Dr Jonathan Cooper - Programme Leader
Jonathan Cooper has been a leading academic in animal welfare research for over 30 years. His early research involved understanding the causes and effects of stereotypic behaviour in captive animals, the welfare of caged hens, and the welfare of fur-farmed mink. More recently, he has investigated the use of electronic aids in dogs and the housing of captive carnivores in zoos, and this work has contributed to changing practise in dog training and zoo animal management.School Staff List
The scientific study of animal behaviour and welfare furthers our understanding of why animals behave in the way that they do, and helps us learn how best to respond to the challenges that animals face when living in captive and wild environments.
This degree employs a multi-disciplinary, research-driven approach to the study of animal behaviour and welfare. 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.
It is informed by academics who are considered to be at the forefront of their respective fields in welfare assessment, animal management, evolutionary biology, and animal cognition. This includes Professor Daniel Mills, Professor Anna Wilkinson, and Professor Stuart Humphries.
The range of specialist facilities available 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 allows students to observe and study the behaviour of animals in their natural habitat. Further details can be found in the Features section.
In the first year, students can develop a solid foundation in animal anatomy and physiology, cell biology, genetics, captive animal management, and animal behaviour.
These themes are developed further in the second year through the study of specialist subjects dealing with animal behaviour, health, and disease.
In the final year, core modules focus on pure and applied aspects of animal behaviour and welfare. Students also undertake a supervised, independent research project.
We want you to have all the information you need to make an informed decision on where and what you want to study. To help you choose the course that’s right for you, we aim to bring to your attention all the important information you may need. Our What You Need to Know page offers detailed information on key areas including contact hours, assessment, optional modules, and additional costs.
Animal Management will cover the contributions of animal scientists, welfare bodies, legislators, producers and consumers to the housing and management of captive animals. 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.
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.
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.
Ecology is the scientific study of the interactions 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 patterns in the natural world
This module is designed to provide students with an introduction to genetics by discussing the development of genetics as a field of science, from molecular genetics through Mendelian genetics, to genetics at the population level. Students have previously studied cell biology and biochemistry, and this knowledge is built on in order to consider the replication, maintenance and expression of the genome. This module aims to provide the knowledge necessary to study applications of molecular biology at a higher level.
This module aims to introduce the principles underlying animal behaviour and the welfare 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.
This module aims to introduce the skills and knowledge necessary to assimilate and judge scientific knowledge. Students will have the opportunity to search and evaluate the scientific literature relevant to their studies, and learn 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 gain hands-on experience of their application.
This module takes a comparative approach to demonstrate how physiology of a wide range of vertebrates places a key role in the life of an animal. The module explains how environmental factors, such as temperature or salinity, impacts on an animal's physiology and how this interacts with its behaviour and ecology. There is also consideration of how internal factors, e.g. hormones and nervous tissue, can control behaviour.
This module is based on the four ethological levels of explanation for animal behaviour as introduced by Nikolaas Tinbergen, one of the fathers of ethology, in the 1960's: 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, data collection, analyses and interpretation of behavioural studies in a variety of species both in the laboratory and in zoo
The module provides an overview of the biology of diseases of livestock, companion and wild animals. It is designed to introduce students to the use of laboratory techniques in the investigation of disease.
This module covers wide ranging aspects of animal nutrition using examples from insects to primates, and considers how, why and what animals eat, in terms of the anatomical, physiological, behavioural and ecological factors which influence nutrient intake in conditions of health and disease.
This module explores the regulation and enforcement of animal protection including the background and need for legislation relating to animals, the scientific, political and legal procedures involved in forming legislation and how citizens may become involved in that process. Students develop critical analytical skills through the interpretation and application of legal frameworks as well as the evaluation of the research background underpinning the law. Students also learn to develop and present arguments used in decisions regarding animal protection
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.
The Evolution module aims to introduce the fundamental concepts and theories that explain and predict how biodiversity evolves as a result of multiple factors emerging from both ecological and sexual interactions. The integrative nature of this module guarantees that a broad diversity of the central topics in the field of evolution is covered.
This module provides an overview of the cellular and molecular basis of the immune response in health and human diseases. The structure, function and complex mechanisms of host defence by B- and T-Cells will be discussed. Students will evaluate the role of inflammatory mediators, soluble effectors and cellular cytotoxicity in inflammation and immunity.
This module is an introduction to the invertebrates, which represent more than 97% of the animal kingdom. Invertebrate animals are organized in nearly 15 major higher taxa. For each taxon the student will first learn the body plan and topics including diversity, evolution, phylogeny, classification, anatomy, physiology, behaviour, natural history, and biomechanics.
Topics will be covered with lectures and laboratory practices, starting with the origins of invertebrates, following subsequent major advances in the evolution of aquatic and terrestrial groups. For instance the module will consider the transition from sea to land. The module will also emphasise different aspects of invertebrate biology: their development, diversity of reproduction, life history traits, behaviour, and their medical, forensic and agricultural importance.
