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BSc (Hons) Animal Behaviour and Welfare

BSc (Hons) 3 Years School of Life Sciences Lincoln Campus [L] Validated 300 points from at least two A-Levels, including a minimum of 80 points from Biology. D790

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Student Success

After completing her course at Lincoln, Hannah Thompson secured a role investigating new ways to assess animal welfare. She has played a key role in helping to design and run behavioural studies, utilising the skills gained during her degree.


The scientific study of animal behaviour and welfare allows us to develop an understanding of why animals behave in the way that they do, and to use this knowledge to determine how best to respond to the many challenges that face animals living in captive and wild environments.

The Animal Behaviour and Welfare degree at Lincoln employs a multidisciplinary and research-driven approach to the study of animal behaviour, taught by research-active academics who are leaders in their fields.

You develop the knowledge and skills needed to further your understanding of animal behaviour and welfare, working with insects, reptiles, birds and mammals.

Entry Requirements

Students must have a minimum of 300 UCAS tariff points, including at least two A Levels and 80 points in Biology. In addition to the minimum two A Levels, other qualifications such as AS Levels, the Extended Project and the ASDAN CoPE for example, will be counted towards the 300 point requirement.

In addition, applicants must also have at least three GCSEs at grade C or above (or equivalent) to include English Language, Maths and a science subject.

We also accept a wide range of other qualifications including the BTEC Extended Diploma, Diploma and Subsidiary Diploma, the European and International Baccalaureate Diplomas, and Advanced Diplomas. You can find tariff values on the UCAS website

Applications are welcomed from mature students who are studying towards an Access to Higher Education in a science related programme. A minimum of 45 level 3 credits at merit or above will be required. We will also consider applicants with extensive relevant work experience.

If you would like further information about entry requirements, or would like to discuss whether the qualifications you are currently studying are acceptable, please contact the Admissions team on 01522 886097, or email

Level 1

Animal Anatomy and Physiology

This module is concerned with the principles of the diversity of anatomical form and function in animals using a comparative approach. Anatomical adaptations will be explored across taxa within the animal kingdom in order to show how different types of organisms use their anatomy to solve the similar morphological and physiological problems. Through this, an understanding of anatomically distinct and shared features across animal species will be developed using examples of how organisms from different taxa address key aspects of their life histories.

Cell Biology

This module aims to provide an introduction to the structure, composition and function of eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells. From this basis the module considers cell specialisation and division and an introduction to microscopy, histological and microbiological techniques which may be used to safely examine and identify cells and tissues.

Evolution & Ecology

This module introduces students to the basic concepts and scope of evolutionary biology. Students will consider the history of evolutionary ideas followed by an introduction to the modern synthesis of evolution by the processes of natural and sexual selection and neutral models of evolution. Key ecological concepts will be introduced within a framework that highlights the interactions between ecology and evolution.


This module provides you with an introduction to genetics by discussing the development of genetics as a field of science, from Mendelian genetics through to genetics at the molecular level. This module will provide the knowledge necessary to understand the genetic polymorphisms responsible for drug reactions across different populations.

Integrative Biochemistry

This module is designed to provide a foundation to develop an understanding and appreciation of biochemistry in the context life processes. This module will focus on basic biochemical principles and introduce the fundamental building blocks of life with the inclusion of concepts relating to the structure and functional properties of biological molecules. The importance of cellular and molecular pathways will be covered with a view of highlighting key metabolic pathways required to sustain cellular functions. Basic concepts of biochemical signalling pathways will also be introduced.

Introduction to Animal Behaviour and Welfare

This module will introduce the principles underlying animal behaviour and the protection of animals in our care. It will adopt approaches derived from Tinbergen’s levels of explanation of behaviour, including control, lifetime development and adaptive value of behaviour. Students will be taught how to observe and record the behaviour of animals from a wide range of taxonomic groups. The module will introduce approaches to welfare assessment and their application in domestic and free living animals.

Plant Structure and Function

This module provides a broad overview of plant form and function by reviewing the key structural characteristics of cells, tissues and organs in a range of plant species. It investigates the diversity of plant form and the evolutionary history of plant life; emphasis is placed on the adaptations of plants to their environment. It focuses on the relationship between anatomy and the mechanical role of cells, tissues and organs. On completion of this module students will have a broad understanding of form and function in plants, key elements of plant-animal coevolution / interactions, and an appreciation of the diverse range of structures and tissues utilised by humans.

Research Methods for Life Scientists 1

This module aims to introduce the skills and knowledge necessary to assimilate and judge scientific knowledge. You will be introduced to the tools required to search and evaluate the scientific literature relevant to their studies, and some of the key philosophical constructs around which scientific knowledge is based. You will be taught about hypothesis testing, experimental design, data collection, basic mathematical and statistical concepts and data presentation, and be shown how these methods are put into practice through a series of research seminars.

Level 2

Animal Behaviour

This module is based on the four ethological levels of explanation for animal behaviour; mechanism, development, function and evolution. It will deal primarily with the ethological concepts underlying the study of animal behaviour supported by classic experimental studies of domestic and wild animals from a wide range of taxonomic groups. The module will also cover the design and interpretation of behavioural studies.

