FdSc Animal Behaviour & Welfare

Arguably the UK’s leading college-based animal care facility, BCA’s ever-growing animal collection includes small mammals, exotic animals, livestock, aviary birds and a British Wildlife Area with red squirrels, pine martens and charismatic Scottish Wildcats.

Even more reasons to choose Animal Behaviour & Welfare at BCA

The BCA Animal Management Centre (AMC) has full accreditation from the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA), the professional organization representing the best of the zoo and aquarium community. This accolade recognises that our AMC not only meets Zoo Licensing laws, but also excels in the fields of education, animal welfare, research and conservation.

AMC staff are active in the management of European studbooks and breeding programmes, including those for a number of endangered species, facilitating ongoing participation in external research programmes and providing a key resource for BCA’s own Centre for Animal Welfare Research (CAWR) with its annual conference for students, staff and guests.

Engagement with industry brings the real world to the AMC and students alike. For example, a UK leader in sheep-breeding technologies, Innovis, has been involved with the breeding and rearing of the BCA flock, demonstrating to students the economical, efficient production of meat stock animals.

Awarding body: the Royal Agricultural University


Available Courses


    About the course

    The FdSc Animal Behaviour & Welfare is a two-year foundation degree course designed to prepare students for employment within the animal industry or academic progression to Honours Degree and beyond. It encompasses a range of modules which develop the knowledge and practical and academic skills required to pursue careers associated with Animal Behaviour and Welfare.

    The course has been carefully developed to allow students to gain first-hand experience of a broad collection of animals across diverse habitat types, thus acquiring knowledge of a range of management techniques. Theoretical learning is applied in a practical setting, maximising student learning potential and experience.

    Our students find this approach improves recall and inspires further reading and understanding, plus it meets the requirements of employers and other HE providers who are increasingly seeking students with both theoretical knowledge and practical ability.

    Past students have progressed into careers within a variety of sectors of the animal industry, for example working as veterinary nurses, animal technicians, animal care lecturers and welfare assistants/inspectors. Students have also progressed to further study, gaining Bachelors and Masters degrees or undertaking specialist education such as obtaining accreditation from the Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour (ASAB) to become a Certificated Clinical Animal Behaviourist (CCAB).

    Further information on potential careers is given throughout the course, and industry visits and work experience placements are aimed at widening the network of potential employers students encounter within their duration of study at BCA.

    UCAS Course code


    Awarding Body

    Royal Agricultural University

    Teaching and Assessment

    Teaching is delivered through lectures, seminars, visits to – and speakers from – industry, practical sessions and individual tutorials. A range of assessment methods is employed, depending on the nature of the module and the skills required by the industry. These include written reports, oral presentations, examinations, academic debates, audits and reflective writing.

    Course Content

    Year 1 (Level 4)

    Core modules

    • Animal Behaviour (30 credits)

    • Animal Welfare (30 credits)

    • Applied Anatomy and Physiology (30 credits)

    • Business Management in the Animal Industry (15 credits)

    • Management of Animal Collections (15 credits)

    Year 2 (Level 5)

    Core Modules

    • Workplace Experience (15 credits)

    • Animal Health and Nutrition (30 credits)

    • Animal Training and Learning (30 credits)

    • Primary Research Project with Statistics (30 credits)

    • Animal Breeding and Genetics (15 credits)

    Academic Progression Opportunities

    Students who achieve the FdSc in Animal Behaviour & Welfare will be eligible to apply for top-up courses, usually a further year of full-time study, to achieve a full undergraduate degree.

    Course fees and other costs

    Fees due for payment on enrolment are:

    • Course fee: £6,000 per year of study
    • Facilities fee: currently £95 per year of study (reviewed annually)

    Successful applicants will be required to purchase appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to include overalls, boots and a BCA polo shirt and overalls. A minimum budget of £100 should be set aside for this.

    A recommended reading list will be provided.

    Is an interview required?


    Is fee remission available?


    How do I apply?

    Apply online through UCAS: www.ucas.com with course code D329.

    Entry Requirements

    All applicants must be 18 years or above and should hold GCSEs at grade C (pre 2017) / Level 4 (from 2017) or above in science, maths and English language PLUS 2 x A-levels in relevant subjects OR 4 x AS levels in relevant subjects OR L3 Extended Diploma in Animal Management achieved at MMM minimum.

    We actively encourage applications from mature students (21+) where accreditation of prior learning is assessed and/or relevant work experience will be considered in place of formal qualifications to determine suitability for the course.

    Course Duration

    Two Years (full time)

  • BSc (Hons) Animal Behaviour and Welfare (Top-Up)

    About the course

    This Top-Up course has been developed to enable students with prior qualifications at Foundation Degree level to progress to an Honours Degree award. This one year, full time programme builds on key subject areas in cognition, human relations with animals and the role of captivity in animal conservation in order to enable students to develop skills in critical evaluation and analysis of the management of zoo, livestock and companion animals.

    One of only a handful of educational establishments to be awarded a Zoo Licence and BIAZA (British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums) accreditation, BCA’s exceptional facilities support the study of a wide range of behaviours and hands-on experience of the highest standards of welfare in a professional environment supervised by a highly qualified and dedicated team. The Centre for Animal Welfare (CAWR) is a collaborative research group between staff and students which has several scientific articles published annually.


    • Module 1 : (30 credits) Research project (Honours).
    • Module 2 : (30 credits) Anthrozoology and Ethics.
    • Module 3 : (30 credits) Cognition.
    • Module 4 : (30 credits) Elective.


    Either Zoo Animal Behaviour OR Companion Animal Behaviour Modification.


    One Year (Full time)

    Programme Leader:

    Kirsty Ronkainen MSc, BSc (Hons), QTS

    UCAS code:



    £6000 per annum

    Is an interview required?


    Is fee remission available?


    How do I apply?

    Apply online through UCAS: www.ucas.com with course code D330.

    Entry Requirements

    Pass at Foundation degree or HND in a relevant subject.

    Course Duration

    One Year (Full time)