Zoology BSc


Fact file - 2015 entry

UCAS code:C300
Qualification:BSc Hons
Type and duration:3 year UG
Qualification name:Zoology
A level offer: AAB-ABB
Required subjects: biology and a second science at A level, preferably from chemistry, physics or maths; geography and psychology are also considered if taken in combination with a second science at AS level; also maths and English grade C or above at GCSE 
IB score: 32-34(5/6 in biology and one other science, in any order, at Higher Level) 
Available part time: no 
Course places: 35 (with Zoology MSci) 
Campus: University Park Campus 


Course overview

This course is enriched by cutting-edge research across a range of disciplines, from animal behaviour, ecology and parasitology, to neurobiology and toxicology. It offers modules in subjects ranging from conservation to immunobiology. As a result, you can experience many disciplines in which new technologies are making important contributions.

Year one 

Your first year will be a broad introduction to zoology and biology. You will be introduced to the biology of animals, and the biochemical, evolutionary and genetic processes that underlie their biology.

Year two

In this year, you will find more advanced courses available. In addition to modules in Parasitology and Immunology, and Communicating Biology, you can choose from a range including the Behavioural Ecology Field Course, Photography, Neurobiology, Behaviour and Ecology, Experimental Design, Genetics, Evolution, and Embryology.

Year three

The third year includes a practical research project, which will allow you to carry out your own zoological investigation. The main theme of the third year is diversity and choice, and you will have the opportunity to choose from a wide range of available modules including Bioethics, Biological Photography and Imaging, Conservation, Neurobiology, Endocrinology, Genetics, Evolution, Ecology, Behaviour, Physiology, Immunology and Developmental Biology.

Entry requirements

A levels: AAB-ABB, including biology and a second science at A level, preferably from chemistry, physics or maths; geography or psychology will also be considered if in combination with a second science at AS level; also maths and English grade C or above at GCSE

English language requirements 

IELTS 6.5 (no less than 6.0 in any element)

TOEFL iBT 87 (minimum 20 in Speaking and 19 in all other elements)

Alternative qualifications 

For details please see the alternative qualifications page

Foundation year - a foundation year is available for all our courses

Flexible admissions policy

We may make some applicants an offer lower than advertised, depending on their personal and educational circumstances.


The modules we offer are inspired by the research interests of our staff and as a result, may change from year to year. The following list is therefore subject to change but should give you a flavour of the modules we offer.

Typical Year One Modules

Zoology Tutorial and Study Skills

You will be guided through the academic expectations of your degree, and provided with skills such as how to use the library, data handling and presentation of results, preparation for examinations and essay-writing skills. You’ll also be trained in transferable and scientific skills. The module will include eight tutorials, five lectures and a workshop.

Genetics, Ecology and Evolution

Considers the genetics, evolution, and ecology of living organisms, extending from the basics of genetics, through evolutionary genetics and molecular evolution, to behaviour and population and community ecology. Around three hours per week will be spent within lectures studying this module.


An introduction to the basic biology and genetics of micro-organisms, their impact on human health and the environment, and their use in biotechnology. You will spend around three hours per week in lectures and the module also includes three three-hour practicals.

Introductory Cell Biology 

You’ll gain an understanding of the structure and function of living cells. The major themes studied are cell structure, biochemistry and cellular physiology. There will be three hours per week in lectures, for eight weeks, and three three-hour practicals.

Genes and Cellular Control

This is a pair of modules, one lecture-based, one practical. You’ll examine how information in DNA is used to determine the structure of gene products. Topics include DNA structure, transcription and translation and mutation and recombinant DNA technology. You will spend around three hours per week in lectures in the lecture module and three hours per week in practicals in the practical module.

Experimental Design and Analysis I

Explains how to plan your own scientific investigations, how to critically evaluate the work of others, and how to use statistics to analyse biological data. This module involves around 1.5 hours in lectures as well as two hours studying in workshops per week, with optional computer sessions.

The Animal Kingdom

An introduction to animal design and the way evolution allows animals to exploit their environments. You’ll study topics such as diversity and order in animal design and strategies for movement and support in invertebrates and vertebrates. You'll spend around four hours per week for eight weeks in lectures followed by three three-hour practicals.

Immunity, Parasites and Control of Parasitic Infections

An exploration of infection and defence against parasitic organisms. You’ll study major themes such as the immune system, and the biology of some representative parasites and why they have been successful. You’ll also consider the problems of controlling infections and the biology of free-living roundworms. This module involves around three hours in lectures per week for nine weeks and three three-hour practicals.

Human Physiology and Pharmacology

This pair of modules introduces human physiology and pharmacology. Areas of study include the central nervous system, the cardiovascular system, the blood, the gastrointestinal and endocrine systems, and reproduction. Each module includes three hours of lectures each week.

