University of Chester

Programme Specification
Animal Behaviour BSc (Hons) (Combined Honours)
2017 - 2018

Bachelor of Science (Combined Honours)

Animal Behaviour

Animal Behaviour

University of Chester

University of Chester

University of Chester, Chester campus.


Undergraduate Modular Programme

Full-time and Part-time

Classroom / Laboratory,

3 years

7 Years

Annual - September




17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Medicine, Dentistry and Life Sciences Biological Sciences


Not applicable

Department of Biological Sciences

Wednesday 3rd December 2014

The Aims of the Combined Honours programme are: 

  • To enable students to combine the study of animal behaviour with another discipline suitable to their own needs
  • To provide for students a range of options (Major, minor and equally weighted subject combinations) to enable them to best choose a programme plan that meets their needs and relates effectively to their other subject.
  • To equip students with the necessary skills and knowledge to enable them to study and understand the behaviour of animals in their natural habitats.
  • To introduce students to the importance of animal behaviour in animal conservation.
  • To allow students to acquire a range of key concepts, principles and practical skills relevant to a selection of topics including: animal behaviour, ecology, conservation, physiology, welfare and evolution.
  • To enable students to develop key practical, professional and transferable skills.
  • To provide a degree programme to produce graduates with marketable skills and knowledge.
  • To draw upon staff expertise in research and teaching and links with other institutions (e.g Reaseheath College, Chester Zoo, Blue Planet Aquarium) to provide a range of learning experiences for students to follow their interests.
  • To equip students with the necessary knowledge and skills to progress to postgraduate study.
  • To foster an appreciation of the role and value of research and of a scientific approach to study.
  • To foster an appreciation of and sensitivity to animal welfare and related ethical issues.

As a result of completing this programme successfully, students should have developed their detailed knowledge and critical understanding of subject disciplines, investigative techniques and research methods relevant to animal behaviour (dependent on choice of modules as a Combined subject).

FHEQ Level 4 - students should be able to:

  • Understand fundamental concepts, principles and theories from the life sciences that underpin the understanding/investigation of animal behaviour, including knowledge and understanding of genetics, evolutionary theory and physiological systems (BI4111, BI4118, BI4119, BI4141; BI4155)
  • Understand the factors that impact on the behaviour and welfare of animals, with the main emphasis being on wild animals, but also those under human management and care (BI4118, BI4119, BI4155)
  • Understand and perform descriptive data analysis and basic statistical procedures (BI4114)
  • Undertake literature searches, read and interpret scientific papers, write scientific reports (BI4111, BI4118, BI4119, BI4141; BI4155)

FHEQ Level 5 - students should be able to:

  • Develop a more in-depth understanding of the behaviour and adaptive strategies of animals, building on the principles covered in the first year (BI5118; BI5119; BI5136; BI5137; BI5147; BI5149)
  • Understand and apply principles of good research design and report writing, building on the foundations established in the first year (BI5110; BI5118; BI5136; BI5137; BI5147; BI5149)
  • Further develop their technical and employability skills, including in the work place and/or on field work (BI5110; BI5113; BI5118; BI5119; BI5121; BI5136; BI5137; BI5147; BI5149; BI5150; WB5004*; WB5101*; WB5008*)

FHEQ LEVEL 6 - students should be able to:

  • Adopt an analytical and research-focused approach to evaluate and analyse animal behaviour, building on previous work undertaken in the first two years (BI6110*; BI6129; BI6132; BI6134; BI6170; BI6171; BI6172; BI6192)
  • Study in-depth an aspect of animal behaviour through their own research dissertation (BI6110)
  • Apply principles of animal behaviour, physiology, conservation and welfare to wider disciplines and workplace scenarios (BI6129; BI6132; BI6134; BI6170; BI6171; BI6172; BI6192)

Note: The outcomes of certain modules (*) are difficult to specify in advance, as they are totally dependent on the type of work a student pursues and/or their placement. The minimum outcomes are shown; in principle, all outcomes are possible.

