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Zoology

Elephant

Available with a foundation year Available with a modern language Available with a industrial/professional experience Available with an integrated masters year

Zoology, the study of animal life, aims to understand the behaviour, structure and evolution of animals, using a wide range of approaches, from genes, to molecular and cellular biology, through physiological processes and anatomy, to whole animals, populations and their ecology.You will study fundamental concepts in the Life Sciences in the first year before going on to study more specialised Zoology topics in your second and final years.

Field studies form an important part of our teaching and you will attend four field courses (two in the first year, two in the second year), including the possibility of visiting South Africa and Ecuador.

Course units

Click on the year you are interested in to view the combination of modules available for Zoology. (Please note that sometimes we can refer to modules as course units or units.)

Second year

Compulsory modules

BIOL20000    Academic Tutorials Year 2
BIOL20701    Data Handling Skills 3
BIOL21051    Organismal Biology EDM
BIOL21090    Dissertation
BIOL21432    Animal Behaviour
BIOL21701    Critical Writing Skills
BIOL22020    Science Ethics and Society (Level 2)

Optional modules

BIOL20552    Tropical Ecology & Conservation (RSM Field Course)
BIOL20682    Field course in Tropical Biology (RSM)
BIOL20872    Urban Biodiversity & Conservation RSM
BIOL20982    The Biology of Being Human
BIOL21101    Genome Maintenance & Regulation
BIOL21111    Proteins
BIOL21121    The Dynamic Cell
BIOL21132    Cell Metabolism & Metabolic Control
BIOL21141    Cell Membrane Structure & Function
BIOL21152    'Omic Technologies & Resources
BIOL21162    Chemistry of Biomolecules
BIOL21172    Principles of Developmental Biology
BIOL21181    Prokaryotic Microbiology
BIOL21192    Principles of Infectious Disease
BIOL21202    Plants for the Future
BIOL21211    Ecology & Ecosystems
BIOL21221    Animal Diversity
BIOL21232    Fundamentals of Evolutionary Biology
BIOL21242    Immunology
BIOL21252    Parasitology
BIOL21261    Endocrinology
BIOL21272    Gut and Renal Human Physiology
BIOL21281    Animal Physiology
BIOL21291    Human Anatomy & Histology
BIOL21302    Clinical Drug Development
BIOL21312    Drugs & the Brain
BIOL21321    Membrane Excitability: Ion Channels & Transporters in Action
BIOL21332    Motor Systems
BIOL21341    Sensory Systems
BIOL21351    Molecules and Cells in Human Disease
BIOL21361    Haematology
BIOL21371    Organismal Genetics
BIOL21381    Introduction to Virology
BIOL21422    Alpine Biodiversity & Forest Ecology
HSTM20031    From Cholera to Aids: A Global History of Epidemics
HSTM20092    The Crisis of Nature: Issues in Environmental History
HSTM20282    The Information Age
UCOL20021    Leadership in Action
UCOL20022    Leadership in Action
UCOL20031    Leadership in Action (online unit)
UCOL20032     Leadership in Action (online unit)
UCOL23001    Science & Humanities: Bridging the "Two Cultures"

