UCR - University Centre Reaseheath
University Centre Reaseheath

FdSc Zoo Management

Would you love an exciting and rewarding career in the zoo industry? At UCR you benefit from a unique combination of academic study with industry focused training in the management of zoo animals.

The course includes career-focused modules such as captive breeding and record keeping, zoo animal training and animal health and disease, plus you will have extensive access to our wide range of exotic species including primates, small carnivores, reptiles, amphibians and birds of prey.


Course Overview

Our lecturers have many years of experience working in the diversity of roles zoos can offer, and they bring this passion and knowledge to the classroom.

After studying our foundation degree, you can progress onto our Zoo Management top-up, which is an opportunity for zoo biologists and animal scientists to explore more specialist modules within zoos and conservation. These include zoo enclosure design, conservation education and animal enrichment. 

Course Features

  • 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 
  • Volunteer staff opportunities at our on-site zoo 
  • Directly transferable skills such as exotic animal husbandry, zoo nutrition, conservation education and use of the ZIMS (Zoological Information Management Systems) software 
  • The opportunity to engage in overseas field courses to a range of localities including Kenya and Europe 

Career Options

  • Zookeeper  
  • Curator 
  • Conservation biologist 
  • Registrar 
  • Conservation education or outreach officer 
  • Animal consultancy 
  • Scientific research 

BSc Zoo Management (Top-up)

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

Student Success

Dominic Grover | FdSc Zoo Management

“I first started studying at Reaseheath as a college student, and I enjoyed it so much that I decided to progress onto studying at University Centre Reaseheath. After studying Level 3 Animal Management, I completed a FdSc in Zoo Management, and then progressed onto the BSc (Hons) Zoo Management (top-up) for extra experience.

“I love the campus at Reaseheath, especially the extensive on-site mini zoo facilities, so it was an easy decision for me to progress onto degree level study here. I am a residential student too which I like as my accommodation is modern and spacious and I’m close to all my lectures and the social activities happening across campus.

“Throughout my degree I have gained a lot of practical experience as well as theoretical knowledge which I can take with me into my career. We regularly have guest lectures from industry professionals which I find really useful, and my lecturers have lots of industry experience too, so they are great to learn from.

“My main area of interest in zoo management is carnivores, so after I graduate I would like to become a carnivore keeper. I also plan to complete a MSc in Zoo Conservation and Biology and then eventually become a head of department in a zoo, and I feel that UCR is preparing me well to achieve this.”

UCR Zoo Management undergraduate Dominic Grover

Course Information

This course is aimed at students who wish to develop a career within the zoo 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 the zoo industry, with knowledge of 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 the role of zoos in species conservation. 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 zoo nutrition, record keeping, zoo animal behaviour and training. A two to five week (equivalent) work placement* or field course is also included as part of the programme, either within the UK or overseas.

  • A minimum of 64 UCAS tariff points from A and AS levels to include either 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 and Animal or Science related subject
  • Scottish Higher – offers tend to be in the region of CCC to include Biology, Chemistry or Human Biology
  • Access to Higher Education – a minimum of 64 tariff points
  • International Baccalaureate – a minimum overall score of 24 including 4 in HL Biology
  • T Level – a minimum grade of Pass (D or E) in Science or Animal Care and Management
  • Mature students (aged 21+) will be considered on an individual basis on their prior knowledge and experience. This may be assessed by interview, completion of coursework/essay or other methods. There may be a requirement for a formal qualification to be completed first e.g. Access to Higher Education course
  • Introduction to Scientific Communication
  • Animal Husbandry and Handling
  • Zoos and Conservation
  • Animal Anatomy and Physiology
  • Evolution and Adaptation
  • Introduction to Animal Behaviour
  • Experiential Learning
  • Research Methods
  • Zoo Animal Nutrition
  • Captive Breeding and Record Keeping
  • Zoo Animal Training
  • Zoo Animal Welfare*
  • Animal Health and Disease*

* Denotes optional modules.

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.

Overall workload

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 – 60 for modules exclusively delivered on the programme. For those modules offered across several programmes, class size could be as high as 80 individual learners.


We design a wide range of assessments that will help you to develop industry standard skills and knowledge. In your first year, the assessments consist of a combination on timed online assessments, of multiple-choice questions and short essays, practical assessments and presentations and written coursework. This written coursework can be in the form of reports, essays or posters, depending on the module. For Husbandry and Handling, there are assessed practical sessions, reflections and talks. For
Introduction to Scientific Communication, there are quizzes based on the application of statistical software.

In your second year, there will be some variation, depending on the optional modules chosen, but there will again be a combination of timed online assessments and written coursework. This coursework may take the form of a report using the ZIMS (Zoological Information Management System) software, or be based on laboratory practical sessions. For Experiential Learning or Work-based Learning, you will be creating a reflective portfolio, while for Research Methods, you will be writing a proposal and using statistical software to analyse data.

The balance of assessment by examination and assessment by coursework depends to some extent on the optional modules you choose. The approximate percentage of the course assessed by coursework is as follows:

Year 1

55% coursework

50% written exams

Year 2

70% coursework

30% written exams


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 3-3.5 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.

The main emphasis placed on these field courses is the development of professional, industry relevant skills and the application of students’ knowledge in a novel, stimulating, yet challenging environment. Costs associated with the field courses range from £500 – £1000 (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 text’s 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.