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Biological Sciences (Zoology)

BSc (Hons)

Key facts


UCAS code

C300

Start dates

September 2020

Course length

Full time: 3 years, 4 years sandwich

Part time: part-time study is possible

Department

Department of Biological and Medical Sciences

UCAS Tariff Points

104

Overview


Are you fascinated by animals? Our BSc Biological Sciences (Zoology) is an degree that explores the biology of animals. 

You’ll study topics such as:

  • evolution
  • genetics
  • development
  • morphology
  • behaviour
  • molecular biology
  • developmental biology
  • bioinformatics 
  • neurobiology
  • ecology
  • conservation

Oxford Brookes has a reputation for outstanding research work. Oxford area is an important centre for the bioscience industry. World class research centres like the Nuffield and Churchill hospitals are on our doorstep.

This course equips you to work with data from molecular lab techniques. You'll handle and analyse genomes. You'll develop the skills bioscientists need for this new era of genomics and big data. 

This degree provides you with the flexibility to tailor the course to suit you. You can choose modules within the course to focus on animals, humans or cells.

The Oxford Brookes Student Bioinnovation Hub is an initiative to enhance engagement with the Life Sciences industry. Improve your employability with active engagement in the local bioscience sector.

Students working in the lab

How to apply


Typical offers

UCAS Tariff Points: 104

A Level: BCC

IB Points: 29

BTEC: DMM

Wherever possible we make our conditional offers using the UCAS Tariff. This combination of A-level grades would be just one way of achieving the UCAS Tariff points for this course.

Preferred subjects include: Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Human Biology and Physics.

Entry requirements

Specific entry requirements

A Level: You must have studied science post-16, either at A-level or equivalent level (see our typical offers).

GCSE: 4 GCSEs at Grade 4 (C), or above, including Mathematics, English Language and 2 Sciences.

If you do not have a background in science, we encourage you to consider our Life Sciences foundation year taught at Abingdon and Witney College.

Please also see the University's general entry requirements.

English language requirements

Please see the University's standard English language requirements.

International qualifications and equivalences

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English requirements for visas

If you need a student visa to enter the UK you will need to meet the UK Visas and Immigration minimum language requirements as well as the University's requirements. Find out more about English language requirements.

Pathways courses for international and EU students

If you do not meet the entry requirements for this degree, or if you would like more preparation before you start, you can take an international foundation course. Once you enrol, you will have a guaranteed pathway to this degree if you pass your foundation course with the required grades.

If you only need to meet the language requirements, you can take our pre-sessional English course. You will develop key language and study skills for academic success and you will not need to take an external language test to progress to your degree.

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

Many of our courses consider applications for entry with credit for prior learning. Each application is individually assessed by our credit entry tutors. 

If you would like more information about whether or not you may be eligible for the award of credit, for example from an HND, partly-completed degree or foundation degree, please contact our Admissions team.

We operate 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.

Application process

Full time Home / EU applicants

Apply through UCAS

Part time Home / EU applicants

Apply direct to the University

International applicants

Apply direct to the University

Full time applicants can also apply through UCAS

Tuition fees


Please see the fees note
Home/EU full time
£9,250

Home/EU part time
£750 per single module

International full time
£14,280

Home/EU full time
£9,250 (subject to agreement by Office for Students)

Home/EU part time
£1,155 per single module

International full time
£14,800

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

Tuition fees


2019/20
Home/EU full time
£9,250

Home/EU part time
£750 per single module

International full time
£14,280

2020/21
Home/EU full time
£9,250 (subject to agreement by Office for Students)

Home/EU part time
£1,155 per single module

International full time
£14,800

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:
+44 (0)1865 483088

Please note tuition fees for Home/EU students may increase in subsequent years both for new and continuing students in line with an inflationary amount determined by government. Tuition fees for International students may increase in subsequent years both for new and continuing students.

Oxford Brookes University intends to maintain its fees for new and returning home and EU students at the maximum permitted level.

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 below.

Financial support and scholarships

For general sources of financial support, see our Fees and funding pages.

Additional costs

There are some additional costs for the course including the purchase of a lab coat, safety goggles, stationery such as a lab notebook, printing and text books (though the library will have some copies). If the student opts for the placement year then there will be living costs associated with this year but we encourage students to seek a placement with a bursary or a paid placement to mitigate this. Work experience also may also incur travel costs.

Learning and assessment


This course reflects the wide ranging expertise in Zoology represented by staff in the department who will teach this course.