Final year

Compulsory modules

BIOL30000    Academic Tutorials Year 3
BIOL30030    Projects

Optional modules

BIOL31301    Post-Genome Biology (L)
BIOL31311    Protein Assembly, Dynamics & Function (E)
BIOL31321    Glycobiology: Glycobiology in Health & Disease (E)
BIOL31332    Biochemical Basis of Disease (E)
BIOL31341    Macromolecular Recognition in Biological Systems (L)
BIOL31351    Current Topics in Microbiology (E)
BIOL31362    Bacterial Infections of Man (E)
BIOL31371    Advanced Immunology (E)
BIOL31381    Gene Regulation & Disease (E)
BIOL31391    Evolution of Genes, Genomes & Systems (E)
BIOL31402    Human Genetics & Evolution (E)
BIOL31411    Protein Sorting (L)
BIOL31441    Cell Signalling (E)
BIOL31451    Comparative Developmental Biol (L)
BIOL31461    Chemical Communication in Animals (L)
BIOL31471    Advanced Behavioural and Evolutionary Ecology
BIOL31482    Conservation Biology (E)
BIOL31501    Green Biotechnology (E)
BIOL31511    Biotic Interactions (L)
BIOL31522    Bioethics: Contemporary Issues in Science & Biomedicine (E)
BIOL31541    Living with Climate Change (L)
BIOL31551    Human Impacts on the Biosphere (E)
BIOL31561    Human Reproductive Biology (E)
BIOL31571    Advanced Endocrinology (L)
BIOL31582    Cardiovascular Systems (E)
BIOL31591    Advanced Ion Transport (E)
BIOL31602    Toxins, Toxicants & Toxicity (E)
BIOL31612    Neuroinflammation in Health & Disease (E)
BIOL31622    Ion Transport in Health & Disease (E)
BIOL31631    Imaging in Biomedical Research (E)
BIOL31642    Advanced Developmental Biology (E)
BIOL31651    Advances in Anatomical Sciences (L)
BIOL31671    Neuropharmacology of Human Health (E)
BIOL31681    Clocks, Sleep & the Rhythms of Life (E)
BIOL31692    Learning, Memory & Cognition (E)
BIOL31721    Hormones & Behaviour
BIOL31732    Developmental Neurobiology (E)
BIOL31742    Molecular Biology of Cancer (E)
BIOL31751    Stem Cells (L)
BIOL31771    Cell Adhesion (L)
BIOL31802    Immune Response & Disease (E)
BIOL31812    Chemistry of Biological Processes (E)
HSTM20031    From Cholera to Aids: A Global History of Epidemics
HSTM20081    From Cholera to Aids: A Global History of Epidemics
HSTM20092    The Crisis of Nature: Issues in Environmental History
HSTM20282    The Information Age
HSTM20592    The Crisis of Nature: Issues in Environmental History
HSTM20782    The Information Age
HSTM30832    Madness and Society in the Modern Age, 1780-2000
HSTM31212    The Nuclear Age: Hiroshima to Nuclear Terrorism
HSTM33201    History of Climate Change
HSTM33501    History of Climate Change
HSTM40332    Madness and Society in the Modern Age, 1780-2000

Disclaimer: Our modules teach the current trends in life sciences. Consequently, details of our modules may vary over time. The University therefore reserves the right to make such alterations to modules as are found to be necessary. Before accepting your offer of a course, it is essential that you are aware of the current terms on which the offer is based. This includes the modules available to you. If in doubt, please contact us.

Course units

Click on the year you are interested in to view the combination of modules available for Zoology. (Please note that sometimes we can refer to modules as course units or units.)

Second year

Compulsory modules

BIOL20000    Academic Tutorials Year 2
BIOL20701    Data Handling Skills 3
BIOL21051    Organismal Biology EDM
BIOL21090    Dissertation
BIOL21432    Animal Behaviour
BIOL21701    Critical Writing Skills
BIOL22020    Science Ethics and Society (Level 2)

