Wildlife Conservation with Zoo Biology
BSc (Hons)

Part-time study available
Work placement opportunity
International Students can apply

3 good reasons to study Wildlife Conservation with Zoo Biology at Salford


Acquire the practical skills used in wildlife conservation and zoos


Overall satisfaction with this course was 93% (Source: NSS 2015)


Take a work placement in the UK, Europe or worldwide

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 want to pursue a career involving wildlife, working in either of those environments. We have 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 the course is our strong emphasis on field trips – these include day trips as well as national and overseas residential trips.

Nathan Nicholls,

Current student

"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 the 10 month placement there 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, which will greatly assist me in seeking to continue to post graduate research in tropical ecology in the Neotropics."

camera trap image of a female mountain lion

Course Details

This course focuses on conservation both in zoos as well as in the wild. We have 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 the course is our emphasis on field trips (daytrips as well as national and overseas residential trips).

Course Structure

In year 1 you will study a range of topics in six modules covering both theory and practice across the biological and environmental sciences.

In the second year the course offers specialist modules in wildlife and zoo-related areas.

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. Students can generally choose between a literature-based, 20 credit dissertation (requiring the selection of two optional modules) or a field/laboratory work-based, 40 credit dissertation (requiring the selection of one optional module. The dissertation module also involves specific components to acquire generic skills.

If you are studying part-time you select two to four modules from each year of study, completing the rest of the modules for the year in the following year. This leads to a maximum six-year duration for a part-time degree. If studying part-time you do not have the placement option.

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.
This module provides a broad introduction to the physical processes that take place within the geosphere and biosphere focusing on those that are linked to the nature of landforms, global ecosystem processes and environmental change. The module will provide a sound understanding of the inter-relationships between physical environmental processes and human activity including natural hazards, climate change and biodiversity.
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.
This module looks at the behavioural, nutritional, and reproductive biology of zoo animals, as well as the veterinary problems experienced by the animals.

Plus two options from:

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.
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.
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.
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.

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.
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 Costa Rica and an independent research project conducted in a rainforest environment.

Part-time structure

If you are studying part-time you select two to four modules from each year of study, completing the rest of the modules for the year in the following year. This leads to a maximum six-year duration for a part-time degree. If studying part-time you do not have the placement option.

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 96 - 112 points, Merit/Distinction
European Baccalaureate Pass in Diploma of at least 60% including at least one science subject
GCSE English language and maths at grade C or above
UCAS tariff points 96 - 112 points
GCE A level 96 - 112 points
BTEC National Diploma MMM
Scottish Highers 96 - 112 points from Higher Level
Irish Leaving Certificate 96 - 112 points from Higher Level
International Baccalaureate 28 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

  • IELTS 6.0 with no less than 5.5 in any one component
  • ESOL Skills for Life Level 2/Certificate in Advanced English/Certificate of Proficiency in English
  • University of Salford English Language Test with an overall score equivalent to IELTS 6.0 (70 – 79)

Applicant profile

You will have a genuine broad interest in wildlife and conservation, and enjoy working outdoors in all weathers, and 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 may have experience in zoos or conservation organisations.


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.

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.

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 – previous student

I chose 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 is just as I expected, with a mix of practical and theoretical aspects it is really enjoyable. 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

You will visit Chester Zoo, South Lakes Wild Animal Park, Knowsley Safari Park, Blackpool Zoo, Twycross Zoo, Dudley Zoo and Martin Mere (Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust). Staff from some of these institutions contribute lectures to the course.

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

Fees and Funding

Fees 2017-18

Type of StudyFee
Full-time£9250 per year
Part-timeYour annual fee will be calculated pro rata to the full-time fee according to the number of credits you are studying.
Full-time International£12,000

Additional costs

  • Field courses - a non refundable deposit of £25 is charged for all residential field courses, with the exception of the optional ‘Tropical Ecology & Conservation’ module, where the Costa Rica residential field course is heavily subsidised by the School but students are expected to pay approx £1200 towards travel and accommodation
  • Field trips - students will not be charged for field (day) trips but are expected to provide their own refreshments.

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


A range of scholarships and bursaries are available to Home/EU and International students.

Further information is available at: