University of Chester

Programme Specification
Animal Behaviour and Welfare BSc (Hons) (Single Honours)
2014 - 2015

Bachelor of Science (Single Honours)

Animal Behaviour and Welfare

Animal Behaviour and Welfare

University of Chester

University of Chester and Reaseheath College

The first year (level 4) is based at Reaseheath College with some modules delivered at Chester 

Level 5 & 6 are based at  the main campus, University of Chester & some modules will be delivered at Reaseheath College

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

Biosciences 2007

Department of Biological Sciences

Sunday 1st April 2007

  • To allow students to acquire a range of key concepts, principles and practical skills relevant to animal behaviour, welfare, conservation and evolution.
  • To develop an integrated approach to the study of the theory and practice of animal behaviour and welfare.
  • To introduce students to the principles of care, maintenance, health and handling of exotic and indigenous animals kept in captivity.
  • 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) 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
  • To foster employability skills to include self-management, team working, problem-solving, communication and literacy, application of numeracy, application of information technology.

Knowledge and Understanding On completion of the programme, successful students should be able to:
(i) demonstrate extensive knowledge and a critical understanding of relevant theories and concepts in the field of animal behaviour, particularly as they relate to the welfare of animals in managed environments,
(ii) demonstrate an understanding of key ideas, especially in the following areas: animal welfare, health and disease, research methods and ethics, evolution, genetics, behavioural ecology and physiology.

Thinking or Cognitive Skills
On completion of the programme, successful students should be able to:
(i)adopt a systematic and rigorous approach to academic study,
(ii)integrate and synthesise knowledge and understanding from different areas of thesubject domain, including the manipulation and presentation of data,
(iii) bring a critically and theoretically informed perspective to relevant issues andcurrent developments (as appropriate) in the study of animal behaviour and welfare,
(iv) evaluate scientific arguments identifying strengths and weaknesses in the design and methodology of scientific research andthe treatment of data,
(v) design procedures to carry out research on topics in the field of animal behaviour and welfare, specifically the formulation and testing of hypotheses, the interpretation of data and report writing.

Practical Skills
On completion of the programme, successful students should be able to:
(i)exercise a range of practical skills related to laboratory and field work as appropriate,
(ii) recognise and exercise skills in the handling, husbandryand maintenance of animals.

Key Skills
On completion of the programme, successful students should be able to:
(i)demonstrate a degree of autonomy and independence in relation to learning,
(ii) demonstrate appropriate teamwork skills,
(iii) demonstrate appropriate problem-solving skills,
(iv) demonstrate appropriatecommunication skills (both oral and written),
(v) demonstrate appropriate skills in ICT,
(vi) demonstrate appropriate numeracy skills.

Transferable Professional Skills
On completing this programme students:
(i) should be able to display a mastery of typical graduate level skills,
(ii) should have an understanding of the typical qualities expected in graduates by employers.

In all Single Honours programmes students gain 120 credits at each of the 3 levels of study where each single module has a value of 20 credits. Modules are assessed on a 4,000 word-equivalent basis - a one-hour examination equating to 1,000 words.

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. There are three core modules at this level which are also found in other biological programmes of study. The character of level 4 work and the expectations placed on the student are given below: 

Level 4

Knowledge, understanding and intellectual skillsTransferable and generic skillsLearning style
Emphasis on knowing about, basic terminology, key ideas; acknowledging sources; accuracy; the formulation of rational argument; the development of a questioning attitude. Groundwork in study skills and key skills appropriate to the subject. Developing library research and laboratory skills. Fostering computer literacy. Developing data handling and numerical skills. Developing the ability to articulate accurately.Learning at Level 4 is predominately tutor designed and guided; scope for individual and group initiative within a controlled framework. Developing the ability to work in a scholarly team.

