UCR - University Centre Reaseheath
University Centre Reaseheath

BSc (Hons) Animal Behaviour & Welfare (with Foundation year)

Pursue your passion for animal behaviour and welfare and gain the skills needed to grow, progress and become the specialist you’ve always aspired to be. 

Discover how the study of animal behaviour is providing us with a fresh insight into how animals communicate and learn, what they feel and how they interact with their environment. The study of animal behaviour and welfare is changing attitudes towards animals, informing protection legislation, and providing us with a better understanding of how to meet animals’ needs.

Jack Stilgoe-Animal Management

Course Overview

The foundation year will provide you with the skills you need to be successful in your BSc degree. You will develop your ability to carry out research and write in academic language, while also gaining core knowledge in animal diversity, evolution and data analysis. There is a strong practical component, including animal husbandry and ecological survey techniques.

Throughout your second year of study, you will be introduced to animal behaviour, animal welfare issues and behavioural data analysis. Through practical sessions in our licensed zoo, you will explore key principles in animal husbandry, including animal health and welfare, enclosure design and nutrition. You will also study fundamental scientific principles in the animal sciences such as animal anatomy, cell structure and genetics, working in our dedicated science laboratories.

Please note: Students are based at University Centre Reaseheath during their first and second year, and then at the University of Chester during the third and fourth years. Residential students will live in halls of residence at University Centre Reaseheath during their first two years.

Course Features

  • Animal husbandry
  • Animal physiology and health
  • Welfare and ethics
  • Principles of animal behaviour
  • behavioural data analysis
  • Use of our on-site zoo which houses over 1,000 animals – including ring-tailed lemurs, porcupines, raccoon dogs, otters, tapir, capybaras, owls, hawks, bearded dragons, kingsnakes, dart frogs, marine fish and much more in our on-site mini zoo

Career Options

  • Animal behaviourist 
  • Animal welfare/conservation 
  • Teaching/education officers 
  • Scientific research and technical support 
  • Animal behaviour counselling/training 
  • Teaching and lecturing 
  • Animal health product development 
  • Rescue centre animal care 

Course Information

This course is aimed at students who wish to develop a career within animal behaviour and/or animal welfare. Students are provided with a unique combination of academic study with practical work to develop a range of academic and professional skills, with knowledge of animal behaviour and animal welfare science in varying contexts, and related disciplines. Students will be provided with a dynamic learning experience that combines academic study with practical application of themes in animal behaviour and welfare. 

A minimum of 72 UCAS points from one of the following routes:

  • A levels – must include a grade D at GCE A level, preferably including a GCE A Level in Biology or Applied Science
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma (preferably Animal Care/Management or Applied Science) – MMP
  • Access to HE (Science) Diploma, Pass overall
  • Scottish Higher – CCCC
  • International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme – 24 points
  • Leaving Certificate – Higher Level (Ireland) – H4, H4, H4, H5, H5 preferably including H4 in Biology
  • T Level preferably in Science – P with D or E on the core.


The University of Chester considers a wide range of Level 3 qualifications and a wide range of professional / vocational qualifications.

Delivered at University Centre Reaseheath

Delivered at University Centre Reaseheath

  • Introduction to Behaviour in Animals
  • Animal Husbandry and Handling
  • Animal Welfare Issues
  • Animal Anatomy and Physiology
  • Principles of Evolutionary Biology
  • Behavioural Data Analysis and Project Design

Delivered at University of Chester

  • Research Methods
  • Experiential Learning*
  • Behavioural Ecology*
  • Adaptations to the Environment*
  • Wildlife Crime and Conservation*
  • Welfare and Behaviour Management
  • Marine Animal Behaviour*
  • Experiential Overseas Learning*
  • Year Abroad Study Exchange (120 credits)*
  • Enhancing your Employability through Work Based Learning*

Delivered at University of Chester

  • Dissertation
  • Animal Behaviour and Conservation*
  • Physiology and Behaviour*
  • Zoo Biology and Management
  • Stress and Welfare Assessment in Animals
  • Applied Conservation Genetics*
  • Managing Marine Environmental Impacts*
  • Behavioural & Evolutionary Ecology*
  • Domestic Animal Behaviour and Welfare*
  • Animal Parasitism: Medical, Veterinary and Ecological Aspects*

* Denotes optional modules

† Dissertation is a double-weighted module, worth 40 credits. Therefore, only five modules are selected for study at Level 6 (Year 3).

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. 

Students will be expected to make their module choices for the following academic year by March via a module selection service. Confirmation of module selections will be provided via the University of Chester Portal.

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:

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

Teaching, Learning and Assessment:         360 hours 

Independent Study:                                       840 hours

Class sizes average between 8-35 for modules exclusively delivered on the programme. For those modules offered across several programmes, class size could be as high as 90 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. 

The approximate percentage of the course assessed by coursework is as follows: 

80% coursework 

20% 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.

Students are given the opportunity to study an optional module at level 5 (Year 2) entitled Enhancing your Employability through Work Based Learning. Students are expected to source their own placement, and complete a minimum of 150 hours of work, completed in a 5-week block period. When selecting a placement, students should consider the financial implications associated with accommodation, travel/commuting and the possible need for a Disclosure Barring service (DBS) check, as the University of Chester may not be able to subsidise such costs.

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

You may have the opportunity to attend day trips or study tours within the UK and overseas. These trips vary each year and costs would be confirmed prior to booking. 

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

D327 at C55 Campus Code R

A minimum of 72 UCAS points

September 2025
September 2026

Full-time: 4 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 our additional financial support page.

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.