Module Information

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

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 11 x 1 Hour Lectures
Field Trip 2 x 4 Hour Field Trips
Lecture 11 x 2 Hour Lectures


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Group video  (5 minutes)  25%
Semester Assessment Individual Report  (750 words)  30%
Semester Assessment Essay  (2000 words)  45%
Supplementary Assessment Students must take elements of assessment equivalent to those that led to failure of the module.  100%

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. Identify & critique the legal framework within which zoos operate.

6. Discuss aspects of zoo management in terms of potential conflicts of interest between visitors, conservation and science.

7. Evaluate the health and welfare of 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 as well as the legal framework within which zoos operate. 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 Randomisation tests are covered as part of zoo research. Students required to conduct one as part of an individual report.
Communication Individual written report based on student-directed research. Small group preparation of video 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 Video software 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 design a zoo enclosure & management plan as a key part of their coursework, evaluate animal welfare and assess effectiveness of environmental enrichment.
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 assessment elements.
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 design a zoo enclosure & management plan as a group as a key part of their coursework. Goals of group determined as a team, tasks allocated within groups by group members. Peer contribution marks contribute to the overall coursework mark for one assessment.


This module is at CQFW Level 5