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Wildlife Conservation with Zoo Biology

BSc (Hons)

School - School of Environment & Life Sciences

Subject area - Wildlife

UCAS Code: D4C3

Start Date(s): September


Three years full-time
Four years full-time with placement year
Up to six years part-time


UK - £9,250 per year

Part-time - Your annual fee will be calculated pro rata to the full-time fee according to the number of credits you are studying.

International - £12,660 per year

In Brief:

  • Acquire the practical skills used in wildlife conservation and zoos
  • A variety of free field trip opportunities on offer [small administration fee may apply]
  • Opportunity to take a work placement in the UK, Europe or worldwide
  • Part-time study option
  • Work/industrial placement opportunity
  • International students can apply

Course Summary

Loss of biodiversity is an increasing concern at national, European and global levels. To work as a professional with wildlife and in conservation you will need both practical skills and knowledge of theory to meet the challenge of saving our wildlife and wild places. 

This course focuses on conservation both in zoos and in the wild which is ideal if you wish to pursue a career involving wildlife, working in either of those environments. The School also has close links with local zoos and aquariums to provide you with a wide range of experiences throughout your course.

One of the key features of this course is our strong emphasis on field trips – these include day trips as well as national and overseas residential trips. The majority of these trips are free, with students only needing to pay a modest administration fee.

*This programme has been accredited by the Royal Society of Biology following an independent and rigorous assessment. Accredited degree programmes contain a solid academic foundation in biological knowledge and key skills, and prepare graduates to address the needs of employers. The accreditation criteria require evidence that graduates from accredited programmes meet defined sets of learning outcomes, including subject knowledge, technical ability and transferable skills.

University of Salford Wildlife Society

Here at the University of Salford we have an award winning wildlife student society that organises extra-curricular trips around the UK and abroad, as well as opportunities to get involved with volunteering and conservation projects. Follow them on Twitter and Facebook to see what they get up to!

Find out about our wildlife students' recent trip to Brazil

Lauren's Salford story

BSc Wildlife Conservation with Zoo Biology student and President of the Wildlife Society

Richard's Salford story

BSc Wildlife Conservation and Zoo Biology graduate

Awards and Accreditation

Course Structure

In your first year you will study a range of topics across several modules covering both theory and practice across the biological and environmental sciences. Year two of the course offers specialist modules in wildlife and zoo-related areas, whilst year 3 includes a dissertation on a wildlife, conservation or zoo biology topic of your choice in addition to specialist modules in areas of interest to you.

Year 1                                                                    

This module focuses on the origins and diversity of living organisms (including humans), the environmental processes and their role in the generation of biodiversity.                                                                                    
The aim of this module is to develop an understanding of basic genetics, evolution and population genetics and how these disciplines are relevant to wildlife studies. You will also look at how wildlife species interact with the ecosystems in which they live.                                                                                    
This module introduces you to the historical development and evolution of zoos, the basic anatomy and physiology of vertebrates, the principles of zoo enclosure design and the methods of handling and identifying individual animals.                                                                                    
This module introduces identification and measurement of organisms in the field, looking at common British species of animals and plants and awareness of their likely distribution, the production of identification drawings and the use of a range of ecological sampling equipment and methods.                                                                                    
The module provides you an overview of the world’s major biomes. You learn about the importance of biogeography and the principal factors that drive the distribution of species and communities and how wildlife adapts to these factors.                                                                                    
In this module you will learn by observation, investigation, comparison and engagement and develop practical learning and presentation methods which can be applied generically during year 1 and beyond. You will also gain an appreciation of Personal Development Planning and effective data handling, calculation        and numerical skills.                                                                                    

Year 2                                                                    

This module focuses on the principles of wildlife ecology and animal behaviour with particular reference to mammal and bird species. It also introduces scientific methods in the study of ecology and behaviour.                                                                                    
This module will introduce you to the modern concepts of conservation biology at the level of species and populations, the existing tensions between theory and practice in species conservation planning, and an overview of the interdisciplinary toolbox used by conservation biologists (for example IT        packages and DNA fingerprints). You will also be given the chance to  design an appropriate conservation programme for a species or population, including the projection of future survival under varying scenarios.                                                                                    
The aim of this module is to show you how to learn by observation, investigation, comparison and engagement and to develop your practical learning and presentation methods which can be applied generically during the rest of the course and beyond.                                                                                    
On this module you will gain a critical awareness of zoo conservation programmes and the role of zoo professionals. Additionally, you will learn about reproductive biology, genetics, and disease in zoos and zoo animals and how to manage these.                                                                                    
Plus one option from:
The aim is to provide a theoretical and practical understanding of animal welfare science whereby students get to critically assess the outcomes of different solutions to real-world animal welfare problems.                                                                          
This module aims to provide you with knowledge of the structure and evolution of primate societies. You will look at the Primate Order, its distribution and the conservation priorities for primate species. You will gain an understanding of the ecological and demographic processes that underlie different        types of social systems and an insight into the way  in which evolutionary, ecological, genetic and physiological analyses can facilitate this understanding.                          
Study the consequence of human actions on the environment from prehistoric times to the present day, the appropriate ecological principles involved in population biology and in the autecology of selected dominant species.                                                                            
Courses are available in: Arabic, German, French, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese or Spanish.                                    

