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Undergraduate study
animal science degree, animal science bsc, animal welfare course, animal science course

Animal Science and Welfare BSc (Hons)

You explore the scientific understanding of animal health, physiology and behaviour and the global challenges that face them. Study this course to prepare yourself for a broad range of careers within industrial, commercial, government and environmental settings as well as continued study in postgraduate and research positions.


Clearing 2024

Apply now for 2024 entry. Call us on 01642 738400

Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) 2023 logo awarded as Overall, Student Experience and Student Outcomes gold rating

Course overview

Work placement

The course incorporates three core discipline-based themes, which are developed at each level:

  • animal physiology, animal behaviour and biological science
  • ecology and conservation
  • animal welfare and management

At our partner institute, East Durham College (Houghall campus), you gain hands-on experience with both native and exotic animals. Understand their physiology, health, behaviour, nutrition, husbandry, and management, and how scientific tools and research can benefit the health and welfare of many animal species.

The Houghall campus is set on a stunning 476-acre estate, minutes from Durham city centre. It is a fantastic place to work with animals, with a reptile house, aquatics area, small mammal house and an aviary. There is also a commercial dog grooming studio, 22-bay dog kennel, and a dog agility and walking area. The site is also home to horse riding stables, an arena, and commercial livestock facilities.

Top reasons to study this course:

  1. Quality teaching: 100% of BSc (Hons) Animal Science and Welfare students agreed that staff are good at explaining things (National Student Survey 2023,
  2. Real-life experiences: gain practical experience in the lab, on the farm, and in urban and countryside settings.
  3. Experienced teaching team: our teaching team includes active and internationally published researchers.

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Course details

Course structure

Year 1 core modules

Animal and Plant Biology

This module focuses on multicellular organisms such as animals and plants to introduce physiology, population biology, ecology and the complexity of ecosystems. You gain a thorough introduction with the lecture series and develop these themes during seminars integrating discussion, problem solving and quantitative techniques.

Lectures and practical seminars are also an opportunity to comprehend the relevance of the biological processes introduced to our human societies. Learning is also supported by a field trip within the local area, a first-hand experience of animal and plant biological surveying in the natural environment.

This is a 20-credit module.

Animal Welfare

You are introduced to animal welfare, developing your understanding of how the impact of the environment on both farmed and companion animals can affect animals’ wellbeing. You discuss the complex issues of animal welfare from a scientific, ethical and practical perspective as well as being aware of the relationship between the animal and the environment and how it can influence the overall welfare of the animal. Practical sessions are delivered at the East Durham College Houghall Campus and focus on animal welfare together with the relationship between the animal and the environment in which it lives.

Biodiversity and Evolution

You study the concept of evolution and how it led to the development of biodiversity and the world we now inhabit. You discuss evolution by natural selection and our development from the common ancestor, along with the principles of taxonomy, speciation and the evolutionary tree to demonstrate relationships between species. We highlight the impact of modern molecular methods of taxonomy in the form of phylogenetics, particularly the discovery of the domain of archaea. We discuss the complex biodiversity of the microbial, plant and animal worlds and their importance in ecological balance for the earth, human kind and society in the form of conservation. Lectures and tutorial sessions provide an insight into the theoretical aspects of evolution and biodiversity, and you discuss and analyse problem-based exercises to affirm your theoretical knowledge.

This is a 20-credit module.

Cell Biology

You increase your understanding of biological processes at the cellular level. You will explore eukaryotic cell architecture and function with a molecular and mammalian focus, and learn about cell division and the cell cycle, genetic organisation of cells, DNA replication and gene expression. Your exploration of these aspects of cell and molecular biology will be supported by a series of laboratory-based sessions.

Global Environmental Issues

Humankind faces environmental challenges which are severe and varied. Threats as diverse as climate change, the supply of fresh water, soil fertility and plastic waste pose problems which differ in immediacy and scale. You will be introduced to the careful appraisal of information relating to these challenges, how the scale of the problem and its consequences may be measured and where the solutions might lie.

Large Animal Management and Handling

You learn about animal anatomy and physiology, basic nutrition and digestion, as well as husbandry, management and production systems of these large animals. You explore subjects such as the growth and welfare of farmed animals and horses, protein evaluation systems for ruminants and non-ruminants, and comparisons to wild animals where applicable. Practical sessions are delivered at the East Durham College Houghall Campus and focus on the methodologies used to safely handle large animals. You gain hands-on experience of animal husbandry, nutrition and health.

This is a 20-credit module.


Year 2 core modules

Animal Behaviour

You develop your knowledge of animal behaviour, a discipline that encompasses both the mechanisms and evolutionary function of the way animals interact with environment and with each other. We provide you with a comprehensive introduction to the scientific approach of studying, quantifying and interpreting animal behaviour including how captivity can change behaviour. Practical sessions are delivered at the East Durham College Houghall Campus and focus on the methodologies used to observe and analyse animal behaviour, looking at how captivity and humans can change the behaviour of a range of species.

This is a 20-credit module.

