Skip to Content

Zoology with Professional Studies

Entry year
Academic Year 2025/26
Entry requirements
4 years (Full-time)
UCAS code

Zoology is the study of animals, from the simplest invertebrates to the largest terrestrial or marine mammals. Simple animals often provide models for the study of higher, more complex species (including humans) and help drive basic research that transcends the subject boundaries.

Animals interact with each other and with their environment, forming complex relationships such that zoologists need a broad understanding of the living world, life processes and the animal kingdom. Importantly, zoonotic diseases are an ever growing threat to human health e.g. Covid-19. Exciting progress is being made in animal biology and behaviour, animal health and welfare and in the management of animal communities,emerging infectious diseases, conservation, de-extinction using cloning, the use of remote sensing technologies to aid conservation and addressing climate change making this the perfect time to study Zoology.

Zoologists at QUB have the opportunity to avail of the strong international links with Universities in South Africa, America and Canada

Zoology with Professional Studies highlights

Student Experience

Work placements on these programmes provide students with the opportunity to utilise the practical skills gained during the teaching of their degree and apply these in a work environment. Past students have gained work placement within organisations such as Belfast City Hospital, Royal Victoria Hospital, Northern Ireland Environment Agency, Castle Espie, National Trust, North Atlantic Whale Foundation, Ulster Wildlife Trust, Harnas Wildlife Foundation, Namibia, Mopane & Mapesu Private Game Reserve, South Africa, Health Service, Kindred Spirit Elephant Sanctuary, Turtle Foundation and many more.

Professional Accreditations

Royal Society Accreditation

This course has been accredited by the Royal Society of Biology. Ultimately this award highlights the academic quality of the course and its contribution in ensuring that its graduates meet employer needs by acquiring the necessary skill set of both technical and transferable skills.

Global Opportunities

Zoologists at QUB have the opportunity to avail of the strong international links with Universities in South Africa, America and Canada. In addition there is the opportunity to volunteer or carry out projects at many international sites including the elephant sanctuary in Thailand, African Wildlife rehabilitation centres and conservation in Namibia and South Africa as well as many other countries through Operation Wallacea.

Internationally Renowned Experts

Jonathan Scott – Conservationist, award winning wildlife photographer, author and big cat specialist (QUB Zoology graduate).

Local expert – Professor Alan Stitt – Dean of Innovation and Impact (QUB) and McCauley Chair of Experimental Ophthalmology, RVH (QUB Zoology graduate).

Further Study Opportunities

Many students complete higher degrees, either in the UK or overseas, before embarking on a career in medical, veterinary, agricultural and environmental research. Students can choose a wide range of Master’s programmes at Queen’s, as well as a comprehensive list of research topics. Many graduates also choose to complete the postgraduate teacher training programme (PGCE) for entry into a teaching career.

Student Testimonials

Course Structure


Zoology comprises a breadth of opportunities emanating from the study of the biology of animals and how they interact with the environment and other living organisms.
An integral part of the programme is understanding the impact of climate change, emerging infectious zoonotic diseases and human encroachment into wildlife areas on biodiversity. Students will explore cutting edge technologies to tackle disease control, de-extinction, conservation and the use of remote sensing technologies to monitor animal behaviour. Importantly the zoology degree aligns to UN sustainable development goals.
Students on this pathway will complete a set of compulsory core modules at Stage 1, in common with other bioscience pathways. At Stages 2 and 3 students will select from a range of optional modules. All students undertake a compulsory Research Project module at Stage 3 (either lab or field-based) to facilitate the development of core skills and employment related experiences valued by employers.

Stage 1

This module combination provides students, who may be undecided as to their final specialist degree area, with considerable flexibility as they enter Stage 2 at this stage students enrolled in Zoology can move into Microbiology, Biological Sciences or Marine Biology or remain on the Zoology pathway to retain a broad focus on the biology of animals , comparable to human biology (including genetics and physiology), their interactions with each other, the environment (ecology), and other living organisms, including humans and disease causing pathogens. Transfers between BSc and MSci may be possible at the end of Stage 2.

Stage 2

Work Placement
• Zoology students undertaking the Professional Studies programmes will complete a compulsory 46 week, degree related work placement between stages 2 and 3.