Plus one option from:

This module provides an overview of how diversity in the animal kingdom has evolved. It also illustrates the basic principles of evolution as a force to create biodiversity.                                                                            
This module provides awareness of the biology and ecology of marine environments as well as providing you with the opportunity to undertake field work and encouraging you to adopt an investigative approach to ecological studies. Includes a one-week field trip to Pembrokeshire.                                                                            
Courses are available in: Arabic, German, French, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese or Spanish.                                          

Year 3                                                

Learn about the structure and function of the zoo community at a national, European and international level - its legal regulation and its role in wildlife conservation.                                                                
On this module you will integrate knowledge from previous zoo biology modules into a practical application. You will gain an understanding of how zoos achieve their stated aims from an economic, practical and scientific view-point and the strategies they use to advance their stated goals.                                                                  

Choose one of the following options:                                  

This dissertation module allows you to develop independent, experimental, investigative and analytical research skills as you conduct a substantial research project based around a specific aspect/topic in your relevant bioscience discipline area.                                                                                  
This dissertation module allows you to develop independent, investigative and analytical research skills while conducting research on topic in an area relevant to your programme of study. It further allows you to learn about science communication and the variety of ways in which science can be disseminated      and communicated.                                                                                    
Plus two options from:                                                    
The aim of this module is to develop an understanding of the cognitive abilities and limitations of nonhuman animals, with a particular focus on nonhuman primates The course also develops your understanding of the cognitive challenges associated with living in complex social groups.                                                                                  
This module explores the ecology and transmission of human and animal infectious diseases and their management.                                                                                                            
The module focuses on biology relevant to the water industry and organisations which regulate and control the aquatic environment, for example the Environment Agency. The major themes are biology associated with water resources and water pollution. The module will be enhanced by field studies and external        visits.                                                                                                            
This module focuses on the UK, European and international nature conservation law and the statutory and non-statutory organisations concerned with the protection of the natural environment.                                                                                                            
This module helps to develop an understanding of tropical ecosystems (particularly from the New World). It involves a two-week field course to Brazil and an independent research project conducted in a rainforest environment.                                                                                                            
The aim of this module is to provide students with knowledge of methods and tools at the forefront of wildlife management and conservation.                                                                                                            
The aim of this module is to develop your knowledge and understanding of the factors controlling the design, and implementation of GIS solutions to map, monitor and model terrestrial environments. You will also examine the major issues and impacts of GIS evolution and diffusion on society.                                                                                                            
The aim of this module is to develop an understanding of conservation science at the habitat level, including the restoration of ecosystems which underwent human-induced deterioration in the past.                                                                                                            
Courses are available in: Arabic, German, French, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese or Spanish.

Please note that it may not be possible to deliver the full list of options every year as this will depend on factors such as how many students choose a particular option. Exact modules may also vary in order to keep content current. When accepting your offer of a place to study on this programme, you should be aware that not all optional modules will be running each year. Your tutor will be able to advise you as to the available options on or before the start of the programme. Whilst the University tries to ensure that you are able to undertake your preferred options, it cannot guarantee this.

Entry Requirements

Qualification Entry requirements
Diploma in Foundation Studies 112 points, Merit/Distinction
European Baccalaureate Pass in Diploma of at least 60% including at least one science subject
You must fulfil our GCSE entry requirements as well as one of the requirements listed below.
English language and maths at grade C or 4 or above
UCAS tariff points 112 points
GCE A level 112 points
BTEC National Diploma DMM
Scottish Highers 112 points from Higher Level
Irish Leaving Certificate 112 points from Higher Level
International Baccalaureate 29 points with at least one science subject

Salford Alternative Entry Scheme (SAES)

We welcome applications from students who may not meet the stated entry criteria but who can demonstrate their ability to pursue the course successfully. Once we have received your application we will assess it and recommend it for SAES if you are an eligible candidate.

There are two different routes through the Salford Alternative Entry Scheme and applicants will be directed to the one appropriate for their course. Assessment will either be through a review of prior learning or through a formal test.

