Course Information

Visiting Lecturers

Naturalist and TV presenter Chris Packham is a Visiting Professor on the Zoology, Biology, Biomedical Science, Bioveterinary Science and Animal Behaviour and Welfare degrees. Find out more on YouTube.

3 years (4 years if taken with the optional sandwich year) School of Life Sciences Lincoln Campus [L] Subject to Validation BBB (or equivalent qualifications) D790

#1 BSc (Hons) Animal Behaviour and Welfare one of the University’s Animal Science courses ranked 1st in the UK. In addition, 100% of Lincoln Animal Behaviour and Welfare students said they were satisfied with this course overall, according to the National Student Survey 2016


The BSc (Hons) Animal Behaviour and Welfare degree employs a multidisciplinary and research-driven approach. You will be taught by academics who are considered to be at the forefront of their respective fields.

The course aims to help students develop the knowledge and skills needed to understand animal behaviour and welfare, working, for example, with insects, reptiles, birds and mammals.

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

There are two residential field trips in the UK, enabling students to study animals in the wild. These trips are part of two core modules. For UK based field trips the University will cover costs of transport, accommodation and meals at the field site.

There is also an overseas field trip available in your final year as part of the optional 'Overseas Field Course' module. This can allow students to observe and study the behaviour of animals in their natural habitat. Further details on the Overseas Field Course, including costs, can be found in the Features tab.

The scientific study of animal behaviour and welfare can further our understanding of why animals behave in the way that they do. It reveals how best to respond to the challenges that face animals living in captive and wild environments.

How You Study

In the first year, students can develop an understanding of how biological systems function, with a focus on topics such as anatomy, cell biology and genetics. Students are also introduced to the study of animal behaviour and welfare assessment.

During the second year, students experience a range of research-led modules, including animal behaviour and ecology.

In the final year, students undertake a supervised, independent research project in addition to studying key topics such as animal welfare science, animal cognition and the management of animal behaviour.

Contact Hours and Independent Study

Contact hours may vary for each year of your degree. However, remember that you are engaging in a full-time degree; so, at the very least, you should expect to undertake a minimum of 37 hours of study each week during term time and you may undertake assignments outside of term time. The composition and delivery for the course breaks down differently for each module and may include lectures, seminars, workshops, independent study, practicals, work placements, research and one-to-one learning.

University-level study involves a significant proportion of independent study, exploring the material covered in lectures and seminars. As a general guide, for every hour in class students are expected to spend two - three hours in independent study.

Please see the Unistats data, using the link at the bottom of this page, for specific information relating to this course in terms of course composition and delivery, contact hours and student satisfaction.

How You Study

Assessment Feedback

The University of Lincoln's policy on assessment feedback aims to ensure that academics will return in-course assessments to you promptly – usually within 15 working days after the submission date (unless stated differently above).

Methods of Assessment

The way you will be assessed on this course will vary for each module. It could include coursework, such as a dissertation or essay, written and practical exams, portfolio development, group work or presentations to name some examples.

For a breakdown of assessment methods used on this course and student satisfaction, please visit the Unistats website, using the link at the bottom of this page.


Throughout this degree, students may receive tuition from professors, senior lecturers, lecturers, researchers, practitioners, visiting experts or technicians, and they may be supported in their learning by other students.

For a comprehensive list of teaching staff, please see our School of Life Sciences Staff Pages.

Entry Requirements 2017-18

GCE Advanced Levels: BBB, including grade B from A Level Biology.
International Baccalaureate: 30 points overall, with Higher Level grade 5 in Biology.

BTEC Extended Diploma in Animal Management/Applied Science accepted: Distinction, Distinction, Merit.

If you are currently studying or have studied a BTEC Extended Diploma in Applied Science from 2016 onwards, the following optional modules will be accepted:

• Unit 8 - Physiology of Human Body Systems
• Unit 9 – Human Regulation and Reproduction
• Unit 10 – Biological Molecules and Metabolic Pathways
• Unit 11 – Genetics and Genetic Engineering
• Unit 12 – Diseases and Infections
• Unit 13 – Applications of Inorganic Chemistry
• Unit 14 – Applications of Organic Chemistry
• Unit 17 – Microbiology and Microbiological Techniques
• Unit 19 – Practical Chemical Analysis
• Unit 20 – Biomedical Science
• Unit 21 – Medical Physics Applications

Access to Higher Education Diploma in a Science subject accepted: A minimum of 45 level 3 credits at merit or above will be required, 15 of which must be in Biology.

