Zoology is the study of animals at all levels, from their evolutionary origins, molecular and cellular biology to their behaviour, ecology, and evolution . Zoologists conduct research in the laboratory and field to address wide-ranging issues in conservation biology, animal welfare, farming, disease, and government policy.

Most of us are drawn to Zoology by a fascination with animals and a curiosity-based drive to understand how they function, behave and evolve. However, the study of zoology is more important in the 21st century than ever. As a Zoologist you will have the opportunity to play a part in understanding how animals interact with their environment, how organisms play a part in various ecosystems, and how we as humans can try and avoid damaging the wildlife of the world.

Course highlights

  • Zoology is ranked in the top 20 amongst UK universities (National Student Survey, 2015)
  • Zoology at Leeds is taught by some of the leading scientists in their fields and offers you an exceptional degree in whole organism zoology.
  • The diversity and strength of our staff expertise means that we offer courses at all levels, from genetics and cell biology, through whole organism biology, to animal behaviour, ecology, evolution and conservation, with an exceptional range of choice of modules in different areas.
  • Our research-led teaching means you will learn about cutting-edge research and current developments in the field of zoology, and there are opportunities in all three years to undertake research projects.
  • Field courses are key to understanding how animals live and interact in their natural environment. The Zoology degree at Leeds is exceptional in that it offers residential field course opportunities in all years of study. These cover diverse habitats, from coasts and uplands in the UK to a wildlife reserve in South Africa.


This programme has been accredited by the Royal Society of Biology. Advanced degree accreditation by the Society recognises academic excellence in the biosciences, and highlights degrees that educate the research and development leaders of the future. The advanced accreditation criteria require evidence that graduates from the programme meet defined sets of learning outcomes, including gaining a substantial period of research experience.

Related courses

Biology MBiol, BSc
Biology with Enterprise MBiol, BSc
Zoology MBiol, BSc
Ecology and Conservation Biology MBiol, BSc

Student Profile

Study Abroad

"My study abroad year was a huge challenge for me, and a couple of year ago I never would have dreamed I would be capable of this."
Read more

Ben Newbury , BSc Zoology

Course content

Year one is a fantastic introduction to Zoology, familiarising you with everything from genetics and whole organism biology to ecology. Not only will you begin field work right from your first year, but you will also carry out short research projects during your first year, giving you the chance to get immersed into the world of scientific research right from the beginning.

In year two you will begin to specialise in the core topics of Zoology, including animal behaviour and animal physiology. Whilst continuing to develop your laboratory skills and zoological understanding, you will also have the chance, at the end of the year, to undertake a year in industry or a study year abroad, a great opportunity to broaden your skills and experiences.

Year three of the MBiol will help prepare you for the step up to Masters of year four, through literature review projects and preparation modules, undertaken alongside other compulsory and optional modules.

Year 4 will offers an optional field course to Africa. The African field course is based at Mpala Research Centre, Laikipia, Kenya. It provides a first-hand appreciation of the ecology and conservation concerns of an African savannah community, both for the wildlife and the people who live in the area.

In year four you will not only study Masters level modules in topics such as conservation genetics, but you will also undertake an extended research project, working alongside professional researchers in a unique and thriving research environment.

Course structure

Details of typical modules/components for this course will be published on May 1st. These may change from time to time. Read more in our Terms and conditions.

Broadening your academic horizons

At Leeds we want you to benefit from the depth and breadth of the University's expertise, to prepare you for success in an ever-changing and challenging world. On this course you broaden your learning through core and/or optional modules. Find out more on the Broadening webpages.

Learning and teaching

Our degrees are delivered through a combination of lectures, tutorials and practicals, while you’ll also benefit from our range of online resources such as Virtual Labs @ Leeds.

Independent study and research are also crucial to every year of the course. We have excellent library and computing facilities to support your learning, and the University Library offers training to help you make the most of them.


We use a variety of assessment methods to help you develop a broad range of skills. These include practical work, data handling and problem-solving exercises, multiple-choice tests, group work, online and face-to-face discussion groups, computer-based simulations, essays, posters and oral presentations.