Students should be able to:

  • Be able to analyse, synthesise, evaluate, apply and reflect upon information gathered from the academic literature, professional organisations, and experiences in the work place, in order to propose solutions to problems relevant to Animal Behaviour.
  • Critically apply information from an extensive understanding of theory and knowledge of case-studies to relevant issues and current developments in Animal Behaviour.
  • The ability to apply mathematical concepts to ecological and economic problems as well as to display, effectively analyse and interpret data related to Animal Behaviour both with and without the use of Information Technology.

At level 4 students would be able to use this knowledge and understanding in a routine manner to evaluate and formulate a range of arguments in relation to Animal Behaviour topics. (BI4111, BI4118, BI4119, BI4141; BI4155)

At level 5 students would be able to use this knowledge and understanding to initiate and undertake critical analysis of information and to propose solutions to problems. (BI5113, BI5118, BI5121, BI5136; BI5137; BI5147, BI5150)

At level 6 students would be able to use this knowledge and understanding to develop avenues of enquiry, strategies for action and critically evaluated arguments based around Animal Behaviour issues. (BI6110, BI6129, BI6134; BI6170, BI6171, BI6172, BI6192)in a variety of formats sensitive to the context and target audience. (SPTCS2)

Students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate the ability to design and perform research in Animal Behaviour. This includes selection of appropriate research questions, experimental design, field methods and equipment as well as the use and interpretation of appropriate statistical tests, the effective use of graphical displays of data and the ability to come to well supported conclusions through reflection and discussion of results.
  • Deploy academic and practical techniques for the integration of academic knowledge and understanding into effective professional practice in Animal Behaviour with appropriate consideration of ethical issues and risk.
  • Demonstrate the ability to work and learn independently while effectively managing time and resources, demonstrating academic integrity and possessing the skills of self-evaluation to understand own strengths and weaknesses in order to undertake further training, develop existing skills, and acquire new competencies where judged necessary.

At level 4 students will be able to use the above skills to communicate results of their studies accurately and reliably. (BI4111; BI4114, BI4118, BI4119; BI4155)

At level 5 students will be able to use the above skills to communicate different types of information and analysis in a variety of different ways to both specialist and non-specialist audiences. (BI5110, BI5113, BI5118, BI5121, BI5135, BI5136; BI5138, BI5147; BI5149; BI5150)

At level 6 students will be able to use established techniques of analysis and enquiry and communicate the same in a variety of different ways and be able to use these skills to manage their own learning. (BI6110, BI6129; BI6134; BI6143, BI6170; BI6171; BI6172; BI6192)

Students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate the ability to communicate effectively and appropriately at a graduate level with a range of audiences using oral, visual and written media.
  • Construct a consistent and sustained argument
  • Understand and present relevant statistical or other numerical data as part of an argument
  • Word process work in an appropriate format
  • Use e-mail and the World-wide Web
  • Reflect on your own learning and seek and make use of feedback
  • Be able to work effectively within a team, giving and receiving information and ideas, and modifying responses as appropriate while respecting the need for diversity of approaches and opinions.

At level 4 students will be able to use the above skills to communicate results of their studies accurately and reliably. (BI4111; BI4114, BI4118, BI4119; BI4155)

At level 5 students will be able to use the above skills to communicate different types of information and analysis in a variety of different ways to both specialist and non-specialist audiences. (BI5110, BI5113, BI5118, BI5121, BI5136; BI5138, BI5147; BI5149; BI5150; WB5101, WB5004)

At level 6 students will be able to use established techniques of analysis and enquiry and communicate the same in a variety of different ways and be able to use these skills to manage their own learning. (BI6110, BI6129; BI6134; BI6143, BI6170; BI6171; BI6172; BI6192)

The Combined Honours modular structure is as follows:

  • At Level 4:  modules totalling 60 credits are taken in each subject.
  • At Level 5:  modules totalling either 40 or 60 credits are taken in each subject with the remaining 20 credits being work related learning, either work based learning or experiential learning.
  • At Level 6: for a major route in a subject, students should undertake modules totalling 80 credits in that subject; for a equal route, students should undertake modules totalling 60 credits in each subject and for a minor route, students should undertake modules totalling 40 credits in that subject

Students following a major/minor route will normally be expected to undertake a dissertation in the major subject.  Students on an equal route may elect to write a dissertation in either of their subjects.  For students following a major/minor route a dissertation will not be written in their minor subject. Students taking the Dissertation normally involves an empirical study (or occasionally a literature based study) under the supervision of a tutor allowing development of independent research skills. If a Dissertation module is taken at Level 6, students would benefit from taking the preparatory module at  at Level 5: BI5110 Research Methods. Modules are assessed on a 4,000 word-equivalent basis - a one-hour examination equating to 1,000 words. 