Please note that you should discuss the possibility of being considered for the scheme with the Admissions Tutor  before making an application. Please contact the Environment and Life Sciences school office to speak with the Admissions Tutor for this course: +44(0)161 295 4656

English Language Requirements

International applicants will be required to show a proficiency in English. An IELTS score of 6.0 (no element below 5.5) is proof of this.

Applicant profile

You will have a genuine broad interest in wildlife and conservation, enjoy working outdoors in all weathers, as well as collecting and analyzing data. We expect you to be interested in biology and geography. We welcome applications from mature students who may not have academic qualifications in relevant subjects, but have experience in zoos or conservation organisations.

Fees and Funding


Fees 2019-20

Type of Study Fee
Full-time £9,250 per year
Part-time Your annual fee will be calculated pro rata to the full-time fee according to the number of credits you are studying.
Full-time International £12,660 per year

Fees 2018-19

Type of Study Fee
Full-time £9,250 per year
Part-time Your annual fee will be calculated pro rata to the full-time fee according to the number of credits you are studying.
Full-time International £12,300 per year

Additional costs

  • Field courses - a non refundable deposit of £25 is charged for all residential field courses
  • Field trips - students will not be charged for field (day) trips but are expected to provide their own refreshments.
  • International field courses - for the trip to Brazil (as part of the optional Tropical and Ecology module) there is a fee of about £600 and students need to pay for their own flights and visa

You should also consider further costs which may include books, lab equipment, stationery, printing, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits.


Learning opportunities are varied and teaching is through a combination of:

  • Lectures/guest lectures
  • Practical sessions
  • Small group tutorials
  • Residential field courses
  • Day visits to sites of conservation interest
  • Guided reading
  • Assignments


Your assessment is based on a combination of exams and coursework throughout. Continuous assessment includes the dissertation, laboratory reports, field notebooks, essays, data response and presentations.


You have many opportunities to work in voluntary and government conservation organisations operating at local, national and international levels. Opportunities also exist for you to work in environmental consultancies, environmental education and in zoos. Previous students have gained employment in zoos, country parks, animal sanctuaries and environmental consultancies.

Nathan Nicholls
BSc Wildlife Conservation and Zoo Biology graduate

This is a camera trap image of a female mountain lion (Puma concolor) that was taken at the Serra dos Órgãos National Park in Brazil, during a research project about the efficiency of different monitoring methods (transects and camera trapping) in registering the presence of medium sized mammal and bird species.

During my 10 month placement here I learnt how to implement various sampling methods that are used by ICMBio to evaluate biodiversity within the Brazilian Atlantic rainforest. This placement provided invaluable experience in planning and conducting line transects, plant quadrat surveys, and species monitoring - using various models of camera traps and trapping stations - as well as learning Portuguese as a second language. I believe that all of this will greatly assist me in seeking to continue to postgraduate research in tropical ecology in the Neotropics.

camera trap image of a female mountain lion

Career Prospects

Zoos play an important role in the conservation of biodiversity and many species are now bred in captivity as part of national, regional and international breeding programmes. The EC Zoos Directive requires zoos and aquariums in the European Union to have a conservation role. As a result, it is likely that zoos across Europe will increase their breeding, scientific and education activities in the future, and with this degree you could be the person they are looking for.

There are also many opportunities to work in voluntary and government conservation organisations operating at local, national and international levels. Opportunities also exist to work in environmental consultancies, environmental education and in zoos. Previous students have gained employment in zoos, country parks, animal sanctuaries and environmental consultancies.

Furthermore, graduates have undertaken research for a PhD including studying orangutans in Borneo, large animals in Tanzania and various projects in urban ecology.

Alumni Profile

Rebecca Jefferey
BSc Wildlife Conservation with Zoo Biology graduate

I chose to come to Salford because it was the best university for my course; there was the opportunity to take a placement year and get involved in active research. The course was just as I expected, with a mix of practical and theoretical aspects. There is a lot of work to do, but you get plenty of support. The field course and laboratory classes are my favourite parts.

Links with Industry

Because of our close links to industry, you will have the opportunity to go on several fieldtrips which may include visits to Chester Zoo, South Lakes Wild Animal Park, Knowsley Safari Park, Blackpool Zoo, Twycross Zoo, Dudley Zoo and Martin Mere (Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust). In addition, staff from some of these institutions contribute lectures to the course bringing more real world examples to your learning.

Placement Opportunities

Students have undertaken work placements in a wide range of countries including South Africa, Madagascar, Spain, Greece and the USA, working with a very wide range of animals from donkeys and wolves to seals and turtles. Zoo biology students have undertaken placements in zoos in the USA, Canada and  the UK. You will arrange your placement with our support.

Further Study


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