Animal Health and Disease (Option)

The module provides an overview of the biology of some common animal diseases, both at the individual and population level. It will explore the interrelationship between the environment and major disease processes and make reference to specialist areas such as microbiology, parasitology and nutrition. It will introduce students to the use of laboratory techniques in the investigation of disease, from a theoretical and practical point of view.

Animal Management Systems

This module will cover the contributions of animal scientists, welfare organisations, legislators, producers and consumers to the design and management of captive animal environments. There will be a focus on the animal’s biological requirements in captivity and the application of good husbandry practice to farm, laboratory, zoo and companion animals of a wide range of taxonomic groups.

Animal Nutrition

This module covers the function, digestion and utilisation of nutrients, as well as factors which influence food intake. In addition it covers the relationship between nutrition and health and disease.

Animal Protection

This module explores legislation, and legal and political procedures in the furtherance, regulation and enforcement of animal welfare. The module explores the background and need for legislation relating to animals, the procedures involved in forming legislation – both political and legal; and how citizens may become involved in that process. Students develop critical analytical skills through the interpretation of statutes and case law and evaluation of animal welfare campaign material. Students also learn to comprehend and analyse the structure and logic of arguments used in debates about animals.


Ecology is the scientific study of the interactions between organisms and between organisms and their environment. These interactions can be studied across different levels of biological organisation including individuals, populations, communities and ecosystems. This module will examine how these different levels of organisation are interconnected and how the study of ecology allows us to better understand the natural world.

Molecular Biology (Option)

Molecular biology is of critical importance when understanding biological systems. This module is designed to provide students with an insight into the techniques used and applied by molecular biologists in a number of specific contexts.

Reproduction and Development (Option)

This module focuses on reproduction and development in invertebrates and vertebrates. There will be a comparative analysis of anatomy, physiology, behaviour and evolution of reproductive patterns, including the main anatomical features of male and female reproductive tracts. There will be descriptions of the processes of gamete production in males and females. The underlying principles of ontogeny from fertilisation to birth will be described using a variety of taxa with an emphasis on the factors controlling developmental processes.

Research Methods for Life Scientists 2

The module introduces the principles of experimental design and various methods of collection of quantitative and qualitative data. It describes statistical significance tests for comparing data and enables students to practise where and how to use each statistical test. The module will allow students to critically assess published work with regard to design of experiment and analysis of data. It will provide students with skills required to design and analyse a research project generally, and specifically that undertaken in year three of their course.

Level 3

Animal Cognition

This module will cover the contributions made by experimental psychology, comparative psychology and ethology to our understanding of animal cognition and the animal mind. It will cover the philosophical basis of the study of the animal’s mind and the scientific assessment of animal cognition and consciousness, placing these abilities in their evolutionary and functional contexts.

Animal Welfare Science

This module explores the scientific study of animal welfare with particular attention on methodological and interpretative issues. Common misunderstandings and popular misconceptions which hinder the objective assessment and improvement of welfare of captive and wild animals are examined so that students are able to develop their own defensible stance on these often emotive issues.

Behavioural Ecology

This module examines behaviour from an evolutionary perspective and is called behavioural ecology because the way in which behaviour contributes to survival and reproduction depends on ecology. The module will focus on key topics including: Optimality Theory, Sexual Selection, Communication & Sensory Ecology, Altruism & Cooperation, Arms Races, Fighting & Assessment, Navigation & Migration and Human Behaviour.

Conservation Biology (Option)

This module provides a critical insight into the application of the principles of conservation biology. It will give an overview of the nature, value and complex threats to biodiversity and will detail the biological problems faced by small populations of animals, in particular. The module will also deal with the practice of population conservation and management, including methods to assess population size, survival rates and how to use this information to assess the viability of populations.

Current Issues in Life Sciences (Option)

This module aims to give students the skills to interpret, scrutinise and critique scientific research, through the critical evaluation of published papers and reports, attendance at external research seminars and scientific discussions with world-leading academics and industry professionals. This will enable students to increase their depth of understanding of the latest research topics and methodologies from across the Life Sciences.

Evolutionary Ecology (Option)

Why are some animals big and others small? Why do some produce many offspring and others few, some live short lives and some long lives, and why must they grow old and die? Life history theory posits that key events in an animal's life, such as juvenile development, age of sexual maturity, first reproduction, number of offspring, the level of parental investment, senescence and death, depend on the physical and ecological environment, and are shaped by natural selection. This module will focus on the role of natural selection in the evolution of life histories, examine the diversity of animal life histories from an ontogenetic perspective, and explore how an understanding of animal life history diversity and evolution can impact on practical issues in biology.

Genetics & Bioethics (Option)

The module provides an overview of the applications of clinical genetics and its ethical and social considerations. This module also intends to discuss genetic counselling, prenatal diagnosis of genetic disease and also carrier detection and pre-symptomatic testing. The module enables students to evaluate the population screening, and community genetics for single gene and chromosome disorders and also the ethical and social considerations of the Human Genome Project and treatment of genetic diseases and gene therapy.

Life Sciences Research Project

In this module students undertake an independent programme of research under supervision from a member of staff. It provides students with an opportunity to demonstrate original and critical thought, as well as to build practical and project-management skills. A wide range of subject expertise exists within the School, and students are expected to select a project that is relevant to their programme of study. Under the guidance of a supervisor, students will review the literature, identify a hypothesis or hypotheses and design a programme of research to test their hypotheses. They will be expected to manage the project, including obtaining relevant ethical approval and conducting a risk assessment. They will collect and analyse data, recording their activities in a lab notebook. Projects can be conducted in the laboratory or field, as appropriate for their field of study, use mathematical modelling or use pre-collected data to test hypotheses via meta-analysis. Students may work individually or in groups addressing similar questions, but must write up individually. The project will be written up in the format of a scientific paper following closely the style of a key journal relevant to their area of study, or as a thesis.

Managing Animal Behaviour

This Module considers the principles underpinning the management of animal behaviour and the practical application of a range of methods available for this purpose. Particular emphasis is given to understanding the impact of different strategies on the underlying motivation of behaviour to be managed, by reference to a range of environmental, chemotherapeutic, training and behaviour modification interventions.

Overseas Field Course (Option)

An overseas field course gives students the opportunity to investigate biological phenomena in the field. They will be encouraged to view the ecosystem within the wider context of the anthropogenic impacts being imposed on it, and students will work in groups, guided by staff, to develop and test hypotheses allowing them to understand more about biological processes operating within the study area.

Population Genetics (Option)

This module examines the application of molecular techniques to the ecology, evolution and conservation of populations, species, individuals and natural resources. It aims to provide the theoretical background for understanding evolutionary and population genetics. Case studies will be used to illustrate how the theory and molecular techniques are applied to inform behavioural, ecological and conservation questions, particularly relating to management of rare and threatened species.

Special Features & Research Highlights

Academic staff are internationally renowned researchers who publish their findings widely, contribute to policy advisory bodies and regularly communicate science to the general public. For example, researchers from the University of Lincoln featured in BBC Two’s recent Horizon programme, The Secret Life of the Cat.


There is an option to undertake an overseas field trip to study the behaviour of animals in their natural environment.

Student as Producer

Student as Producer is a development of the University of Lincoln's policy of research-informed teaching to research-engaged teaching. Research-engaged teaching involves more research and research-like activities at the core of the undergraduate curriculum. A significant amount of teaching at the University of Lincoln is already research-engaged.

Student as Producer will make research-engaged teaching an institutional priority, across all colleges and subject areas. In this way students become part of the academic project of the University and collaborators with academics in the production of knowledge and meaning. Research-engaged teaching is grounded in the intellectual history and tradition of the modern university.

Please visit the Student as Producer website for further information. []


The wide range of specialist facilities available for the study of animal behaviour and welfare includes aquatic and reptile facilities, an insectary and a bioacoustics laboratory.

Career Opportunities

Graduates are qualified for a range of careers and have gone on to work in both practical and research roles that involve the management, welfare, training and conservation of companion, farm and wild animals. Opportunities exist in teaching, publishing and industrial research. Some graduates choose to continue their study at MSc or PhD level.

Careers Service

The University Careers and Employability Team offers qualified advisors who can work with you to provide tailored, individual support and careers advice during your time at the University and once you graduate.

This service includes one-to-one coaching, CV advice and interview preparation to help you maximise your future opportunities. Having achieved new knowledge and skills, you will be fully supported to fulfil your career ambitions.

The service works closely with local, national and international employers, acting as a gateway to the business world.

Visit our Careers Service pages for further information. []

What's Included?

  • Lab coat, safety glasses and a note book
  • All costs associated with level 1 and level 2 residential field trips. All costs associated with any day-trips included in modules
  • Core first year Biology e-text and access to Pearson’s Mastering Biology e-learning resources
  • All materials required for practical and project work.

At Lincoln, we constantly invest in our campus to provide the best learning environment for our students. You can study in style and comfort in our well-resourced library or complete group work and exchange ideas in innovative learning spaces across the campus. There is access to the latest equipment and cutting-edge laboratories for studies in the sciences and social sciences. There are modern studios and well-equipped workshops for practice in the arts, and industry-standard production facilities for a range of media. On some courses, students will need additional, specialist resources or equipment to enable them to pursue their courses. Where appropriate these will be provided by the relevant School.


2015 Entry UK/EUInternational
Full-time £9,000 per level £14,522 per level
Part-time £75 per credit point  
Placement (optional) Exempt Exempt

 Please note that not all courses are available as a part-time option.

For further information and for details about funding your study, please see our UK/EU Fees & Funding pages or our International funding and scholarship pages. [] []

The University intends to provide its courses as outlined in these pages. Occasionally provision may be altered in order to meet changing circumstances or to keep courses up to date with trends and developments in subject areas. Specific programme queries should be directed to the teaching department. Fees for all our courses may increase each year in line with government regulations and are subject to change.

Always check our website for the latest information about entry tariffs, fees & funding before making your application to the University.