Currently Animal behaviour can only be combined with Psychology and Biology. The two packages are as follows

Animal behaviour and Psychology

PS4005 Research methods (Double module)
PS4010 Core Topics in Psychology
BI4114 Data handling and Project design (*)
BI4111 Genetics and Evolution
BI4118 Introduction to Animal Behaviour

Animal behaviour and Biology

BI4155 Comparative Physiology & Anatomy  (core) This module may carry extra cost for H&S equipment (around £40)
BI4111 Genetics and Evolution  (core)
BI4114 Data handling and project design (core)
BI4118 Intro to Animal behaviour (core)

Then two from the following:

BI4119 Ecology OR BI4141 Global Biodiversity: Concepts and Threats (optional)

BI4112 Cell Biology and Biochemistry (optional)
BI4113 Introductory microbiology and immunology (optional)


At level 5 the modules on offer in Animal Behaviour when  combined with either Psychology Or Biology are:

BI 5118 behavioural Ecology (core)

The ONE of the following three:

WB 5101 Enhancing employability through work-based learning
WB5004 learning in the Wider World
WB5113 Experiential Learning


Students then complete their credits by taking ONE or TWO modules from the following options:


ONE of :
BI5119 Adaptations to Environment OR
BI5121 Field Ecology


ONE of:
BI5136 Domestic Animal handling and Husbandry OR
BI5137 Exotic Animal Handling and Husbandry OR

BI5149 Farm Animal Behaviour & Welfare


ONE of:

BI5150 Ex Situ Conservation OR
BI5147 Marine Animal Behaviour

BI5110 Research methods (optional)

In planning the programme we have taken account of the advice published by Academic Quality Support Services regarding level-related characteristics.  In respect of subject knowledge, the emphasis at Level 4 is on ‘knowing about’, at Level 5 on linking complex elements of knowledge to one another, and at Level 6 on analysis, synthesis and reflection.  Learning outcomes have been written to incorporate appropriate level characteristics. Progression in both key skills and subject specific skills is also ensured. The modules at Level 4 can be seen mainly as providing a foundation for study at Levels 5 and 6 and provide a comprehensive review of key concepts and skills for students with a range of backgrounds. 

