Animal Behaviour BSc (Hons)

Full-time undergraduate (3 years, 4 years with placement)

Cambridge

September 2018

Overview

Learn how and why animals behave the way they do. Take a work placement that will open up wide-ranging careers in wildlife, conservation, zoo education and beyond. Gain the skills you’ll need to investigate animals and contribute to important discoveries.

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Full description

Careers

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Studying animal behaviour could make the difference between future generations seeing live examples of a species, or reading about them in a history book. It could help you to manage and enhance the habitats of zoo animals, or to educate the public on the importance of animal welfare.

What you’ll learn on this course could take you into a career relating to domestic and captive animal management, animal training and behavioural rehabilitation, or zoo education to name but a few. The transferable scientific skills you’ll develop could also open up a career in the field or the laboratory – perhaps for a government agency or an environmental consultancy. 

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

Modules & assessment

Year one, core modules

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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 two, core modules

  • Biological Bases of Behaviour
    In this module you'll examine the 'machinery of behaviour', covering the anatomy, physiology and biochemistry of the nervous system and relevant components of the endocrine system. We'll also investigate mechanisms associated with motivation and emotion and how these are thought to be mediated by the brain and endocrine systems. An important topic for any student of behaviour is the relationship between thinking, consciousness, learning and memory and how these relate to the physical 'machinery' of the brain. We'll review the localised behavioural functions of the brain using the 'split brain' (the difference between the right and left hemisphere) as an explanatory model. We'll also discuss the evolution of the nervous system and brain.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Animal Health and Nutrition
    This module will introduce you to the study of animal health and nutrition with particular emphasis on the relationship between health, disease, nutrition and welfare in domesticated animals. You’ll examine the essential components of food and learn how they contribute to a balanced diet in domesticated animals. We’ll discuss comparative digestive anatomy and physiology, as well as the impact of appropriate and inappropriate nutrition on animal health and welfare. You’ll examine the agents of significant animal diseases including epizootics and zoonoses, and the transmission, management and prevention of disease. We’ll discuss the use of veterinary intervention, drugs and feed supplements and the impact of these measures on welfare. We’ll also consider the ethical implications of their deployment in problems of animal disease.
  • 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.
  • Animal Learning and Training
    You’ll explore both human and animal cognition from a theoretical and methodological perspective in this module. You’ll learn to understand the biological and mental processes that underpin behaviour, and appreciate how natural selection has shaped the perceptual abilities of animals and their species-typical behaviour. We’ll explore the range of behavioural modification techniques in detail across a range of species, and give you the opportunity to apply them.
  • Practical Skills for Animal Behaviour
    This module provides an introduction to student-directed research and increases your skills base through a range of practical technique-led themes. The themes include Behavioural Recording Techniques, Behavioural Physiology, and Behavioural Testing. This module will also teach you key research skills and analytical techniques and tools directly relevant to the scientific jobs market.

Year two, optional modules

  • 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.
  • 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, core modules

  • 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).
  • Applied Ethology and Animal Welfare
    This module addresses applied aspects of the science of animal behaviour and shows how behavioural theory and research can be applied to a wide range of practical problems, from pest control to captive breeding and the management of wild populations. We’ll cover the application of behavioural research to vertebrate and invertebrate husbandry, and the history, philosophy and development of the relatively recent science of animal welfare. You’ll consider the variety of ethical approaches to the use of animals by humans for varying purposes and the controversial issue of how to assess animal welfare through behavioural and physiological indicators. We’ll also introduce you to the specialist techniques that support these assessments.
  • Undergraduate Major Project
    In this module you’ll be creating a substantial piece of individual research focused on a topic of your choice. You could choose your topic from a variety of sources including research groups, previous/current work experience and/ or suggestion from your tutor. You’ll identify problems and issues, conduct literature review, process data, critically appraise and present your findings. Regular meetings with your project supervisor will ensure your project is closely monitored and steered in the right direction.

