BSc (Hons) Animal Behaviour and Welfare

About the course

The course is delivered at University Centre Myerscough and awarded by the University of Central Lancashire. The course provides students with an ideal opportunity to focus on the issues relating to animal welfare, health, physiology and behaviour. This work is underpinned by current and emerging scientific research.

The course will prepare you for a wide range of careers throughout the animal industry. The first year of the course provides the underpinning knowledge necessary for study in this field. Several of these modules are shared with the Foundation Degree course routes with separate tutorial sessions providing the opportunity for stronger academic and research focus. The themes of animal behaviour and welfare are further developed in the second year of the course. Students will also have the option to choose one module from animals in society, international wildlife conservation or professional practice.

The final year of the course includes the carrying out of a comprehensive industry related research project. The focus in the other modules is on applied research techniques, behavioural ecology and companion animal behaviour.

Course modules

Year 1

Animal Anatomy and Physiology

The module aims to enable the students to describe the natural anatomical and physiological mechanisms that control behaviour, reproduction and defence against disease and impact on an animal’s welfare.

Academic and Professional Skills

This module aims to develop student academic, cognitive, professional and transferable skills in order to help the transition from further to higher education and from dependent to independent learning. These skills will be developed in the subject specific context in conjunction with other modules and will underpin subsequent years of study. Through personal development, the module also aims to aid future graduate employability potential.

Animal Health and Nutrition (1.5 module)

The module will discuss the aetiology of diseases and associated characteristics and develop plans for animal health enhancement and disease control strategies and introduce the concept of pharmacological control. This module also aims to explore the biological and biochemical principles which underpin animal nutrition and further develop scientific knowledge as a basis for the continuing acquisition of information. The module will develop a critical interest in current applied research in animal health and nutrition and how this may be applied to practical animal management and production with due consideration to commercial, health, environmental and welfare factors.

Animal Husbandry and Training (1.5 module)

This module aims to develop a practical appreciation of the natural behaviour patterns of captive animals considering environmental effects of housing, handling and management practices. Alongside understanding the principles of species and breed specific factors affecting the animals’ behaviour and welfare, this module will examine how these can be adapted as part of a training regime to meet the complex and varied roles demanded of working animals in our present day society.

Introduction to Animal Behaviour

This module aims to develop an appreciation of the natural behavioural patterns of animals and how they are of key relevance when determining an animal’s captive requirements. This module will explore the factors that can influence animal behaviour and examine how these may be adapted, so that the animal can meet the needs of various roles including companion or working animals. The module will outline the biological principles of animal behaviour and develop an appreciation of current animal behaviour and welfare issues. Current applied research will be used to develop scientific knowledge in animal behaviour and will allow students to apply this knowledge to the diverse roles of animals in society and the role of the animal caretaker in forming behavioural responses in the animal.

Year 2

Animal Welfare and Legislation (Double module)

The module aims to develop a broad understanding of the principles which are used to determine animal welfare and of their relevant welfare legislation. The module will allow the learner to develop scientific knowledge that will act as a basis for the continuing acquisition of information in relation to animal welfare and legislation whilst developing an interest in current applied research in both fields. Current industry concerns of animal welfare will be considered in this module linking animal’s needs with housing and husbandry practices. Current legislation and husbandry recommendations will be considered allowing for the appreciation of their practical application and management across the animal industry. The module will build on theory learnt in the Level 4 module Introduction to Animal Behaviour allowing for industry standards to be discussed and critical evaluation to be developed.

Applied Animal Behaviour

This module aims to introduce students to the physiological processes that allow organisms to demonstrate a co-ordinated response to both internal and external stimuli. This module will provide an insight into the methods of control exerted by the endocrine and nervous systems and how they are affected by environmental influences. The module also introduces the proposal, planning and implementation of a behavioural trial.

Elective

Students own 20 credit module choice to complete the 120 credits for the academic year. Choices are restricted by timetable availability

Genetics and Breeding

In order to be successful at breeding animals for a variety of roles, it is important that students have a broad understanding of the biological principles which underlie animal breeding. This will enable students to further develop their scientific knowledge and act as a basis for the continuing acquisition of information throughout their careers. The module will be taught so that a critical interest in current applied research in animal breeding will be developed and an understanding of how these principles and developments may be applied to practical animal management will be examined with due consideration to commercial, health, environmental and welfare factors.

Research Methods

An understanding of the methods we use to collect data and the subsequent analysis techniques is a fundamental part of functioning within a scientific discipline. Furthermore, technical professions require graduates who can solve problems through the use of background research and are capable of testing concepts using the appropriate methods. The module examines experimental design and the validity of the findings. Students will be taught to design experiments so that the data collected can be assessed for accuracy and reliability. The appropriateness of a range of investigational methods will be explored together with suitable data analysis techniques. The module will enable students to develop a scientific approach to problem solving, which can act as a firm foundation for appraising research throughout their careers. They will gain an understanding of appropriate and inappropriate experimental design and this will enable a critical evaluation of investigational methodology and so enable the student to both conduct, and evaluate the quality of, investigations in their area of study.

Year 3

Applied Animal Science Research (Double module)

This module aims to examine current advancements in animal behavioural and physiological research and in the development of practical management strategies across the animal industry. Through the critical evaluation of management practices and the development of research this module will allow for the suggestion of future improvements and recommendations whilst considering their possible impact of welfare. The module will investigate environmental aspects of social behaviour for a range of species including companion, farm, wild and zoo based individuals whilst developing skills in effective communication with peers and industry representatives.

