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Universities for zoology

I was wondering whether anyone who has taken a zoology course could tell me what they like/don’t like about the course at their specific university as I’m struggling to pick which uni. I’m definitely looking into the courses that include professional placements over the normal ones but opinions on any courses would be helpful to hear.
Original post by Dweeter
I was wondering whether anyone who has taken a zoology course could tell me what they like/don’t like about the course at their specific university as I’m struggling to pick which uni. I’m definitely looking into the courses that include professional placements over the normal ones but opinions on any courses would be helpful to hear.


Hi Dweeter,

I didn't take a zoology course myself but if you want to speak to Zoology students you can message them using our 'message a current student' Unibuddy platform. It's such a great idea to hear from people studying the course you're interested in to see whether you would enjoy it!:smile:

You can read more about the Zoology course here, and there is an opportunity for professional placement or a year abroad!:smile:

I hope this helps!

Bethan
University of Exeter Student Ambassador
Original post by Dweeter
I was wondering whether anyone who has taken a zoology course could tell me what they like/don’t like about the course at their specific university as I’m struggling to pick which uni. I’m definitely looking into the courses that include professional placements over the normal ones but opinions on any courses would be helpful to hear.


Hi Dweeter,

I did study Zoology at the University of Exeter (spoiler, I absolutely loved it!) and would be happy to answer any questions about the programme here, including the four year variants which include opportunities to study abroad or conduct a year-long professional placement.

Kingsley
University of Exeter Student Ambassador
Reply 3
Original post by ExeterStudentRep
Hi Dweeter,

I did study Zoology at the University of Exeter (spoiler, I absolutely loved it!) and would be happy to answer any questions about the programme here, including the four year variants which include opportunities to study abroad or conduct a year-long professional placement.

Kingsley
University of Exeter Student Ambassador

That’s perfect thank you! Would you say you were often given the chance to apply your knowledge through working out in the field? And did you enjoy the Penryn campus, I hear it’s nice but people also say there’s not much to do. I didn’t quite get the grades to be able to apply to the year with placement course but will there be a chance to transfer onto this once on the normal course?
Original post by Dweeter
That’s perfect thank you! Would you say you were often given the chance to apply your knowledge through working out in the field? And did you enjoy the Penryn campus, I hear it’s nice but people also say there’s not much to do. I didn’t quite get the grades to be able to apply to the year with placement course but will there be a chance to transfer onto this once on the normal course?


I absolutely loved my time at the Penryn Campus, so much so that I stayed on for my Masters and PhD!

I think there are lots of opportunities for fieldwork throughout the degree, in the first year there tends to be day trips for different modules around Cornwall. Then there are 1-week and 2-week residential field courses in second and third year respectively, which are great for getting field experience in a diverse range of different habitats and includes, designing, conducting and presenting on your own research project. There are also societies such as EcoSoc and MarineWatch on campus that are really helpful for meeting like-minded students and gaining extra practical skills, such as in small mammal trapping or bird identification.

Regarding the Penryn campus, I really enjoy it here because I like the slightly smaller setting and the sense of community, especially within the Centre for Ecology and Conservation. I also love the location in Cornwall and think its great for a work/life balance - think lots of sea swimming and beach BBQs between lectures. However I understand the location might not be for everyone if you're perhaps looking for a busier city sort of student experience. Perhaps take a look at our SU page here for different sports club and societies you might want to get involved in outside of academic life. Do you have any particular hobbies or interests and I can let you know what might be going on in the local area or on campus?

Usually there is some opportunity to transfer course once you arrive (e.g. onto year abroad or placement courses), and it's subject to getting a certain grade to be allowed to go (usually set at 60%, or a 2.1). Please let me know if you have any other questions.

Kingsley
University of Exeter Student Ambassador
Reply 5
Original post by ExeterStudentRep
I absolutely loved my time at the Penryn Campus, so much so that I stayed on for my Masters and PhD!

I think there are lots of opportunities for fieldwork throughout the degree, in the first year there tends to be day trips for different modules around Cornwall. Then there are 1-week and 2-week residential field courses in second and third year respectively, which are great for getting field experience in a diverse range of different habitats and includes, designing, conducting and presenting on your own research project. There are also societies such as EcoSoc and MarineWatch on campus that are really helpful for meeting like-minded students and gaining extra practical skills, such as in small mammal trapping or bird identification.

