UCR - University Centre Reaseheath
University Centre Reaseheath

FdSc Animal Management (Behaviour and Welfare)

Do you want to explore a career with captive domestic or exotic animals that aspires to the highest standards of welfare and behavioural diversity? 

Students have regular access to the zoo-licensed animal centre facilities at University Centre Reaseheath, which boasts a range of exotic zoo species, in addition to domestic species. Additionally, you can expect an interactive and personable learning experience that draws upon the expertise of our team of industry experienced staff. 

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Course Overview

As part of this course, you will develop a range of academic and professional skills, related to the behaviour and welfare of captive animals. 

Through practical husbandry sessions, ethical debates and behavioural observations, you will gain a greater appreciation for the goals and challenges of managing animals in a captive situation. This knowledge can be applied to a diversity of careers, with transferable skills working with animals in large or small-scale collections. 

Course Features

  • Ethical debates on animal welfare, including guest speakers from a range of backgrounds 
  • Opportunities to specialise in domestic or exotic species 
  • Access to our on-campus zoo, which houses over 1,000 animals and 125 species including ring-tailed lemurs, porcupines, raccoon dogs, otters, tapir, capybaras, owls, hawks, bearded dragons, kingsnakes, dart frogs, marine fish and much more
  • Opportunity to engage in overseas field courses to a range of localities in Africa and Europe. 

Career Options

  • Animal welfare officers 
  • Animal behaviourists 
  • Animal therapy and rehabilitation 
  • Rescue centre animal care 
  • Scientific research 
  • Zoo-based husbandry and research 

BSc Animal Management (Behaviour & Welfare) (Top-up)

This course can be followed by a one year Top-up course to gain a full honours degree.

An introduction to FdSc and BSc Animal Management (Behaviour & Welfare)

Programme Leader Ellie Rose explains more about what you will do on this varied and rewarding degree programme and some of the careers you could go on to when you graduate.

Play Video

Course Information

This course is aimed at students who wish to develop a career within the animal management industry. Students are provided with a combination of academic study with practical learning opportunities to develop a range of academic and professional skills specific to animal behaviour and welfare science, with knowledge of both domesticated and exotic captive animal management.

Students are expected to study and complete 120 credits per year, which comprises six modules of study per academic level/year. All modules in year 1 are mandatory study, to ensure students come away with the fundamental skills and knowledge required to progress onto further study. Conversely, students will have the opportunity to select for certain optional modules in year 2, to allow for more specific disciplines/subject pathways to be developed.

In Year 1 (Level 4), you will develop essential knowledge and skills in animal husbandry & handling, animal biology, principles of disease, and animal welfare science. A heavy emphasis at Level 4 study will also be placed on the development of academic skills via regular tutoring with an assigned course manager.

Year 2 (Level 5) sees a shift in emphasis towards more industry-specific skills and research-informed knowledge, including themes in nutrition, behavioural applications, domestic or exotic animal welfare and management. A two to five week (equivalent) work placement/industry engagement* or field course is also included as part of the programme, either within the UK or overseas.

  • A minimum of 64 tariff points from A and AS levels to include Biology, Chemistry, Human Biology or Applied Science
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma (first teaching from September 2016) – a minimum of grade MPP in an Animal or Science related subject
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Diploma (first teaching from September 2016) – a minimum of grade MM in an Animal or Science related subject
  • Scottish Higher – CCC to include Biology, Chemistry or Human Biology
  • International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme – 24 points including 4 in HL Biology
  • T Level – Pass (D or E) in Science or Animal Care and Management
  • Access to HE Diploma – a minimum of 64 tariff points 
  • Introduction to Scientific Communication 
  • Animal Husbandry and Handling 
  • Animal Welfare Issues 
  • Animal Anatomy and Physiology 
  • Evolution and Adaptation 
  • Introduction to Animal Behaviour 
  • Experiential Learning 
  • Research Methods 
  • Animal Nutrition 
  • Welfare: Evaluation and Impact 
  • Behavioural Ecology* 
  • Animal Health and Disease* 
  • Domestic Animal Husbandry and Welfare* 
  • Exotic Animal Husbandry and Management* 

* Denotes optional modules 

BSc (Hons) Top-Up 

Please note that availability of optional modules is subject to availability of subject-specialist staff and the recruitment of the minimum viable student number (7 individuals). Should a module not be deemed viable for operation then all students who selected that module will be communicated to in writing in advance of the academic year, and will be informed of the alternative options available to select from. 