Domestic and Exotic Animal Husbandry and Welfare

You learn about domestic and exotic animal physiology, basic nutrition and digestion, husbandry and management. You also explore how the application of scientific principles can govern the nutrition, health and welfare of major companion animal species including dogs, cats and rabbits as well as exotic species and zoo animals. Practical sessions are delivered at the East Durham College Houghall Campus and focus on the methodologies used to safely handle domestic animals and exotic animals as well as providing an opportunity to apply your knowledge of animal husbandry and management.

This is a 20-credit module.

Ecology and Biodiversity

You will explore ecology and how complex interactions shape the distribution and abundance patterns of species in the natural environment. You examine the ecology of populations and communities, and how the integration of powerful new molecular biology technologies can inform the study of ecology and ecological interactions. You also explore the underlying theories used to explain the observed spatial and temporal patterns of diversity observed and the measurements which can be used to quantify diversity.

These topics are aligned to current issues, enabling you to appreciate the environmental, ethical and socio-economic concerns raised by ecological studies. As part of this module, by sampling natural environments you will have the opportunity to develop your ecological fieldwork, laboratory and data interpretation skills.

This is a 20-credit module.


You gain a solid foundation of the immune system and its role in protection against microorganisms and maintaining human health. You will learn about the functional organisation of the immune system, the immune cells and chemical mediators, antibodies, and cellular processes related to the innate and adaptive immune responses.

Molecular Biology and Bioinformatics

This module introduces you to a range of modern molecular biology concepts and techniques. General molecular biology, molecular biology of genetic diseases and the use of molecular biology for applications such as the production of recombinant proteins and biomedical science forensic applications will be addressed. The new age of molecular biology is underpinned by gene/genome sequencing, sequence analysis and sequence manipulation. You will be given a thorough introduction to the principles of sequence analysis and how these techniques have revolutionised all areas of molecular biology. Particular attention will be paid to the technique of PCR. The module will also introduce bioinformatics concepts around visualising and analysing DNA sequence data, as well as basic molecular data analysis. The module content will be delivered via a series of interactive lectures that will allow students to gain insight into the theoretical aspects of molecular biology and bioinformatics. A series of laboratory practical sessions will introduce the basic techniques that lie at the heart of modern molecular biology such as DNA purification, PCR, restriction digestion, nucleic acid analysis via agarose gels, and sequencing.

Practical Conservation

You are introduced to the complexity of biological conservation science using practical examples and case studies at local, national and international scales. You will learn about the co-existence of a variety of approaches, aims and justification under the same overarching term of conservation. You will have a thorough introduction of conservation biology and how this field informs practical conservation measure undertaken on the ground to preserve endangered species, biodiversity at large, ecosystems services and the natural environment. In addition to lectures, the learning is enhanced by seminars and field trips where different aspect of practical conservation will be studied and discussed.


Optional work placement year

Work placement

You have the option to spend one year in industry learning and developing your skills. We encourage and support you with applying for a placement, job hunting and networking.

You gain experience favoured by graduate recruiters and develop your technical skillset. You also obtain the transferable skills required in any professional environment, including communication, negotiation, teamwork, leadership, organisation, confidence, self-reliance, problem-solving, being able to work under pressure, and commercial awareness.

Many employers view a placement as a year-long interview, therefore placements are increasingly becoming an essential part of an organisation's pre-selection strategy in their graduate recruitment process. Benefits include:

· improved job prospects
· enhanced employment skills and improved career progression opportunities
· a higher starting salary than your full-time counterparts
· a better degree classification
· a richer CV
· a year's salary before completing your degree
· experience of workplace culture
· the opportunity to design and base your final-year project within a working environment.

If you are unable to secure a work placement with an employer, then you simply continue on a course without the work placement.


Final-year core modules

Animal Management Innovation and Development

Develop your entrepreneurship skills and understand the process of business start-up and learning to manage animal production and care ventures. Connect to the real-world experience of launching a new business venture and product development. Experience the challenges similar to those encountered in the launch of either a large or companion animal welfare or management product from concept to application. You learn about product development, regulatory control and intellectual property rights. You are also taught how to write and produce a business plan.

This is a 20-credit module.

Animal Nutrition

Develop a detailed understanding of the applied aspects of nutrition and its interaction with growth and other physiological activities of domestic animals. You consider the formulation of diets for a range of animals (farm livestock and companion animals) such as devising diets, considering nutritional requirements for animals at different life stages, monitoring the impact of diet in practical situations (farms and kennels), as well as discussing the differential maturity of individual carcass components. Practical sessions are delivered at the East Durham College Houghall Campus and focus on the methodologies used to formulate a food ration for different species including observing how rations are mixed on the college farm using different feeds to formulate the ration for beef cattle (with silage grains and protein concentrate and vitamins and minerals) and/or pigs (barley beans, vitamins and minerals).

This is a 20-credit module.

Biodiversity and Ecosystems

Natural ecosystems provide numerous benefits to humanity. Despite this knowledge, ever increasing pressure is being placed on ecosystems and many are under threat. In this module, you will explore how the benefits provided by ecosystems can be viewed as services and natural capital and, subsequently, how these concepts have been used to drive policies relating to biodiversity conservation. Through a series of case studies, you will examine the positive relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem function, the mechanisms which underpin this relationship and, consequently, the impact of biodiversity loss on ecosystem services. In addition, you will, also explore how human activities can be mitigated and made more sustainable.

