BSc (Hons)

Animal Behaviour (with option to study overseas)

2018 entry

Features and benefits of the course

  • The flexible degree courses we offer give you a thorough grounding in relevant aspects of the biological sciences.
  • Throughout your course you will acquire practical skills in the laboratory and in the field – both in the UK and overseas.
  • You will explore topics and issues that impact upon our lives and the world around us and there is a range of exciting and rewarding specialisms to choose from.
  • You will learn in high specification teaching and research laboratories which include a specialist microbiology and cell/molecular biology lab, a DNA-sequencing lab, specialist animal behaviour facilities with Ethovision and Observer software, invertebrate behaviour and freshwater biology labs, and controlled environment plant growth chambers. We also have high spec nuclear magnetic resonance, spectrometry and chromatography instrumentation which gives you hands-on experience of advanced analysis techniques.
  • The four year study abroad route gives you the opportunity to study overseas during your third year in  in Europe, North America or Australia.
  • Or you can undertake a 12 month placement in Year 3 to boost your employment prospects.
  • You will have the opportunity to be involved in fieldwork in Europe, Africa, Asia and South America.

Placement options

The four year sandwich route gives you the opportunity of spending your third year on industrial placement. The School offers help with finding a suitable placement and experience has shown that placements can lead to improved performance in the final year and improved employment prospects after graduation.

The four year study abroad route gives you the opportunity to study overseas during your third year in Europe, North America or Australia.

About the course

Typical units of study may include

Year 1

Year 1 aims to provide you with a thorough grounding in the biological sciences and an introduction to the study of animal behaviour. Typical areas of study may include ecology and environment and genetics, adaption and diversity.

Core Units
Applied Animal Behaviour

This unit will allow students to explore the links between the theoretical framework of animal behaviour and the real world applications of this discipline.

Biodiversity Monitoring

This unit focuses on the development of skills in a field and/or laboratory environment. Students will have the opportunity to develop their interests in specific groups of organisms e.g. mammals, birds, plants, invertebrates - or particular themes in biodiversity science.

Comparative Anatomy and Physiology

An introduction to the principles of plant and animal physiology at the systems level with appropriate links to anatomy, cell biology, pathology, and behaviour. It will focus on comparing and contrasting between species to identify patterns in the function of physiological systems and cells.


This unit is an introduction to the variety of life on Earth, exploring plant and animal diversity from both a functional and a systematic perspective. Students will review the origins of life, the basic evolutionary relationships of the main taxonomic groups (including fossil organisms) and examine their life histories.


This unit will introduce students to the study of ecology ¿ the relations and interactions between organisms and their environment. Themes covered in this unit will typically include; the organisation of life in natural systems, variations in conditions (e.g. pH) and resources (e.g. light, nutrients) and their effects; functional classifications, indicators; geological, edaphic, climatic and chemical influences on habitats and ecosystems; biogeochemical and nutrient cycling; energy flow; primary productivity; trophic interactions; food webs.

How Science Works

This unit looks at how science is done. Using relevant examples, students will examine how we ask questions, and gather data to answer them and communicate our findings.

Introduction to Genetics and Evolution

This unit will introduce the major concepts underpinning genetics and evolution, mechanisms of evolutionary change, adaptation, and the history of life.

Principles of Animal Behaviour

The unit will introduce the broad frameworks for the scientific study of animal behaviour. Important concepts such as natural, sexual and kin selection will be explored within a behavioural context and the debate between nature vs nurture will be examined.

Year 2

In Year 2 you will explore modern approaches to the study of communication and social behaviour, with an option to extend your studies in human behaviour. 

Core Units
Animal Health and Welfare

This unit will allow students to extend their knowledge of animal welfare, human-animal interactions and how these link to non-human animal and human health. 

Brain and Behaviour

This unit covers the mechanisms and development of behaviour, or how brain and body produce behaviour. The unit consists of a series of lectures, two practical sessions and tutorials. 

Professional Skills for Biologists

This unit introduces students to the professional skills involved with being a Biologist. It develops knowledge of key methodologies, skills and experiences needed for professional development. It supports the students to enable them to formulate research proposals, apply for research projects and present their professional skills succinctly.       

Sex and Survival

The unit will cover the principles of evolution, and explore the concept of behavioural traits as adaptations to an individual's environment.

Species Interactions

This unit will explore the ecology and evolution of species interactions. Key topics will include pollination, manipulation of reproduction, impacts of diseases and defence responses.