This module focuses on reproduction and development in a range of 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 in a variety of taxa with an emphasis on the factors controlling developmental processes. Additional content will focus on factors, e.g. environmental pollution, that affect reproduction and development in animals
This 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 is designed to allow students to critically assess published work with regard to design of experiment and analysis of data. It will provide students with the chance to develop the skills required to design and analyse a research project generally, and specifically that undertaken in year three of their course.
The Vertebrate Zoology module introduces the biology and diversity of vertebrates. Vertebrates have colonised all environments on Earth, and include several model organisms that have played an unsurpassed role in analyses of the dynamics of ecological and evolutionary processes.
The module places emphasis on the history of all vertebrate groups, their extinct and extant biodiversity, and their classification. It provides general descriptions of fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals, and uses case studies from each of these groups to illustrate patterns and processes underpinning radiations, ecological adaptations, evolutionary transitions and genetic proliferation. The lectures detail anatomical, functional, palaeontological, and ecological aspects of vertebrate biology. Ultimately, the aim is to allow students to develop a proper understanding of the key events in vertebrate evolution, from their early diversification in the oceans to the conquest of land.
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.
This module examines the application of molecular techniques to study ecology, evolution and conservation of animal populations and species. 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 of animals.
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 examines the way in which behavioural repertoires contribute to survival and ultimately reproductive success. 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.
The module is designed to provide an understanding of the control of infectious disease in companion animals, livestock species and wildlife.
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.
The module provides an overview of the applications of genetics and its ethical and social considerations with an introduction to ethical philosophy. This module also intends to discuss genetic counseling, diagnosis of genetic disease, carrier detection and pre-symptomatic testing. The module enables students to evaluate population screening, and community genetics for single gene and chromosome disorders and also the ethical and social considerations of the understanding of the human genome, the treatment of genetic diseases, gene therapy and the ethics of experimental animal use.
The Integrative Ecology module reviews advanced topics that cover core theoretical and applied areas relevant to both Evolutionary Biology and Ecology in the modern world, from a species-level scale to a global, biogeographic scale. By developing bridges between these two strongly dependent and connected fields and between both scales of analysis, Integrative Ecology offers a critical synthesis module that aims to strengthen the knowledge that life science students have gained following the introduction of fundamental evolutionary and ecology concepts provided by previous modules. The module will cover a range of areas of paramount relevance for our understanding of the world and of its biodiversity around us.
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 discipline-specific research and project-management skills.
A wide range of subject expertise exists within the School, and students are expected to work on a project that is relevant to their programme of study. Under the guidance of a supervisor, students will review the literature, identify a research question/aim and objectives, and design a programme of research respectively. Students will be expected to manage the project and work in a safe and ethical manner, which will include undergoing training in and engaging with obtaining relevant ethical approval and risk assessment. Students will collect and analyse data, record their activities and research methodology and results in a “lab book”/ equivalent robust means of recording.
We currently offer projects in the laboratory (wet or animal) or field, projects that involve data analysis, literature research, educational research, science communication research and market research. Students may work individually or in groups addressing similar questions, but must write up individually. The findings of the research will be written up and presented orally. The conduct and performance of the student as a research apprentice will be assessed.
This module provides students with the opportunity to investigate biological phenomena in the field at an overseas location. Students work in groups, guided by staff, to develop and test hypotheses allowing them to understand more about biological processes operating within the study area. They are encouraged to view the ecosystem within the wider context of the anthropogenic impacts being imposed on it. Potential sites include: Quinta Sao Pedro study centre near Lisbon (http://www.quintasaopedro.pt/) and Santa Lucia Ecuadorian Cloud Forest Reserve near Quito (http://www.santaluciaecuador.com/), both regularly used by other UK universities for similar modules. Other sites will be considered, with location and costs made clear to students at the start of their second year. This module is optional and courses run subject to sufficient student demand
At the interface between Earth and Life Sciences, Palaeobiology is the study of all aspects of the biology of extinct biota and their relations to the physical environments in which they lived. The discipline documents and explains patterns and processes governing past Life, and is key to our understanding of evolution in deep time and up to the present. Fossils are the currency of Palaeobiology. Their unique and fundamental contribution is their ability to provide measurable models of anatomical, functional, and ecological change over millions of years of evolution. Natural selection theory predicts that organism diversity results from species interacting with each other and with their environments. Consequently, fossils are the natural “time capsules” preserving the historical record of faunal and floral successions on our planet. This record unravels the pathways through which traits observed in extant organisms are selected for, elucidates models of biodiversity rises and falls, and casts light on the complex relationships between the geosphere and the biosphere. Palaeobiology tackles some of the most challenging and engaging topics of modern biology, including the emergence of biodiversity, patterns of recovery and expansion of ecosystems and species in the aftermath of profound crises (such as mass extinctions), and the interplay between originations and extinctions in shaping the Tree of Life. The module will enable students to comprehend the thrust and scope of fossil-based research, progressing from basic observations to formulation of complex macro-evolutionary inference. Palaeobiology is eminently interdisciplinary, absorbing concepts and methodologies from numerous other fields and providing tools and knowledge of wide use to other biologists, particularly those interested in tempo and mode of evolution and the comparative method.