Biogeography and Conservation

This module is ideal for you if you’re interested in the biogeographical distribution of species and how this information can inform conservation practices.

Biogeography, with its focus on the distribution of species at a range of scales, provides an important theoretical framework within which ecosystem services, and the increasing impact of human activity on global biodiversity and ecosystem functions, can be evaluated.

You explore the contribution of habitat destruction and fragmentation and invasive species to biodiversity losses. You examine underlying principles in biogeography, including the historical development of the discipline, and investigates how these principles can inform effective conservation practices targeted at preventing biodiversity losses. You explore how endangered species are characterised, the selection and design of conservation areas, and the legal and policy frameworks in place to support conservation efforts.

This is a 20-credit module.

Science Research Project

You complete an in-depth, independent investigation into a specialist aspect of your field of study. In your project you will bring together a range of practical and academic skills developed in previous years of study. Regardless of the nature of the project, this process acts as a capstone experience requiring analysis and critical evaluation of data as well as critical reflection on the potential risks, moral and ethical issues. This piece of work will involve a significant individual contribution on your part. You will be supported by the appointment of an academic staff member as your research supervisor. They will act as a mentor and guide you through the development and completion of your research project.

Finally, you will communicate your independent research by producing a research poster and journal article to allow you to develop essential skills which mirror professional practice when research is presented at scientific conferences and for publication.

This is a 40-credit module.


Modules offered may vary.


How you learn

You attend the Houghall campus one day per week for the specialist animal-based modules.

You learn through a range of teaching and learning methods including:

  • lectures
  • tutorials
  • seminars and workshops (including oral presentations and poster sessions)
  • laboratory work
  • computer laboratory-based sessions
  • group projects
  • research projects.

How you are assessed

You may be assessed through:

  • formal exams including 'unseen' exams
  • laboratory and/or fieldwork skills and reports
  • computer-based assessments
  • problem-solving exercises
  • data interpretation exercises
  • critical analysis of case studies
  • oral presentations and technical interviews
  • essays, literature surveys, evaluations and summaries
  • collaborative project work
  • preparation and display of posters
  • planning, conduct and reporting of project work

You will be provided with an assessment schedule providing details of the submission deadlines for summative assessments.

Our Disability Services team provide an inclusive and empowering learning environment and have specialist staff to support disabled students access any additional tailored resources needed. If you have a specific learning difficulty, mental health condition, autism, sensory impairment, chronic health condition or any other disability please contact a Disability Services as early as possible.
Find out more about our disability services

Find out more about financial support
Find out more about our course related costs


Entry requirements

Entry requirements

Call us on 01642 738400 about our entry requirements

For general information please see our overview of entry requirements

You can gain considerable knowledge from work, volunteering and life. Under recognition of prior learning (RPL) you may be awarded credit for this which can be credited towards the course you want to study.
Find out more about RPL



Career opportunities

You will be well placed to seek employment in a range of sectors that support animal science and welfare including public services, zoos, wildlife parks, charities, conservation, and animal research. This degree will also provide a strong basis for postgraduate study.


Other course routes

Work placement

Study this course with an optional work placement year, at no extra cost. Alongside this, you can gain valuable experience and engagement with the sector through our shorter work placements, internships and work experience opportunities.

Work placements


Entry to 2024/25 academic year

Fee for UK applicants
£9,250 a year

More details about our fees

What is included in your tuition fee?

  • Length: 3 years (or 4 with a work placement)
  • UCAS code: D300 BSc/ASW
  • Start date: September
  • Semester dates
  • Typical offer: Call us on 01642 738400 about our entry requirements

Apply now (full-time)

Apply now

Please choose the relevant option below:

2024 entry

UK applicants

Complete this enquiry form only if you have already obtained your qualifications and achieved grades. If you do not have these at this time, we will be unable to progress your enquiry - please re-visit and complete the form after you have received your results.

Apply now (UK applicant)

2025 entry

Apply online (full-time) through UCAS



2024/25 entry

Fee for UK applicants
£4,500 (120 credits)

More details about our fees

  • Length: Up to 6 years
  • Attendance: Daytime
  • Start date: September
  • Semester dates

Apply online (part-time)


Choose Teesside

  • In pictures
  • On video

    Love animals?

    Find out more about studying animal science and welfare at Teesside University and Houghall Farm.

    BSc (Hons) Animal Science and Welfare - BBC Look North, February 2018

    Specialist modules in Animal Behaviour and Animal Welfare for this degree are delivered at the Houghall Farm site of East Durham College, where you are supported by specialist staff.

  • News

    Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Professor Paul Croney OBE, and Professor Mark Simpson, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Learning and Teaching) receiving a tour of BIOS.. Link to View the pictures. Teesside University launches bid to further expand health, medical and clinical provision
    Ambitious plans to support the region’s healthcare needs have been unveiled at an event showcasing Teesside University’s new £36.9m BIOS facility.

    Read the full story


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