Combined Honours only
Mod-Code Level Title Credit Major Equal Minor
BI4110 4 Essential Physiology 20 N/A N/A N/A
BI4111 4 Genetics and Evolution 20 Comp Comp Comp
BI4112 4 Cell Biology and Biochemistry 20 N/A N/A N/A
BI4113 4 Introductory Microbiology and Immunology 20 N/A N/A N/A
BI4114 4 Data Handling and Project Design 20 Optional Optional Optional
BI4118 4 Introduction to Animal Behaviour 20 Comp Comp Comp
BI4119 4 Ecology 20 Optional Optional Optional
BI4128 4 Wildlife Ecology 20 N/A N/A N/A
BI4141 4 Global Biodiversity: Concepts & Threats 20 Optional Optional Optional
BI4143 4 Animal Husbandry and Handling 20 N/A N/A N/A
BI4153 4 Animal Management and Bioveterinary Science 20 N/A N/A N/A
BI4155 4 Comparative Anatomy and Physiology of Animals 20 Optional Optional Optional
BI5110 5 Research Methods 20 Optional Optional Optional
BI5113 5 Experiential Learning 20 Optional Optional Optional
BI5118 5 Behavioural Ecology 20 Comp Comp Comp
BI5119 5 Adaptations to the Environment 20 Optional Optional Optional
BI5121 5 Field Ecology 20 Optional Optional Optional
BI5126 5 Wildlife Crime and Conservation 20 N/A N/A N/A
BI5135 5 Population biology and Conservation 20 N/A N/A N/A
BI5136 5 Domestic Animal Husbandry & Welfare 20 Optional Optional Optional
BI5137 5 Exotic Animal Husbandry & Welfare 20 Optional Optional Optional
BI5147 5 Marine Animal Behaviour 20 Optional Optional Optional
BI5149 5 Farm Animal Behaviour and Welfare 20 Optional Optional Optional
BI5150 5 Ex-Situ Conservation 20 Optional Optional Optional
WB5004 5 Learning in the Wider World 20 Optional Optional Optional
WB5008 5 The Study Abroad Experience 120 Optional Optional Optional
WB5101 5 Enhancing your Employability through Work Based Learning 20 Optional Optional Optional
BI6108 6 Non-experimental project with Information project 40 N/A N/A N/A
BI6109 6 Non-experimental project with presentation 40 N/A N/A N/A
BI6110 6 Dissertation 40 Comp Comp N/A
BI6129 6 Animal Behaviour and Conservation 20 Optional Optional Optional
BI6132 6 Physiology and Behaviour 20 Optional Optional Optional
BI6133 6 Recent Advances in Animal Behaviour 20 N/A N/A N/A
BI6134 6 Animal Cognition 20 Optional Optional Optional
BI6143 6 Wildlife Forensics - Detection and Investigation 20 Optional Optional Optional
BI6168 6 Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainability 20 N/A N/A N/A
BI6169 6 Stress and Welfare Assessment in Animals 20 N/A N/A N/A
BI6170 6 Animal Parasitism: Medical, Veterinary and Ecological Aspects 20 Optional Optional Optional
BI6171 6 Applied Conservation Genetics 20 Optional Optional Optional
BI6172 6 Managing Marine Environmental Impacts 20 Optional Optional Optional
BI6192 6 Behavioural & Evolutionary Ecology 20 Optional Optional Optional
BU6017 6 Managing New Business Ventures 20 N/A N/A N/A

Students graduate with BSc Honours on completion of Level 6 having obtained 360 credits (120 per level).
Students may obtain an exit award of Dip HE on completion of Level 5 having obtained 240 credits (120 per level).
Students may obtain an exit award of Cert HE on completion of Level 4 having obtained 120 credits.

Not applicable

Not applicable

Typical Entry

112 UCAS points

GCE A Level

112 UCAS points from GCE A Levels or equivalent. Typical offer - BCC/BBC The Department requires one of the following subjects as essential for entry: GCE A Level: Biology, Human Biology, Chemistry, Applied Science


BTEC Extended Diploma (Applied Science or Animal Management): DMM BTEC Diploma (Applied Science or Animal Management): D*D*

Irish/Scottish Highers

BBBB including Biology

International Baccalaureate

26 points including 5 in HL Biology


Access to HE (Science) Diploma, to include 45 credits at level 3, 30 of which must be at Merit


OCR National Extended/Diploma: merit profile plus one of the GCE A level subjects listed above

Extra Information

Please note that we accept a maximum of 8 UCAS points from GCE AS Levels and that the Welsh Baccalaureate (core) and A Level General Studies will be recognised in our offer. We will also consider a combination of A Levels and BTECs/OCRs. Applicants must hold a grade C in GCSE in Mathematics or equivalent.

s programme has been constructed using the Biosciences (2015) benchmark statement as a guide. Particular reference has been made to the threshold statements - these being the minimum requirement described in the benchmarking statements by the Quality Assurance Agency.

Any individual student will take the equivalent to 18 modules in total, which will include core and optional modules. The structure and content of the core modules is such that all students will have the opportunity to develop the skills and attributes required by the biosciences graduate. The particular sets of statements that have been referred to during the development of the programme are: generic standards, molecular aspects of biology, organisms, and ecology and environmental biology.

Particular features of the programme which are based on the generic standards set out by the Biosciences (2015) benchmark statement are a broad based core where students are introduced to concepts ranging from the molecular to ecosystem level, competence in core experimental and survey skills and engagement with current developments in the biosciences.

We incorporate several other generic standards via diverse assessment strategy. This includes using a range of communication methods, the use and interpretation of information including the appropriate use of statistical analysis and practical and theoretical methods of acquiring information.