During their 46 week placement they will complete project type work and gain a transferable skill set sought by future employers. Preparations for work placements will begin in the first semester of Stage 2. Recent placements have included Harnas Wildlife Foundation (Namibia), Mopane & Mapesu Private Game Reserve (South Africa), Kindred Spirit Elephant Sanctuary (Thailand), Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, etc.

Stage 3

The research project generally involves practical work carried out in the field and laboratory or at Queen’s University Marine Laboratory in Portaferry, or in one of the many active areas of research in the School of Biological Sciences such as Parasitology and Animal Physiology and Tracking, Animal Behaviour, Animal Welfare and Zoonotic Diseases. Additionally, it may be carried out during summer placement.

Year Out (Professional Studies)

All students will spend a minimum of 46 weeks in a work placement during which they will carry out some project type work. Students will begin preparations for the placement in the first semester of Stage 2 and the placement will be assessed within the module Professional Studies.

People teaching you

Programme Director

School of Biological Sciences

Contact Teaching Hours

Personal Study

28 (hours maximum)
For private study and writing assignments each week.

Large Group Teaching

12 (hours maximum)
Typically around 9 hours teaching [3 hours for each subject/module studied – see later information on course content] and 3 hours practical every two weeks for each subject/module.

Learning and Teaching

On the BSc (Hons) in Zoology with Professional Studies we aim to deliver a high quality learning environment that embeds intellectual curiosity, innovation and best practice in learning.
We do this by providing a range of learning experiences which enable our students to engage with subject experts, develop attributes and perspectives that will equip them for life and work in a global society and make use of innovative technologies and a world class library that enhances their development as independent, lifelong learners.

  • Examples of the opportunities provided for learning on this course are:

    E-Learning technologies, Lectures, Personal tutoring, Practicals, Self-directed study, Seminars/ tutorials, Supervised Projects, Team-Working, Work Placements, and Work-related learning through field trips and industrial visits.


Details of assessments associated with this course are outlined below:

  • The way in which you are assessed will vary according to the Learning Outcomes of each module. Some modules are assessed solely through project work or written assignments. Others are assessed through a combination of coursework and end of semester examinations. Details of how each module is assessed are outlined in the Student Handbook which is provided to all students during their first year induction.


As you progress through your course you will receive general and specific feedback about your work from a variety of sources including lecturers, module co-ordinators, placement supervisors, personal tutors, advisers of study and your peers.
As a university student, you will be expected to take a greater role in reflecting on this and taking the initiative in continuously improving the quality of your work.

  • Feedback may be provided to you in a variety of forms including: formal written comments, face to face comments, placement employer comments or references, online or emailed feedback, pre-submission advice, feedback and outcomes from practical classes, and others.




The information below is intended as an example only, featuring module details for the current year of study (2023/24). Modules are reviewed on an annual basis and may be subject to future changes – revised details will be published through Programme Specifications ahead of each academic year.

  • Year 1

    Core Modules

    Biodiversity (20 credits)
  • Year 2

    Core Modules

    Vertebrate Biology (20 credits)

    Optional Modules

    Cell Biology (20 credits)
    Applied Genetics (20 credits)
    Applied Ecology (20 credits)
  • Year 3

    Core Modules

    Professional Studies (120 credits)
  • Year 4

    Core Modules

    Research Project (40 credits)
    Parasitology (20 credits)

    Optional Modules

    Behavioural Ecology (20 credits)
    Sustainable Oceans (20 credits)
    Zoonoses (20 credits)

Entrance requirements

A level requirements

BBB including Biology and at least one from Chemistry (preferred), Geography, Mathematics or Physics + GCSE Chemistry grade C/4 or GCSE Double Award Science grades CC/4,4 + GCSE Mathematics grade C/4
BBB including Double Award Applied Science or Double Award Life & Health Sciences + GCSE Biology and Chemistry grade C/4 or GCSE Double Award Science grades CC/4,4 + GCSE Mathematics grade C/4
ABB including Biology + GCSE Chemistry grade C/4 or GCSE Double Award Science grades CC/4,4 + GCSE Mathematics grade C/4.

It would be an advantage to have studied Chemistry beyond GCSE level.

A maximum of one BTEC/OCR Single Award or AQA Extended Certificate will be accepted as part of an applicant's portfolio of qualifications with a Distinction* being equated to a grade A at A-level and a Distinction being equated to a grade B at A-level.