Plant Science 

Introduces the conventional uses of plants and some of the problems associated with plant production. You’ll consider the techniques used to study plant science, including genetics and the use of mutants. You will have a three-hour lecture once per week during this module.


Typical Year Two Modules

Evolutionary Biology of Animals 

Introduces key evolutionary concepts and their application in the animal kingdom. Areas you’ll study include the history of evolutionary thinking, natural selection versus the neutral theory, sexual selection and human evolution. You will have a two-hour lecture once per week during this module.

Biological Photography and Imaging I

Through practical sessions, you will learn the techniques of biological image production and manipulation, including the ability to generate biological images of the highest technical quality and scientific value. You'll spend around three hours per week in lectures studying this module.

Behavioural Ecology Field Course

A residential field course in Portugal based on research projects in animal behaviour, ecology and parasitology, carried out in small groups. This module takes place over 15 days in the Easter vacation.

Biodiversity Field Course

A residential field course based on research projects in field biology. You will learn about the rich variety of animals and plants that inhabit the UK, how to recognise them, how to count them and what kinds of factors affect their distributions. This module takes place in September during which you will spend one week based within the English Peak District.


Introduces the study of populations and communities from an evolutionary point of view, and considers critically the extent of our understanding of ecological ideas. Study for this module consists of a four-hour lecture once per week.

Environmental Physiology

You’ll examine how animals cope with and take advantage of opportunities associated with living in different environments, with topics including animal form and function and feeding strategies. You'll have eight three-hour lectures blocks and two three-hour practicals studying this module.

Natural Systems

Considers the principles underlying the structure and organisation of natural systems. You’ll study topics such as diversity theory, community ecology and ecosystem functioning. You will have a three-hour lecture once per week to study for this module.


You’ll consider the ecological specialisation of parasitic organisms and parasitism. Emphasis is given to understanding the survival strategies of parasites, through analysis of the costs/benefits of specific solutions to the problem of transmission between hosts. You will spend around three hours per week in lectures plus a three-hour practical studying this module.

Animal Behaviour 

Introduces the study of animal behaviour, from the physiological and genetic bases of behaviour to its development and adaptive significance in the natural environment. You will have a three-hour lecture once per week for this module.


An introduction to vertebrate immunity, the immune response to infection and the basis of immunological disorders in humans. You will spend around three hours per week in nine weeks of lectures studying this module plus two three-hour practicals.

Investigating and Writing about Biology

You will be prepared for the challenges posed by scientific literature and the style of exam questions that you can expect in your second-year modules. This is followed by a research project into published work on a selected topic, presenting the information gained in an assessed dissertation. You will spend a total of fourteen hours within lectures and tutorials studying this module, plus nine two to three hour bioinformatics sessions in the computer laboratories.

Experimental Design and Analysis II

This module combines practical elements in experimental design (through forming hypotheses and testing them through practical work in Animal Behaviour) with a short lecture course outlining principles of statistical analysis. Studying for this module involves a total of seven hours of lectures, plus four three-hour practicals and a three-hour workshop of student presentations.

Molecular and Developmental Neurobiology 

You’ll consider how the brain develops and connects, how the connections work, are maintained and repaired, how information is stored in the form of memory, and how our knowledge of neurobiology can be applied. This module involves a three-hour lecture once per week plus a total of two three-hour practicals.

Manipulating Genes and Genomes

Introduces the theoretical and practical basis of genetic engineering and gene manipulation. Using examples, manipulation of genes and genomes in bacteria, yeast and animals will be studied. You'll have eight two-hour lectures and three three-hour practicals in this module.

Developmental Biology 

Examines the basic concepts of vertebrate embryonic development. You’ll discuss specific topics including germ cells, blood and muscle cell differentiation, left-right asymmetry and miRNAs. You'll have a two-hour lecture once per week to study for this module.


Typical Year Three Modules

Research Project 

The Project is a year-long level 3 module. You will undertake detailed research on a chosen topic after discussion with a supervisor. Each project will involve collection of data by means such as experiment, questionnaire or observation, as well as the analysis and interpretation of the data in the context of previous work.


You will examine how genetics and biotechnology are being used for the improvement of human welfare, and consider whether claims for these methods are being over-stated. The focus will be upon the underlying ethical and socio-economic issues, rather than the technology. You will have a two-hour lecture once per week during study of this module.

Biological Photography and Imaging II

Extends and develops your skills of creative and critical biological photography. You’ll continue to develop the practice and experience gained in Biological Photography and Imaging 1. You are encouraged to demonstrate increasing expertise in selected subject areas and/or specialist photographic techniques such as digital imaging and manipulation (using Photoshop CS software), digital video photography and editing, ecological and environmental photography, landscapes, macro and long lens photography and specialist lighting. Field and studio work continue to be essential elements of the module. You will have around three hours of lectures per week studying this module.