Optional modules

BIOL20552    Tropical Ecology & Conservation (RSM Field Course)
BIOL20682    Field course in Tropical Biology (RSM)
BIOL20872    Urban Biodiversity & Conservation RSM
BIOL20982    The Biology of Being Human
BIOL21101    Genome Maintenance & Regulation
BIOL21111    Proteins
BIOL21121    The Dynamic Cell
BIOL21132    Cell Metabolism & Metabolic Control
BIOL21141    Cell Membrane Structure & Function
BIOL21152    'Omic Technologies & Resources
BIOL21162    Chemistry of Biomolecules
BIOL21172    Principles of Developmental Biology
BIOL21181    Prokaryotic Microbiology
BIOL21192    Principles of Infectious Disease
BIOL21202    Plants for the Future
BIOL21211    Ecology & Ecosystems
BIOL21221    Animal Diversity
BIOL21232    Fundamentals of Evolutionary Biology
BIOL21242    Immunology
BIOL21252    Parasitology
BIOL21261    Endocrinology
BIOL21272    Gut and Renal Human Physiology
BIOL21281    Animal Physiology
BIOL21291    Human Anatomy & Histology
BIOL21302    Clinical Drug Development
BIOL21312    Drugs & the Brain
BIOL21321    Membrane Excitability: Ion Channels & Transporters in Action
BIOL21332    Motor Systems
BIOL21341    Sensory Systems
BIOL21351    Molecules and Cells in Human Disease
BIOL21361    Haematology
BIOL21371    Organismal Genetics
BIOL21381    Introduction to Virology
BIOL21422    Alpine Biodiversity & Forest Ecology
HSTM20031    From Cholera to Aids: A Global History of Epidemics
HSTM20092    The Crisis of Nature: Issues in Environmental History
HSTM20282    The Information Age
UCOL20021    Leadership in Action
UCOL20022    Leadership in Action
UCOL20031    Leadership in Action (online unit)
UCOL20032     Leadership in Action (online unit)
UCOL23001    Science & Humanities: Bridging the "Two Cultures"

Final year

Compulsory modules

BIOL30000    Academic Tutorials Year 3
BIOL30030    Projects

Optional modules

BIOL31301    Post-Genome Biology (L)
BIOL31311    Protein Assembly, Dynamics & Function (E)
BIOL31321    Glycobiology: Glycobiology in Health & Disease (E)
BIOL31332    Biochemical Basis of Disease (E)
BIOL31341    Macromolecular Recognition in Biological Systems (L)
BIOL31351    Current Topics in Microbiology (E)
BIOL31362    Bacterial Infections of Man (E)
BIOL31371    Advanced Immunology (E)
BIOL31381    Gene Regulation & Disease (E)
BIOL31391    Evolution of Genes, Genomes & Systems (E)
BIOL31402    Human Genetics & Evolution (E)
BIOL31411    Protein Sorting (L)
BIOL31441    Cell Signalling (E)
BIOL31451    Comparative Developmental Biol (L)
BIOL31461    Chemical Communication in Animals (L)
BIOL31471    Advanced Behavioural and Evolutionary Ecology
BIOL31482    Conservation Biology (E)
BIOL31501    Green Biotechnology (E)
BIOL31511    Biotic Interactions (L)
BIOL31522    Bioethics: Contemporary Issues in Science & Biomedicine (E)
BIOL31541    Living with Climate Change (L)
BIOL31551    Human Impacts on the Biosphere (E)
BIOL31561    Human Reproductive Biology (E)
BIOL31571    Advanced Endocrinology (L)
BIOL31582    Cardiovascular Systems (E)
BIOL31591    Advanced Ion Transport (E)
BIOL31602    Toxins, Toxicants & Toxicity (E)
BIOL31612    Neuroinflammation in Health & Disease (E)
BIOL31622    Ion Transport in Health & Disease (E)
BIOL31631    Imaging in Biomedical Research (E)
BIOL31642    Advanced Developmental Biology (E)
BIOL31651    Advances in Anatomical Sciences (L)
BIOL31671    Neuropharmacology of Human Health (E)
BIOL31681    Clocks, Sleep & the Rhythms of Life (E)
BIOL31692    Learning, Memory & Cognition (E)
BIOL31721    Hormones & Behaviour
BIOL31732    Developmental Neurobiology (E)
BIOL31742    Molecular Biology of Cancer (E)
BIOL31751    Stem Cells (L)
BIOL31771    Cell Adhesion (L)
BIOL31802    Immune Response & Disease (E)
BIOL31812    Chemistry of Biological Processes (E)
HSTM20031    From Cholera to Aids: A Global History of Epidemics
HSTM20081    From Cholera to Aids: A Global History of Epidemics
HSTM20092    The Crisis of Nature: Issues in Environmental History
HSTM20282    The Information Age
HSTM20592    The Crisis of Nature: Issues in Environmental History
HSTM20782    The Information Age
HSTM30832    Madness and Society in the Modern Age, 1780-2000
HSTM31212    The Nuclear Age: Hiroshima to Nuclear Terrorism
HSTM33201    History of Climate Change
HSTM33501    History of Climate Change
HSTM40332    Madness and Society in the Modern Age, 1780-2000

