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Animal Behaviour and Welfare (FdSc)

Foundation Degree Fd(Sc)

Department of Biological and Medical Sciences

The foundation degree in Animal Behaviour and Welfare is taught at Abingdon & Witney College and Solihull College.

This course has been designed with input from local employers to meet skills shortages in animal-related industries. The total UK animal health market is worth around £360 million per annum.
As well as being enrolled at a partner college, you are also enrolled at Oxford Brookes University and so are entitled to use many of the University’s facilities, such as the library and online resources. To find out more about what it is like to study at an Oxford Brookes partner college, visit our partnership course pages

As with most foundation degrees, the course is for people who have previous experience of their chosen subject of study. You might, for example, have current or previous experience of working with animals or have studied for qualifications such as a national diploma in animal or equine science. However, we also welcome applications from those of you with a desire to gain qualifications which would equip you to work in an animal-related industry.

Typical offers

Available start dates

September 2017 / September 2018

Teaching location

Abingdon and Witney College / Solihull College

Course length

  • Full time: 2 years (2 days per week). Individual modules may be available.
  • Part time: 3 years (at Solihull)

UCAS code

D300 - Abingdon & Witney College
C866 - Solihull College

For full application details, please see the 'How to apply / Entry requirements' section.

  • This course produces graduates at the cutting edge of their profession and emphasises current thinking and novel developments in animal behaviour and welfare. These topics have been interwoven throughout all modules to form the core focus though this course remains broad based. 
  • A key feature of the course is the emphasis on practical opportunities for work-based learning, which takes advantage of both colleges’ close links to the industry and their excellent Animal Care Centres where practical work can be undertaken. There will also be external visits and guest speakers.
  • You access the expertise and resources of both Oxford Brookes University, which accredits the degree, and those of the colleges where teaching takes place.

This is a full-time, modular course requiring two days attendance per week for two years at either Abingdon & Witney College or Solihull College with additional time spent developing practical skills at either Common Leys Farm or Solihull’s Animal Care Centre and in a work placement. There are eight compulsory modules per year and the course has been designed to provide logical progression through the two years of study. A more part-time mode of study over 3 years is available at Solihull College.

In Year 1 you will be introduced to areas such as critical thinking and academic writing, and will develop a portfolio to support your professional development alongside a work placement. You will also progress practical handling and husbandry skills. You are introduced to the principles of animal behaviour alongside current welfare and ethical issues. 

This will lead to an exploration of welfare issues in a diverse range of contextualised scenarios in Year 2. You will undertake applied behaviour studies to improve welfare in husbandry management practices. In the second year you also get the opportunity to start developing research skills as you carry out an individually chosen research project. This will have a specific focus on monitoring and improving animal behaviour and welfare within the industry. 

The foundation degree will enable you to develop interpersonal skills and to be a critically informed and resourceful individual, aware of the wider impact of land-based activities on the environment, society and organisational stakeholders. Trips and guest speakers, in addition to a work placement and individual industry project, help strengthen your links to the workplace and develop your skills for employment.

Study modules

All modules in both years are compulsory.  As our courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, the modules may vary from those shown here.

Year 1

  • Professional and Academic Skills 
  • Animal Biology 
  • Practical Animal Husbandry 
  • Animal Ethics 
  • Enterprise Skills
  • Animal Welfare 
  • Animal Anatomy and Physiology 
  • Principles of Animal Behaviour

Year 2

  • Industry-based Project (Double module) 
  • Applied Animal Behaviour
  • Animal Nutrition 
  • Animal Health and Disease 
  • Exotic Animal Trade and Collections
  • Animal Breeding and Genetics
  • International Zoo Practices and Conservation

Work placements

A key feature of all foundation degrees is that the theoretical knowledge acquired in the formally taught part of the course is applied to real-life situations in the workplace. During your first year, these skills will be developed, in particular, through the module on Practical Animal Husbandry and on an industrial placement, which is connected to the Professional and Academic Skills Module.