Regarding the Penryn campus, I really enjoy it here because I like the slightly smaller setting and the sense of community, especially within the Centre for Ecology and Conservation. I also love the location in Cornwall and think its great for a work/life balance - think lots of sea swimming and beach BBQs between lectures. However I understand the location might not be for everyone if you're perhaps looking for a busier city sort of student experience. Perhaps take a look at our SU page here for different sports club and societies you might want to get involved in outside of academic life. Do you have any particular hobbies or interests and I can let you know what might be going on in the local area or on campus?

Usually there is some opportunity to transfer course once you arrive (e.g. onto year abroad or placement courses), and it's subject to getting a certain grade to be allowed to go (usually set at 60%, or a 2.1). Please let me know if you have any other questions.

Kingsley
University of Exeter Student Ambassador

That sounds amazing! Definitely a top choice for me I think. Regarding interests/hobbies I like a bit of photography and I also like seeing live music if there are any music venues around.
Reply 6
Original post by ExeterStudentRep
I absolutely loved my time at the Penryn Campus, so much so that I stayed on for my Masters and PhD!

I think there are lots of opportunities for fieldwork throughout the degree, in the first year there tends to be day trips for different modules around Cornwall. Then there are 1-week and 2-week residential field courses in second and third year respectively, which are great for getting field experience in a diverse range of different habitats and includes, designing, conducting and presenting on your own research project. There are also societies such as EcoSoc and MarineWatch on campus that are really helpful for meeting like-minded students and gaining extra practical skills, such as in small mammal trapping or bird identification.

Regarding the Penryn campus, I really enjoy it here because I like the slightly smaller setting and the sense of community, especially within the Centre for Ecology and Conservation. I also love the location in Cornwall and think its great for a work/life balance - think lots of sea swimming and beach BBQs between lectures. However I understand the location might not be for everyone if you're perhaps looking for a busier city sort of student experience. Perhaps take a look at our SU page here for different sports club and societies you might want to get involved in outside of academic life. Do you have any particular hobbies or interests and I can let you know what might be going on in the local area or on campus?

Usually there is some opportunity to transfer course once you arrive (e.g. onto year abroad or placement courses), and it's subject to getting a certain grade to be allowed to go (usually set at 60%, or a 2.1). Please let me know if you have any other questions.

Kingsley
University of Exeter Student Ambassador


I also wanted to ask what the are main things I should include in my zoology personal statement and what things I should maybe avoid? I’m going backpacking around Southeast Asia for a few months next year would it be worth mentioning that at all? I am planning to visit conservation facilities while I’m out there however I’m not sure if they will take it into account as I haven’t done it yet. I’m worried about making it stand out, if there’s anything you think a lot of people include that is not needed lmk!
Original post by Dweeter
That sounds amazing! Definitely a top choice for me I think. Regarding interests/hobbies I like a bit of photography and I also like seeing live music if there are any music venues around.

Hi Dweeter, there's definitely a growing music scene in Falmouth and around the local area, which is helped by a lot of music student based at Falmouth University. I'm not sure what kind of music you're into, but the Cornish Bank is a great local venue for smaller acts and puts on a diverse range of shows across multiple genres (I'm actually going to a gig here tomorrow myself!). For slightly larger acts, there are the Falmouth Pavilions, that will also host comedy tours, musicals and other events. In the summer, both Boardmasters in Newquay and the Eden Sessions at the Eden Project will host larger international acts less than an hour from campus. I've seen My Chemical Romance, Idles and the War on Drugs at the Eden Project and it's a really incredible venue to see live music at right in front of their biomes (plus you get free entry to check out all the plants before the gig!).

Kingsley
University of Exeter Student Ambassador
(edited 4 months ago)
Original post by Dweeter
I also wanted to ask what the are main things I should include in my zoology personal statement and what things I should maybe avoid? I’m going backpacking around Southeast Asia for a few months next year would it be worth mentioning that at all? I am planning to visit conservation facilities while I’m out there however I’m not sure if they will take it into account as I haven’t done it yet. I’m worried about making it stand out, if there’s anything you think a lot of people include that is not needed lmk!


To answer this question, your personal statement should include anything that helps demonstrate your enthusiasm, prior experience, and commitment to the specific course and studying at university in general. If those experiences are part of your motivation for wanting to study Zoology then I'd definitely include it and try and focus on which particular topics or ideas motivate and interest you, e.g. better understanding human-wildlife interactions, or preserving tropical biodiversity. Don't worry too much about trying to have a 'blockbuster experience' to stand out, as not everyone will have access to travel to different places or do their own fieldwork before university. Even things seemingly as simple as talking about documentaries you've watched, podcasts you've listened to, or books you've read can be really effective in showing your passion for the subject outside of what you've been taught in the curriculum at school. I'm a big fan of 'popular science' books which often include cutting-edge science communicated clearly towards the general public and are much entertaining to read than any textbooks. Don't just list what you've done, but explain why it's relevant and has led you to the decision to apply for this course.

