BSc (Hons) Animal Biology

Stirling is the perfect place to study animal biology with laboratory skills and fieldwork an essential part of your training.

Animal Biology

Key facts

  • Award BSc (Hons)
  • Start date September 2024, January 2025
  • Duration 48 months
  • Mode of study full time, part time
  • Delivery on campus
  • UCAS Code C300
  • Study abroad opportunities

Overview

What determines an animal’s resistance to disease? Why do many female animals exhibit ‘mate choice’? How can we help animals cope in hostile environments? On this course you’ll you study the enormous variety of animal life on earth and discover the answers to these and many other searching questions.

We explore related aspects of animal biology, including animal behaviour, ecology, evolution, cell biology and physiology, as well as applied aspects of animal conservation and management.

Laboratory technical skills and fieldwork will form an essential part of your training. You will learn key techniques and methods for the life sciences early in the degree and then have opportunity to apply them when identifying your own research questions of interest. You will also receive training in fieldwork techniques both at our stunning University of Stirling campus and at residential field courses in Scotland.

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Entry requirements

Year 1 entry – Four-year honours

SQA Highers
AABB - by the end of S5
AAAB - by the end of S6

GCE A-levels
BBB

IB Diploma
30 points 

BTEC (Level 3)
DDM

Essential subjects
To include one of Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics or Physics.

Widening access students
Widening access students may be eligible for an adjusted offer of entry. To find out if this applies to you go to our widening access pages.

Care-experienced applicants will be guaranteed an offer of a place if they meet the minimum entry requirements.

Year 2 entry – Three-year honours

SQA Advanced Highers
ABB

GCE A-levels
ABB

IB Diploma
35 points

Essential subjects
To include Biology and one of Chemistry, Environmental Science, Geography, Geology or Physics.

Other Scottish qualifications

Scottish HNC/HND
Year one minimum entry - Bs in graded units.

Access courses
University of Stirling access course - for mature students only. You must pass the course with 50% or above.

SWAP access course - for mature students only.

Email our Admissions Team for advice about other access courses.

Foundation Apprenticeships
Considered to be equivalent to 1 Higher at Grade B

Essential subjects
To include one of Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics or Physics at Scottish Higher Level or equivalent at Grade B, if HNC or Access course is not science related.

Other qualifications

English, Welsh and Northern Irish HNC/HND
Merits and Distinctions

English, Welsh and Northern Irish access courses
Access to Higher Education - 60 credits, minimum 45 at QCF Level 3, pass at 60% or above.

Email our Admissions Team for advice about other access courses.

Essential subjects
To include one of Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics or Physics.

International entry requirements

Advanced entry

Year 2 entry
Entry into Year 2 may be possible depending on your HNC/HND course. To find out more go to our articulation pages.

Other qualifications
Advanced entry may be possible depending on your qualifications. For more information, contact our Admissions Team at admissions@stir.ac.uk.

Other routes of entry

If you don't currently meet our academic requirements, INTO University of Stirling offers a variety of preparation programmes that can earn you the qualifications and skills you need to progress onto some of our courses. Explore INTO University of Stirling to see the Foundation and International Year 2 routes available.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your English language skills:

  • IELTS Academic or UKVI 6.0 with a minimum of 5.5 in each sub-skill.
  • Pearson Test of English (Academic) 60 overall with a minimum of 59 in each sub-skill.
  • IBT TOEFL 78 overall with a minimum of 17 in listening, 18 in reading, 20 in speaking and 17 in writing.

See our information on English language requirements for more details on the language tests we accept and options to waive these requirements.

Pre-sessional English language courses

If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this course, our partner INTO University of Stirling offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for entry to this degree.

Find out more about our pre-sessional English language courses

Course details

Semesters 1-4 cover a range of core modules – including Cell Biology, Ecology, Genetics and Evolution, Biodiversity and Practical Skills – plus additional modules in other disciplines.

Semesters 5-6 cover three core advanced modules - Animal Physiology, Behavioural Ecology and The Animal Cell – plus three optional modules.

In Semesters 7-8, you'll work on an independent research project and take several advanced modules. Current options for these include a residential field course (see below) , as well as Immunology and Disease; The Evolution of Sex; Conservation Biology; Cell Birth, Life and Death, Geographical Information Systems (GIS), and Advanced Statistics. 

Research projects reflect the active interests of academic staff. These include:

  • assessing the impact of bumblebee parasites on their host populations;
  • reconstructing growth trajectories for wild scandinavian populations of the invasive Pacific oyster;
  • sexually transmitted disease and ladybird immune competence;
  • sexual selection, sexual conflict and mate choice in seaweed flies;
  • Do agri-environment schemes provide any benefits to foraging bats?

Modules

The module information below provides an example of the types of course module you may study. The details listed are for the current academic year (September 2023). Modules and start dates are regularly reviewed and may be subject to change in future years.

Course details

Teaching

The University of Stirling achieved five stars for teaching in the QS Stars University Ratings 2021

Research-led teaching is at the core of your learning as our staff conduct world-leading biological research. Teaching is delivered in the form of lectures and practical classes, tutorials, seminars, computer-based learning and guided reading and research.

Fieldwork

Our BSc (Hons) Animal Biology course places great emphasis on practical training, hands-on experience and preparation for a wide range of careers in animal biology. Fieldwork is an essential and enjoyable part of this degree course – we have a wide range of habitats on our doorstep and regularly use the campus for practical work. Some modules also conduct short excursions to visit sites and species close to the University.