Evolution and Behaviour

A series of student-driven assignments, discussion groups and problem-solving workshops on evolutionary biology, with an emphasis on behaviour. You’ll consider topics such as adaptation, sex and evolution, kinship theory, communication, and human behavioural ecology. There are four hours of lectures and workshops each week in this module.

Evolutionary Ecology

Considers current knowledge of, and research into, the ecological causes and evolutionary processes that govern natural selection, adaptation and microevolution in natural populations. You’ll examine three approaches to the study of evolutionary ecology: theoretical and optimality models; the comparative method; and direct measurement of natural selection in the wild. You’ll have two-to three hours of lectures each week in this module.

Conservation Genetics

Considers the genetic effects of reduced population size, especially relating to the conservation of endangered species. You’ll study topics including genetic drift and inbreeding in depth, from theoretical and practical standpoints. You'll spend around one and a half hours per week in lectures studying this module, plus a two and a half hour computer practical.

Applied Environmental Physiology

Thousands of different man-made chemicals enter the environment and some are highly persistent and/or toxic. You’ll consider how organisms respond to pollution and other external stresses in general, and to different classes of toxic chemicals in particular. Several of these responses can be utilised as biomarkers, giving advance warning of possible ecological damage. The molecular actions of several pesticides are outlined, as are the mechanisms through which pesticide resistance can appear in pest populations. Finally, you’ll consider the roles of semiochemicals in signalling between pests, predators and potential food species, illustrating how these can be exploited for the purposes of eco-friendly pest management. You'll have a three-hour lecture once per week plus two three-hour practicals to study for this module.


A detailed understanding of the genetics and biochemistry behind the properties of parasites and microorganisms that cause major human diseases in the present day. You will have a three-hour lecture once per week for this module.

Parasite Immunology

Considers immunological interactions between parasites and their hosts. Initially the mechanisms involved and the consequences of host responses/resistance to infection are reviewed across diverse taxa of parasitic organisms. You’ll discuss the strategies evolved by parasites to enable survival in the face of host immunity in some depth. You'll spend around three-hours per week in lectures studying this module.


Considers a range of approaches to conservation biology, such as the measurement and monitoring of biodiversity, and the legal frameworks and management strategies that exist to protect it. You’ll discuss particular threats to biodiversity, such as habitat loss and invasive species. You will spend around four hours per week in lectures and have four  three-hour practicals to study for this module.

Population Genetics

You’ll consider the history and practice of population genetics research, with a focus on a quantitative approach to the subject, with training in problem-solving skills. You will spend around two hours within lectures per week studying this module, plus a two-hour computer practical.

Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience

Considers ion channels at the molecular level, with topics including the structure and function of different ion channel groups and their modulation by drugs, pesticides and natural toxins. You’ll also consider the synthesis and transport of neurotransmitters and the formation and release of synaptic vesicles. This module involves spending three hours per week within each of four practicals and eight three or four-hour lectures.




You will have a broad understanding of the biology of animals, at both the organismal and the molecular level, and will have had the opportunity to focus on your particular areas of interest. You will have acquired scientific, analytical and communication skills, and gained experience of a practical zoological investigation.

Average starting salary 

In 2012, 92.2% of first-degree graduates who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £17,761 with the highest being £29,000.*

* Known destinations of full-time home and EU graduates, 2011/12.

Careers Support and Advice

Studying for a degree at The University of Nottingham will provide you with the type of skills and experiences that will prove invaluable in any career, whichever direction you decide to take. Throughout your time with us, our Careers and Employability Service can work with you to improve your employability skills even further; assisting with job or course applications, searching for appropriate work experience placements and hosting events to bring you closer to a wide range of prospective employers.

Have a look at our Careers page for an overview of all the employability support and opportunities that we provide to current students.  


Scholarships and bursaries

The University of Nottingham offers a wide range of bursaries and scholarships. These funds can provide you with an additional source of non-repayable financial help.

Home students*

There are several types of bursary and scholarship on offer. Download our funding guide or visit our financial support pages to find out more about tuition fees, loans, budgeting and sources of funding.

To be eligible to apply for most of these funds you must be liable for the £9,000 tuition fee and not be in receipt of a bursary from outside the University.

* A 'home' student is one who meets certain UK residence criteria. These are the same criteria as apply to eligibility for home funding from Student Finance.

International/EU students

The International Office provides support and advice on financing your degree and offers a number of scholarships to help you with tuition fees and living costs.


Key Information Sets (KIS)

KIS is an initiative that the government has introduced to allow you to compare different courses and universities.


How to use the data

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