Kingsley
University of Exeter Student Ambassador
(edited 4 months ago)
Original post by Dweeter
I was wondering whether anyone who has taken a zoology course could tell me what they like/don’t like about the course at their specific university as I’m struggling to pick which uni. I’m definitely looking into the courses that include professional placements over the normal ones but opinions on any courses would be helpful to hear.

Hiya! :h:

I'm a current second year Zoology student here at Plymouth! :thumbsup:

I really love the variation of the course here because of the really modern facilities we have and the fact that Plymouth is such a good location for accessing some amazing natural spaces, including Dartmoor, plenty of local zoos, and the National Marine Park in the Plymouth Sound. I think the Zoology programme here really utilises the local surroundings which is nice- I remember in my first few weeks we went on several field trips to the rocky shores, parks, beaches, and we have a specialist marine station too which I'll be using this year for marine organism practicals and going out on our boats for comparative zoology field work as well.

As far as field courses go, in first year it's a residential to the Field Studies Council centre in Slapton, Devon, which is a great opportunity to get to know your lecturers and course mates better as well as picking up some great practical skills. In second year, I'll be going to Kenya this year which is very exciting and I think speaks for itself in terms of the amazing range of zoological opportunities it provides in terms of field work and picking up techniques!

We also have the option to undertake a year in industry between second and final year, too. You have the flexibility to choose wherever you'd like to go or whatever you'd like to do and the careers team supports students with regular lectures, sessions, and 1-1's about placements to help you choose the best one for you. It can either be a 6 month or two 3 month placements which is a good option to get some varied experience too, especially if you do one with an organisation here in the UK and one abroad, which is what I'm planning to do. There are also so many great organisations to work with here in Plymouth for a placement, particularly around the National Marine Park including the National Marine Aquarium and Marine Biological Association, with others such as Dartmoor Zoo or conservation charities, too.

I also like the fact that we have quite a mixed range of practical work, lectures, workshops, and field work as it makes it more engaging content-wise and you can pick up more skills and experience than just sitting in a lecture hall every day!

Have you got any specific questions or anything you'd like to know about Zoology here in Plymouth? Happy to answer any questions you might have at all!

We have an open day coming up on November 18th if you can make it, where you can chat to zoology students, staff, tour our labs, and even meet some of the invertebrates, reptiles and more which is always fun :biggrin:

We also have a zoology rep to chat to on our Unibuddy page if you're wanting to talk to another Zoology student about their experience! https://www.plymouth.ac.uk/unibuddy
Let me know if you'd like to know anything in particular about the course or uni here in Plymouth and I'd be happy to help! :koala:

- Alfie, University of Plymouth Undergraduate Student Rep :h:
Original post by Dweeter
That sounds amazing! Definitely a top choice for me I think. Regarding interests/hobbies I like a bit of photography and I also like seeing live music if there are any music venues around.


To add onto this from a Plymouth perspective, we have a number of live music venues which are really great including the Plymouth Pavillions which has some really popular acts that visit regularly (5SOS, Mimi Webb, Tom Grennan, Olly Murs have all recently been here), whilst the SU has some great Jam Nights weekly and music events too. It's also a great city to photograph with some stunning views over the National Marine Park, whilst I recently got involved with a few biodiversity photography competitions run here at the uni too! :h:
Original post by Dweeter
I was wondering whether anyone who has taken a zoology course could tell me what they like/don’t like about the course at their specific university as I’m struggling to pick which uni. I’m definitely looking into the courses that include professional placements over the normal ones but opinions on any courses would be helpful to hear.

Hi, second year Zoology student at Lancaster University here!

Firstly I completely understand your struggle when it comes to picking universities, especially when faced with so many great institutions. Like you I didn't know where I wanted to apply so I started by looking at every university in the UK that offered zoology (I know, that's a lot!). I then narrowed this down as I wanted to do either study abroad or placement year. After that I took to looking at the modules offered by each university as well as extras such as field courses and other opportunities. However, if you have the opportunity, visiting a few universities is an invaluable experience. When I was unsure where I wanted to apply, meeting current students and seeing the facilities for myself made a world of difference.