Studies in Year 1 aim to develop a firm understanding of core topics:  

  • cell biology 
  • basic science skills

In Year 2 and your Final Year you will specialise and choose modules to suit your own interests. 

You will take compulsory modules such as Career development and Data Carpentry

In the Professional Skills and Techniques module you will select three ‘podules’ from a list. A podule is a very short 'module within a module'. You can choose your podules from a list of skills and topics.

You can choose optional modules. These include topics such as Threatened Species.

You can also choose to undertake work experience or a one year placement. Work experience is optional, Industrial Experience Semesters are compulsory for Sandwich mode students only. 

Students sitting around desks holding hands

Study modules

Year 1

Compulsory modules

Biodiversity - (double credit module)

An integrated approach to the diversity of life. We look at the classification of the living world, the theory of evolution that links all biology and interactions between organisms and their environment. Focus will be on major structures and patterns in plants, animals and fungi.

Cell Biology & Genetics - (double credit module)

An introduction to cell function. Students will study the different types of molecules within cells and learn about cellular organelles and their functions.

Introduction to Biochemistry A

A general introduction to the chemical principles that underpin a contemporary understanding of cell function at the molecular level. An overview of stoichiometry and reactions, chemical bonds and structures, and chemical equilibrium underpins content exploring the chemistry of familiar cellular macromolecules (DNA, proteins, carbohydrates, fats).

Field Course: Identification and Methods

The module introduces and develops key field study skills during a week-long residential field course to an area characterised by a rich natural history, habitat and landscape diversity. The field-work comprises a various group activities focussing on identification of terrestrial and aquatic flora and fauna, ecological sampling techniques for terrestrial and aquatic environments, quantitative description and analysis of group data, and designing field investigations. *Taught in summer vacation, but is preceded by assessed preparatory exercises in Semester Two.

The Practicing Scientist - (double credit module)

A module designed to introduce, extend and apply the fundamental skills that underpin the practice of science. Key themes include hypothesis testing and the design of scientific investigations, mathematical topics and their application, the principles and application of statistical methods, and the recording, reporting and presentation of science.

Year 2

Compulsory modules

Animal Behaviour

The module emphasizes the importance of observation and experimentation to our understanding of behaviour and develops deep reading skills through the study of key primary research papers. Consideration is given to the influences of resource type and quality on animal behaviour, the evolution of behavioural traits and the acquisition of new behaviours.

Animal Developmental Biology

This module will present students with an in-depth introduction to the principles of developmental biology, and provide a broad overview of development processes and their regulation in animals.

Career Development

The module aims to provide essential training in professional career management skills designed to assist you in actively planning and preparing for your future career. It will take you through a career development cycle starting with discovering your potential, exploring opportunities (jobs, post graduate study or training), plotting a way forward and making it happen.

Data Carpentry

This module introduces students on how to get biologically meaningful answers from data while providing a generic introduction to concepts of ‘big data’ and machine learning. This conceptual framework is delivered via a more practical approach where students learn how to program, analyse, manage and communicate data from diverse biological disciplines using the R language for statistical computing.

Genetics

This module focuses on patterns of genetic inheritance at different scales from individuals to populations to evolutionary lineages. It will develop an understanding of Mendelian/transmission, quantitative, population, ecological and evolutionary genetics and an ability to analyse and interpret genetic data.

Interrogating Genomes

This module provides an introduction to computational thinking in the biological sciences. This involves learning programming to tailor bespoke solutions to biological problems and developing a capacity to approach biological problems from a computational perspective (computational thinking). Additionally students are introduced to a variety of – omic data types (RNA, DNA, Protein-level), public databases and publicly available software for bioinformatics applications.

Optional modules

Cell Biology

This module focuses on eukaryotic cell structures and functions and highlights examples from animals, plants and fungi. The composition and functions of the cytoskeleton, cell membranes and cell components including chloroplasts, mitochondria and the nucleus will be discussed. In addition, cellular processes such as cell division and cell death will also be examined. Students will use well established methods such as fluorescent microscopy of living cells to experimentally investigate topics from lectures in lab classes.

Molecular Biology

A study of structure and function of prokaryotic and eukaryotic genomes at the molecular level with an overview on the experimental evidence that has contributed to current concepts, models and paradigms and practical experience of key molecular biology laboratory techniques. The module focuses on aspects of genetic engineering and environmental applications of modern molecular tools, with emphasis on phylogeny, ecology and evolution.

