Zoology is the study of animal life at all levels, from genes and cells to populations and ecosystems, from individual behaviour to broad patterns of evolution and adaptation. At Reading we give you the opportunity to study the variety of animal life in all its richness. We believe that fundamental to an understanding of Zoology is an appreciation of the diversity of animal life so each year there are specialised modules introducing animals at all levels of complexity, from the simplest forms through to birds and mammals.
Why study at Reading?
Excellent student satisfaction rates (90%)
in the latest National Student Survey, 2012, placing the degree in the top ten best in the country.
At Reading you will study Zoology from the first term.
We don't do a general biology first year. You will acquire the wide range of scientific and technical skills needed to become a field or laboratory-based career zoologist. Staff specialise in the ecology of mammals and birds, wildlife conservation, insect/plant and host/parasite interactions, insect community ecology, taxonomy, forensic zoology, links between genes, phenotypes and the environment, the genetic basis of adaptation and urban ecology.
Wide range of modules.
Whether you are interested in conservation, animal behaviour, the study of biodiversity or fundamental questions as to how animals function and evolve, you will find something to suit you.
On-site outdoor laboratory.
The University's Whiteknights campus is incredibly beautiful and bio-diverse. It offers a range of habitats including a lake and woodland as well as extensive parkland in which to conduct some of your fieldwork on our doorstep.
The opportunity to do a practical-based research project in your final year - an invaluable exercise which is no longer offered in many universities. Recent projects have included such diverse topics as 'host plant specificity in butterflies', 'the urban ecology of red kites' and 'ecology of Malaysian tree frogs'.
Student experience and employment
Fieldwork is an important part of zoological study and we are very fortunate at Reading in having excellent facilities. We have a range of well-equipped laboratories throughout the campus, providing the tools necessary for the studies of the biology and behaviour of many animals. The Whiteknights campus has a wide range of habitats which are utilised for practical classes so you can step straight from the laboratory to the field. In addition, the University owns several large working farms which are often used as field sites for final year projects. In term-time, we study mammals, birds and invertebrates on site. In the summer break we run residential field courses to study marine biology, habitat management, mammal and bird census work and invertebrate ecology. We also run a tropical biology field course to Madagascar where students have the opportunity to study biodiversity in the forests, ocean and arid landscapes. In the laboratory, you gain experience in modern molecular genetic and cell biology techniques in our excellent new teaching laboratories in the Hopkins Building. Other facilities include: DNA sequencers; tissue culture suites; electron and confocal microscopes; radioisotope facilities; centrifuges; networked computers and major surgical facilities. You will also gain experience in a range of whole organism studies, ranging from the dissection of owl pellets, to catching small mammals, monitoring bird territories, surveying invertebrate biodiversity and using keys to identify animals. We have facilities for work on farms, in greenhouses and controlled environment rooms. The Cole Museum of Zoology (www.reading.ac.uk/colemuseum) contains over 3500 specimens and is used extensively in teaching and learning. In order to gain further experience you can liaise with staff to apply for external funding to undertake research during the summer break. You are encouraged to volunteer for either the Cole Museum of Zoology or to work on our student-run nature reserve. If you are interested in gaining industrial experience as part of your degree, there is the option to take a year in industry between the second and final year. If you are interested in travelling during your studies, you also have the opportunity to do your final year research project at a European university under the ERASMUS scheme or with a linked overseas institution during the summer such as Kuala Lumpur University in Malaysia.
Our zoology graduates enter a wide variety of careers in the biological sciences, including posts in conservation, animal welfare, education, consultancy, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, the Civil Service and other public bodies such as local government conservation units and animal charities. This may require some form of postgraduate training (PGCE, MSc, PhD), and we run two very successful MSc programmes, Wildlife Management and Conservation and Species Identification and Survey Skills. As numerate scientists, our graduates also enter a wide variety of other commercial and business occupations. Some of the fields entered by recent Reading Zoology graduates include: advanced taxonomy and biodiversity, conservation, ecotourism, environmental law and policy, environmental consultancy, bat monitoring , and wildlife management. All our graduates are eligible for membership of the Institute of Biology and Chartered Biologist status.