Wednesday 31 August 2011
What courses? Zoology; animal behaviour; animal behaviour science; animal biology; animal ecology; animal studies; aquatic zoology; evolutionary biology; life sciences; marine biology; marine zoology; natural history; veterinary science; wildlife conservation; wildlife education & media; zoo biology; zoological conservation. Plus a whole heap of joint honours with related and completely unrelated subjects (take a look at University of Derby).
What do you come out with? BSc
What's it about? It’s a scientific look at the anatomy, behaviour, function and biological evolution of animals. From plankton to elephants you’ll find out why creatures have developed the physical attributes they have. You’ll look at ecology, animal reproduction, fossilised remains, their varying molecular structures and you’ll also get to visit and keep real life specimens. Universities offering the degree tend to take different approaches however, so it’s worth researching to find the course which suits you. At UCL, the first year is spent learning about the foundations of zoology and getting everyone up to speed with the science. In the second and third year you begin tailoring your interests culminating in a supervised research project which counts for about half your marks. At Manchester, the ethos is on field work, with students attending at least four field courses (you can even go to South Africa or Ecuador) in the first two years, a year’s work placement in the third year and then final exams in fourth year.
Study options? Most places offer a three year course, though some universities, such as Manchester or Durham, offer four year courses with a year’s industrial placement. Other universities offering joint honours degrees might also have four-year courses.
What will I need to do it? An A-level in biology is often essential. Geography, maths or another science would help too but they are not mandatory. You'll need decent grades for zoology whichever university you pick. At the upper end of the spectrum, Imperial and UCL ask for AAA-AAB, demanding an A in biology, alongside one in chemistry, physics or maths. Somewhere like Bangor or Anglia Ruskin, meanwhile, will require a minimum of 240-260 UCAS points - no mean feat.
What are my job prospects? Very decent - Cambridge and Oxford have the best graduate prospects with an 82 per cent employment rate, closely followed by Surrey and UWIC with 81 and 80 per cent respectively. Graduates go into research jobs, become zoo keepers, get into wildlife conservation, work for government agencies like the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs, or stick with academia.
Where's best to do it? Zoology is assessed as part of biological sciences by the Complete University Guide. Cambridge comes top (where you study zoology as a pathway in its natural sciences degree) followed closely by Oxford (where it's part of its biological sciences course). Imperial is the highest ranking university that offers zoology as a specific degree. For a different spin on the subject, the joint honours biology with conservation and biodiversity course at Sheffield is pretty cutting-edge. So is companion and zoo animals at Writtle College. Students at Gloucestershire and York however, said they were most satisfied with their course.
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