So, a little about Zoology at Lancaster. Firstly, yes there are options to take Zoology either with a placement year or year abroad built into the degree. One thing that particularly drew me to Lancaster was the opportunity to take field modules. In my first year of study there was the option to take a field module down at the Eden Project in Cornwall. This was amazing as it allowed me to learn in a new and hands on environment. Doing that first field module has also made me really excited for those offered in subsequent years of the degree. Another thing I really enjoyed were the frequent lab sessions I had. Although daunting at first I think that being able to apply the theory we were learning to a practical experiment was not only fun but also helped to deepen my understanding of the topics being taught.

Looking at Lancaster itself, I fell in love with the campus university setting. Campus is covered in lots of green spaces and being right next to the Lake District provides many opportunities for wildlife enthusiasts.

For more information on what modules are offered as well as the field courses that could be available to you I recommend consulting the official university page below.
https://www.lancaster.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/courses/zoology-placement-year-bsc-hons-c302/2024/

If there is anything else you would like to know about the degree or university life in general I'd be happy to help. Good luck making your decision!

Aimée (Lancaster University Student Ambassador)
Reply 12
Thank you for all the replies, they’ve been super helpful! I’ve had a few people tell me that finding a job after completing a zoology degree is quite challenging and I was wondering if anyone had any information on the job prospects after completion? Like what do new graduates tend to do?
Original post by Dweeter
Thank you for all the replies, they’ve been super helpful! I’ve had a few people tell me that finding a job after completing a zoology degree is quite challenging and I was wondering if anyone had any information on the job prospects after completion? Like what do new graduates tend to do?

Hi Dweeter,

A really good question. You can find general information on graduate prospects for the University of Exeter Zoology course here.

I graduated from the Zoology with Year Abroad course in 2019, and so can also reflect on my own experience, and that of my classmates, to answer this. Personally, after graduating I went on to do a Masters by Research and am now completing a funded PhD on social evolution in termites. Lots of my classmates also went down this academic route and stayed in research doing a variety of different Masters, PhDs, and some from my year have even started postdocs too. So there is definitely the opportunity for further research and to stay in academia should you want to.

Some of my friends were more interested in science communication, and have gone on to roles working in communications for groups like the RSPB or Wildlife Trust, or have completed further study or training in wildlife photography or wildlife documentary filming (which the UK, and specifically the BBC Natural History Unit) is a world leader in. In fact, if you watched Planet Earth III on Sunday night, Hannah Pollock, a BSc Zoology graduate from Exeter, was involved in making that episode! You can read more about her career progression on this blogpost here - this website is really handy and includes lot of other interview case studies with different alumni!

Lots of graduates decide that they want to do more practical work after finishing their degree, and might get jobs as ecological consultants, or working for a variety of conservation organisations both in the UK and abroad. Others might decide that they preferred experience in the lab, and so find work as lab technicians. Others still decide they might want to go into postgraduate vet medicine.

The good thing about the University of Exeter course is that there is lots of focus on transferable skills, for example critical thinking, written and verbal communication, experiment/study design, statistical analysis and programming (specifically in R). These kind of skills are highly desirable across industries, and will be sought after by employers even outside of zoology or biology. In zoology/ecology a lot of our data sets tend to be quite messy, because the real world and real animals can be quite complicated compared to doing science in a controlled lab environment. This means we tend to have to use more complex statistical techniques and data wrangling to deal with this, which is a really important skill set as more and more industries are revolutionised by big data.

To help with employability throughout your degree, you'll have access to the University of Exeter's Career Zone (both during and after your degree!).They helped me with writing my CV, interview prep and finding different placements during the summers of my undergraduate degree. You can read more about their services here.

If you have any more questions, let me know.

Kingsley
University of Exeter Student Ambassador
Reply 14
Original post by ExeterStudentRep
Hi Dweeter,

A really good question. You can find general information on graduate prospects for the University of Exeter Zoology course here.

I graduated from the Zoology with Year Abroad course in 2019, and so can also reflect on my own experience, and that of my classmates, to answer this. Personally, after graduating I went on to do a Masters by Research and am now completing a funded PhD on social evolution in termites. Lots of my classmates also went down this academic route and stayed in research doing a variety of different Masters, PhDs, and some from my year have even started postdocs too. So there is definitely the opportunity for further research and to stay in academia should you want to.