We expect students to complete a minimum of 30 days on the industrial work placement or to be in paid employment within the animal care sector, to fulfil the practical requirements of this course.

In Year 2 you will design and complete a project relevant to the workplace based on the skills you have developed throughout the course. You will need to have links with an employer to complete the project and will be given help in finding a suitable employer if necessary.

Field trips

You go on a number of educational visits to animal farms and zoos. For example, students studying at Abingdon & Witney College visit the Cotswold Wildlife Park, Whipsnade Zoo and Crufts, enabling you to see how the industry works and preparing you for future employment.

Additional costs

  • Students will be required to purchase practical uniform and steel-toe capped boots for use if they work in the Animal Care Centre / Animal Unit.
  • Attendance on a variety of day trips and at a number of guest lectures may be a compulsory part of the course and students will be required to pay the associated fees.
  • There will also be additional costs for learning resources such as books, stationary and for the production of coursework.

Teaching and learning

Throughout the course, teaching methods are varied and informed by contemporary practice in science teaching in higher education. 

Students taught at Solihull College will also use the college’s Virtual Learning Environment - Moodle (typically for locating course and module resources, but also for discussion forums, collaborative information gathering, journal logs and coursework submissions and feedback).

Most modules use lectures to provide a framework for learning and to introduce more difficult concepts. Practical work with animals or in the laboratory and fieldwork are key features of some modules, enhancing learning and enabling development of skills needed for a successful career. Other teaching methods include seminar discussions or debates, small group activities, one-to-one or small group tutorials and problem-solving workshops. Reflective learning is encouraged through use of self, peer and staff formative feedback on assignments, group work and project work, and reflective diaries.

Approach to assessment

Your module assessments are vocationally contextualised, and are either combined coursework and examination or coursework only depending on the module. Overall over 50% of assessment is coursework based. Coursework assignments are diverse and indicative assignments include essays, laboratory and field notebooks, work diaries, practical reports, video diaries, seminar and poster presentations and problem-solving exercises. Where assessments include examinations, these will be scheduled at the end of the module. 

Tuition fees

Home/EU - full time off-campus fee: 2017/18: £7,000

Home/EU - part time off-campus fee : 2017/18: £4,760

International - full time off-campus fee : 2017/18: £8,000 2018/19: £8,200 (Abingdon & Witney only)

*Please note tuition fees may increase in subsequent years both for new and continuing students.

Undergraduate fee levels for 2018/19 have not yet been announced by the government and are therefore yet to be confirmed. Oxford Brookes University intends to maintain its fees for new and returning home and EU students at the maximum permitted level for new and returning Home/EU students.

Please be aware that some courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees. Specific additional costs for this course, if any, are detailed in the 'This course in detail' window above.

Questions about fees?
Contact Student Finance on:
+44 (0)1865 483088

Funding and scholarships

For general sources of financial support, see:

Typical offers

We seek students who have the potential to make good scientists and accept that qualifications are not the only indicator of future potential. Entrants to the programme should normally possess the following:

Either, a minimum of two years’ relevant work experience and a current role in an appropriate workplace setting, and a line manager’s letter of support and recommendation; 


a minimum of 80 UCAS points which could arise from the following:

  • BTEC Subsidiary Diploma, Diploma, Extended Diploma or other equivalent qualifications, such as GNVQ/NVQ or other Level 3 vocational qualifications. 
  • a minimum of one pass at A-level or 6-unit Vocational A-level, plus three passes at GCSE (grades A–C), or O-level (grades A–C) normally including Mathematics, English Language and Science.

It may be possible, in certain situations, to gain accreditation of prior learning to enable students to enter the course with advanced standing or gain exemption from an element/ elements of the programme. This is assessed on an individual basis and is awarded in line with Oxford Brookes University’s regulations on accreditation of prior learning.

Students who obtain sufficient CAT points at level 4 in appropriate modules from alternative institutions may be granted entry at Level 5.

Specific entry requirements

Students must be at least 17½ years of age.

Please also see the University's general entry requirements.

