Manchester Metropolitan University

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.
  • Read our conservation, evolution and behaviour group blogs:

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:

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
Animal Behaviour

This unit provides an introduction to the study of animal behaviour and the application of appropriate techniques for the description and measurement of behaviour.

Ecology and Environment

This unit introduces the principles and practical applications of ecology and environmental science. It includes: organisation in nature; evolution and variation; variations in conditions (e.g. pH) and resources (e.g. light, nutrients) and their effects on behaviour; morphology; physiology and interactions; functional classifications; indicators; and geological, edaphic, climatic and chemical influences on habitats and ecosystems.

Genetics, Adaptation and Diversity

An introduction to evolution by natural selection and how it equips species for their particular environments and lifestyles, the role of genes in the function of cells and organisms and the production and maintenance of biodiversity.

Tutorial Activities and Field Skills

This unit will develop your academic, field-based and investigative skills and techniques. You will be allocated to an academic tutor and to a discipline-specific strand for tutorials, field and other practical activities. You will develop skills in critical appraisal, synthesis and evaluation of academic writing.

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. Typical areas of study include evolution and behaviour, comparative and environmental physiology , conservation biology, and techniques and applications in molecular biology .

Core Units
Evolution and Behaviour

This unit will explore natural and sexual selection in relation to behavioural traits.

Research Design and Analysis

This unit addresses the main steps in conducting research including preparing a proposal, literature review, research design, statistical analysis and scientific communication.

Likely Optional Units
Comparative and Environmental Physiology

This unit deals with the description of physiological, genetic, morphological and behavioural adaptations of microorganisms, plants and animals to extreme environments.

Conservation Biology

You will study the principles of conservation biology, conservation genetics, captive-breeding and reintroduction programmes and explore the causes of species extinction and how to prioritise conservation effort.

Ecology and Biodiversity

This unit examines climate change drivers, evidence for recent and long-term past climate and environmental changes and implications for the future.

Field Course

A residential field course and introductory workshops in aspects of wildlife biology and animal behaviour.

Techniques and Applications in Molecular Biology

This unit introduces students to methodologies and techniques used in experimental molecular biology. Topics include southern and northern blotting, Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) methodologies, bioinformatics, construction of phylogenetic trees and the causes and detection of mutations.

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
Advanced Professional Studies

You will plan and develop projects focused on the solution of problems posed by host placement institutions/ companies. You will develop a range of skills in this professional environment, enhancing your employability and your ability to communicate results to an industrial standard. You will learn how to design projects to meet professional/commercial goals and develop your team-working skills.

Cognition and Behaviour

This unit focuses on the mechanisms of behaviour with possible alternate strands (i.e. applied and fundamental or human and non-human) that will capture different topics that are current in the year of delivery.

Project (dissertation or laboratory-based research)

This unit allows all final year students to plan and undertake either a laboratory-based research project or a library-based dissertation in an area of their own interest. For BSc (Hons) Healthcare Science students this unit allows all final year students to plan and undertake either a laboratory-based research project or a clinic-based research project in an area of their own interest.

Likely Optional Units
Conservation of Biodiversity

The unit aims to develop knowledge and critical understanding of the science of biodiversity conservation and its practice. It focuses on and contextualises the evaluation and management of local, regional and global biodiversity.

Molecular Conservation Genetics and Evolutionary Biology

Within the context of evolutionary genetics and natural populations, this unit encompasses current topics in evolutionary biology, small population biology and the application of molecular genetics tools to problems in conservation management.

Wildlife Biology

The unit looks at the classification, evolution, key characteristics and aspects of the ecology and behaviour of groups such as birds, mammals and insects and allow you to specialise in a particular group according to your interests.

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
Optional foundation year
  • Study 30% lectures, seminars or similar; 70% independent study
  • Assessment 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 standin

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 A-level Grade C in Biology or Human Biology and a Pass in your Biology A level Practical. General studies not accepted.

BTEC Subsidiary Diploma, Diploma, Extended Diploma at Level 3 (Grades DMM), in a relevant Science subject including 60 credits at Merit from relevant Science units.

Specific GCSE requirements

GCSE grade C or grade 4 in English Language, Science and Mathematics. Level 2 Functional Skills English also accepted.

Non Tariffed Qualifications

106-112 UCAS Tariff Points from a relevant (Science) Access to HE Diploma with at least 45 credits at Level 3.

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