Likely Optional Units
Conservation Biology

The unit will embrace the principles of conservation biology, namely, biodiversity, conservation genetics, habitat disturbance and species extinction using examples of research-based conservation interventions.

Conservation Science in Pratice

This unit provides an overview of the historical and contemporary issues in biological conservation science and the practical applications of conservation research. 

Field Course

This unit will introduce students to applied ecological techniques and behavioural data collection.  Students will design and deliver a research project during a residential or non-residential Field Course.

Professional Practice

An employability based skills unit with opportunities to work with both internal and external partners. The unit encompasses employability skills development workshops including cover letter and C.V. construction, job search strategies, interview techniques, and placement preparation. 

Wildlife Rehabilitation and Release

This unit introduces students to current approaches to the rehabilitation and release of wildlife casualties in the United Kingdom and is facilitated by the RSPCA.  

Year 3

If you opt for the four year sandwich route, your third year will be spent on placement.

Year 3 (or Year 4 of the sandwich course) enables you to specialise in animal behaviour and includes a laboratory or field-based research project. You will also have an opportunity to attend an overseas residential field course. Typical areas of study may include cognition and behaviour,  conservation of biodiversity and wildlife biology.

Core Units
Human Behaviour and Evolution

This unit provides an overview of the use of evolutionary theory in studying human behaviour and asks how much of human behaviour can be explained from a Darwinian viewpoint. We will consider areas such as selfishness and altruism; kin selection; mate choice and parent-offspring conflict, optimality and sociality. The evolution of Homo will be considered.

Movement Physiology and Ecology

This unit will discuss key physiological adaptations in animals and plants and use them to explain how organisms disperse, locomote and migrate. 

Project in Animal Behaviour

Students will develop a research question, plan an appropriate methodological approach, and collect and analyse the data from that investigation under the guidance of an allocated project supervisor. The project may take a number of approaches and may include, but is not limited to, a combination of laboratory, fieldwork or secondary data collection and analysis and will consider any health and safety issues, and ethical issues as well as developing scientific communication skills.

The Social Life of Animals

This unit will discuss the variation in social behaviour and communication between and within species in relation to ecological requirements and the evolution of cognition. 

Likely Optional Units
Biological Responses to Environmental Change

You will examine the physiological, behavioural, ecological and distributional changes in species that result from global change, and consider community and ecosystem consequences of these. 

The Undergraduate Consultancy

This unit challenges students to deliver high-quality outputs from `live’ projects to address the needs of professional clients.

Tropical Ecology and Conservation

You will examine effects of anthropogenic environmental changes on terrestrial tropical habitats, biodiversity, and human livelihoods, and ways to integrate conservation with human development goals.

Tropical Field Course

The tropic field course will provide experience of tropical habitats and the biodiversity which they support. There will be an emphasis on identification skills, the methods needed to study and carry out research in tropical habitats and also an assessment of human impacts on these ecosystems. An integral element will be learning the skills to identify key plants, animals and habitats and particularly those which require conservation management.

Vertebrate Evolution

In this unit students will look at the main features and way of life of different vertebrates and compared and contrast and how aspects of physiology, biomechanics, ecology and behaviour have responded to different selection pressures throughout vertebrate evolution.

Wildlife Ecology and Behaviour

This unit will look at the key elements of the basic taxonomy, biology, ecology and behaviour of groups such as birds, mammals and insects.

Programme Review

Each programme of study that we offer undergoes an annual review to ensure an up-to-date curriculum supported by the latest online learning technology. In addition, we undertake a major review of the programme, normally at 6-yearly intervals, but this can take place at a more frequent interval where required. Applicants should note that the programme currently provided may be subject to change as a result of the review process. We only make changes where we consider it necessary to do so or where we feel that certain changes are in the best interests of students and to enhance the quality of provision. Occasionally, we have to make changes for reasons outside our control. Where there are changes which may materially affect the current programme content and/or structure, offer holders will be informed.

Course Duration and Progression

All students will study the same core units at Level 4 and Level 5. Subject to satisfactory progress, and the availability of placement, students may then transfer onto the BSc (Hons) Animal Behaviour with SENAA or Sandwich. If you fail the SENAA or Sandwich year you will revert to the BSc(Hons) Animal Behaviour.

Methods of Assessment

Examinations and continuous assessment, including laboratory reports, poster presentations, oral presentations, online assessments.