At Level 5, students take modules involving greater detail and depth of study of key ideas and enhanced skills.  The core modules at Level 5 deal with essential topic areas, many of which are extended in Level 6 modules. At Level 5, students take four core single modules and they complete their programme by taking optional modules chosen from BI5118, BI5119 and BI5126. In addition students must take either a work-based learning module on Experiential Learning. This choice is to enable students to follow a pathway and to gain a work-related or research experience tailored to their interests and ambitions.

Level 5

Knowledge, understanding and intellectual skillsTransferable and generic skillsLearning style
Student will be encouraged and expected to relate complex elements of knowledge to one another-to seek links; to demonstrate a critical approach to data and evidence; to begin to develop a mastery of complex skills and concepts in the study of animal behaviour  Further consideration of appropriate study skills and of lateral thinking. Ability to audit own skills and understand and monitor personal development as a learner. Tutor/student relationship viewed as a more collaborative partnership but design of learning still largely controlled by the tutor.Learners develop a mastery over a range of learning styles and the ability to select the appropriate style for the task in hand.

Work Based Learning (WBL) and Experiential Learning

Work Based Learning (WBL) is an opportunity for students to apply the knowledge and skills they have gained during their degree studies to the work setting. It is expected that WBL will be an integral part of the Level 5 programme for most students. A wide choice of placements is available and students may opt for a placement directly relevant to their intended career. Normally, the WBL Office staff arrange the placements with local employers although students may, with the agreement of the WBL staff, make their own arrangement where this is appropriate.   Students may alternatively opt for the Experiential Learning module (which may include a field trip component) delivered within the Department of Biological Sciences and offers the opportunity for students to develop their research skills and experience in a research setting.

At Level 6, students are required to display greater levels of independence and take significant responsibility for their learning. There is a wide modular choice. The characteristics and expectations of this level are shown below:

Level 6
Knowledge, understanding and intellectual skillsTransferable and generic skillsLearning style
Emphasis on analysis, synthesis and reflection. Students will be expected to demonstrate: ability to handle cognitive complexity; to evaluate; to apply knowledge and skills in new situations. Development of creative solutions/approaches    Full range of study skills consolidated and applied to independent enquiry. Able to articulate personal standpoint in the context of respect for the views of others.Assumption of a greater responsibility for own learning, both independently and collaboratively. Autonomy. Students now able to reflect on strategies they devise as learners

Throughout the final year of study, students are encouraged to develop as independent, mature and autonomous learners. The students' knowledge base will be significantly broadened through a range of subject specific modules covering aspects of their chosen area of study.  All students are required to undertake a research project at Level 6 from a choice of BI6110 Dissertation and BI6120 Research Project. In this a strong emphasis is placed on the development of independent research skills and practical abilities of along with the ability of the student to present scientific data and arguments in the context of the overall body of knowledge within the discipline. All other modules are optional apart from BI6169 which is seen as important for the understanding of animal welfare.

Mod-Code Level Title Credit Single
BI4111 4 Genetics and Evolution 20 Comp
BI4118 4 Introduction to Animal Behaviour 20 Comp
BI4121 4 Animal Welfare Issues 20 Comp
BI4122 4 Animal Handling & Care 20 Comp
BI4124 4 Behavioural Data Analysis & Project Design 20 Comp
BI4127 4 Animal Anatomy and Physiology 20 Comp
BI5110 5 Research Methods 20 Comp
BI5113 5 Experiential Learning 20 Optional
BI5118 5 Behavioural Ecology 20 Optional
BI5119 5 Adaptations to the Environment 20 Optional
BI5124 5 Animal Health and Disease 20 Comp
BI5125 5 Zoos & Exotics 20 Comp
BI5126 5 Wildlife Crime and Conservation 20 Optional
WB5002 5 Introduction to Entrepreneurship Skills 20 Optional
WB5005 5 Global Perspective - Learning from Experience 20 Optional
WB5101 5 Enhancing your Employability through Work Based Learning 20 Optional
BI6110 6 Dissertation 40 Optional
BI6112 6 Research Project 20 Optional
BI6129 6 Animal Behaviour and Conservation 20 Optional
BI6130 6 Conservation and Environmental Impact 20 Optional
BI6131 6 Applied Learning Theory and Behaviour Modification 20 N/A
BI6132 6 Physiology and Behaviour 20 N/A
BI6134 6 Animal Cognition 20 Optional
BI6135 6 Ethics, Animal Welfare and Applied Animal Behaviour 20 Optional
BI6136 6 Evolution and Human Behaviour 20 Optional
BI6169 6 Stress and Welfare Assessment in Animals 20 Comp
BI6170 6 Animal Parasitism: Medical, Veterinary and Ecological Aspects 20 Optional
BI6171 6 Applied Conservation Genetics 20 Optional
BU6017 6 Managing New Business Ventures 20 Optional

