BSc (Hons) Zoological Management & Conservation - (Level 6 | Top-up)

The Conservation and Education Centre at the former Bristol Zoo Gardens site remains open to students.

You will have private access to the zoo grounds during lectures, to carry out your observations and data collection, but as more animals are moved, this will gradually be carried out at the Bristol Zoo Project. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Course Description

This one year Level 6 course will further develop your knowledge and experience of zoological conservation and management and its communication to others, learning about the role of zoos in conservation, Species Specialist Groups and campaign management. Taxa specific modules will provide you with extensive knowledge of managing species for conservation. Your programme is currently based in the Conservation Education Centre at Bristol Zoo.

Collaborative by nature

SGS work in collaboration with Bristol Zoological Society's Conservation Science and Education Departments. You will learn from staff working actively within the field, involved in conservation activities in 15 countries around the world where they work with local communities, organisations and international academics. These experiences support and enhance the day to day delivery of the programme module content. It also offers you potential opportunities for research and other collaboration. You will focus on: communication and interpretation design (you will create, develop and implement a campaign event), and the role of zoos in species management for conservation (you will learn interactively about species-specific knowledge in managing breeding, social grouping and release programmes for conservation).You will learn through a variety of lectures, workshops, tutorials, field site visits and study trips.

You will also experience talks by visiting lecturers, Bristol Zoo staff and have the opportunity to join one of the end-of-year residential study trips. Your assessments will cover the key skills learned, through a written exam, academic essays and reports, presentations (in groups and individually), literature reviews, a research project and participating in face to face Q&As. It is an exciting time to study with us as you will experience first-hand the transition of Bristol Zoo Gardens to the new Bristol Zoo (currently Wild Place Project), and have a great opportunity to learn how a new zoo can develop.

The future of Bristol Zoo: An opportunity like no other

The closure of the original Bristol Zoo Gardens is a once in a lifetime and rather limited opportunity, you will witness first hand the closing down and dismantling of a long-established, historic site, and the development and transformation of a new Zoo. You will have private access to the zoo grounds during lectures, to carry out our usual observations and data collection, but as more animals are moved, this will gradually be carried out at the Wild Place Project, so your experiences will not only be uninterrupted but will be significantly enhanced by this unique opportunity.

Although closed to the public, Bristol Zoo Gardens remains operational and open to our students (with lots happening behind the scenes). Bristol Zoo Gardens will continue to be the home campus for this course alongside lectures at the University Centre WISE campus in North Bristol. You will also benefit from lectures and observation at the Wild Place Project, observing it's redevelopment to become the 'New Bristol Zoo'

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Study Modules
Communication in Zoos and Aquariums

The module aims to allow students to develop and demonstrate practical communication skills, and understand how these skills should be applied in zoos and aquariums. Many communication channels are available, and there are varied reasons for using them: promotion, information dissemination, or behaviour change to encourage wildlife-friendly outcomes. Students will learn to critically analyse a variety of on-site communications (interpretation panels, talks, demonstrations etc.), marketing methods (the use of websites, social media, print media, etc.), and will briefly explore the more complex field of using communication as a campaigning tool. The module will address the theoretical underpinning of various communication techniques, the practical skills in planning, creating and delivering appropriate materials to a range of audiences and the methods for evaluating the success of such ventures.

100% Coursework: individual, presentation

The Role of Zoos and Aquariums in Conservation

This module aims to develop your knowledge of the various ways in which organisations holding animal populations are involved in field conservation projects. It will examine current conservation issues and the efforts and impacts that such organisations can demonstrate in the conservation arena, including but not limited to: understanding conservation prioritisation, assessing reintroduction sites, integrating in situ and ex situ conservation measures, working with stakeholders and developing species management and conservation action plans. The key focus of the module is to develop a core knowledge base surrounding the in-situ conservation activities of organisations that hold animal populations. 

