BSc (Hons) Animal Biology

Undergraduate, Part-time

Gain hands-on experience and prepare for a career in wildlife conservation by exploring how animals adapt to their environment and interact with each other.

  • Napier code:


  • Course type:


  • Duration:

    6 years

  • Award:

    BSc (Hons)

  • Location:

    Sighthill campus

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Course introduction

Please note this course is now only available for direct entry from year 2 onwards. 

Animal Biology introduces the diversity of animals, their form and function. You’ll study how animals have evolved and adapted to different environments in terms of their ecology, behaviour and physiology.

You’ll learn how this knowledge can be put to use to guide conservation and understand the impacts of pollution and climate change on animals. Edinburgh and the surrounding countryside is rich in biodiversity and you’ll visit local sites of scientific interest gaining valuable fieldwork experience, as well as going on a residential trips including to the Algarve.

 You’ll leave equipped with a range of skills for a career in animal conservation or management, including species identification, field surveying techniques and collection and analysis of biological data or you could continue on to postgraduate study.


You’ll gain a solid foundation in the biological sciences but specialise in the study of the rich diversity of animals, from species on the bottom of the ocean to those in your back garden.

You’ll discover how studies in animal behaviour, ecology, physiology and evolution help us to understand animals in their natural environment. You'll explore the main environmental threats faced by animals, how to assess their habitats and appreciate the many ways to enact effective conservation.

You’ll get hands-on fieldwork experience, including residential field trips to the Isle of Cumbrae and the Algarve. Your learning is also supported by internationally recognised research and you'll get the opportunity to conduct your own research project, benefitting from the knowledge of our diverse staff and links with external organisations.

You'll develop a range of specialist skills relevant to future career paths such as:

  • species identification
  • field surveys in terrestrial, freshwater and marine environments
  • collection and analysis of behavioural data
  • laboratory-based investigations

The applied nature of this course develops skills that enhance your employability, including team working, problem solving, research, communication and IT. You’ll also acquire specialist analytical and numerical skills, be able to collect a range of biological data and communicate scientific information effectively.

Local industry links help you with gaining work-related experience and project opportunities which will enhance your ability to compete for jobs after graduation.

You’ll generally take around six years to complete your degree. You'll learn through a combination of lectures, tutorials, laboratory sessions and independent study.

The emphasis on research also equips you with the knowledge and skills to continue on to postgraduate study, including possible PhD study within Edinburgh Napier University.

Find out more by visiting our Facebook page.

What you study

2017 Direct Entry Programme (second, third and forth year)

Level 2

  • Microbiology
  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology and the Environment
  • Animal Behaviour
  • Practical Module

One optional module from:

  • Valuing the Earth
  • Biology of Disease
  • Clinical Care of Exotic Species
  • Microbes and Man

Level 3

  • Scientific Communication: Dissertation and Statistics
  • Freshwater Biology
  • Population and Community Ecology
  • Marine Biology
  • Life of Mammals
  • Applied Terrestrial Ecology

Level 4

  • Biodiversity Pattern & Process
  • Advances in Animal Behaviour
  • Environmental Management
  • Honours project

Study modules mentioned above are indicative only. Some changes may occur between now and the time that you study.

Full information on this is available in our disclaimer.

Graduate opportunities are diverse and you will leave the course prepared for employment in a range of sectors including:

  • species conservation and habitat protection
  • ecology and environmental management
  • field surveying
  • environmental charities
  • consultancies and government agencies

You may also continue on to postgraduate study, including MSc courses in Wildlife Biology and Conservation, Conservation and Management of Protected Area, Ecotourism or PhD research.

Minimum year 1

Please note this course will not be open to applicants for Year 1 entry in 2017. Applicants wishing to apply for a Year 1 Bio-Science course should refer to one of the following courses: BSc Biomedical Science (B940), BSc Biological Science (C120), BSc Marine and Freshwater Biology (C160), BSc Applied Microbiology (C510) or BSc Animal and Conservation Biology (CC11).

Minimum year 2


Pass in a related subject* with Grade B in the graded unit.

*Biomedical Sciences, Biological Sciences, Applied Sciences, Applied Biological Sciences

SQA Advanced Higher

BBC including Biology

A Level

AAB including Biology

Minimum year 3


Pass in a related subject** with Grades BB at SCQF Level 8 in the graded units

**Biomedical Sciences, Biological Sciences, Applied Sciences, Applied Biological Sciences

English Language Requirements

If your first language isn't English, you'll normally need to undertake an approved English language test and our minimum English language requirements will apply.

This may not apply if you have completed all your school qualifications in English. Check our country pages to find out if this applies to you.

Our entry requirements indicate the minimum qualifications with which we normally accept students. Competition for places varies from year to year and you aren't guaranteed a place if you meet the minimum qualifications.

International students

If your qualifications aren't listed above, visit our country pages to get entry requirements for your country.

Please note that non-EU international students are unable to enrol onto the following courses:

BN Nursing/MN Nursing (Adult, Child, Mental Health or Learning Disability)

BM Midwifery/MM Midwifery

Admissions policies

We're committed to being as accessible as possible to anyone who wants to achieve higher education.

Our admissions policies will help you understand our admissions procedures and how decisions are made.

Tuition fees
Students from 2017/18 2018/19
Scotland/EU £305 £305
England Wales and Northern Ireland *£1,125 *£1,157
Overseas £2,317 tba
Fees for modules are calculated according to the number of credits (multiples of 20). The rate shown in the table is for 20 credits*.

Frequently Asked Questions about Fees
Information of Bursaries and Scholarships