevalent lifestyle among organisms. It's estimated that at least every plant and animal possesses at least one parasite. You'll explore the unique relationship between a parasite and its host from a number of perspectives.
  • Biological Oceanography
    In this module we'll study oceanic ecosystems, focussing on factors which determine the distribution of organisms and productivity of the seas. We'll also explore the less familiar realms of the ocean; the pelagic zone, the deep sea and the polar zones.

Year four, core modules

  • Wildlife Conservation
    Advance your skills in conservation and critically evaluate the science underlying conservation biology as well as exploring the multi-dimensional issues faced by working wildlife biologists. You’ll examine current conservation problems including socio-political dimensions, and explore the ways in which conservationists set out to find solutions.
  • Mammalogy
    Although relatively few in number, the 4,600 or so known species of extant mammal are of considerable economic and cultural importance. As a vertebrate Class, the mammals are important to us as a food source (most domesticated animals are mammals), as companion animal, in medical and other scientific research, for transport and as pests and vectors of disease. You'll study the biology of the mammals and considers mammalian taxonomy, morphology, physiology, ecology, distribution, evolution and behaviour.
  • Undergraduate Project
    You’ll create in a substantial piece of individual research and/or product development work, focused on a topic of your choice in life science. You could chose your topic from a variety of sources including research groups, previous/current work experience, your current employer, a suggestion from your tutor or a topic you’re specifically interested in. You’ll identify problems and issues, conduct literature reviews, evaluate information, investigate and adopt suitable development methodologies, determine solutions, process data, critically appraise and present your finding using a variety of media. Regular meetings with your project supervisor will ensure your project is closely monitored and steered in the right direction.

Year four, optional modules

  • Advanced Approaches in Animal Management
    Historically animal behaviour has been under emphasised in strategies designed to protect (1) human and non-human animal health and; (2) conserve and manage populations. This module addresses this by exploring the interfaces between animal behaviour, disease processes and management strategies. You will explore the integration of animal behaviour with established and emerging approaches to identifying, monitoring and controlling non-human animal based problems. This will utilise techniques including geographical information systems, veterinary epidemiology and population ecology modelling.
  • Zoos and Zoo Animal Management
    This module addresses the question "What are zoos for?" and considers the current and historical role of zoos under the broad headings of recreation, education, conservation and research. It has at its core a field course to major European zoos, designed to introduce you to zoos, the animals they keep, how they are exhibited, and the reasons for keeping them. Upon return to the UK, the module is taught through a series of team-based learning sessions. Through these sessions and your experience of the zoos on the field course, you will consider the history and philosophy of wild animal collections and the various roles played by zoos in modern society. Zoos today face both biological (e.g. captive breeding) and non-biological (e.g. finance and public relations) problems relating to the management of collections of wild animals in captivity. You will consider these problems from several perspectives, ranging from the animals’ welfare to the perceptions of the general public when visiting zoos. Upon completion of the module, you should have an understanding of the complexity of the political, ethical and legal aspects of keeping wild animals in captivity. The field course is a compulsory part of the module and has an estimated cost of £450.
  • Biogeography
    Biogeography describes the spatial distribution of living things and how these have been affected by global change. In this module we'll investigate climatology, geology, geography and computer applications, rooted in biology, particularly ecology, systematics and evolutionary biology.
  • Behavioural Ecology
    Behavioural Ecology has been an established discipline within the natural sciences since at least the late 1970s. It brings together the theoretical understanding of evolution and ecology with the observational practices of early ethologists. In this module we'll explore this across four major themes: communication; finding resources and avoiding being eaten; living with others of the same species and producing the next generation.
  • Cognition, Evolution and Behaviour
    This module will give you the skills to identify and then develop a detailed knowledge and understanding of topics at the forefront of the study of Animal Behaviour or Animal Welfare. It'll improve your time management, team work, self evaluation, communication and critical evaluation skills, applicable to a wide range of graduate employment opportunities. You'll work in groups to research and then communicate to fellow students (and lecturers) topics at the cutting edge of research and debate in Animal Behaviour, Animal Welfare or related sub-disciplines (e.g. Behavioural Ecology, Socioecology).
  • Countryside Management
    You’ll gain knowledge and skills appropriate for working in practical ecology or conservation in the UK countryside or for continuing to a higher degree in this area. You’ll cover aspects of the following areas: woodlands and forestry in the countryside, agriculture in the countryside, urbanisation of the countryside, management of rivers and wetlands, legislation relevant to managing the countryside, habitat restoration, national parks and upland management.
  • Population Ecology and Wildlife Management
    You'll focus on the first principles of population ecology, and the ways this body of theory is applied practically in wildlife management. An important focus is the demography and dynamics of natural populations of both plants and animals.
  • Practical Marine Biology
    Ahead of your residential field course at a UK marine biology field station, you’ll take advantage of lectures and practical workshops to equip you with the skills necessary to make the most of your practical experience. Please note, this module includes a compulsory field trip. For BSc Marine Biology with Biodiversity & Conservation students, the cost of the field trip itself is zero, although you will have to pay to get to the field site. For BSc Zoology students, the field trip costs approximately £400 plus up to £100 for travel to Scotland.
  • Tropical Ecology and Management
    Take part in a field course in tropical ecology, biodiversity and conservation and discover the complex habitats and ecosystems within the tropics, with particular reference to East Africa. Field course activities are a mix of group field work on a specific aspects of tropical ecology and visits to one or more locations to observe, record and interpret various aspects of tropical fauna, flora and habitats. Through your experience of the country where the field course takes place, you’ll discover a range of anthropogenic influences and pressures on tropical habitats, such as effects of population growth, tourism and economic development, and how these relate to conservation. Please note, there is a compulsory two week field trip to Uganda with this module. The estimated cost of this is £1,600, all inclusive.