Year three, optional modules

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Human Behaviour Change for Animal Welfare
    The relationships between humans and animals are complex. The actions of humans towards animals in domestic, captive and natural contexts can influence profoundly the behaviour and welfare of animals. Understanding how to effectively influence human-animal relationships in a positive way through negotiation and counselling is therefore an essential skill set for most animal-based careers. This module will synthesise your knowledge of animal behaviour and welfare with aspects of human psychology as it relates to the human-animal relationship.
  • 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.
  • Animal Behaviour Counselling
    This module will require you to synthesise your knowledge of ethology, learning theory, human psychology, neuropsychology and psychopharmacology. This broad understanding of factors initiating and influencing human and non-human behaviour will be contextualised within the discipline of companion animal behaviour counselling. Strong emphasis will be placed on practising counselling skills such as taking case histories, communicating with clients and professionals and supplying oral and written instructions and feedback to clients. The science and art of differential diagnosis in respect of common animal behaviour problems and the construction and delivery of appropriate structured treatment regimes will be tested through both the critical appraisal of literature and the reporting of case studies. The module will be assessed by a one hour, closed book examination relating to theoretical concepts and practical procedures covered in the module and the submission of a workbook, to include a case study of an animal behaviour counselling scenario and video recording and critique of a training task.
  • 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.

Assessment

We’ll assess you in a number of ways, with most modules including a combination of written assignments and exams. For some modules, you may be asked to present or produce a poster, portfolio or workbook.

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.

Explore our Cambridge campus

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Additional study information

Placements

This course gives you the opportunity to take a work placement year between years 2 and 3 of your studies. You’ll get experience of seeking and securing a job and working in an industry relating to your course. You’ll also get the practical experience and industry contacts to benefit your studies and enhance your long-term career prospects.

Although they can’t be guaranteed, we can work with you to find a placement using our contacts with a large number of employers. You’ll have regular contact with one of our course tutors and be supported by a supervisor from your placement company. Together they’ll monitor your performance and give you feedback.

To find out more about placement opportunities, email us at FST-Placements@anglia.ac.uk.

Fees & funding

Course fees

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

£9,250

International students, 2017/18 (per year)

£12,200

UK & EU students, 2018/19 (per year)

£9,250

Placement year (UK, EU, international students)

£1,000

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Fee information

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:

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Funding for international students

We've a number of scholarships, as well as some fee discounts for early payment.

Entry requirements

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BTEC modules

We require a final grade of DMM in the BTEC Extended Diploma in Animal Management / Distinction in the City & Guilds Level 3 Extended Diploma in Animal Management.

We require the following two compulsory units to be completed and at least six of the recommended units.

Compulsory/recommended Unit
Compulsory Unit 02: Understand the Principles of Animal Biology
Compulsory Unit 03: Understand Animal Anatomy and Physiology
Recommended Unit 01: Understand and Promote Animal Health
Recommended Unit 07: Undertake an Investigative Project in the Land-based Sector
Recommended Unit 10: Understand the Principles of Animal Nutrition
Recommended Unit 11: Understand the Principles of Animal Nursing
Recommended Unit 13: Understand and Interpret Animal Behaviour and Communication
Recommended Unit 16: Understand the Principles and Carry Out the Practice of Biochemistry and Microbiology
Recommended Unit 19: Understanding the Principles of Wildlife Populations, Ecology and Conservation
Recommended Unit 20: Understand and Undertake Wildlife Management and Rehabilitation
Recommended Unit 26: Fundamentals of Science
Recommended Unit 28: Understand the Principles of Inheritance and Genetic Manipulation
Recommended Unit 30: Understand the Principles of Chemistry for Biological and Medical Science
Recommended Unit 32: Understand the Principles of Animal Breeding and Genetics
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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.

All tariff points must come from A levels. Points from AS levels cannot be counted towards the total tariff points required for entry to this course.

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International students

We welcome applications from international and EU students, and accept a range of international qualifications.

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English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you'll need to make sure you meet our English language requirements for undergraduate courses.

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Improving your English language skills

If you don't meet our English language requirements, we offer a range of courses which could help you achieve the level required for entry onto a degree course.

We also provide our own English Language Proficiency Test (ELPT) in the UK and overseas. To find out if we are planning to hold an ELPT in your country, contact our country managers.

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