Students graduate with BSc Honours on completion of Level6 having obtained 360 credits (120 per year).
Students may obtain an exit award of Dip HE on completion of Level5 having obtained 240 credits (120 per year).
Students may obtain an exit award of Cert HE on completion of Level4 having obtained 120 credits.

A minimum of 200-240 UCAS points, of which 180-200 points must be obtained from GCE A Levels, including a grade C in one of the subjects recommended by the department. The remaining points may be achieved from GCE AS Levels, or from Level 3 Key Skills.
GCE A Level:

The department recommends one of the following subjects:

GCE A Level: Biology, Chemistry, Human Biology, *Psychology, Science GCE Applied A Level: Applied Science

*Must be off ered in combination with either AS Level Biology or AS Level Human Biology GCE Applied A Level: Applied Science

BTEC National Diploma/Certifi cate (Animal Care, Animal Management or Applied Science): merit/distinction profile
Irish Highers/Scottish Highers: B in 4 (higher) subjects including Biology, Chemistry or Human Biology
International Baccalaureate:
International Baccalaureate: 24 points, including 4 in Biology or Chemistry

QAA recognised Access to HE Diploma (Science), Open College Units or Open University Credits

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

The Advanced Diploma: acceptable in combination with one of the GCE A Level subjects listed above

Extra Information:

Please note: A BTEC National Award, OCR National Certificate or the Welsh Baccalaureate (core) will be recognised in our tariff offer.

The benchmark statements in biology have been used as an important reference point in the construction of this programme’s learning outcomes, knowledge, skills and content together with the methods of learning, teaching and assessment. Particular reference has been made to the threshold statements - these being the minimum requirement described in the benchmarking statements by The Quality Assurance Agency (2007). 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 acquired by the biosciences graduate …… for a career in biosciences or elsewhere, and make them valued by employers." (The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education 2007.  Biosciences). The particular sets of statements that have been consulted and referenced are: generic standards, organisms, and ecology and environmental biology.

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.

A distinctive feature of this programme is the fact that it capitalises on the strong links between the University and Reaseheath College near Nantwich. Some modules are taught at Reaseheath College and make use of their extensive facilities and animal collections. A bus is laid on for students to travel between Chester and Reaseheath College.


These feature in most modules as an effective way of imparting important content, themes and pointers for further study. They are used to set a framework for further study and inspire students of the value of the discipline. 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 (e.g. 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, although the Dissertation and Research Project modules normally involve practical work in laboratories or in the field.


Seminars are used most often in Level 6 option modules when 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 practice 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 and performance in examinations. A system is in operation whereby students can make appointments to consult tutors.   

Intranet-based support materials

The University has an intranet available to all students on or off campus. This offers access to a wide range of facilities including Learning Resources, the Library and all modular support materials. Staff are committed to using the intranet for making additional support materials available for students. The department has recently invested in the on-line Encyclopedia of Life Sciences which is an excellent additional resource for undergraduates. 

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 QCA Key Skills document lists ‘working with others’ as one of the six categories of Key Skills that needs to be demonstrated in higher education.  Throughout the programme, working with others has been incorporated at each level. 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.  