Assessment

Throughout the course, we’ll use a range of assessment methods to help you and your tutors measure your progress. Besides exams, these include essays, practical reports, computer-based assessments, presentations, debates, classroom- or laboratory-based tests, and reviews of scientific papers.

Where you'll study

Your faculty

The Faculty of Science & Technology is one of the largest of five faculties at Anglia Ruskin University. Whether you choose to study with us full- or part-time, on campus or at a distance, there’s an option whatever your level – from a foundation degree, to a BSc, MSc, PhD or professional doctorate. 

Whichever course you pick, you’ll gain the theory and practical skills needed to progress with confidence. Join us and you could find yourself learning in the very latest laboratories or on field trips or work placements with well-known and respected companies. You may even have the opportunity to study abroad.

Everything we do in the faculty has a singular purpose: to provide a world-class environment to create, share and advance knowledge in science and technology fields. This is key to all of our futures.

Where can I study?

Cambridge
Lord Ashcroft Building on our Cambridge campus

Our campus is close to the centre of Cambridge, often described as the perfect student city.

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Fees & funding

Course fees

UK & EU students, 2017/18 (per year)

£9,250

International students, 2017/18 (per year)

£12,200

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For more information about tuition fees, including the UK Government's commitment to EU students, please see our UK/EU funding pages

Additional costs

Walking boots - £60
Waterproof coat - £50
Wellingtons - £25
Waterproof trousers - £20
Poster printing - £20
Cost of printing dissertation/individual project
Isle of Rum field trip (optional) - £250

Additional module costs

Please check individual modules for additional field trip costs

How do I pay my fees?

Tuition fee loan

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Most English undergraduates take out a tuition fee loan with Student Finance England. The fees are then paid directly to us. The amount you repay each month is linked to your salary and repayments start in April after you graduate.

How to apply for a tuition fee loan

Paying upfront

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If you choose not to take out a loan you can pay your fees directly to us. There are two ways to do this: either pay in full, or through a three- or six-month instalment plan starting at registration.

How to pay your fees directly

International students

You must pay your fees up-front, in full or in instalments. You will also be asked for a deposit or sponsorship letter for undergraduate courses. Details will be in your offer letter.

Paying your fees
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Funding for UK & EU students

We offer most new undergraduate students funding to support their studies and university life. There’s also finance available for specific groups of students.

Grants and scholarships are available for:

Entry requirements

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Important additional notes

Our published entry requirements are a guide only and our decision will be based on your overall suitability for the course as well as whether you meet the minimum entry requirements. Other equivalent qualifications may be accepted for entry to this course, please email answers@anglia.ac.uk for further information.

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