FdSc Animal Science and Welfare (Zoo Conservation Biology)

About the course

The course is delivered at University Centre Myerscough and awarded by the University of Central Lancashire. This two-year foundation degree programme blends scientific knowledge, academic theory and practical skills. The increasing public awareness of animal welfare drives career prospects within the animal industry. Opportunities exist in zoos, conservation, retail animal trade, the care of companion animals, regulatory authorities and animal welfare charities. A comprehensive range of subjects are covered on the foundation degree that allow students to relate their academic studies to the wider industry and to develop practical skills, a varied range of vocational opportunities are included.

Depending upon the route selected, a selection of other modules will also be studied. These include:

Zoo Conservation Biology – Management of Captive Animals, Ecology & Identification of Native Species, International Zoo Management, Ecological Survey Techniques, Research Methods & Animal Sector Entrepreneurism.

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.

Management of Captive Animals (1.5 module Option)

To develop and encourage awareness of species commonly found in captivity and to determine their environmental requirements. Also to promote high standards of welfare for captive species and broaden technical knowledge in relation to basic anatomy, physiology, husbandry and housing of a range of taxa.

Academic and Vocational Skills

This module provides students with first-hand experience using a relevant work environment to develop academic, practical and technical skills. Students will be encouraged to record and reflect on their own personal development during the module. The module is fundamental to the ethos of foundation degrees in providing engagement in a work environment and will provide the foundation for further development through study on the ‘Industry Project’ module at Level 5.

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.

Ecology and Identification of Native Species (1.5 module Option)

The module aims to equip students with the skills needed to identify plants and animals found in the UK and give students an understanding of the purpose and scope of plant and animal taxonomy. In addition, students will study the ecology of a range of plants and animal species and some of the methods used to survey for them.

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 Sector Entrepreneurism (Option)

The main aim of this module is to enable the learner to identify and evaluate the factors that affect the demand for recreational facilities and special events relating specifically to the animal industry, considering social and environmental concerns with a long term strategic view. In addition, the on-going processes involved in facility management are emphasised whilst considering organisational constraints. Also the aim is to provide learners with the skills necessary to plan, manage, deliver and evaluate an animal industry focussed event.

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.

Ecological Survey Techniques (Option)

This module aims to explore the role of environmental impact assessments in the protection and sustainability of biodiversity. The module will investigate the use appropriate techniques to survey and monitor plant and animal populations and their biotopes effectively. The module will also develop techniques of evaluating animal and plant ecological survey data

Global Wildlife Conservation

This module aims to develop knowledge of global conservation initiatives and techniques to monitor and conserve wild species. The module will encourage the development of a critical understanding of the impact of conservation threats for endangered species and how these threats are controlled or minimised. Appreciation of anthropogenic threats and the practicality of implementing conservation strategies will be considered allowing for the development of critical thinking. This module will introduce national and international conservation conventions and legislation including the protection and harvesting of legal and illegal trade on endangered species and the implications for in situ conservation programmes.

Industry Project

This module builds upon the practical, technical and personal skills developed in the Academic and Vocational Skills module. It will provide a structured work environment for students in which to identify a suitable project, work with their supervisor in developing the project and report on the outcomes. Students will be encouraged to develop professional working relationships, manage their own time and workload and provide evidence of this. Project management skills will be developed through supporting lectures. The module encapsulates the ethos of foundation degrees in providing engagement in a work environment for students to investigate a particular project in relation to a specific industry sector.

International Zoo Management (Option)

This module aims to explore the issues related to the role of global zoos and aquariums. These issues are varied and will include the role of animal collections in education, conservation, research and recreation particularly in relation to endangered species.

Research Methods (Option)

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.

Entry requirements & additional information

Entry requirements

5 GCSE passes at Grade C (4) or above (including Maths and English or equivalent)

Plus 48 UCAS Tariff points from one or more of the following:

· 2 A-levels (A2), at least one at C or above

· BTEC/C&G Level 3

· 2 Scottish Highers at C or above

· 3 Irish Highers at C or above

· International Baccalaureate at 24 points

· NVQ Level 3 in a relevant discipline

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:

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.


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 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. The Academic and Vocational Skills and Industry Project modules may utilise both on and off site working environments to provide the opportunity for students to develop real practical and technical skills and help prepare them for employment in their chosen subject area, however it is the student’s responsibility to locate a place in industry in order to facilitate these modules.


On successful completion of the course providing the Research Methods option has been successfully completed, students may apply for the final year of the BSc(Hons) Animal Behaviour and Welfare course.


The course is designed with the intention that its graduates will be able to function effectively within the canine industry from a fundamental scientific base. Examples of possible careers include:

Rescue Centre work

Animal Insurance Advisors

Zoological education/research/keeping

Research and development

Local authority/Defra/HM customs animal welfare officers


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 laboratory practical sessions. Waterproof clothing for field and outdoor visits

Extra Costs:

Additional costs for items that are essential for the course:

· Laboratory Coat - £15

· Waterproofs and Boots £50

· Black Warehouse Coat - £15

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

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

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.

Access to Higher Education

Gain the skills and confidence to study a degree even if you don’t hold the relevant entry qualifications. Step into the land-based industries with our Access to HE Diploma at University Centre Myerscough.

Find out more

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.