In the main, teaching and learning activities take place on the campus.  Timetabling is arranged centrally, except for individual tutorials. There is some flexibility for students to change groups for laboratory classes and group tutorials to suit part-time students and those who have family commitments or transport difficulties. This is in accordance with the University's widening access and participation strategy.  It is possible for all students to access support materials at home via the ‘IBIS at home’ facility.

In line with benchmarking and the Department's Learning, Teaching and Assessment Strategy, the need for students to become effective as independent learners is planned for and encouraged. The programme structures its learning outcomes so that this will happen progressively over the three-year programme.  At Level 6, students have the opportunity to do an extensive piece of independent research (equivalent to one or two modules) that requires them to plan, implement, analyse data and report the study.

Assessment Criteria 

The University's over-arching 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.  

In addition, all students who pass any part of a degree are expected to possess such basic skills as the ability to make use of numerical and statistical information; the ability to locate internet sites from given web addresses; the ability to send and receive e-mail messages; the ability to use basic software packages such as Word; the ability to perform basic searches on standard electronic retrieval systems, and the ability to write legibly.

Students who succeed at Level 5 and above should be able to construct an essay using correct grammar, spelling and referencing according to the American Psychological Association (APA) system of referencing.

In relation to double marking, we follow a policy of ‘monitoring’, whereby a second marker looks at a 25% sample of coursework or examination scripts (minimum 6 scripts) for level 5 and 6 work, including all failed assignments for all levels, and records comments on perceived consistency, standards, and other characteristics of the marking on a form.  The second marker discusses any concerns with the first marker: the first mark stands unless there is a discrepancy greater than 5%.  The marks of individual scripts are not altered - except for those with fail marks, which may be raised - unless the whole batch of scripts is remarked. 

Late work is penalised in accordance with the University’s Late Work Policy if a formal application for an extension has not been made and approved by the Head of Department (or Deputy).  

Assessment Methods and Feedback 

Each module is assessed on a 4,000 word-equivalent basis, with a one-hour examination equating to 1,000 words. The module descriptors include information on assessment methods; nearly all modules involve more than one method of assessment.  At the modular level, assessment is tied to learning outcomes so that assessment modes indicate those outcomes that are being assessed. Generally, the balance over the entire programme between coursework and examinations is 50:50.  If a student fails this module overall, he/she will be reassessed in the failed component(s).  In addition, any component mark below 20% will be deemed to cause an overall failure even if the average total is 40% or above.  This rule is to be read in conjunction with the Regulation whereby students are reassessed only in “components failed first time (identical or equivalent components)”. The mark resulting from reassessment on failed components is then added to the marks from components that were passed at the first attempt.


All students receive written comments on coursework and additional feedback on the work is given more informally by individual tutors.  This opportunity allows students to discuss their performance and ways to enhance it for the future.  For students at Level 4 this is a particularly valuable opportunity for them to get formative feedback on the effectiveness of their study skills.   

Reassessment Methods   

Reassessment will address the learning outcomes not achieved in the failed components. For modules forming part of programmes in the Department of Biological Sciences, reassessment will normally take the form of a written examination. The module descriptors indicate how each module is reassessed.

Formative assessment and feedback

Formative feedback is an important and essential component of all taught modules. The nature of the assessment and feedback varies from module to module but typically takes the form of a written assignment done under time constraints. Formative feedback is staggered throughout the year.

The programme is designed to equip graduates with the necessary knowledge and practical (transferable) skills to embark on careers within the areas of animal handling and welfare, conservation, 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 science fall into the following areas:

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, Animal nutritionist, Zoo keeping, Animal behaviourist.

It is estimated that about 50% of 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.

The ability to write and communicate coherently, logically and with a style and format appropriate to audience.

The ability to sift evidence and evaluate arguments.

The ability to collect, present and draw consistent conclusions from data.

The ability to work to deadlines individually and as part of a team.

The ability to use ICT.

The ability to plan work, manage time and resources.

The programmes of study in the Department 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.   

This programme offers a degree which gives a good understanding of biology as well as the scientific study of animal behaviour and the needs of animals along with hands on experience of dealing with animals at Reaseheath College.

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