Disclaimer: Our modules teach the current trends in life sciences. Consequently, details of our modules may vary over time. The University therefore reserves the right to make such alterations to modules as are found to be necessary. Before accepting your offer of a course, it is essential that you are aware of the current terms on which the offer is based. This includes the modules available to you. If in doubt, please contact us.

Students say...

Ed Thomson

“Being a zoologist I was able to go on two field courses this year. They were both definite highlights of my first year at the university of Manchester. The first to South Africa was amazing, seeing loads of large mammals up close and even got to play with lion cubs! The second was in Scotland and was still great fun, plus I got to know my course mates really well! I am definitely looking forward to more field courses in the future and also being able to specialise more as we get further into the degree, especially choosing our final project.”

Ed Thomson

Karlina Ozolina

“Zoology is amazing! The teaching we receive at the FLS is excellent, I loved the field courses to Millport in 1st year and to Belize in 2nd year, because they allowed me to experience hands on science and allowed the students to get to know the university staff on a much more personal level. Also Manchester has some of the best animal scientists in the world so attending their lectures is a real treat. For my placement year I was in Aarhus, Denmark studying the effects of acclimation on the aerobic scope in cane toads. It was a brilliant opportunity to work and network with excellent animal physiologists and made me realise what I want to do after I graduate.”

Karlina Ozolina (with Industrial Experience)

Sarah Griffiths

“Zoologists have the opportunity to go on a variety of field courses, both in the UK and abroad - this, along with the choice of units and lab work, makes the course a flexible, fun and diverse choice. Field courses in Scotland, Greece and Belize have definitely been a highlight of my University experience so far. I'm also really excited to start on my final year project, which will let me put all the lab and writing skills I've developed into practice. ”

Sarah Griffiths

Careers

Many of our graduates secure jobs as researchers working in universities, pharmaceutical and bioscience companies and institutes. The transferable skills you will develop will also leave you well equipped for a wide range of careers outside the lab. Many zoology students go on to work in conservation projects around the world. A number of graduates are now involved in such programmes in the UK and South Africa. Other popular career choices include working in zoos and museums.

Life Science roles included:

  • Animal Care Technician for a laboratory
  • Volunteer Project Worker in an animal conservation project in South Africa
  • Field Assistant in a conservation project in Botswana
  • Medical Information Officer for a communications company
  • Environmental Educator for a charity

Non Life Science roles included:

  • Veterinary Science
  • Graduate Management Trainee for a utilities company
  • Trainee Army Officer

Zoology Graduate Profile: Mountain gorilla researcher

Zoology Graduate Profile: Assistant manager of shark research facility

For information on the range of career options available please see the Faculty of Life Sciences Careers page .

Course director

Jonathan Codd

Jonathan Codd, Zoology Course Director

Zoology is a thriving, multidisciplinary science that is central to our understanding of the world. As zoologists we seek to determine the fundamental principles that underpin animal life, both past and present, from their morphology, function, physiology, behaviour and evolution.

“Underpinned by the scientific method, zoology is a fascinating branch of science that enables us to better understand animals, the environment and ultimately ourselves.”

My own research focusses on the respiratory and locomotor biology of vertebrates in particular the bats and birds. I am interested in how constraints have shaped these systems and use a range of techniques to answer the questions that stem from my research. You can find more about the research conducted by my group in my staff profile: Dr Jonathan Codd.

