School of Biological Sciences

Zoology with Herpetology BSc (Hons)

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Course facts

  • UCAS code: C304
  • Bangor code: BSc/ZH
  • Course length: 3 years

Reptiles and amphibians are increasingly appreciated as model organisms in many fields of zoology, and are the focus of growing conservation concern due to the alarming decline of many species. This means that we now require a new generation of trained professional scientists with specialised knowledge and skills relating to these animals in addition to a broad zoological background. This Zoology with Herpetology course combines traditional zoology with an emphasis upon amphibian and reptile biology and diversity, and is delivered along with aspects of conservation management and practices. Students have the opportunity to undertake a herpetology field trip to Arizona at the beginning of the second year. Our aim is to provide you with a combination of a sound and broad zoological training that covers both pure and applied aspects of animal life, and specialist herpetological knowledge and skills. The provision of a diversity of laboratory and field zoology experience is an important component of the course, as is the acquisition of transferable skills (data analysis, group work, presentational and writing skills, IT skills).

Bangor is a UK centre of research excellence in herpetology, with three full-time faculty staff specialising in amphibians and reptiles. You will not only enjoy the resources expected of a modern centre of animal biology but will also benefit from the proximity of an exceptional range of natural habitats where field work, an integral part of the degree, is conducted. We are unusual among British universities in having our own substantial zoology museum, and being part of the Environment Centre Wales which is a partnership venture between Bangor University and the Natural Environment Research Council’s Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH).

Career Prospects

Herpetologists work mostly in government or non-governmental organisations, ecological consultancy and zoological institutes as well as Universities. A range of career paths is available within these organisations, including research, conservation breeding, wildlife monitoring and assessment, implementation of conservation management plans and evolutionary biology.

Students are required to take 120 credits each year made up of lectures, practicals and interactive exercises, as well as field trips and tutorials in years 1 and 2. The final year includes an Integrated Research project, supervised by a staff member on a subject of your interest. Modules become more specialised as the degree progresses and the number of compulsory modules varies between years. Assessment is by a mixture of formal examination and continuous assessment. Welsh medium modules are also available.

What will I study?

Year 1

The first year is a general year for all of our zoology related degrees, which will introduce students to several important aspects of modern biology. Students are required to take two compulsory lecture modules, one module in key skills and one  practical module. Students can choose to take 30 credits of optional modules. In addition there are tutorials with individual members of staff.

Organismal Diversity (20): The module will present an overview of basic classification, form and function of the major groups of living organisms.

Ecology and Evolution (20): Ecology is about understanding the dynamic changes in individuals, populations, communities and ecosystems in relation to each other and the physical environment, and understanding their evolutionary processes.

Biology Practical Module (20): Students will undertake a range of practicals from molecular and cell biology, through to animal function and ecology. Field work is included. The practicals will coincide with the appropriate subject area in the lecture modules.

Research Skills (20): The module is aimed at developing a range of skills commonly used by natural scientists, including basic mathematical manipulation, data interpretation, and presentation, experimental design and statistical analysis, IT skills and effective use of the literature.

Tutorials (degree specific) (10): Tutorials will be held by individual members of staff to groups of 6-7 students and involve discussions that are degree specific. Tutorials will develop communication skills.

Optional modules:

Choose 30 credits from:

  • Cellular & Molecular Biology (20)
  • Introduction to Microbiology (10)
  • Parasites & Pathogens (10)
  • Animal Science (10)

Year 2

In the second year you will extend and deepen your understanding of zoology by specialising in animal diversity, function and evolution. There are four compulsory modules incorporating lectures and practicals. The module called Bioscience Skills will focus on studentdirected learning and development. You can choose 40 credits of optional modules. You can also take part in overseas field Trips including herpetological studies in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona, USA.

Compulsory modules:

  • Bioscience Skills (20)
  • Evolution & Genetics (20)
  • Vertebrate Biology (20)
  • Invertebrates (20)

Optional modules:

Choose 40 credits from:

  • Animal Behaviour (20)
  • Principles of Conservation (20)
  • Field Course (20)
  • Conservation Practice (20)

Year 3

The third year includes a major project that may be experimental or take the form of a Literature Review, supervised by a member of staff on a subject to suit your interests. Students have more choice in the third year, and take 60 credits of optional, more specialised modules.

Compulsory modules:

  • Herpetology
  • Integrated Research Project

Optional modules:

Choose 60 credits from:

  • Wildlife Ecology and Conservation (20)
  • Systematics & Diversity (20)
  • Advances in Behaviour (20)
  • Molecular Ecology & Evolution (20)
  • Animal Survival Strategies (20)
  • Tenerife Field Course (20)
  • Bio Enterprise & Employability (20)
  • Practical Development Biology (20)
  • Animal Ethics & Welfare (20)

Further information on each module can be found on our website.

Modules for the 2014–15 academic year:

Year 1 Modules

Compulsory Modules

Semester 1
Semester 2

Optional Modules

30 credits from:

Year 2 Modules

Year 3 Modules

Compulsory Modules

Semester 2
20 to 40 credits from:
0 to 20 credits from:

Optional Modules

60 credits from:

Programme Specification

  • UK centre of research excellence in herpetology with three full-time faculty staff specialising in amphibians and reptiles.
  • Cutting-edge science is integral to our research programmes, and feeds through into the teaching environment. Our expertise covers animal biogeography and evolution, population genetics, molecular ecology and wildlife conservation.
  • Bangor is the home of the Countryside Council for Wales (now part of Natural REsources Wales), as well as the divisional offices of the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, and the Environment Agency, all of which have close links to the University and to staff running this degree. 
  • Our excellent teaching facilities include a Natural History Museum containing a comprehensive collection of invertebrate and vertebrate material, marine and freshwater aquaria and facilities for holding reptiles.
  • Bangor’s location makes it an ideal place to study biology as we have an extensive range of local terrestrial and aquatic habitats for field trips.
  • A 4 year Master in Zoology (Herpetology) is available.

Entry requirements

  • 260-320 points including Biology and usually one other science subject at A2 level.(Please note, we do not consider Psychology as a science subject for the purposes of study in the field of Biological Sciences.)
  • Irish Leaving Certificate including Biology at Higher level.
  • Scottish Highers including Biology at Advanced Higher Level.
  • Access and BTEC qualifications.
  • Mature age students with relevant experience.
  • Students will be assessed for transition onto the Masters at the end of Year 2.

Contact us:

The Admissions Administrator
School of Biological Sciences
Tel: 01248 382527

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