Centre for Biological Sciences

C300 BSc Zoology (3 yrs)

The effects of global warming on animal life, the ecological impact of populations and animals, the development of mammals and their human parallels - these are all challenges that occupy our zoologists and affect the planet today.

BSc Zoology is the study of animal life, including the structure, embryology, evolution, classification, habits, and distribution of animals. Here at Southampton, Zoology is a specialist degree programme embedded within the broader Biology degree. You will study Zoology not only as a pure science, but also discover how zoological knowledge is applied to today’s challenges.


Programme Overview

To obtain an in-depth understanding of animals, you will start with a general study of the biosciences, from cell biology and the study of insects, to whole organisms and species, communities and ecosystems. In your third year you will be able to choose a laboratory based or field project, with fieldwork undertaken in the UK or abroad.

Our lecturers are world experts in their areas, researching subjects such as invasive or endangered species, embryonic development in mammals and ageing in social insects. This can lead to advances in medicine to prevent disease amongst both animals and humans.

View the programme specification document for this course

To Apply

All undergraduate applications should be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Click on the How to Apply tab of the navigation menu for detailed information on how to apply and further details about UCAS' website, phone and contact details. Specific application deadlines are available on the UCAS website.

Key facts

    • Flexible, interdisciplinary programme, with opportunity to choose modules from other disciplines and change degree in year one
    • Field trip to Spain in year one
    • Year three project undertaken as part of a research team working at the cutting edge of zoology
    • 100 per cent of our research has been rated world leading or internationally excellent for its impact on society (REF2014)
  • The National Student Survey 2015 (NSS)

    • 90% of our BSc Zoology students were satisfied or very satisfied with the teaching on their course
    • 95% of our BSc Zoology students were satisfied or very satisfied that staff were good at explaining things on their course
    • 91% of our BSc Zoology students were satisfied or very satisfied that staff were enthusiastic about what they were teaching
    • 95% of our BSc Zoology students were satisfied or very satisfied that the course was intellectually stimulating




“I became a student at the School of Biological Sciences after negotiating a compromise with my parents. I wanted to leave school and work with animals; they wanted me to go to university. We made a deal and I went to Southampton to study Zoology and had a fantastic time. I’d recommend it to anyone who’s interested in the natural world.”

Mark Rose, BSc Zoology

“During my studies I was part of the student society BioSoc and was education rep for Biology and Zoology. I really enjoyed the first year field trip to Spain.”

Connor Butler, BSc Zoology

Entry requirements

Typical entry requirements


A*-C in English, mathematics and science. If you lack these formal qualifications, your aptitude for this degree in zoology course will be assessed at interview. International students whose first language is not English must have already attained the necessary standard in English, such as 6.5 in IELTS

A Levels:

AAB. For zoology degrees, biology must be offered at A level (minimum grade B) with at least one other A level science subject. A level science subjects considered include chemistry, environmental studies, geography, geology, mathematics, physics, psychology

Applicants only offering A Level Biology will be considered on a case by case basis.


34 points, 17 at higher level including two higher level science subjects to include 6 points in Biology at higher level.

Other applicants:

Applicants with alternative UK or EU qualifications and international applicants should first refer to the general entry requirements.

English Language

For details of our English Language entry requirements please see here

Selection process:

Intake: 30
Average applicants per place: 7

Selection for BSc Zoology is normally based on actual or predicted grades plus the reference and personal statement on your UCAS application. Exceptionally we may ask you to come for an interview before making an offer.

Visit our International Office website or the NARIC website for further information on qualifications.


Typical course content

On this degree you will be able to take certain optional modules in Years 2 or 3, you may need to have passed specified modules previously.

Innovation modules outside of your subject area

Our Curriculum Innovation Programme offers you the chance to take optional modules outside of your chosen subject area. This allows you to personalise your education, to develop new skills and knowledge for your future. Modules range from "Living and working on the web" to "Business skills for employability".

View the Curriculum Innovation modules for this course

Learn a language

Some of our courses also give you the option of taking a language module, which can count towards your degree. These modules cover ten languages and range from absolute beginner to near-native speaker level.

View the language modules on offer for this course

Year 1

 A free elective from any other discipline can also be taken as an option.

Semester One

In addition to the modules below, the following must be taken and passed by students without a minimum of Chemistry at A level: CHEM1012 Introduction to Chemistry.


Semester Two

In addition to the modules below, you may also take an additional module, subject to timetabling constraints, from related subjects such as Mathematics, Economics, Archaeology and Modern Languages.


Year 2

A free elective from any other discipline can also be taken as an option.

Semester Two


BIOL2018 Comparative Physiology and Biochemistry or BIO2040 Neural Basis of Behaviour


Year 3

In addition to the modules listed below, in Year 3 you will also take one of the following compulsory combinations:

A combination of two 7.5 ECTS modules, taken from Literature research project (BIOL3031/32), Short research project (BIOL3050), Bioscience Communication (BIOL3060)

Learning and assessment

The academic year

Eight modular units are taken each academic year, four in semester one and four in semester two. A unit normally consists of two lectures a week plus a three-hour practical on alternate weeks. Practicals and other components of in-course assessment make up 25% of your final mark for the year. We also provide workshops and pastoral tutorials in which you can get specific help on the content of your lectures. Each week students therefore attend eight 45-minute lectures, an average of two 2 to 3 hour practical classes and may also attend a small group tutorial, which should take up to two hours to prepare.
Examinations are held in the two weeks after each semester, in January and June. The marks for the first year do not count towards the final degree classification, but you do have to gain an overall pass in your first year. Currently the second year counts 35% towards the degree and the third year 65%.

The tutorial system

Every student is assigned a personal tutor when they start their university degree. Your course tutor changes every semester, but your personal tutor will stay the same throughout your time here. Your personal tutor will meet you when you enrol, and you will see him/her three or four times a term in the first year, for academic as well as pastoral support. He or she is accessible throughout your time in Southampton.


Our research is relevant to your undergraduate course because you will be taught by people who are experts in their area of research. This is especially important for science subjects, where knowledge is advancing rapidly. This is particularly true for your final year.

In your third year, you have the opportunity to do an individual research project in one of our research laboratories. You will use equipment bought for current research, and do a project designed to further your understanding of your topic.


We have our own team of administrators who act as a point of contact for day-to-day advice and information for undergraduate students. They are also responsible for collecting assignments and issuing the documents and forms which are required during your period of study..

Career Opportunities