Coursework: individual, presentation 50%

Coursework: Exam 50%

Management of Mammals for Conservation

Mammals as a group are very well represented in ex situ collections. Despite the challenges posed by unique features of this taxon’s biology, behaviour and ecology, mammals are also by far the most translocated group of animals. In this module you will examine the process of conservation translocations, via reintroduction and restocking, for a variety of mammal species. You will focus on the biological characteristics of mammals, considering aspects of their behaviour and the, often complex, social structures that can heavily influence the translocation process. Site visits and interaction with industry specialists will enable you to learn the process of training and preparing animals for release, including soft and hard release methods and techniques for post-release monitoring. Capture, mark and handling techniques will be critically assessed. You will also review the role rescue and rehabilitation centres play in supporting wild populations, in order to successfully rehabilitate and return mammals to the wild. Real-world case studies will be utilised throughout to allow opportunities for you to problem-solve and critically review active projects.

Coursework: 100%

Management of Birds for Conservation

This module aims to provide students with an advanced understanding of the techniques and processes performed by ex situ bird collection staff that play a role in either in situ conservation programmes or rescue and rehabilitation activities. Focus will be given to the rearing and release methods for a range of bird species, and interaction with subject specialists will provide opportunities to assess and learn from both past and currently active projects. You will develop knowledge and understanding of the release methods utilised to support reintroductions and learn how to effectively monitor post release, in order to assess the transition from captivity to the wild. Visits to release sites, a rescue and rehabilitation centre, and captive bird collections, will demonstrate a range of management techniques, including housing, rearing, handling and releasing both captive bred and wild-caught birds.

Coursework: 100%

Management of Ectotherms for Conservation

This module aims to provide you with advanced knowledge of ex situ management practices to support in situ conservation for ectothermic animals. You will critically assess methods of rearing and preparing young for release and will critically evaluate taxon-specific supportive measures, including threat mitigation techniques and post-release monitoring. The role of zoos and other ex situ breeding facilities, along with the role of in situ conservation projects in supporting wild populations, will also be studied. You will learn the techniques for handling and restraining captive ectothermic animals, and critically evaluate their effectiveness in practice. A wide range of terrestrial, marine and freshwater species will be covered and you will be assessed through the production of a proposal for an ex situ conservation breeding plan. A range of lecture topics and guest speakers, plus the embedded field trip will prepare you for this assessment. 

Coursework: 100%

Research Project

The research project gives an opportunity to conduct an original project on a relevant zoological/ conservation topic, in considerable depth. The focus will be negotiated in your area of interest but could take the form of a traditional dissertation, literature review or a reflective report (e.g., to accompany campaign materials or interpretation signs). It will enable you to demonstrate critical thinking, as well as proficiency in important skills such as initiative, effective communication, problem solving and time management. Improvement of these skills will be supported by sessions on key elements of project development. This module is undertaken on a relatively self-directed basis with supervisory meetings with an appropriate specialist. It is a progression from Level 5 studies and is complemented by taught modules at Level 6. The ability to complete this type of self-directed, critical, and rigorous investigation satisfactorily is generally considered to be a hallmark of graduate competence.

Coursework: Individual, presentation 25%

Coursework: Individual, dissertation/major project (6000 words or equivalent) 75%

Course Video
Deborah Berry
Programme Lead for BSc Zoological Management and Conservation
*This programme is subject to validation and delivery approval by the University of Gloucestershire.
Clifton Conservation and Education Centre & Bristol Zoo Project
Top-up Degree
Full-time Duration:
1 Year
Full-time Fee (Per Year):
Part-time Duration:
2 Years
Part-time Fee (Per Year):
UCAS Application Code:
UCAS Entry Tariff:
Entry Requirements

For direct entry onto a Level 6 (Top Up) course, you will need to have achieved a level 5 qualification e.g. HND, Level 5 Diploma or Foundation Degree in a related subject.

Course info last updated:
April 15, 2024
Delivery Format

The delivery format for your degree-level programs is primarily face-to-face and in-person sessions. However, there may be some hybrid sessions offered occasionally, mainly for flexibility purposes, such as tutorials or for larger events like visiting lecturers. Additionally, it's mentioned that all degree programs are well-supported by Virtual Learning Environments, which include Teams or Google Classroom.

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