MBiol

Zoology

Key Facts

Code C309
  • Typical A-level offer

    BBB-ABB with B in Biology or Human Biology

  • Course Length

    4 Years

Further details on entry requirements

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Zoology is the science of animal life, whether it be microscopic or massive, aquatic or terrestrial.  If you are fascinated by the millions of animal species with which we share the planet, this degree is for you! Zoology at Aberystwyth University benefits from our wonderful natural environment including intertidal and subtidal marine habitats, estuaries, wetlands, freshwater streams and rivers, woodlands, heathland etc., allowing access to species such as red kites, chough, bottlenose dolphins, pine martins, red squirrels, porpoises etc.  This exciting course allows you to prepare for a career in academic or commercial zoological research, through the combination of three years of undergraduate study and a further year of postgraduate research training, leading to the qualification of MBiol (Zoology).

Top 15 in the UK for student satisfaction in the subject area of Zoology (NSS 2016)

 Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS): 91% student satisfaction (NSS 2016)

92% of undergraduates from IBERS who graduated in 2015 were in employment or further education six months after graduating (DLHE 2015)

  • Overview
  • Modules
  • Employability
  • Teaching & Learning

Overview

Why study MBiol Zoology at Aberystwyth University?

  • You will benefit from fantastic modern laboratories, a microscopy suite, a historic specimen collection and aquaria.
  • Taught by Zoology experts, some you may have already seen them on TV documentaries or listened to them on your favourite science podcast
  • Unrivalled wildlife and countryside; Aberystwyth is a stone’s throw away from many internationally recognised habitats including the UNESCO Dyfi Biosphere, two RAMSAR wetlands, two marine Special Areas of Conservation, two National Nature Reserves, several Sites of Special Scientific Interest to name but a few, providing you with fabulous fieldwork and recreational opportunities
  • Top 10 in the UK for research intensity in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) assessment (2014).
  • 78% of research assessed to be world-leading or internationally excellent in the 2014 REF.

Want to study in Welsh? 

Students can elect to study a number of IBERS modules in the medium of Welsh. Ask the department for further details.

Our Staff

The majority of teaching staff at the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences are qualified to PhD level and are research active. Vocational courses also have staff whose background lies within industry.  The Institute has a large number of research only staff with whom students may have contact.

Modules

Please note: The modules listed below are those currently intended for delivery during the next academic year and may be subject to change. They are included here to give an indication of how the course is structured.

Employability

Trained Zoologists are needed to conserve animal life, to understand parasitic diseases of animals and humans and to control economically important pests. Every course at Aberystwyth University is designed to enhance employability.  

The MBiol (Zoology) has been created to meet the increasing demand for suitably qualified personal to work at high level in scientific research, development, lecturing, training and education, public and private commercial enterprise, consultancy and advisory work in the UK and throughout the world. The MBiol is also a recognised alternative to MSc for progression to a PhD studentship. 

Key Skills and Competencies 

Study Skills 

You will develop an in-depth knowledge and critical understanding of the key contemporary topics in Zoology. You will master the research process and contribute to the knowledge base of the subject through your final year research. Throughout this you will encounter many opportunities to develop as a reflective, autonomous researcher. At all times you will have the support of expert academics working at the forefront of their field. 

Self-motivation and discipline 

Studying to postgraduate level requires discipline and self-motivation. Though you will have access to the expertise and helpful guidance of experienced IBERS staff, you will be responsible for devising and completing a final year research project. This process will strengthen your skills as a self-sufficient worker, a trait prized by all employers. 

Transferable Skills 

The MBiol (Zoology) is designed to give you a range of transferable skills that you can apply in a variety of employment contexts. The course is made up of a number of taught modules plus guided independent student centred study. This provides you with a framework which allows you to develop your subject knowledge, through pursuing specific areas of interest and develop your skills of original thought, analysis, interpretation and reasoning. Regular assessment through reports, essays, seminar presentations, précis and case studies will prepare you for the many demands of the modern workplace.