Irish leaving certificate requirements

H3H3H3H3H4H4/H3H3H3H3H3 including Higher Level grade H3 in Biology and at least one from Chemistry (preferred), Geography, Mathematics or Physics + if not offered at Higher Level then Ordinary Level grade O4 in Chemistry and Mathematics
H3H3H3H3H3H3/H2H3H3H3H3 including Higher Level grade H3 in Biology + Ordinary Level grade O4 in Chemistry and Mathematics.

It would be an advantage to have studied Higher Level Chemistry.

Access Course

Successful completion of a relevant Science based Access Course (120 credits) with an average of 80% and no less than 70% in any module. A relevant Access Course will normally include a minimum of 60 credits at Level 3 (preferably 80 credits) in appropriate Biology and Chemistry modules (eg: two Biology modules + one Chemistry; one Biology Module, one Microbiology module and one Chemistry module) + GCSE Mathematics grade C/4 or equivalent in Access Course.

International Baccalaureate Diploma

32 points overall including 6,5,5 at Higher Level including Biology and Chemistry (preferred) or Mathematics or Physics or Geography + GCSE Chemistry grade C/4 or GCSE Double Award Science grades CC/4,4 + GCSE Mathematics grade C/4
33 points overall including 6,5,5 at Higher Level including Biology + GCSE Chemistry grade C/4 or GCSE Double Award Science grades CC/4,4 + GCSE Mathematics grade C/4

If not offered at Higher Level/GCSE then Standard Level grade 4 in Chemistry, English and Mathematics would be accepted.

BTEC Level 3 Extended/National Extended Diploma

QCF Level 3 BTEC Extended Diploma (180 credits), with DDD + GCSE Biology and Chemistry grade C/4 or GCSE Double Award Science grades CC/4,4 + GCSE Mathematics grade C/4.

RQF Level 3 BTEC National Extended Diploma (1080 Guided Learning Hours (GLH)), with DDD + GCSE Biology and Chemistry grade C/4 or GCSE Double Award Science grades CC/4,4 + GCSE Mathematics grade C/4.

For the RQF Level 3 BTEC National Extended Diploma, applicants must have Distinction grades in four specified units to include:

Principles of Applied Science I
Principles of Applied Science II

and two from the following:

Biological Molecules & Metabolic Pathways
Genetics & Genetic Engineering
Diseases and Infections
Microbiology & Microbiological Techniques

Extended/National Extended Diploma must be relevant.


A minimum of a 2:2 Honours Degree, provided any subject requirements are also met.

Option to transfer

Transfers between BSc and MSci may be possible at the end of Stage 2.


All applicants must have GCSE English Language grade C/4 or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University.

How we choose our students

In addition, to the entrance requirements above, it is essential that you read our guidance below on 'How we choose our students' prior to submitting your UCAS application.

Applications are dealt with centrally by the Admissions and Access Service rather than by the School of Biological Sciences. Once your on-line form has been processed by UCAS and forwarded to Queen's, an acknowledgement is normally sent within two weeks of its receipt at the University.

Selection is on the basis of the information provided on your UCAS form. Decisions are made on an ongoing basis and will be notified to you via UCAS. These decisions can only be made on the basis of the information given and applicants must show due care and diligence when completing their applications. In particular, full details must be included about qualifications completed or still to be completed.

For entry last year, applicants for programmes in the School of Biological Sciences must have had, or been able to achieve, a minimum of five GCSE passes at grade C/4 or better (to include English Language and Mathematics), though this profile may change from year to year depending on the demand for places. The Selector also checks that any specific entry requirements in terms of GCSE and/or A-level subjects can be fulfilled.

For applicants offering Irish Leaving Certificate, please note that performance at Junior Certificate is taken into account. For last year’s entry applicants for this degree must have had, a minimum of 5 IJC grades C/Merit, though this profile may change from year to year depending on the demand for places. The Selector also checks that any specific entry requirements in terms of Leaving Certificate subjects can be satisfied.

Offers are normally made on the basis of three A-levels. Two subjects at A-level plus two at AS would also be considered. The minimum acceptable is two subjects at A-level plus one at AS though candidates offering this combination will be considered on an individual basis depending on the degree for which they have applied. The offer for repeat candidates may be one grade higher than for first time applicants. Grades may be held from the previous year.