Microbiology

An introduction to microbiology considering the structures, metabolism, regulatory signals, replication and growth exhibited by microorganisms. You will learn how to work in a Category 2 microbiology laboratory and have the opportunity to plan and execute simple experimental procedures that are important to work with bacteria and viruses. You will practise aseptic techniques, and several procedures used in diagnostic labs for bacterial identification.

Threatened Species

Emphasis will be placed upon the role of captive populations and their management, with an exploration of in-situ versus ex-situ conservation as a consequence. Included in this debate will be an in-depth examination of our understanding of conservation genetics as it applies to captive populations, with emphasis placed on the student’s own research of a named threatened species.

Work experience

The ‘Work Experience’ module is a work-based, supervised learning experience, in which you will spend at least 115 hours in a working environment. This is equivalent to 3 weeks full-time (7.5 hrs/day) or 6 weeks part time (~4 hrs/day) work. As part of the module, you will practice career management skills by reflecting on your interests and career aspirations and approaching potential employers about opportunities in their organisation. We strongly believe that arranging a placement yourself will give you a head start after graduation, as you will have practiced essential career management skills. Ideally, it will be your responsibility to find, apply for and secure your work experience placement. If you get stuck, your subject lead, your academic adviser or your dissertation supervisor will be able to provide you with some contacts. There may be some costs such as travel associated with work experience and these are not included in the course tuition fees

Year 3 (optional placement year)

Optional modules

Work placement

The ‘Work Experience’ module is a supervised work-based learning experience. You will spend a minimum of 60 hours in a working environment that is relevant to your future career path. By learning how to reflect on your learning and professional development, and how to present your insights in a written essay and in a video, you will develop useful skills for your future job applications. We strongly believe that arranging a placement yourself will give you a head start after graduation, as you will have practiced essential career management skills. Ideally, it will be your responsibility to find, apply for and secure your work experience placement. If you get stuck, your subject lead, your academic advisor or your dissertation supervisor will be able to provide you with some contacts in a wide range of suitable organisations. Cost of the opportunity: There may be some costs such as travel associated with work experience and these are not included in the course tuition fees.

Year 4 (or year 3 if no placement)

Compulsory modules

Professional Skills and Techniques

This module focuses on the development of the professional skills, personalised to your career ambitions. You will select three ‘podules’ from a selection of podules, which draw upon our research expertise and links with external partners. Podules will cover a wide range topics relevant to your degree, such as advanced microscopy, protein biochemistry, species identification, geographic information systems, entrepreneurship or science communication. Each podule consists of an introductory lecture, plenty of hands-on experience, and a seminar in which you will learn more about the application of ‘your’ skill in different contexts.

Animal Neurology & Behaviour

This module aims to explore the neurobiological mechanisms underlying behaviour, including memory acquisition, learning and cognition, perception and consciousness at an individual level as well as in a social and ecological context/setting. It will also cover the major technological advances in the study of neural function and behaviour and the development of diagnostic and therapeutic tools in the treatment of neurological disorders.

Project

An individual project related to some aspect of the student's degree subject. The associated practical work may be conducted in a research or industrial laboratory or in the field, depending on the nature of the project.

Optional modules

Advanced Genetics and Genomics

The emphasis in this module is on the major theoretical and technological advances in Genetics and Genomics, and their significance in addressing the current challenges in biological and medical research. The module will specifically focus on the use of natural variation for the study of population history, selection inference, and analysing variation in complex traits; the use of comparative genomics and phylogenetics to understand evolutionary relationships and investigate gene and genome evolution; the role of microbiomes in human health and ecosystems and the study of gene function.

Advanced Cell Biology and Bioimaging

This module is designed to give students an in-depth appreciation of currently topical areas in the cell biology of mammals, yeast and plants, and the techniques underpinning the associated research. Topics to be covered will include cell signalling, the endomembrane system, and the cell cycle. Control of these three aspects of cell biology is, ultimately, at the level of interacting proteins and these interactions will be explored.

Advanced Topics in Wildlife Conservation

The module will identify and deliver the concepts and practical skills used in wildlife conservation, integrating conservation at the landscape scale with other wider countryside land management. This will develop understanding of the use of practical conservation management in maintaining and enhancing biodiversity. The inter-disciplinary nature of the module is emphasised in identifying the role of policy and statutory controls for wildlife management, and the role of conservation science in their development and delivery.

Evolution and Animal Development - (double credit module)

The shape, size and colour of each animal are produced during its development. This means that in order to study the evolution of animal biodiversity we need to study the evolution of development. In this module, we will not only discuss animal evolution at various timescales and levels, but we will also follow the development from egg (cell) to adult in a variety of animal species and compare the developmental programmes involved.