Some of my friends were more interested in science communication, and have gone on to roles working in communications for groups like the RSPB or Wildlife Trust, or have completed further study or training in wildlife photography or wildlife documentary filming (which the UK, and specifically the BBC Natural History Unit) is a world leader in. In fact, if you watched Planet Earth III on Sunday night, Hannah Pollock, a BSc Zoology graduate from Exeter, was involved in making that episode! You can read more about her career progression on this blogpost here - this website is really handy and includes lot of other interview case studies with different alumni!

Lots of graduates decide that they want to do more practical work after finishing their degree, and might get jobs as ecological consultants, or working for a variety of conservation organisations both in the UK and abroad. Others might decide that they preferred experience in the lab, and so find work as lab technicians. Others still decide they might want to go into postgraduate vet medicine.

The good thing about the University of Exeter course is that there is lots of focus on transferable skills, for example critical thinking, written and verbal communication, experiment/study design, statistical analysis and programming (specifically in R). These kind of skills are highly desirable across industries, and will be sought after by employers even outside of zoology or biology. In zoology/ecology a lot of our data sets tend to be quite messy, because the real world and real animals can be quite complicated compared to doing science in a controlled lab environment. This means we tend to have to use more complex statistical techniques and data wrangling to deal with this, which is a really important skill set as more and more industries are revolutionised by big data.

To help with employability throughout your degree, you'll have access to the University of Exeter's Career Zone (both during and after your degree!).They helped me with writing my CV, interview prep and finding different placements during the summers of my undergraduate degree. You can read more about their services here.

If you have any more questions, let me know.

Kingsley
University of Exeter Student Ambassador

That’s so helpful thank you so much! It’s amazing that there are so many different paths and opportunities to take with this degree and I can’t wait to start!
Original post by Dweeter
Thank you for all the replies, they’ve been super helpful! I’ve had a few people tell me that finding a job after completing a zoology degree is quite challenging and I was wondering if anyone had any information on the job prospects after completion? Like what do new graduates tend to do?

Hi there!

There is such a diverse range of directions you can take after graduating the course. Many choose to go into further study, such as postgraduate degrees or PhDs for more advanced roles in research and biological sciences, but there are also a range of job prospects after completing a graduate degree. It all depends on what you find you're interested in and would like to pursue! 🙂

Conservation, research, science communication, teaching, animal rehabilitation, zoo work, and more are just some options of job prospects related to the course, but it can also take you in many different directions, and around the world! Some areas are quite competitive but if you work hard and engage well with the course if you're passionate about it, you're sure to do well! 😀

What career direction are you thinking you might be interested in? If you have any other questions feel free to let me know!

-Alfie, University of Plymouth Undergraduate Student Rep
Youngest will be going to NTU to study Zoo biology. They also do zoology, but she asked if she wanted a work placement, they said zoo biology is better. The campus at brackenhurst is half hour to nottingham city centre on the number 26 bus, and its got accommodation at brackenhurst, which surprsingly is bigger than some of the other rooms ive seen. And its also got animals on campus as well. Its got a working farm as well as stables for about 50 horses, tarantulas, rabbits, rats, lizards, cats, dogs, goats, ferrets and many others. So that really appealled as she wants to be hands on.
Reply 17
Original post by University of Plymouth Undergraduate Student Rep
Hi there!

There is such a diverse range of directions you can take after graduating the course. Many choose to go into further study, such as postgraduate degrees or PhDs for more advanced roles in research and biological sciences, but there are also a range of job prospects after completing a graduate degree. It all depends on what you find you're interested in and would like to pursue! 🙂

Conservation, research, science communication, teaching, animal rehabilitation, zoo work, and more are just some options of job prospects related to the course, but it can also take you in many different directions, and around the world! Some areas are quite competitive but if you work hard and engage well with the course if you're passionate about it, you're sure to do well! 😀

What career direction are you thinking you might be interested in? If you have any other questions feel free to let me know!

-Alfie, University of Plymouth Undergraduate Student Rep

I think conservation is my main goal, I would love to do research within that but wildlife rehabilitation is also something I’d love to do. I’m planning on doing a masters after my BSc although I’m not too sure on a PhD.
Original post by Dweeter
I think conservation is my main goal, I would love to do research within that but wildlife rehabilitation is also something I’d love to do. I’m planning on doing a masters after my BSc although I’m not too sure on a PhD.

Super! There are definitely lots of opportunities in conservation as it's a growing area and people are noticing its importance more and more! I think there are so many paths you can take from Zoology so definitely try different options and see what you enjoy 🙂 I've gotten involved with a mix of conservation and research and am thinking about a masters, too, and PhD after.

-Alfie, University of Plymouth Undergraduate Student Ambassador

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