Behavioural Ecology

This module examines the adaptive value of behaviour to enhance survival by exploiting resources, avoiding predators and maximising reproductive success. This module aims to explore the idea that behaviours are part of strategies to maximise reproductive success. The costs and benefits of alternative strategies to predict optimal strategies will be evaluated. The module will examine various life history strategies in a fluctuating environment and discuss the implausibility of the concept of group selection. General skills objectives of the module are to further develop competence in analytical and critical thinking, communication, numeracy and data analysis, information gathering and time management.

Companion Animal Behaviour

This module aims to explore the evolution and domestication of companion animals. The ontogeny and importance of behaviour will be discussed. The module will investigate the importance of social behaviour between individuals of the same species and in human/animal interactions. This module will also explore the causation and control of behavioural problems of companion animals.

Research Project (Double module)

The aims of this double-weighted module is to equip students with the ability to understand and define clearly a problem to be solved and extract relevant material from a literature survey. Also to develop the ability to design and undertake an original investigation and to further develop the ability to present, analyse and interpret results. Students should also develop the ability to present a coherent, critical account of the work and how it relates to that of others; develop management skills; achieve a measure of independence and integrate the different aspects of the course and will be provided with e an opportunity to develop a programme of supervised independent research leading to the presentation of a substantial written Project.

Entry requirements & additional information

Entry requirements

5 GCSE passes at Grade C or above (including Maths and English or equivalent)

Plus 104 UCAS Tariff points from one or more of the following:

· 3 A-levels (A2) at C or above

· BTEC/C&G Level 3

· 4 Scottish Highers at C or above

· 4 Irish Highers at C or above

· International Baccalaureate at 24 points

AS levels, BTEC Subsidiary Diploma and Scottish Intermediate 2s may be used to contribute to entry requirements but they are not sufficient for entry on their own. Alternative equivalent qualifications will also be considered positively.

Applicants who believe they may be eligible for Accreditation of Prior Certificated and/or Experiential Learning (APCL/APEL) for certain modules will be considered on an individual basis.

Applicants for whom English is a second language must be able to demonstrate proof of International English Language Testing System (IELTS) at level 6.0 (with no component score lower than 5.5) or equivalent.

All offers may be subject to successful interview.

Learning and assessment

Learning Environment:

Learning activities on the course are diverse, including lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical sessions and workshops.

Students are expected to undertake extensive independent study and research to support lectures, seminars and assessments. Group work and group presentations form an important part of the course. Students will have access to specialist IT hardware and software, an on-line learning environment and reference facility.

Assessment:

Students will complete a variety of assessments including examinations and tests, practical assessments, essays, presentations, reports and group work.

Additional Information:

The course may involve visits or lectures delivered by external speakers who will outline the work/research interests of the various organisations they represent. This provides an excellent opportunity to find out about both the technical issues and developments being discussed and the employment and career opportunities available in the various fields.

What work experience can I get?

There is no formal work placement on this course but the programme does offer the flexibility to gain additional experience during the course, where students have opportunity to undertake extra-curricular work experience or internships with employers throughout the UK and overseas.

Progression

Progression:

On successful completion of the course, students may apply for postgraduate study programmes such as MSc, M Phil, PhD or PGCE.

Careers

What careers can you follow?

Graduates will be in a position to apply for posts in the animal and related industries with examples of possible careers including:

Training assistance dogs

Welfare inspectors

Zoological education/research/keeping

Research and development

Local authority/Defra/HM customs animal welfare officers

Pet behaviour advisors

Professional accreditations

All students are encouraged to pursue membership of the Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour (ASAB) and British Society of Animal Science (BSAS) as well as pursuing scholarships and travel awards with other professional animal organisations.

Special requirements

Laboratory coats are required for practical laboratory sessions. Waterproof clothing for field and farm work and outdoor visits. A black warehouse coat is essential for working on the Animal Centre and can be purchased from the on-line Myerscough Shop. Dark coloured combat trousers are also recommended.

Extra Costs:

Additional costs for items that are essential for the course:

· Black Warehouse Coat - £15

· Laboratory Coat - £12

· Waterproofs and boots £50

Additional costs for opportunities and items that are optional for the course include:

· Field Study trip to Shamwari Game Reserve (S. Africa) £3,500

· Binoculars £30

Animal Studies

Britain is well regarded as a nation of animal lovers, from companion pets to large animal collections. This has resulted in a multi-million pound industry, ranging from well known national pet feed companies to pet stores, catteries and kennels and numerous other businesses providing for the needs of animals.

If you care about animals and have a deep interest in their health and wellbeing, Myerscough provides an excellent opportunity for you to further your studies. You'll develop a range of skills and have the opportunity to care for a range of animals including dogs, cats, rabbits and ferrets, farm animals, reptiles and amphibians and a range of invertebrates.

Our Partnership with UCLan

All our Higher Education programmes are awarded by the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan). Myerscough College is an Associate School of the University of Central Lancashire, a dynamic, vibrant and contemporary university located in Preston city centre. UCLan is one of the largest universities in the UK with world-leading and internationally excellent research areas. It offers a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses.