Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Zoo Science
Academic Year
Semester 2
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Field Trip 1 x 5 Hour Field Trip
Lecture 22 x 1 Hour Lectures
Field Trip 1 x 4 Hour Field Trip


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Coursework 1.  20%
Semester Assessment Coursework 2.  20%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   Written examination  60%
Supplementary Assessment Students must take elements of assessment equivalent to those that led to failure of the module.  40%
Supplementary Exam 2 Hours   Students must take elements of assessment equivalent to those that led to failure of the module.  60%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

1. Apply current scientific understanding of animal behavior/welfare needs to the design of zoos/aquaria

2. Discuss the philosophical and ethical issues surrounding animals in captivity

3. Critique the validity of zoo research

4. Identify the genetic problems of zoo breeding and discuss the relevance of zoos for species conservation

5. Discuss aspects of zoo management in terms of both animal conservation and as a visitor attraction

6. Discuss potential conflicts of interest between visitors, conservation and science

7. Evaluate the health and welfare of captive animals and propose appropriate improvements to management based on current zoo and behavioural research

Brief description

This module examines the function of zoos in the context of science & society, with particular emphasis on animal management in terms of behaviour and welfare.


The module will be taught through a series of lectures, including a visit to a major zoo or aquarium.

Zoos will be defined in a historical perspective and in terms of their contribution to species/habitat conservation, and to public education. Specific topics will vary to cover issues of current importance but examples include aspects of husbandry, health, nutrition, captive breeding, genetics, and the way in which animals experience the zoo environment. The module will consider animals as exhibits, covering a wide range of examples from mammals, reptiles, birds and insects in both zoos and aquaria. Particular attention will be paid to the behaviour of animals in zoos in comparison with wild conspecifics and in relation to their welfare, visitor behaviour and zoo design, including the effect of enrichment regimes. Training in the design & analysis of zoo-based research on animals will be provided.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number
Communication Individual written report based on student-directed research. Small group preparation of poster/ oral/ other presentations.
Improving own Learning and Performance Attendance at lectures. Outside the formal contact hours, students will be expected to research materials, manage time and meet deadlines. Reflective learning through small group discussions.
Information Technology Use of Powerpoint for presentations; Use of spreadsheets, graphing (e.g. Excel) and word processing software for project organisation & presentation. Use of internet for gathering of information to help develop initial ideas and to put own conclusions in appropriate context prior to presentation/assessment.
Personal Development and Career planning Students will gain confidence in their ability to evaluate biological & behavioural problems in the context of zoos and objectively assess the quality of proposed solutions. Skills learned will have value for subsequent careers in zoo science, conservation, animal behaviour & related fields. Generic skills (data analysis, report preparation, poster & oral presentations) applicable to a wide range of careers
Problem solving Students will identify issues relevant to zoo design & animal management. They will prepare prepare the design and implementation of a zoo/exhibit management plan as a key part of their coursework
Research skills Students will research topics beyond the depth and scope of the lecture material using both directed and independent study. Information from a variety of sources will be the object of scrutiny and comment. Development of these skills will be assessed in the assessed projects and examination.
Subject Specific Skills Ability to critically assess the management, scientific, educational & political imperatives in the context of animal behaviour in zoos
Team work Projects developed researched & presented in small groups. They will prepare prepare the design and implementation of a zoo/exhibit management plan as a key part of their coursework. Goals of group determined as a team, tasks allocated within groups by group members. Feedback on teamwork provided to individual as part of individual group meetings when explaining marks obtained in group assessments.


This module is at CQFW Level 5