Entry requirements, fees and applying

Entry requirements

A-level: AAA

Including Biology and another science or science-related subject. General Studies and Critical Thinking excluded

We accept the following science subjects: biology, human biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics. Science-related subjects: computing, environmental science, food science, geography, geology, PE, psychology, science in society, statistics, use of mathematics.

Applicants taking a Science A-level (in England) will be required to achieve a pass in the practical element in addition to the standard A-level grade requirement.


Typically Grade B or above at GCSE Maths and Grade C or above at GCSE English.

Alternative Qualifications

Access to HE Diploma

We do not accept Access to HE.


We do not accept BTEC qualification.

Cambridge Pre-U

D3/D3/D3 including Pre-U Biology plus one other science or science-related subject.

International Baccalaureate

35 (with 18 at higher level) including 6 in higher level Biology and another science or science-related subject at higher level.

Irish Highers (Leaving Certificate)

AAAAAB including an A in higher level Biology and another science or science-related subject at higher level.

Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers

Advanced Higher: AAA from 3 Advanced Highers including Biology and another science or science-related subject. General Studies and Critical Thinking excluded.

Scottish Higher: Scottish Highers not accepted on their own

Welsh Baccalaureate

AAA including Biology and another science or science-related subject. General Studies and Critical Thinking excluded

We accept the following science subjects: biology, human biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics. Science-related subjects: computing, environmental science, food science, geography, geology, PE, psychology, science in society, statistics, use of mathematics.

Read more about UK and Republic of Ireland accepted qualifications or contact the School’s Undergraduate Admissions Team.

Alternative Entry

We’re committed to identifying the best possible applicants, regardless of personal circumstances or background.

Access to Leeds is an alternative admissions scheme which accepts applications from individuals who might be from low income households, in the first generation of their immediate family to apply to higher education, or have had their studies disrupted.

Find out more about Access to Leeds and alternative admissions.


We accept a range of international equivalent qualifications.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.0 overall, with no less than 5.5 in any component. . For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.

International students who do not meet the English language requirements for the programme may be able to study an English for Academic Purposes pre-sessional course with a progression route to the degree programme. For information and entry requirements, read Pre-sessional programmes.

How to apply

It is also possible to study this programme part time. The programme content is the same but you will study at a lesser intensity. Find out more about how to apply, support available and the part-time student experience at the Lifelong Learning Centre.

International students apply through UCAS in the same way as UK/EU students. Our network of international representatives can help you with your application. If you’re unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.

Read about visas, immigration and other information in International students. We recommend that international students apply as early as possible to ensure that they have time to apply for their visa.

Admissions policy

Faculty of Biological Sciences Undergraduate Admissions Policy


UK/EU: See fees section below

International: £19,750 (per year)

For UK and non-UK EU full-time students starting in 2018, the fee for 2018/19 will be £9,250. 

The fee for undergraduate students starting in 2019 will be confirmed in September 2018.

The fee may increase in future years of your course in line with inflation, and as permitted by law. For example, the increase of 2.8% in 2017/18 was based on the government’s forecast for the RPI-X measure of inflation.

The UK government has confirmed that non-UK EU students in 2018-19 will have home fee status and be eligible for UK government student loans. The UK government has not confirmed the situation for future years, so keep checking our website for updates.

If you take a study abroad or work placement year, you’ll pay a reduced tuition fee during this period. For more information, see Study abroad and work placement tuition fees and loans.

Read more about paying fees and charges.

Part-time fees are normally calculated based on the number of credits you study in a year compared to the equivalent full-time course. For example, if you study half the course credits in a year, you will pay half the full-time course fees for that year.

Additional cost information

There may be additional costs related to your course or programme of study, or related to being a student at the University of Leeds. Read more about additional costs

Scholarships and financial support

The Faculty of Biological Sciences offer a range of scholarships for UK, EU and International students. Find out more about our scholarships

Career opportunities

Past graduates have progressed to further zoological study in academia or in research institutes, discipline-related posts in industry, conservation, (in the UK and overseas) or the media, as well as successful careers in areas such as law and business.