We will also consider extensive, relevant work experience.
In addition, applicants must have at least 3 GCSEs at grade C or above in English, Maths and Science. Level 2 equivalent qualifications such as BTEC First Certificates and Level 2 Functional Skills will be considered.

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 can 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 aims to introduce students to the basic concepts and scope of evolutionary biology.

Students will have the opportunity to 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 aims to provide students 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.

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 aims to 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, such as control, lifetime development and adaptive value of behaviour. Students will have the opportunity to be taught how to observe and record the behaviour of animals from a range of taxonomic groups. The module will introduce approaches to animal welfare assessment and their application.

Plant Structure and Function

This module aims to provide 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 would be expected to have a broad understanding of form and function in plants, key elements of plant-animal co-evolution / 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. Students will have the opportunity to be introduced to the tools required to search and evaluate the scientific literature relevant to study, and some of the key philosophical constructs around which scientific knowledge is based.

Students can be taught about hypothesis testing, experimental design, data collection, basic mathematical and statistical concepts and data presentation, and how these methods are put into practice.

Level 2

Animal Behaviour

This module is based on the four ethological levels of explanation for animal behaviour; mechanism, development, function and evolution. The concepts underlying the study of animal behaviour will be covered in a range of taxonomic groups. The module will also consider the scientific approach to behavioural studies.

Animal Health and Disease (Option)

This module provides an overview of the biology of some common animal diseases, both at the individual and population level. It will provide the opportunity to explore the interrelationship between the environment and major disease processes and make reference to specialist areas such as microbiology, parasitology and nutrition. This module aims to 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, 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 have the opportunity to develop critical analytical skills through the interpretation of statutes and case law and evaluation of animal welfare campaign material. Students also have the opportunity to learn how 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.

Plant-Animal Interactions (Option)

In this module students have the opportunity to gain an understanding of, and an appreciation for, the interactions between plants and animals that have been the driving force for the evolution of the world as we know it.

Interactions between the flowering plants and vertebrate and invertebrate animals have led to the huge diversity of flowering plants that maintain the essential life support systems of the planet and are the basis of all current agricultural systems. Despite the huge economic costs of agricultural pests that damage plants, the evolutionary arms race between plants and their herbivores has driven the evolution of many of the important plant secondary compounds we use today as stimulants (e.g. caffeine) or drugs (e.g. salicylic acid = aspirin). Other economically, evolutionarily or ecologically important plant-animal interactions include pollination and seed dispersal.

Students will have the opportunity to examine the economic, evolutionary and ecological consequences of plant-animal interactions at scales from ecosystems to molecules. They will have the opportunity to develop their own perspective on this important topic, and will be asked to review, interpret and evaluate the evidence available in the primary literature.

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

This module aims to introduce the principles of experimental design and various methods of collection of quantitative and qualitative data. It describes statistical significance tests for comparing data and aims to enable students to practise where and how to use each statistical test.

The module will give students the opportunity to critically assess published work with regard to design of experiment and analysis of data. It will aim to 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 study of animal cognition from an evolutionary and functional perspective.

It explores the scientific assessment of animal cognition in a range of taxonomic classes. This module considers the importance of experimental design in the study of animal cognition.

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 given the opportunity to develop their own defensible stance on these often emotive issues.

Behavioural Ecology

This module examines behaviour from an evolutionary perspective.

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 is designed to provide a critical insight into the application of the principles of conservation biology.

It provides 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 this information might be used to assess the viability of populations.

Current Issues in Life Sciences (Option)

This module gives students the opportunity to learn 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 module aims to 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 focuses 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 aims to provide 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 gives students the opportunity 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 these. 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 notebook. We currently offer projects in the laboratory or field, or projects that involve mathematical modelling, systematic reviews or meta-analysis of pre-collected data. 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. See the Features tab for more information on potential costs incurred by these opportunities.

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

Palaeobiology (Option)

Palaeobiology addresses directly major changes in biological systems through time, and so it will be an important addition to the diversified Lincoln curriculum in Life Sciences, with its emphasis on whole-organism biology and organism-environment interactions. There is enormous popular interest in big evolutionary questions, including in our own evolutionary heritage and position in the Tree of Life. However, there are also many widely held misconceptions, not least that fossil data are somewhat inferior to data from extant organisms. While such views continue to be challenged and corrected, there is still scope for concerted efforts from the biological community at large to appreciate the complexity and implications of evolutionary patterns and processes over long time periods. Understanding the forces that shape global diversity patterns was identified recently in the journal Science as one of the 25 greatest challenges for Science in the 21st Century. The new module will offer students an unprecedented opportunity to gain insights into the reasons why some groups are extremely diverse, whereas others are depauperate. It will shed light upon the role of mass extinctions in shaping diversity, as well as the significance of ecological specialisation and anatomical complexity in determining the likelihood of species’ surviving and thriving. Finally, it will illuminate Life’s complexity at all level of structural and functional organization.