As course director for Zoology I ensure that Zoology students get access to the best of modern zoology teaching and can work with leading scientists here at Manchester on a wide range of animals. The programme is tailored to ensure our students get unique opportunities, including field courses, teaching based on the latest peer-reviewed research and an emphasis on making zoology relevant to the whole animal in both the laboratory and the field.

Field courses

Zebras photographed on the South African field course

Courses are currently held in several European locations, South Africa, and South and Central America. They offer you the chance to study organisms in a range of environments, from marine to freshwater, temperate to tropical. Field courses last from one to three weeks and take place in the Easter or summer holidays. Find out more on our field courses page.

Graduate Profiles

Edward Wright

Edward Wright

What degree did you do?

I graduated from Zoology with a Modern Language in 2006.

What were the highlights and biggest challenges for you when studying at Manchester?

I came to Manchester because it offered me a really flexible course; Zoology with French. I took this four year course because it enabled me to continue learning a language, which I hoped would make me more employable. I was also able to spend a year in France conducting a scientific project and thus gained valuable work experience. People I meet are always impressed that I was able to combine these two subjects. It really did end up being useful, as I got a job in Gabon (a Francophone country), which led to where I am now. At the time, however, I found the course rather hard work! I seemed to be studying both science and French full-time! My lecture load and number of exams was indeed higher than my fellow zoologists. But now I am happy that I took this option.

How has your career progressed since leaving Manchester?

After graduating from Manchester I wanted to gain some experience of working in the field and apply some of the theoretical knowledge I had learnt. I spent a year as a research field assistant at the Kalahari Meerkat Project in South Africa. I learned a lot here; it is a great behavioural ecology project. I really enjoyed working in the field and went on to work at the Great Ape Project in Gabon (Central Africa) with wild gorillas and chimpanzees, which was a brilliant experience. After a year in Gabon, I decided I would like to work on my own research in the form of a PhD. I currently work on the socio-ecology of mountain gorillas with field work in Uganda. Working in the field in Africa was be a truly rewarding experience. I feel honored to be working with one of our closest relatives.

What is a typical day like for you in the field?

Get up at sunrise and have breakfast with the team; breakfast is beans and posho (maize flour). Head out to the gorillas, which usually takes 1-2 hours of strenuous walking in very hilly terrain! Once we catch up with the gorillas I collect data for my PhD as well as long-term data for the project. Then back to camp, which is another 1-2 hours and a late lunch of beans and rice. I then enter my data into the computer and plan the data collection for the following day. For dinner, it’s beans and posho again, before going to bed nice and early.

Do you have any advice for anyone who wants to follow in your footsteps?

Working in the field can be a great experience but it can also be very hard work. But if it is what you want to do, go for it! It is always hard at the beginning, but with persistence it is possible. The more work experience you have the easier it becomes.

Liz Vango-Smith

Liz Vango-Smith

What degree did you do?

BSc Zoology, graduated 2006

What were the highlights and biggest challenges for you when studying at Manchester?

I absolutely loved going on the field courses, as we got real hands-on experience in the wider world relating to the degree - not to mention fun extra-curricular daytime activities and great social gatherings in the evenings! Just a shame I had to retain some common sense and set time aside to do the work too... it was only when I was half-way through the degree that I realised what a work-life balance should be and that it involves budgeting, studying, working and cleaning!

How has your career progressed since leaving Manchester?

It took me a few years of volunteering and working in jobs I didn't really want to do before I was fortunate to get a job in conservation, the field I've always wanted to be in. I joined Lancashire Wildlife Trust as Apprentice Project Officer and was promoted last year and am just about to become the Stewardship Officer for the local council. I'm also lucky enough to have flexible working hours to allow me to complete my MSc part-time.

What is the most interesting thing about your job? / What do you enjoy the most?

