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MSc Zoo Conservation Biology

University of Plymouth

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Course options

  • Qualification

    MSc - Master of Science

  • Location

    Plymouth University

  • Study mode

    Full time

  • Start date

    SEP

  • Duration

    1 year

Course summary

The unique programme is the first of its kind in the world. Study factors affecting animal behaviour, conservation and welfare plus international zoo management and collaboration. Our partnership with Paignton Zoo gives you regular access to their connections, research and expertise – so you’re primed to make a difference.

Key features

  • Delivered alongside industry partners at Paignton Zoo and its parent body, the Wild Planet Trust which also owns Newquay Zoo and Living Coasts.
  • Develop your scientific knowledge, professional and technical skills as a zoo biologist. Learn how to manage animals and environments for the purpose of education, conservation and wildlife research.
  • Study aspects of animal breeding, behaviour and ecology, as well as how welfare, housing, nutrition and health all have a part to play in species management.
  • Learn to troubleshoot problems at the level of a social group within a particular zoological collection, right up to the level of a species globally. Explore how breeding programmes for endangered species are international in scope.
  • Benefit from the knowledge and guidance of University of Plymouth's expert staff with specialisms including the behaviour of captive animals, animal nutrition, the welfare of captive birds and the application of population genetics to captive and natural fish populations.
  • Find out how the science of zoos is used to inform government policy. Two of our teaching team are the only academic representatives on the government’s Zoos Expert Committee.
  • Get behind-the-scenes insight with a number of days each week with our partners at Paignton Zoo. Deepen your understanding of the business and conservation work of zoos, and how networks and collaborations work between them.
  • Access the latest research and information from the Wild Planet Trust including information on their co-ordinated breeding programmes for endangered species.
  • Get a behind the scenes insight into Wild Planet Trust zoos: Paignton, Living Coasts and Newquay, and be inspired by the diversity of zoos in the area, including Shaldon, Dartmoor, Longleat, Bristol, and the National Marine Aquarium. Many students choose to conduct immersive research projects within zoos both locally and internationally.
  • Graduates work in zoos as educators, researchers, managers and keepers. Many go on to PhD study or work in further education. Other employers include the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the European Association for Zoos and Aquaria; the Natural History Unit (BBC); national and international conservation organisations.

As a full-time student, you’ll study seven modules taking in everything from genetics to environmental enrichment, preventative health to budgeting. We update modules to reflect current thinking and you can specialise within them. For example, you can tailor your coursework to species of personal interest. You’ll be assessed through coursework with practical tasks focused on your future career. You cover a range of topics that are of central importance in managing animal collections. As a trained zoo biologist you study conservation, nutrition, welfare, bahaviour, and overall zoo management. You then conduct a final three month research project of your choice. Previous research projects have covered topics ranging from female mate choice in white-faced saki monkeys to how visitor disturbance and keeper interventions affect the behaviour and enclosure use of captive sand tiger sharks.

Tuition fees

Students living in United States
(international fees)

£ 16,200per year

Tuition fees shown are for indicative purposes and may vary. Please check with the institution for most up to date details.

University information

University of Plymouth

  • University League Table

    69th

  • Campus address

    Plymouth University, Drake Circus, Plymouth, Plymouth, PL4 8AA, England

The university has a thriving international community, with over 2,500 students from more than 100 countries, and 80 partnerships in over 30 countries.
A dedicated international student advice team provides specialist support to international students, helping them settle into UK life.
The university is renowned for its world-leading research, especially in the fields of marine and maritime, health technologies and sustainability.

Subject rankings

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