BSc (Hons) Animal Behaviour & Welfare (with Foundation year)

Pursue your passion for animal behaviour and welfare and gain the skills needed to grow, progress and become the specialist you’ve always aspired to be. 

Discover how the study of animal behaviour is providing us with a fresh insight into how animals communicate and learn, what they feel and how they interact with their environment. The study of animal behaviour and welfare is changing attitudes towards animals, informing protection legislation, and providing us with a better understanding of how to meet animals’ needs.

Jack Stilgoe-Animal Management

Course Overview

Throughout your first year of study, you will be introduced to animal behaviour, animal welfare issues and behavioural data analysis. Through practical sessions in our licensed zoo, you will explore key principles in animal husbandry, including animal health and welfare, enclosure design and nutrition.

You will also study fundamental scientific principles in the animal sciences such as animal anatomy, cell structure and genetics, working in our dedicated science laboratories.

Please note: Students are based at University Centre Reaseheath during their first year, and then at the University of Chester during the second and third years. Residential students will live in halls of residence at University Centre Reaseheath during their first year. 

Course Features

  • Animal husbandry
  • Animal physiology and health
  • Welfare and ethics
  • Principles of animal behaviour
  • behavioural data analysis
  • Use of our on-site zoo which houses over 1,000 animals – including ring-tailed lemurs, porcupines, raccoon dogs, otters, tapir, capybaras, owls, hawks, bearded dragons, kingsnakes, dart frogs, marine fish and much more in our on-site mini zoo

Career Options

  • Animal behaviourist 
  • Animal welfare/conservation 
  • Teaching/education officers 
  • Scientific research and technical support 
  • Animal behaviour counselling/training 
  • Teaching and lecturing 
  • Animal health product development 
  • Rescue centre animal care 

Course Information

This course is aimed at students who wish to develop a career within animal behaviour and/or animal welfare. Students are provided with a unique combination of academic study with practical work to develop a range of academic and professional skills, with knowledge of animal behaviour and animal welfare science in varying contexts, and related disciplines. Students will be provided with a dynamic learning experience that combines academic study with practical application of themes in animal behaviour and welfare. 

  • 72 UCAS points from GCE A Levels or other Level 3 qualification (minimum 2 years in length) in relevant subject, preferably including biological sciences (or equivalent)
  • BTEC Diploma (Applied Science or equivalent): DD
  • OCR National Extended/Diploma: merit profile plus one of the GCE A level subjects listed above
  • Mature students (aged 21+) will be considered on an individual basis
  • Academic Skills for the Animal Sciences
  • Introduction to Environmental Science
  • Introduction to Data Handling and Analysis
  • Practical Skills in Animal Husbandry
  • Scientific Principles in the Animal Sciences
  • Animal Form and Function

Delivered at University Centre Reaseheath

  • Introduction to Behaviour in Animals
  • Animal Husbandry and Handling
  • Animal Welfare Issues
  • Animal Anatomy and Physiology
  • Principles of Evolutionary Biology
  • Behavioural Data Analysis and Project Design

Delivered at University of Chester

  • Research Methods
  • Experiential Learning*
  • Behavioural Ecology*
  • Adaptations to the Environment*
  • Wildlife Crime and Conservation*
  • Welfare and Behaviour Management
  • Marine Animal Behaviour*
  • Learning in the Wider World*
  • The Study Abroad Experience (120 credits)*
  • Enhancing your Employability through Work Based Learning*

Delivered at University of Chester

  • Dissertation
  • Animal Behaviour and Conservation*
  • Physiology and Behaviour*
  • Zoo Biology and Management
  • Stress and Welfare Assessment in Animals
  • Applied Conservation Genetics*
  • Managing Marine Environmental Impacts*
  • Behavioural & Evolutionary Ecology*
  • Domestic Animal Behaviour and Welfare*
  • Parasitology*

* Denotes optional modules

† Dissertation is a double-weighted module, worth 40 credits. Therefore, only five modules are selected for study at Level 6 (Year 3).

Please note that availability of optional modules is subject to availability of subject-specialist staff and the recruitment of the minimum viable student number (7 individuals). Should a module not be deemed viable for operation then all students who selected that module will be communicated to in writing in advance of the academic year, and will be informed of the alternative options available to select from. 

Students will be expected to make their module choices for the following academic year during March/April, via a module selection service. Confirmation of module selections will be provided via email following approval. 