I love the variety I get in my job as we have to be the jack-of-all-trades. I get to do a bit of survey work, practical conservation, budget management, management planning and education. There will always be something new to learn so I'll never get bored! I am also amused when members of the public are surprised to see me, a small girl, wielding a chainsaw and bossing groups of older people about!

How do the skills you learnt during your degree help with your job?

I need a lot of organisational skills with the workload I have to manage and have to work to short deadlines. Whilst I didn't expect it, I've also needed to use the statistics from my degree to analyse survey work, etc - just wish I'd paid a bit more attention...

Do you have any advice for anyone wanting to follow in your footsteps?

Do lots and lots of volunteering, preferably with different organisations to get a wealth of experience. It also means you get your foot into more doors and have more to put on your CV! I spent some time calling environmental organisations and pestering anyone who would listen to me. Competition is high so don't expect a job to appear at your doorstep - it's a combination of hard work and not giving up - with a bit of luck thrown in too.

Lindsay Taylor

What degree did you do?

BSc Zoology with Industrial Experience, graduated 2012

How has your career progressed since leaving Manchester?

Immediately after graduating I worked as a Seasonal Education Assistant at Blackpool Zoo for three months during summer. I then started at Flamingo Land in December 2012 as a temporary Education Officer and my position became permanent in March 2013, where I have remained since..

What attracted you to your current career?

I did a sandwich year at Newquay Zoo where I did research for 10 months, which then led into working in the education team for 2 months during the summer holidays. This made me realise that zoo education was the career path I wanted to follow as I am able to educate and inspire children and adults about animals and the conservation issues they face in the wild.

How do you think the knowledge and skills you gained as part of your degree helped you in securing this job?

Without completing my sandwich year at Newquay Zoo, I wouldn't have gained the skills required for the position at Blackpool Zoo, therefore wouldn't have been offered the position here at Flamingo Land. The modules covered at university gave me a broad knowledge of zoology and the field courses provided an excellent insight into research and field work. Giving several presentations at university helped to build up my confidence and develop communication skills which are essential to my job. Being able to carry out an educational dissertation was extremely useful to be able to plan activities for children, run the activities, evaluate them and then write up the report. A lab based project would not have been beneficial to my career.

What does the job entail in a typical day or a typical week?

Teaching a variety of school groups, giving tours around the zoo, developing new material for school workshops, taking bookings for animal encounters and experiences, ensuring participants have received tickets/confirmation and making sure the zoo keepers know who to expect each day, managing spreadsheets and completing invoices for the accounts department, answering phone calls and emails, looking after the animals used for our animal handling sessions, running animals handling sessions with the public, planning crafts and activities for weekends and the school holidays, writing news articles for the local newspapers, compiling text for new animal signs, and cleaning!

What do you enjoy the most/find the most interesting about your job?

Every day is different! There are always a variety of tasks that need carrying out, and the role allows me to be flexible and put forward any ideas which I may have. I also get to see lots of zoo animals every day and look after reptiles and invertebrates.

Any advice for anyone wanting to follow in your footsteps?

I would highly recommend a sandwich year, but be prepared to work for free! Work experience can be as valuable as academic achievements, so try to volunteer or do work experience at a mixture of institutions to find out what you're suited to or don't want to do. Sometimes job adverts are only up for a short length of time so keep checking websites regularly! Animal work is very competitive so you have to stand out from the crowd and be passionate and enthusiastic.

Questions? Get in touch...

We are always pleased to talk to prospective students and we have dedicated people to answer any questions you may have - so don't hesitate to get in touch.

The Undergraduate Recruitment & Admissions Office
Faculty of Life Sciences
The University of Manchester
G.683 Stopford Building
Oxford Road
Manchester
M13 9PT UK
Tel: +44 (0)161 275 5032
Fax: +44 (0)161 275 5456
Email: ug.lifesciences@manchester.ac.uk