Applicants offering two A-levels and one BTEC Subsidiary Diploma/National Extended Certificate (or equivalent qualification), or one A-level and a BTEC Diploma/National Diploma (or equivalent qualification) will also be considered. Offers will be made in terms of the overall BTEC grade(s) awarded. Please note that a maximum of one BTEC Subsidiary Diploma/National Extended Certificate (or equivalent) will be counted as part of an applicant’s portfolio of qualifications. The normal GCSE profile will be expected and all subject requirements must be met.

A-level General Studies and A-level Critical Thinking would not normally be considered as part of a three A-level offer and, although they may be excluded where an applicant is taking four A-level subjects, the grade achieved could be taken into account if necessary in August/September.

Applicants offering other qualifications, such as relevant BTEC Higher National Certificates (HNC) and BTEC Higher National Diplomas (HND), will also be considered. A relevant HNC/HND is defined as a course with substantial relevant Biology and/or Chemistry content (eg HNC/HND Science (Applied Biology), HNC/HND Applied Biology, HNC/HND Applied Biological Sciences, etc). For those offering a HNC or HND, some flexibility may be allowed in terms of GCSE profile but all normal GCSE subject requirements must be satisfied.

Those offering a relevant HNC are considered individually on their own merits for entry to Stage 1. The current requirements are successful completion of the HNC with 1 Distinction and remainder Merits.

For those offering a HND, there may be the possibility of advanced entry to Stage 2 depending on relevance of the HND and first year results (at least half of the first year units must be at Merit grade). Where offers are made for entry to Stage 2 students would be required to achieve 2 Distinctions and remainder Merits in units assessed in final year. Those not eligible for entry to Stage 2 would be considered for entry to Stage 1 provided at least one first year unit is at Merit grade. Students would be required to achieve Merits in all units assessed in final year.

The information provided in the personal statement section and the academic reference together with predicted grades are noted but, in the case of degree courses in the School of Biological Sciences, these are not the final deciding factors in whether or not a conditional offer can be made. However, they may be reconsidered in a tie break situation in August.

Applicants are not normally asked to attend for interview.

If you are made an offer then you may be invited to a Faculty/School Visit Day, which is usually held in the second semester. This will allow you the opportunity to visit the University and to find out more about the degree programme of your choice and the facilities on offer. It also gives you a flavour of the academic and social life at Queen's.

If you cannot find the information you need here, please contact the University Admissions and Access Service (, giving full details of your qualifications and educational background.

International Students

Our country/region pages include information on entry requirements, tuition fees, scholarships, student profiles, upcoming events and contacts for your country/region. Use the dropdown list below for specific information for your country/region.

English Language Requirements

An IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in each test component or an equivalent acceptable qualification, details of which are available at:

If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this degree programme, INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for admission to this degree.

  • Academic English: an intensive English language and study skills course for successful university study at degree level
  • Pre-sessional English: a short intensive academic English course for students starting a degree programme at Queen's University Belfast and who need to improve their English.

International Students - Foundation and International Year One Programmes

INTO Queen's offers a range of academic and English language programmes to help prepare international students for undergraduate study at Queen's University. You will learn from experienced teachers in a dedicated international study centre on campus, and will have full access to the University's world-class facilities.

These programmes are designed for international students who do not meet the required academic and English language requirements for direct entry.



Career Prospects


Graduates are qualified to take up both scientific and non-scientific careers. These positions encompass areas of innovative research and development of new products, advisory and consultancy work, particularly in companies or organisations concerned with animal and plant health, environmental management, pharmaceutical products and biotechnology.

Graduates pursue careers in teaching, nature conservation and laboratory-based posts in biomedical, industrial, pharmaceutical, academic and government institutions as well as in universities and colleges of higher education. The remainder undertake further training in areas such as computing, administration and management or medicine (human or veterinary), developing their skills from a sound scientific background. Further training also helps them to find employment in a variety of non-biological careers, including public service administration, industrial management, banking, accountancy and computing.

Employers are looking for graduates with generic skills of communication, problem-solving, data analysis, social skills, a range of interests and a record of success. We believe that a degree in Zoology will help our students to develop these skills. For further information on careers see the Institute of Biology website. Please note that the same careers are open to both Zoology and Biology graduates.