What work experience opportunities exist whilst studying? 

Click here to find out about the various opportunities that our Aberystwyth University Careers team offer. 

Enhance your employability prospects with GO Wales and YES (Year in Employment Scheme) managed by our Careers department. 

Teaching & Learning

What will I learn?

This course is designed to enable you to tailor your studies into areas of particular interest. You will be able to focus either on the whole animal, population and conservation biology, or on more applied aspects of Zoology such as parasitology.

The breakdown below will provide you with an illustration of what you may study during the four year degree scheme.

 In your first year you will cover subjects relating to:

  • The diversity of life on Earth from unicellular organisms to the multicellular invertebrates and vertebrates, relating form to function and the key evolutionary events that have occurred.
  • The fundamental principles of ecology and the relationships between species covering energy transfer, intra and inter-species interactions, resource utilisation etc.
  • The importance of plants as primary producers, their morphology, physiology and ecological adaptations.
  • The principles of genetics from molecules to populations and species.
  • The structure and function of eukaryotic cells and the chemistry of molecules within cells.
  • Wildlife forensics utilising forensic entomology and ecotoxicology, and the use of DNA ‘barcoding’ help solve wildlife crime.
  • You may also undertake subjects related to the major environmental process on Earth that have influenced flora and fauna, the history of our understanding of Biology and how it has developed over time, and the diversity of microbial life and their importance as pathogens, mutualists and within the ecosystem.

In your second year you will explore:

  • Invertebrate and vertebrate biology covering their evolution, physiology, ecology etc.
  • Evolution of organisms including speciation, phylogenetics and population genetics.
  • Animal behaviour including its function, causation, development and evolution.
  • The principles and practice of a range of basic quantitative and qualitative procedures, data analysis, interpretation and evaluation.
  • You may also undertake subjects related to species conservation and habitat management, the role of zoological gardens for animal conservation, and a field trip to Peru.
  • There are also opportunities to enhance your employability skills by taking your second year at a European institution (ERASMUS exchange) or North America. Or you can take a year in employment between your second and third years.

In your third year you will be taught detail on:

  • Behavioural physiology, detailing the mechanisms which underpin behaviour and advance behaviours including orientation and navigation.
  • Population ecology focussing on the models used to account for the distribution and abundance of organisms.
  • A compulsory dissertation under the supervision of a member of the Zoology teaching staff.
  • You may also undertake subjects related to wildlife conservation and the importance of genetics in conserving species, parasitology covering the diversity of parasites and their potential to cause disease, the current and future threats to species and ecosystems, and animal welfare including the behavioural and physiological traits associated with pain and stress.

In your final year you may study;

  • Frontiers in the Biosciences
  • Your MBiol research project
  • Field and Laboratory Techniques 

How will I be taught? 

The course will be delivered through a balanced programme of lectures, student-led seminars, laboratory practical classes and one-to-one tutoring for the final year research project. In addition, there will be problem-based learning scenarios; case studies; literature based research; computer-assisted learning; and work experience to support the teaching and learning. You will receive thorough training in zoological concepts and practical scientific methods. 

How will I be assessed? 

You will be assessed through numerous methods including essays, practical exercises, oral presentations, worksheets, reports, dossiers, posters, portfolios, reflective diaries, literature reviews, magazine articles, field notebooks and exams. You will be assigned a personal tutor throughout your degree course, who will help you with any problems or queries, whether these are academic-related or personal issues. You should feel free to contact them at any time for help and advice.

Entry Requirements

A Levels BBB-ABB with B in Biology or Human Biology

GCSE requirements (grade C min):
English or Welsh, Mathematics and a Science subject

BTEC National Diploma:
BTEC insufficient

International Students

International Baccalaureate:
36 points overall with 6 points in Biology at Higher Level

European Baccalaureate:
75% overall with 75% in specified subject

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