Employability is built into the programme in terms of skills modules but also more generically through requirements for reflective practice which encourages students to be self-aware in terms of their limitations and skills, to develop appropriate strategies for skills development in these areas and to recognise the importance of their skillsets to their chosen career paths as well as how to communicate their abilities in these areas.

Specific aspects of the relevant statements have been built into section 23 - the targeted programme outcomes.

Members of the Department of Biological Sciences have many years of experience in offering distinctive programmes of study at diploma, undergraduate, postgraduate and post-experience levels. The Department has considerable experience of supporting the learning needs of mature students and of students generally with ‘non-standard entry’ qualifications. Considerable success has been achieved with students with limited entry qualifications both in terms of academic performance and personal development. Consequently, students encounter a broad range of teaching and learning experiences across all levels of study as befits the subject matter.

Methods of teaching and learning are indicated clearly in each module descriptor and the list that follows describes the variety of approaches used by tutors.

Lectures: These feature in most modules as an effective way of imparting important content, themes and pointers for further study. However, they are supplemented by a variety of other methods of teaching and learning as described below.

Practical classes: The majority of modules at Levels 4 and 5 include practical classes. These provide the opportunity for students to develop their data handling and analytical skills as well as their practical skills (eg. handling equipment). An important aspect of practical work is also the opportunity it offers for groups work encouraging working with others. At level 6, the amount of practical work is limited but those students who do a dissertation normally undertake a practical project involving an empirical study.

Seminars: These are used most often in modules at Level 6 in which group sizes are relatively small and students tend to be more confident. Selected topics of the module content are chosen to provide the opportunity for more in-depth study and dissemination of ideas. Amongst other key skills, students are able to practise oral communication skills in a relatively informal context. When students have specific queries that have not been addressed during formal teaching sessions, they can contact module tutors directly. In practice, these discussions tend to focus on assessment issues, including feedback on formative essays, the initial drafts of assignments, and performance in examinations. A system is in operation whereby students can make appointments to consult tutors.

Work Related Studies All students will be required to undertake work related studies at level 5 of the programme. There will be choice offered so that students can either do Work Based Learning (organised by the Centre for Work Related Studies) or do Experiential Learning which is organised and staffed by the Department of Biological Sciences.

Intranet-based support materials The University has a virtual learning environment (Moodle) available to all students on or off campus. This offers access to a wide range of facilities including Learning Resources, the Library, e-mail and all modular support materials. Online journals and social media are also used to enhance learning.

Directed reading As reading is central to the process of knowledge acquisition in higher education, module tutors provide reading lists to guide their students to appropriate material. Increasingly, these lists include references to the Internet and electronic sources, as well as more traditional book and journal references.

Group work The QAA subject benchmark (2015) document lists teamwork as one of the six categories of graduate transferable skills that needs to be demonstrated in higher education. Throughout the programme, teamwork has been incorporated with progression incorporated from one level to the next. In many modules, particularly in practical work in the laboratory or field, students are encouraged to work in groups and to share ideas. The assessment in certain modules is based on group assignments.

Induction Prior to the start of the programme, all students have an Induction Programme which introduces them to the University and the Department. There are group sessions on, for example, learning to learn, plagiarism, preparing for assignments and using Moodle. The Learning Support Service is also introduced.

The University's level related criteria are a key reference when designing modular assessments. Therefore, progression towards more complex and involved assessments, that require greater levels of study autonomy and greater levels of critical analysis, underpins the overall assessment strategy of the programme. Regular and structured formative assessment is a feature of the programme ensuring that students have regular and informed feedback on their learning.

Course Work and Examinations

It is departmental policy to use a variety of assessment processes so that our students can demonstrate their abilities in a variety of assessment modes. Generally, staff choose 50% course work and 50% examination except for those modules where this would be inapplicable such as the dissertation module.