Assessment Weightings and Contact Hours

10 credits equates to 100 hours of study, which is a combination of lectures, seminars and practical sessions, and independent study. A 3 year degree qualification typically comprises 360 credits (120 credits per year). The exact composition of your study time and assessments for the course will vary according to your option choices and style of learning, but it could be:

  • Year 1 25% lectures, seminars or similar; 75% independent study
  • Year 2 25% lectures, seminars or similar; 75% independent study
  • Year 3 45% lectures, seminars or similar; 55% independent study
  • Year 1 60% coursework; 40% examination
  • Year 2 80% coursework; 20% examination
  • Year 3 70% coursework; 30% examination

Additional Information About this Course

Students are expected to comply with the Schools codes of conduct and behaviour on field courses, placements and exchanges. Placements and study exchange opportunities are dependent on passing each stage at the first opportunity and being of good standing

Teaching Staff

Your studies are supported by a team of committed and enthusiastic teachers and researchers, experts in their chosen field. We also work with external professionals, many of whom are Manchester Met alumni, to enhance your learning and appreciation of the wider subject. Details of departmental staff can be found at:

Typical entry requirements

These typical entry requirements apply to the 2017 academic year of entry and may be subject to change for the 2018 academic year. Please check back for further details.

UCAS Tariff points/Grades required


104-112 UCAS Tariff Points at A2 (Grades BCC-BBC) to include A2 grade C in biology or human biology, or equivalent. General studies not accepted.

BTEC National Extended Diploma/ BTEC National Diploma in Animal Management (graded DMM/D*D) with Merit in all mandatory units and the following optional units:

20 Human and Animal Interaction

24 Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Management


BTEC National Extended Diploma/ BTEC National Diploma accepted in combination with relevant Science A Level at grade C or above (see above) to achieve 104 – 112 UCAS Tariff points.

 Pre 2016 BTEC:

BTEC Animal Management - 60 Relevant L3 credits at Merit

Specific GCSE requirements

GCSE grade C or 4 in English language, mathematics and science.

Non Tariffed Qualifications

Pass Access to HE Diploma in a relevant subject (Science) with a minimum 106 UCAS tariff points.

International Baccalaureate points

26 Diploma Pts inc. HL Biology at Grade 5.

IELTS score required for international students

6.0 with no element below 5.5

There’s further information for international students on our international website if you’re applying with non-UK qualifications.

Your career prospects after the course

Biological sciences graduates may go on to a variety of subject specific careers in the biological, pharmaceutical and agrochemical industries, in medical, public health and environmental services or in teaching or research.

Recent graduates have found employment across a wide range of sectors including industrial research laboratories, medical communications, pharmaceutical companies, environmental consultancies and nature conservation organisations. 

Our courses are designed to equip you with transferable skills that may also be applied to non-subject-specific career pathways such as in management, local government, teaching or the civil service.

For those who wish to continue their studies, there is a range of postgraduate programmes here at Manchester Metropolitan across the breadth of biological and healthcare sciences.


In 2014, over 94% of our graduates went directly into work or further study within 6 months of graduation

DHLE survey 2014, for all respondents available for employment or further study and whose destinations are known

How do I apply for this course?

Full-time applications through UCAS

Part-time applications - download an application form at

Unistats Information

Find out more about Unistats and the Key Information Set.

Find out more about Unistats and the Key Information Set.

Confirmation of Regulator

The Higher Education Funding Council for England is the principal regulator for the University.

Important Notice

This online prospectus provides an overview of our programmes of study and the University. We regularly update our online prospectus so that our published course information is accurate and up to date. Please note that our programmes are subject to review and development on an ongoing basis. Changes may sometimes be necessary. For example, to comply with the requirements of professional or accrediting bodies or as a result of student feedback or external examiners’ reports. We also need to ensure that our courses are dynamic and current and that the content and structure maintain academic standards and enhance the quality of the student experience.

Please check back to the online prospectus before making an application to us.

The provision of education by the University is subject to terms and conditions of enrollment and contract. The current Terms and Conditions Applicable to the provision of the University’s Educational Services are available online. When a student enrolls with us, their study and registration at the University will be governed by various regulations, policies and procedures. It is important that applicants/students familiarize themselves with our Terms and Conditions and the Key Contract Documents referred to within. Applicants will be provided with access to an up to date version at offer stage. This can be found within the Information for Offer Holders document.

Undergraduate Study