Careers support

Leeds for Life is our unique approach to helping you make the most of University by supporting your academic and personal development. Find out more at the Leeds for Life website.

We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.

Leeds for Life is our unique approach to helping you make the most of University by supporting your academic and personal development. Find out more at the Leeds for Life website.

The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website.

Study abroad and work placements

Study abroad

On this course you have the opportunity to apply to spend time abroad, usually as an extra academic year. The University has partnerships with more than 400 universities worldwide and popular destinations for our students include Europe, the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Africa and Latin America. 

Find out more at the Study Abroad website.

If you choose to undertake a study abroad option, you will spend the fourth year of the MBiol studying abroad. This will extend your studies by 12 months.

Work placements

Practical work experience can help you decide on your career and improve your employability. On this course you have the option to apply to take a placement year module with organisations across the public, private and voluntary sectors in the UK, or overseas.

Find out more about work experience on the Careers website.

We have a dedicated Employability Officer in the Faculty of Biological Sciences who works closely with the University’s Careers Centre. We offer a host of additional opportunities beyond core course content, including volunteering and placements. We also organise regular careers workshops designed specifically for sport sciences students to develop their career opportunities. These include our annual Bioscience Networking Event, which gives you the chance to meet bioscience employers, speak to alumni, attend workshops and get masses of information.

Field courses

One of the most exciting aspects of our degrees is the range of opportunities for fieldwork on offer. Field courses offer valuable opportunities to apply your knowledge and practical research skills outside of the lab, so we offer at least the option of a field course in every year.

Year 1: Coastal and Uplands Habitats, Scarborough, North Yorkshire
This compulsory course takes place over the summer after your end of year exams and gives you a first taste of field research in a group setting. You’ll get a taste of Yorkshire’s natural history and be exposed to a wide range of natural systems: moorland plants and birds, intertidal invertebrates, freshwater fish and insects and sea bird colonies.
Year 2: Marine Zoology Field Course, Dale Fort, Pembrokeshire
The field study to Dale Fort is in September at the beginning of level 2, immediately after the summer break. The course is compulsory for students who are studying Zoology. Studies at Dale Fort mainly focus on marine biology, including rockpool studies and invertebrate studies. The bryozoan that the students are inspecting in the picture above is an example of the types of invertebrates that are found at Dale Fort. In addition, the field course provides a great location for continuing experimental developmental biology.
Year 2: Terrestrial Ecology and Behaviour, Malham Tarn, Yorkshire Dales An optional course which runs after the summer exams, this course will expand on the training you’ve gained in your first two years of study. You’ll choose from projects on a wide range of topics in behaviour and ecology including bat behaviours, bird song and habitat preferences of small mammals. If you’re feeling brave you could also take part in a caving trip – and there’s our infamous treasure hunt and pub quiz.
Year 2: Mediterranean Ecology Field Course
Usually involves a trip to the Iberian Peninsula, this course allows you to explore issues surrounding biodiversity conservation across Europe, including the challenges of growing human populations and habitat restoration. You’ll work in groups of two or three to conduct independent research projects. Recently these have included social interactions between macaque troops, the effects of feather parasites on bird performance and thermoregulation in lizards.
Year 3: African Ecology Field Course, South Africa
This optional course takes place in The Great Fish River Reserve in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. You’ll take part in group projects collecting data and samples and analysing them, with help from both Leeds lecturers and demonstrators and staff from nearby Rhodes University. Past projects have included the diet of the black rhino, small mammal diversity and distribution and kudu-vegetation interactions.
MBiol: Mpala Research Centre, Kenya Field Course
You’ll have the chance to study a wide range of species in Kenya’s Laikipia County. Visit MPala Live! to see 24-hour views of hippos, elephants and other species and see where you could be conducting your research.

Find out more and view photo galleries from our Field Courses