We feel that in preparing course work, which can include essays, laboratory and field exercises and presentations, students are given time and scope to present their work in a variety of modes particularly where an examination would be inappropriate. However, we are aware that examinations have an important role in summative assessment and give academic credibility (both externally and internally) to our degree programmes


The programme is designed to equip graduates with the necessary knowledge and practical (transferable) skills to embark on careers within the areas of animal behaviour, animal conservation, areas of animal welfare, teaching, further training for specialist careers or postgraduate studies. Whilst it is expected that many students in each cohort will initially embark on such career pathways, the embedded transferable skills throughout the programme make the graduate highly employable in a variety of directions. The degree will also enable students to progress to study at a higher level..

Careers in animal sciences fall into the following areas:

Animal behaviourist, Conservation, Zoo keeping, Animal nutritionist, Animal nutrition research and advice, Animal welfare, Animal breeding, Veterinary support, Animal food retailing, Technical support, Horseracing management, veterinary nursing, Farm management, Sales reps (animal health products), Education officers, Gamekeepers, Countryside managers.

As mentioned above, some students will move into careers not in the area of animal science. For these students the general graduate level characteristics listed earlier will stand them in good stead. more specifically the following attributes fostered in this programme should be of use to students in many careers.

Graduates from the programme should be able to

(i) adopt a systematic and rigorous approach to academic study.

(ii) demonstrate extensive knowledge and a critical understanding of relevant theories and concepts.

(iii) integrate and synthesise knowledge and understanding from different areas of the biological sciences.

(iv) be able to use a broad range of practical skills as applied to the biological sciences.

(v) apply a critically and theoretically informed perspective to relevant issues and current developments (as appropriate) in biological sciences.

(vi) apply and evaluate a scientific approach to academic study.

(vii) demonstrate the competence and skills necessary to progress from tutor-centred to student-centred learning.

(viii) adopt appropriate teamwork, problem-solving, communication and presentation skills and ICT and numeracy.

(ix) plan and implement an appropriate research project and critically reflect on their practice.

The aim of the Department is to teach and facilitate learning in biology, from introductory to postgraduate level, as an academic discipline and as a basis for applied vocational training. In support of this, the Department encourages the development of links with professional biologists in many areas and the wider community. It also strives to foster student autonomy in learning, and to promote and support research and scholarly activity in a wide range of biological sciences.

The programmes of study in the Dept of Biological Sciences fully embrace the University’s commitment to the active promotion of equality of opportunity.  The  University seeks to ensure that no student is disadvantaged or discriminated against on the grounds of: gender; age; marital or parental status; sexual orientation; racial group (race, colour, nationality, ethnicity or national origins); creed (religious, political or personal beliefs or principles); membership or non-membership of a trade union; and socio-economic background. It also aims to ensure that disabled people and those with special needs do not suffer unfair discrimination, and that they are enabled to achieve their full potential as students.  The ultimate objective of the programmes delivered are to ensure all aspects of delivery are open to all sections of society and in whose activities all students can participate to the best of their ability. This programme is designed to ensure inclusivity and to ensure that the diverse needs of our students are provided for.  At a departmental level all programmes are developed and delivered with the following aspects in mind:


  • Admission requirements are clearly set out in promotional materials and due consideration is given to a policy of widening access, participation, diversity and equality. 

  • Each module and programme is developed in line with University policy to both promote equality and diversity and encourage all students in the development of their learning.

  • There is flexibility in materials and delivery of teaching to support students with disability or from culturally diverse backgrounds and the Department works closely with Learning Support in delivering this support through Learning Support Plans.

  • The induction week activities are designed to integrate all students both academically and socially and to make academic staff aware of any issues.  Students are made aware of avenues of support if they a have any issues regarding diversity and equality.

  • Supportive formative exercises are presented in modules in the first year to give all students an equal chance of succeeding.

  • Assessments are designed to afford equal opportunity to all students to display their knowledge and skills. The introduction of anonymous marking and the blue sticker scheme also enhance equal opportunity to all students.

  • In order to ensure that the needs of all students are met any barriers to access (physical, environmental and curriculum) are identified and removed or reasonable adjustments will be made based on requirements.

  • All learning materials and teaching and learning sessions are designed to be free from racist, sexist and other discriminatory assumptions and practices.

  • All lecturers are aware of diversity issues and discharge their PAT roles with knowledge and sympathy and all students are made aware of the Department structures to discuss issues should a concern arise. 

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