The impact of parasites to the health, welfare and productivity of animals remains one of the most important issues in veterinary biology. A detailed understanding of the biology and epidemiology of parasites and the association they have with their hosts is vital in protecting and improving animal’s health and welfare. This module aims to provide a theoretical background for understanding the specialised features that parasites have developed to adapt to their host and transmit between hosts, the diseases which result and advances in treatment and prevention of infection. Students will also learn analytical laboratory methods for the identification of different types of ecto- and endoparasites. Case studies will be used to illustrate how the current advances in research are applied to understand and inform the epidemiology, control and prevention of parasite mediated disease in animals and monitor emergent diseases globally and within the UK.
† Some courses may offer optional modules. 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.
The way students are assessed on this course may vary for each module. Examples of assessment methods that are used include coursework, such as written assignments, reports or dissertations; practical exams, such as presentations, performances or observations; and written exams, such as formal examinations or in-class tests. The weighting given to each assessment method may vary across each academic year. The University of Lincoln aims to ensure that staff return in-course assessments to students promptly.
Going to university is a life-changing step and it's important to understand the costs involved and the funding options available before you start. A full breakdown of the fees associated with this programme can be found on our course fees pages.
For eligible undergraduate students going to university for the first time, scholarships and bursaries are available to help cover costs. The University of Lincoln offers a variety of merit-based and subject-specific bursaries and scholarships. For full details and information about eligibility, visit our scholarships and bursaries pages.
GCE Advanced Levels: BBB, to include a grade B in Biology. Practical elements must be passed.
International Baccalaureate: 30 points overall to include Higher Level grade 5 in Biology.
BTEC Extended Diploma in Animal Management/Applied Science*: Distinction, Distinction, Merit.
*not all modules are accepted. Please contact our Admissions team for further information (email@example.com).
BTEC Diploma Applied Science acceptable with other qualifications. Please contact our Admissions team for further information (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Access to Higher Education Diploma: 45 Level 3 credits with a minimum of 120 UCAS Tariff points, including 40 points from 15 credits in Biology.
Applicants will also need at least three GCSEs at grade 4 (C) or above, which must include English, Maths and Science. Equivalent Level 2 qualifications may also be considered.
Non UK Qualifications:
If you have studied outside of the UK, and are unsure whether your qualification meets the above requirements, please visit our country pages for information on equivalent qualifications.
EU and Overseas students will be required to demonstrate English language proficiency equivalent to IELTS 6.0 overall, with a minimum of 5.5 in each element. For information regarding other English language qualifications we accept, please visit the English Requirements page.
If you do not meet the above IELTS requirements, you may be able to take part in one of our Pre-sessional English and Academic Study Skills courses.
For applicants who do not meet our standard entry requirements, our Science Foundation Year can provide an alternative route of entry onto our full degree programmes:
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 email@example.com
Students can participate in two residential fully-funded field trips in the UK, enabling them to study animals and plants in the wild. There is also an overseas field trip in the third year. Destinations may vary, but have previously included the cloud forests of Ecuador, the Mankwe Wildlife Reserve in South Africa, and Peniche in Portugal.
This optional module in the third year provides the opportunity to do research in a novel environment and to study local plants and animals. Destinations may vary, but have previously included the cloud forests of Ecuador, the Mankwe Wildlife Reserve in South Africa, and Peniche in Portugal.
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 students choose to bring.
This course is informed by academics who are considered to be at the forefront of their respective fields in welfare assessment, animal management, evolutionary biology, and animal cognition. These include Professor Daniel Mills, Professor Anna Wilkinson, Professor Oliver Burman, and Dr Jonathan Cooper.
Many publish their findings widely, contribute to policy advisory bodies and regularly communicate science to the general public. Research projects have focused on polar bears, African hunting dogs and Guinea baboons at local zoos, as well as cognitive abilities in companion animals including cats, dogs, and parrots.
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 students will be continuously supported by academic staff throughout. Placements provide the opportunity to gain workplace experience and a chance to hone students' skills in a professional environment. When students are on an optional placement in the UK, they will be required to cover their own transport, accommodation, and meals costs.
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 studies at Master’s or PhD level at the University of Lincoln, including our MSc in Clinical Animal Behaviour.
“My degree prepared me for my job at a major UK dog rescue charity as it provided me with up-to-date training techniques, the confidence to apply these techniques, and animal welfare knowledge.”Sophie Bromley, BSc (Hons) Animal Behaviour and Welfare graduate
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Biology is the science of life itself, exploring the structure, function, growth, origin, evolution, and distribution of living organisms.
Bioveterinary Science at Lincoln explores the biological processes that underlie animal health and disease.
Zoology is an exploration of how animals have evolved, how they function, and the ways in which they interact with their environment.