Fieldwork will be an essential part of your training. In addition to fieldwork in Scotland, we run an optional residential fieldtrip in Year 4.  The 7-day field ecology and animal biology course introduces students to the process of designing, conducting and analysing your own scientific project. We are currently seeking a new location for this, likely to be in continental Europe. Travel, accommodation, and subsistence on residential field courses is not included in the course fees.

Assessment

Modules are assessed by a combination of coursework and examination completed during the semester. For many modules, the marks awarded for coursework contribute 40–50 percent of the final grade, but for some modules this is as high as 100 percent.

Work placement opportunities

Students can build strong links with industry through summer placements with local employers and large corporates. Our Careers Service can help you secure placements and offer the support and advice you need to plan your career, develop your employability, or think about further study.

Study abroad

You can study abroad in your third year through our well-established connections with North American, Australian and European universities. 

Fees and funding

Fees and costs

Academic year: 2023/24 2024/25
Scottish students £1,820 £1,820
Students from England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland £9,250 £9,250
International students (including EU) £20,300 £21,300

Scottish students

This fee is set by the Scottish Government and is subject to change.

Although you’re liable for annual tuition fees, if you are domiciled in Scotland you can apply to the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) to have your tuition fees paid by the Scottish Government on your behalf.

You will be charged the annual tuition fee each year when you enrol.

If you need to take additional modules or resit modules, you will be liable for an additional fee.

For more information on courses invoiced on an annual fee basis, please read our tuition fee policy.

Students from England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland

This tuition fee may be subject to change depending on guidance provided by the UK Government.

You can apply for financial assistance, including a loan to cover the full cost of your tuition fees, from your relevant funding body. Students from the Republic of Ireland are eligible for a tuition fee loan of up to £9,250 from the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS).

We also offer additional funding – such as our Honours Year Scholarship – for students from England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland. See our funding opportunities section below for more information.

You will be charged the annual fee each year when you enrol. Your fees will be held at the same level throughout your course.

If you need to take additional modules or resit modules, you will be liable for an additional fee.

For more information on courses invoiced on an annual fee basis, please read our tuition fee policy.

International students (including EU)

Eligible students will automatically receive a scholarship worth between £8,000-£30,000 over the duration of your course. See our range of generous scholarships for international undergraduate students.

You will be charged the annual fee each year when you enrol. Your fees will be held at the same level throughout your course.

If you need to take additional modules or resit modules, you will be liable for an additional fee.

For more information on courses invoiced on an annual fee basis, please read our tuition fee policy.

Additional costs

There are some instances where additional fees may apply. Depending on your chosen course, you may need to pay additional costs, for example for field trips. Learn more about additional fees.

Depending on what modules you study there pay be particular additional costs, e.g. field trips. Please check each module for specific details.

Travel, accommodation and subsistence on residential field courses is not included in the course fees.

Funding

See what funding opportunities and loans are available to help you with tuition and living costs.

Students from Scotland

Find funding opportunities for Scottish students.

Students from England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland

Eligible students will automatically receive our Undergraduate Welcome Scholarship, Undergraduate Merit Scholarship, and our Honours Year Scholarship, which are worth between £1,000 and £9,250.

International students

Eligible international students will automatically receive a scholarship worth between £8,000-£30,000 over the duration of your course. Find funding opportunities for international students.

Cost of living

If you’re domiciled in the UK, you can typically apply to your relevant funding body for help with living costs. This usually takes the form of student loans, grants or bursaries, and the amount awarded depends upon your personal circumstances and household income.

International (including EU) students won’t normally be able to claim living support through SAAS or other UK public funding bodies. You should contact the relevant authority in your country to find out if you’re eligible to receive support.

Find out about the cost of living for students at Stirling.

Payment options

We aim to be as flexible as possible, and offer a wide range of payment methods - including the option to pay fees by instalments. Learn more about how to pay.

After you graduate

What jobs can you get with an Animal Biology degree?

From life science jobs to research and teaching, there’s a great deal of variation in jobs available to graduates with an Animal Biology degree:

  • research scientist
  • science writer
  • medical writer
  • biotechnologist
  • higher education lecturer
  • microbiologist
  • nanotechnologist
  • conservation
  • pharmacologist
  • secondary school teacher
  • soil scientist
  • statistician
  • zoologist

Animal biologists work in the agricultural, pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, and in conservation management and environmental agencies. Other career paths include forensic sciences, teaching, the food industry, commercial analytical laboratories and, with further study, professions allied to medicine, and in academic, government and industrial research laboratories.

About one-third of recent Stirling Biology graduates have continued their studies to obtain a further qualification, such as an MSc or PhD.

96% of our graduates were in employment or further study 15 months after graduation (Graduate Outcomes 2020-21, HESA).

Employability skills

Our graduates have a wide range of transferrable skills for employment that include (but are not limited to): writing reports that distill complex ideas for a non-specialist audience, making and editing short videos, experience with a basic coding language, identifying knowledge gaps and designing an extended project to fill them.

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What our students said

Hanna Partoft
Sweden
BSc (Hons) Animal Biology
I value the confidence I have obtained from studying at this University – the guidance from the lecturers and tutors has helped me overcome the challenges I have faced
Read Hanna's story

Flexible study

This course is not available as a combined degree.