BSc (Hons) Zoological Management & Conservation

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 course is taught by a wide variety of professionals from research, field conservation and captive management backgrounds, which will help develop your knowledge of current zoo management practices by embedding you within the industry. Lecturers will bring to life protocols and case studies utilising first-hand experiences. The course aims to develop your knowledge of biology, behaviour and husbandry and expands in to more industry-specific skills such as the development of environmental enrichment, enclosure design and biological specimen assessment and identification. The theoretical delivery will be enhanced by interaction with industry specialists, field trips and practical workshops.

Utilising industry specialists and trips to field sites and collections, you will learn to critically evaluate a variety of conservation projects and display advanced knowledge of the role of ex situ animal collection staff and conservation scientists. The course also covers the role communication plays in zoological collections as both a tool for engaging visitors and spreading conservation messages.

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 Bristol Zoo 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 Bristol Zoo Project, observing it's redevelopment to become the 'New Zoo'.

"SGS helped me secure my dream job in the UAE!"

SGS has equipped me with the knowledge and skillset which I put into practice every day in my dream job as Senior Zoological Specialist at Sea World, United Arab Emirates.

BSc (Hons) Zoological Management & Conservation
Study Modules
Professional Industry Skills

This is a skills-based module which aims to support and enhance the development of subject-based, generic and practical key skills. It integrates many areas of study, such as the development of professional standards of academic writing and communication, biology, research and analytical skills. Students will acquire real-world knowledge and skills that reinforce the understanding of academic subjects. These will include subjects such as, practical animal husbandry, academic reading and referencing and practical ecology and conservation. Work experience will provide an opportunity for the practical application of theory learned in taught sessions across the programme. A reflective review will be produced, to document skills development and reflect on professional skills needed in industry, observed during work experience which will consist of a minimum of 60 hours within the animal management and conservation sector. An introduction to research and key analytical skills will develop knowledge of scientific study within the natural sciences and conservation sector. You will carry out data collection and analysis of the results.

50% Assignment 1,250 words or equivalent

50% Portfolio 1,250 words or equivalent

Biology of Animals

This module will cover the biological principles that underpin the study of animal management and the fundamental processes of living organisms. Practical sessions will enable students to gain knowledge of animal physiology and an understanding of the reproductive and skeletal adaptations throughout the animal kingdom. The module will allow learners to develop knowledge of the key biological requirements that should be considered when managing captive animal populations.

60% Portfolio 3,000 words or equivalent

40% Unseen, closed book exam 2 hours (2,000 words equivalent)

Zoo Animal Welfare, Health and Husbandry

This module examines the key issues relating to the welfare, health and husbandry of captive animals; how animal health and welfare can be both psychological and physical. Through the use of lectures, discussion forums, critiques of welfare documentaries, welfare auditing workshops, guest speakers and visits to UK zoos students will learn about the husbandry practices commonly used in modern zoo animal management.

50% Presentation 10 mins + 5 mins Q&A (2,500 words equivalent)

50% Assignment 2,500 words or equivalent

Animal Behaviour Studies

This module will provide a framework for understanding and interpreting animal behaviour patterns across a range of species. Students will develop a detailed understanding of how behaviour develops throughout an animal’s lifetime and the impact of that behaviour on their survival and reproductive success. Through practical activities concepts of animal behaviour study will be taught and practiced enabling students to successfully record and interpret behaviour.

100% Assignment 2,500 words or equivalent

Taxonomy and Biological Identification

This module will look at systematics and the theory of evolution as applied to the study of diversity within the animal kingdom. It will provide the underpinning knowledge and skills required to accurately and scientifically identify, name and classify a range of animal species. Practical skills in specimen collection and recording will also be learnt, as this practice plays a vital role for zoos that breed and manage animals for conservation programmes.

100 % Portfolio 2,500 words or equivalent

Zoos and Aquariums in Society

Through the millions of visitors who visit them, zoos and aquariums can help people engage with the natural world and make use of that contact to achieve conservation goals. Conservation relies on the collaborations between zoos and aquariums and many partners both in and outside the conservation world. Through a series of lectures, workshops and site visits, students will examine the many different facets of a zoo and aquariums in the 21st century and the roles of those working in the industry.