Your overall workload consists of class contact hours, independent learning and assessment activity, plus field trips. Your actual contact hours may depend on which optional modules you select, but the following information gives an indication of how much time you will need to allocate to different activities at each year of the course: 

Year 1:  

30% of your time is spent in timetabled teaching and learning activity 

Teaching, Learning and Assessment:       360 hours 

Independent Study:                                    840 hours 

Year 2:  

22% of your time is spent in timetabled teaching and learning activity 

Teaching, Learning and Assessment:       252 hours 

Placement:                                                    100 hours 

Independent Study:                                     848 hours 

Class sizes average between 10 – 30 for modules exclusively delivered on the programme. For those modules offered across several programmes, class size could be as high as 80 individual learners. 

Assessment Methods

Assessments are designed to encourage both academic skills and skills valued in the workplace. Assessments may take many forms including: essays, reports, data processing, presentations, academic posters, seminar discussions, interviews, critical reviews, portfolios of evidence and practical competency assessments. 


Feedback is supplied via Turnitin or directly from the module tutor. The majority of submissions are made via Turnitin and feedback for coursework is provided within twenty working days after the submission date.

Written feedback will be supported verbally should the student require clarification. Formative assessment feedback will be provided at the time of completion where possible, with more detailed summative feedback for reports.

Students will be able to access course timetables for the academic year in September.

Timetables are subject to change, but most students can expect to spend 3-4 days per week on campus.

Tuition Fees

As a student at UCR, you will have two main costs to meet; your tuition fees and living costs.

Our full-time tuition fees for UK and EU students, entering University, can be found on our student finance page. These fees are charged for each academic year of a course and are set by the college annually.

Tuition fees for international students can also be found on our student finance page.

Additional Costs

Students may be offered the chance to engage in both domestic and overseas learning opportunities with which to enhance their classroom-based learning experience. These may include opportunities to study zoological collections in Europe, as well as undertaking conservation field courses in locations such as Southern Africa, South America and the UK.

Costs associated with the field courses range from £500 – £1,000 (UK & Europe), and between £2,200 – £2,800 (South America & Southern Africa). Please note that precise pricing of all field courses is subject to change, pending availability and recruitment.
Students may also wish to purchase their own personal copies of recommended set-texts to assist them with their studies.

A full list of recommended texts is made available prior to enrolment. However, our campus library boasts sufficient stocks of all major texts to support student learning, frequently in e-book format, and the purchasing of texts is therefore not enforced.

Equipment Costs

  • Boiler suit: £20-£30 OR UCR Polo shirt (£12)/UCR Sweatshirt (£16) + work trousers (£15-£20)
  • Steel toe capped boots: from £30
  • Lab coat: £13-£20
  • USB drive: from £5

Prices of equipment are subject to change dependent on retailer.

Apply directly through UCAS


A minimum of 64 UCAS points

September 2024
September 2025

Full-time: 2 years

Useful Information

Here you will find useful information about the services and support available at University Centre Reaseheath. Click to expand each item:

University Centre Reaseheath is committed to providing additional financial support to those who need it. To find out about the bursary schemes available visit the additional financial support pages.

For students to get the best out of their time at University Centre Reaseheath, we must both recognise that we owe obligations to each other. These obligations are set out in our UCR Student Contract. Before you accept an offer of a place at University Centre Reaseheath, it is important that you read these contract conditions. If you are going to be living in Halls of Residence, you will also need to read the Student Accommodation Licence Conditions. Both of these contracts can be found here.

Click here to view the University Centre Reaseheath Student Protection Plan.

All UCR students are given the opportunity to apply for residential accommodation. First year students are guaranteed accommodation and this offer is made to all applicants who live more than a reasonable daily travelling distance from Reaseheath (providing you have applied before the UCAS equal considerations deadline. For full details on our halls of residence visit our accommodation page.

We have a team of dedicated professionals on hand to offer you support. These include our Student Services Team, Inclusive Learning Team, Library and Learning Resources Team and the Reaseheath Careers Service. You can find more information on the support provided at Reaseheath on our support page.

University Centre Reaseheath is proud to welcome international students. For more information, please visit our international students page.