Science and Humanity

Science has had a huge impact on all aspects of our lives, and the overall aim of this module is to set that influence in its social and historical context. We will address alternative views of the world, how they have been developed or replaced in the context of science and have a clear look at the strengths and weaknesses of a scientific world view. We will address ideas about the value of other life forms and introduce environmental philosophy.

Work Experience - (single credit module that can be taken in either semester)

The ‘Work Experience’ module is a supervised work-based learning experience. You will spend a minimum of 60 hours in a working environment that is relevant to your future career path. By learning how to reflect on your learning and professional development, and how to present your insights in a written essay and in a video, you will develop useful skills for your future job applications.

Independent Study in Life Sciences - (single credit module that can be taken in either semester)

A study (normally library-based) of a topic of the student's choosing that is relevant to the student's programme but not formally offered as part of the taught course. The topic will normally extend the learning achieved during Stage 2, and for a full time student the module can only be undertaken during the final year of study. A learning contract is agreed between the student and a supervising member of staff in the semester prior to the one in which the study is to be undertaken, and this must be approved by the Subject Examination Committee. Only once the learning contract has been formally approved will the module be registered on the student's programme of study.

Please note: As our courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, the modules you can choose from may vary from that shown here. The structure of the course may also mean some modules are not available to you.

Learning and teaching

Throughout the course we focus on applying fundamental biology to real life issues. You will focus on applying your knowledge in practical settings, either in the lab or out in the field. 

You have the opportunity to gain a wide range of skills. These include:

  • molecular techniques
  • bioinformatics
  • advanced light and electron microscopy
  • field-based methods for species and landscape assessment
  • cutting edge methodologies for the study of evolution and developmental biology

Our teaching methods include: 

  • lectures
  • practicals
  • tutorials
  • seminars
  • surgeries

Field trips

There is a field-course module at the end of your first year where you experience one week of intensive practical field study in the Cevennes region of southern France, an area characterised by a rich natural history, habitat and landscape diversity. The field-work comprises various group activities focussing on identification of terrestrial and aquatic flora and fauna, ecological sampling techniques for terrestrial and aquatic environments, quantitative description and analysis of group data, and designing field investigations. You can thus broaden your UK experiences by encountering unfamiliar assemblages of plants and animals influenced by different regional cultural and social environmental attitudes. As the field trip is a compulsory module the cost is covered within the course fees. Depending on your choice of modules there will be other half-day visits and these are at no extra cost.

Assessment

Assessment methods used on this course

Assessment is designed to shape and develop learning, not simply measure it. 

Our assessment methods include:

  • essays
  • reviews
  • examinations
  • laboratory or field notebooks
  • scientific reports
  • posters
  • oral presentations

You’ll reflect on your progress with assignment feedback together with your diaries.

Study Abroad


You may be able to go on a European or international study exchange while you are at Brookes. Most exchanges take place in the second year. Although we will help as much as we can with your plans, ultimately you are responsible for organising and funding this study abroad.

After you graduate


Career prospects

The skills and knowledge gained on this course are directly relevant to a number of careers in the area of conservation of endangered species and habitats, animal education and welfare, controlling pests and diseases, drug development, journalism, teaching and research.

Others will find jobs in agricultural and biotechnology industries. There are other career paths in the civil service, forensic sciences, teaching, the food industry, commercial analytical laboratories, professions allied to medicine, and in government and industrial research laboratories.

A Biological Sciences (Zoology) degree also offers an excellent general university education and can provide a gateway to careers in management, journalism and the media, finance and other areas of commerce, law, computing and the leisure industry.

The Work Experience module gives the opportunity to work in a relevant organisation, often during part of a summer vacation, and in the process gain a module credit which counts towards the degree. There is also the option of doing a year in Industry.

Visiting speakers from relevant industries/professions also help create links with potential employers.

Further study

Many of our graduates have continued studying and gone on to gain postgraduate qualifications including PhDs or a MSc at other universities or here at Brookes including our MSc degree in Conservation Ecology or MSc Medical Genetics and Genomics.

Free language courses


Free language courses are available to full-time undergraduate and postgraduate students on many of our courses, and can be taken as a credit on some courses.

Information from Discover Uni


Programme Changes: On rare occasions we may need to make changes to our course programmes after they have been published on the website.

For more information, please visit our Changes to programmes page.