100% Assignment 2,500 words or equivalent

Research Methods and Design

Animal management is a wide and varied field of study, requiring an interdisciplinary approach. Throughout this module, students will further develop research skills through lectures, classroom workshops and practical sessions. Skills will include: effective literature and information searching, hypothesis generation, data collection and analysis and scientific writing. Knowledge of how to design, plan and undertake scientific investigations within zoos and aquariums will be gained via critical evaluation of current research and students will collect data for analysis and presentation. Students will build on the research and statistical analysis skills gained at Level 4. Equipped with the knowledge to plan, conduct and analyse scientific research, students will have developed a combination of research, practical and communication skills that will prepare them for their dissertation at Level 6.

80% Assignment 2,400 words or equivalent

20% Presentation 3 mins + 5 mins Q&A (600 words or equivalent)

Zoo Nutrition

This module will consider the structure and function of nutrients and link them to diet provision within a captive animal setting. It will take into account health and disease, food presentation and the use of diet in enrichment. Areas to take into consideration when creating diet plans will be discussed and nutrition computer packages will be used where relevant. Students will be able to review a species set up and condition and develop an appropriate diet to meet its nutritional needs, including the provision of dietary supplements where necessary in captive environments.

100% Open Book Exam 24 hours (3,500 words equivalent)

Applied Zoo Animal Behaviour

This module will apply knowledge gained in Level 4 to the practice of managing captive animal populations. Protocols used to manage animals during events such as introductions and mating will be devised and evaluated. Scenarios will be presented to ensure students can create management strategies that would be effective for a variety of populations at different zoos. Methods of creating mixed exhibits and managing environments for large social groups, for example, will be reviewed and assessed.

50% Assignment 3,000 words or equivalent

50% Group presentation 40 minutes + 5 minutes Q&A (3,000 words or equivalent)

Reproduction and Population Management

This module will look at how captive populations are managed and provide an introduction to genetics and inheritance for the purpose of animal selection and breeding. A large majority of captive animal organisations carry out specialised population management programmes for conservation and this module will utilise stud books and zoo records to identify procedures for selecting animals for breeding. The module will cover all aspects of managing breeding to ensure maintenance of health and psychological wellbeing as well as maintaining sustainable captive populations. Workshops will be carried out to develop skills in managing stud books and selecting species for breeding.

100% Assignment 3,000 words or equivalent

Enclosure Design and Enrichment

Enclosure design will consider animal and human requirements, covering modern husbandry methods, health and safety, economics, sustainability and visitor experience. Environmental enrichment will be covered for a variety of taxonomic groups, considering their adaptations and the management of desirable and undesirable behaviours. The key steps of design, implementation and evaluation of enrichment will be considered, developing a critical view of current practices as well as proposing opportunities for further research.

50% Presentation 15 minutes + 5 mins Q&A (3,000 words equivalent)

50% Assignment 3,000 words or equivalent

Industry Experience

This module includes at least 60 hours of work experience to help students develop key employability skills through workshops, practicals and work experience. Students will develop knowledge of researching, applying and obtaining work experience opportunities within the animal management industry. Transferable skills such as teamwork, presenting effectively and professionalism will be developed. Guest speakers and visits from external organisations will introduce students to the professional skills required for the industry and expectations of future employers. Visits to captive animal settings to carry out practical sessions will also develop knowledge of the industry and professional/ managerial working environments.

50% Portfolio 1,500 words or equivalent

50% Presentation 600 words + 10 mins Q&A (1500 words equivalent)

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
Bachelors Degree
Full-time Duration:
3 Years
Full-time Fee (Per Year):
Part-time Duration:
6 Years
Part-time Fee (Per Year):
UCAS Application Code:
UCAS Entry Tariff:
Entry Requirements

The minimum required UCAS tariff points from a Level 3 qualifications of which one should be a science related subject. GCSE Maths, English and Science at grade C/4. Work experience within the animal industry is advantageous. Mature students over 24 without the relevant qualifications will be required to demonstrate previous experience and evidence of academic ability.

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.

No items found.
Similar Courses
No items found.