Your overall workload consists of class contact hours, independent learning and assessment activity, plus field trips. Your actual contact hours may depend on which optional modules you select, but the following information gives an indication of how much time you will need to allocate to different activities at each year of the course: 

15% of your time is spent in timetabled teaching and learning activity 

Teaching, Learning and Assessment:         174 hours 

Independent Study:                                       1026 hours 

Class sizes average between 8-35 for modules exclusively delivered on the programme. For those modules offered across several programmes, class size could be as high as 90 individual learners. 

Assessment Methods

Assessments are designed to encourage both academic skills and skills valued in the workplace. They include a combination of coursework and examinations. Coursework may take many forms including: essays, reports, data processing, presentations, academic posters, seminar discussions, interviews, critical reviews, portfolios of evidence and practical competency assessments. The examinations vary, depending on the nature of the module, but may take the form of multiple-choice papers, essays, practical assessments, data handling questions, short answer quizzes, and in class examinations. 

The balance of assessment by examination and assessment by coursework depends to some extent on the optional modules you choose. The approximate percentage of the course assessed by coursework is as follows: 

80% coursework 

20% written exams 


Feedback is supplied via Turnitin or directly from the module tutor. The majority of submissions are made via Turnitin and feedback for coursework is provided within twenty working days after the submission date. 

Written feedback will be supported verbally should the student require clarification. Formative assessment feedback will be provided at the time of completion where possible, with more detailed summative feedback for reports. 

Students will be able to access course timetables for the academic year in September.

Timetables are subject to change, but most students can expect to spend 3-3.5 days per week on campus.

Students are given the opportunity to study an optional module at level 5 (Year 2) entitled Enhancing your Employability through Work Based Learning. Students are expected to source their own placement, and complete a minimum of 150 hours of work, completed in a 5-week block period. When selecting a placement, students should consider the financial implications associated with accommodation, travel/commuting and the possible need for a Disclosure Barring service (DBS) check, as the University of Chester may not be able to subsidise such costs.

Tuition Fees

As a student at UCR, you will have two main costs to meet; your tuition fees and living costs.

Our full-time tuition fees for UK and EU students, entering University, can be found on our student finance page. These fees are charged for each academic year of a course and are set by the college annually.

Tuition fees for international students can also be found on our student finance page.

Additional Costs

You may have the opportunity to attend day trips or study tours within the UK and overseas. These trips vary each year and costs would be confirmed prior to booking. Examples of tours include 3 day visit to Edinburgh Zoo and Scottish National Museum costing £200 (not including personal expenses) in 2019.

Students may also wish to purchase their own personal copies of recommended set-texts to assist them with their studies. A full list of recommended texts is made available prior to enrolment. However, our campus library boasts sufficient stocks of all major texts to support student learning, frequently in e-book format, and the purchasing of texts is therefore not enforced.

Equipment Costs

  • Boiler suit: £20-£30 OR UCR Polo shirt (£12)/UCR Sweatshirt (£16) + work trousers (£15-£20)
  • Steel toe capped boots: from £30
  • Lab coat: £13-£20
  • USB drive: from £5


Prices of equipment are subject to change dependent on retailer.

Apply directly through UCAS

A minimum of 72 UCAS points

September 2022
September 2023

Full-time: 4 years

Useful Information

Here you will find useful information about the services and support available at University Centre Reaseheath. Click to expand each item:

University Centre Reaseheath is committed to providing additional financial support to those who need it. To find out about the bursary schemes available visit our additional financial support page.

For students to get the best out of their time at University Centre Reaseheath, we must both recognise that we owe obligations to each other. These obligations are set out in our UCR Student Contract. Before you accept an offer of a place at University Centre Reaseheath, it is important that you read these contract conditions. If you are going to be living in Halls of Residence, you will also need to read the Student Accommodation Licence Conditions. Both of these contracts can be found here.

Click here to view the University Centre Reaseheath Student Protection Plan.

All UCR students are given the opportunity to apply for residential accommodation. First year students are guaranteed accommodation and this offer is made to all applicants who live more than a reasonable daily travelling distance from Reaseheath (providing you have applied before the UCAS equal considerations deadline. For full details on our halls of residence visit our accommodation page.

We have a team of dedicated professionals on hand to offer you support. These include our Student Services Team, Inclusive Learning Team, Library and Learning Resources Team and the Reaseheath Careers Service. You can find more information on the support provided at Reaseheath on our support page.

University Centre Reaseheath is proud to welcome international students. For more information, please visit our international students page.