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 are 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.

The availability of optional modules may vary from year to year and will be subject to minimum student numbers being achieved. This means that the availability of specific optional modules cannot be guaranteed. Optional module selection may also be affected by staff availability.

Special Features

You will be taught by academics who are considered to be at the forefront of their respective fields. Many publish their findings widely, contribute to policy advisory bodies and regularly communicate science to the general public.

Overseas Field Course (Optional Module)

This optional module in your final year involves an overseas field trip. This will provide the opportunity to do research in a novel environment and to study local plants and animals. Destinations may vary, but in 2016 included the cloud forests of Ecuador, the Atacama Desert in Chile, the Mankwe Wildlife Reserve in South Africa, Peniche in Portugal and the Isle of Cumbrae, Scotland.

Students who opt to undertake a field trip overseas will be expected to cover transport costs (including flight costs). These costs will vary depending on the location of the field trip. Accommodation and meals at the field sites are fully funded by the University.

Students may be required to pay for overnight stays, local travel and food close to the destination if their flights arrive the day before the team are scheduled to meet. Students may bring personal items of clothing and travel equipment, some of which may be specialised for the environment they are travelling to, and recommended medicines and travel toiletries such as anti-malaria medication, vaccinations, insect repellent and sunscreen. These costs will depend on what you choose to bring.

Residential Field Trips

There are two fully-funded residential field trips in the UK, to study animals in the field.

Included in your fees:

  • Lab coat and safety glasses
  • All costs associated with level 1 and level 2 UK 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.


All full-time Animal Behaviour and Welfare students may take an optional placement year between the second and third year of the programme. These placements are student-led though you will be continuously supported by academic staff throughout.

Placements provide you with the opportunity to gain valuable workplace experience and a chance to hone your skills in a professional environment.

When you are on an optional placement in the UK, you will be required to cover your own transport and accommodation and meals costs.

Student as Producer

Student as Producer is a model of teaching and learning that encourages academics and undergraduate students to collaborate on research activities. It is a programme committed to learning through doing.

The Student as Producer initiative was commended by the QAA in our 2012 review and is one of the teaching and learning features that makes the Lincoln experience unique.


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

At Lincoln, we constantly invest in our campus as we aim to provide the best learning environment for our undergraduates. Whatever your area of study, the University strives to ensure students have access to specialist equipment and resources, to develop the skills, which you may need in your future career.

View our campus pages [] to learn more about our teaching and learning facilities.

Career Opportunities

Previous graduates 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. Some graduates choose to continue their study at MSc or PhD level.

Careers Service

The University Careers and Employability Team offer qualified advisors who can work with you to provide tailored, individual support and careers advice during your time at the University. As a member of our alumni we also offer one-to-one support in the first year after completing your course, including access to events, vacancy information and website resources; with access to online vacancies and virtual and website resources for the following two years.

This service can include one-to-one coaching, CV advice and interview preparation to help you maximise your future opportunities.

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. []

Additional Costs

For each course you may find that there are additional costs. These may be with regard to the specific clothing, materials or equipment required, depending on your course. Some courses provide opportunities for you to undertake field work or field trips. Where these are compulsory, the cost for the travel, accommodation and your meals may be covered by the University and so is included in your fee. Where these are optional you will normally (unless stated otherwise) be required to pay your own transportation, accommodation and meal costs.

With regards to text books, the University provides students who enrol with a comprehensive reading list and you will find that our extensive library holds either material or virtual versions of the core texts that you are required to read. However, you may prefer to purchase some of these for yourself and you will be responsible for this cost. Where there may be exceptions to this general rule, information will be displayed in a section titled Other Costs below.

Related Courses

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Tuition Fees

Full-time £9,250 per level £14,500 per level
Part-time £77.09 per credit point  
Placement (optional) Exempt Exempt

The University undergraduate tuition fee may increase year on year in line with government policy. This will enable us to continue to provide the best possible educational facilities and student experience.

In 2017/18, subject to final confirmation from government, there will be an inflationary adjustment to fees to £9,250 for new and returning UK/EU students. In 2018/19 there may be an increase in fees in line with inflation.

We will update this information when fees for 2017/18 are finalised.

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

For more 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, although the University may make changes in accordance with the Student Admissions Terms and Conditions. []