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Animal Behaviour

Search through Animal Behaviour courses at UK universities and colleges.

Subject description

Over the last few years the desire to understand the animal world has increased dramatically. Animal behaviour is now a rapidly growing field and many prior understandings of the behaviour, characteristics and communication of animals are being rewritten. The big question, how and why do animals behave the way they do, is far from being comprehensively answered, but the emergence of a new generation of animal behaviourists is helping to begin the answering of this and other questions.

The study and interpretation of the natural behaviour of animals is a fascinating subject and those who choose to study animal behaviour are concerned with understanding the causes, functions and evolution of behaviour. There is an increasing need for humans to take an element of responsibility towards animals and their welfare. Not just for domestic pets but for wild animals, who are having to adapt to new environments as a result of climate change and the effects that this is having on the natural habitats of some wild animals.

On a more domestic level, there is a greater awareness among the general public of issues involved with the welfare of companion, performance and farm animals. Animals that are bred for food, animals that we keep as pets and those that are kept in zoos and aquariums, horses that are used in horseracing and animals that are used in films are all looked after by people with a good scientific knowledge of animal behaviour.

Example areas of study

The study of animal behaviour is multidisciplinary and the subjects and modules vary from course to course and institution to institution. The list below will give you an idea of the kind of subjects you may study on an animal behaviour course, but it is worth checking with the institutions themselves before submitting an application.

Some career possibilities

Animal behaviour graduates may go on to postgraduate study and research in a specialised area or move into lecturing or research posts in an academic setting. Other employment opportunities may be available in conservation charities and policy groups, museums, zoos and aquariums, animal control and welfare such as the RSPCA, companion animal charities such as the Guide Dogs for the Blind or Hearing Dogs charity, or within government or private research institutions. There may also be opportunities to work as a behavioural trainer for dogs, horses or other animals that may be used in therapy or indeed films or television.

What do I need to get on a course?

The study of animal behaviour is a branch of biology and therefore a science qualification will usually be required as part of the entry requirements. Below you will find a guide to the kind of grades, qualifications and subjects that may be required to study animal behaviour. However, it is worth checking with the institutions themselves before submitting you application.

For your application or interview the following may be useful:

Content supplied by UCAS, and used with permission.

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