English language requirements

Applicants whose first language is not English must also demonstrate that their level of English is acceptable, by achieving a score in a recognised test such as British Council IELTS: normally minimum level 6.0 overall with a minimum of 6.0 in the reading and writing components.

Please also see the University's standard English language requirements

International and EU applications

Preparation courses for EU students

We offer a range of courses to help students meet the academic and English language entry requirements for their courses and also familiarise them with university life.

Find out more about the international foundation pathways we offer and our pre-sessional English language courses.

Country specific entry requirements

If you are studying outside the UK, for more details about your specific country entry requirements, translated information and local representatives who can help you to apply, please have a look at our country specific information pages.

How to apply

Full-time students should apply for this course through UCAS.

International applications

International students requiring a Tier 4 visa cannot study this course at Solihull College, but can apply to study it at our other partners.

Terms and Conditions of Enrolment

When you accept our offer, you agree to the Terms and Conditions of Enrolment. You should therefore read those conditions before accepting the offer.

Credit transfer

Oxford Brookes operates the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). All undergraduate single modules are equivalent to 7.5 ECTS credits and double modules to 15 ECTS credits. More about ECTS credits.

Support for students studying Animal Behaviour and Welfare (FdSc)

We understand that going into full-time or part-time education can have a big effect on people's lives. There may be a lot of questions you want to ask before you start on a course, and there may be times during your studies when you will want to seek information and advice from a reliable source.

Students studying at Abingdon and Witney College can access a dedicated independent team of advice and guidance staff. Available throughout the year, they provide information, advice and confidential support services for all students. They are there to enable you to make informed decisions about your studies, and to help you deal with any difficulties which may arise. Find out more about the full range of support services on the college's website.

At Solihull College, as places on the course are restricted, you will get to know your tutors and peers well and will have structured teaching sessions within a classroom setting rather than a lecture theatre. Student support is one of our priorities – subject specific support and academic skills development is provided using one-to-one tutorials with a personal tutor, group tutorials, workshop sessions with module tutors and via the Professional and Academic Skills module. You will also have access to a wide range of other support services such as career advisers, counsellors, student finance guidance, a subject-specific librarian and student welfare department. We are well equipped to support students with additional needs via integrated support from the additional needs team, the programme leader and personal tutor.

Specialist facilities

Abingdon & Witney College’s Common Leys Farm is a 60-acre campus near Hailey, Witney, which provides the practical facilities for a range of land-based courses including animal care. The college provides an ideal learning environment with purpose-built indoor and outdoor units for small animals, a grooming parlour and modern kennel spaces. Students also have access to some larger animals such as horses, sheep, goats and cattle.

You can also find out more about the general facilities at Abingdon & Witney College on the college's website.

Solihull College has contemporary classrooms and teaching facilities and a wide range of other student resources available such as equipment loans, a well-stocked library, access to on-line resources such as e-journals including Oxford Brookes' resources, access to college computers and wifi, and a dedicated HE area for study. 

The Animal Care Centre is fully equipped to industry standards and houses over 90 species including reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates, fish, small mammals, large farm mammals and birds.

General support services

Supporting your learning

From academic advisers and support co-ordinators to specialist subject librarians and other learning support staff, we want to ensure that you get the best out of your studies.

Personal support services

We want your time at Brookes to be as enjoyable and successful as possible. That's why we provide all the facilities you need to be relaxed, happy and healthy throughout your studies.

Career prospects

Employment in the animal care industry is multi-faceted. There are many related areas that centre on animals but require skilled personnel for a variety of tasks. Graduates of this course may choose to work in zoology and animal conservation, animal collection management, or kennel, cattery and pet shop management, or pursue careers as insurance agents, nutritionists, journalists, lecturers or facility managers.

Further study

Graduates may choose to progress to our BSc (Hons) degree in Animal Behaviour and Welfare or in Animal Biology and Conservation based at Oxford Brookes University.

Related courses

  • Animal Behaviour and Welfare (BSc top-up)
  • Animal Biology and Conservation
  • Biological Sciences
  • Biology