Career Services

The School of Biological Sciences employs a dedicated careers adviser who has developed an extensive portfolio of employers, both nationally and internationally, within the science sector. Advice is also provided on CV preparation, interview techniques and securing summer work or longer placements.

Placement Employers

Our past students have also gained work placement with organisations such as:

• Northern Ireland Water Ltd
• The Environment Agency
• The Forensic Service
• Moy Park
• North Atlantic Whale Foundation
• The National Trust
• Randox Laboratories
• Norbrook Laboratories Ltd
• The Almac Group
• Ulster Wildlife Trust
• Castle Espie
• Belfast Zoo
• Kindred Spirit Elephant Sanctuary
• Harnas Wildlife Foundation
• Mopane and Mapesu Private Game Reserve
• Turtle Foundation
• Wildfowl and Wetland trust

Prizes and Awards

Prof. William Campbell, Zoologist born in Ulster and recent recipient of the Nobel Prize for Medicine Could you be the next Nobel Prize winning Zoologist?

Degree Plus/Future Ready Award for extra-curricular skills

In addition to your degree programme, at Queen's you can have the opportunity to gain wider life, academic and employability skills. For example, placements, voluntary work, clubs, societies, sports and lots more. So not only do you graduate with a degree recognised from a world leading university, you'll have practical national and international experience plus a wider exposure to life overall. We call this Degree Plus/Future Ready Award. It's what makes studying at Queen's University Belfast special.

Tuition Fees

Northern Ireland (NI) 1 £4,750
Republic of Ireland (ROI) 2 £4,750
England, Scotland or Wales (GB) 1 £9,250
EU Other 3 £25,300
International £25,300

1EU citizens in the EU Settlement Scheme, with settled status, will be charged the NI or GB tuition fee based on where they are ordinarily resident. Students who are ROI nationals resident in GB will be charged the GB fee.

2 EU students who are ROI nationals resident in ROI are eligible for NI tuition fees.

3 EU Other students (excludes Republic of Ireland nationals living in GB, NI or ROI) are charged tuition fees in line with international fees.

The tuition fees quoted above are for the 2024/25 academic year and are a guide only. In addition, all tuition fees will be subject to an annual inflationary increase in each year of the course. Fees quoted relate to a single year of study unless explicitly stated otherwise.

Tuition fee rates are calculated based on a student’s tuition fee status and generally increase annually by inflation. How tuition fees are determined is set out in the Student Finance Framework.

Additional course costs

Year 1 students are required to buy a laboratory coat at a cost of £10, a dissection kit at a cost of £20 and an E-Book at a cost of £25.

The following modules have a compulsory field trip:
Compulsory Module
Year 1 Environmental Biology Module has a fieldtrip costing £150

Optional Modules
Year 2 Coastal and Oceanic Biology has a field trip costing £180
Year 2 Applied Ecology with Field Course Module has a field trip costing £180

All students may apply to go on a School Workplace Tour at a cost of £100.

Students undertake a placement in year 3 and are responsible for funding the costs of travel, accommodation and subsistence, associated with the placement. These costs vary depending on the location of the placement provider. Students may receive payment from their placement provider during their placement year.

All Students

Depending on the programme of study, there may be extra costs which are not covered by tuition fees, which students will need to consider when planning their studies.

Students can borrow books and access online learning resources from any Queen's library. If students wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow them from the University Library, prices per text can range from £30 to £100. Students should also budget between £30 to £75 per year for photocopying, memory sticks and printing charges.

Students undertaking a period of work placement or study abroad, as either a compulsory or optional part of their programme, should be aware that they will have to fund additional travel and living costs.

If a programme includes a major project or dissertation, there may be costs associated with transport, accommodation and/or materials. The amount will depend on the project chosen. There may also be additional costs for printing and binding.

Students may wish to consider purchasing an electronic device; costs will vary depending on the specification of the model chosen.

There are also additional charges for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines.

How do I fund my study?

There are different tuition fee and student financial support arrangements for students from Northern Ireland, those from England, Scotland and Wales (Great Britain), and those from the rest of the European Union.

Information on funding options and financial assistance for undergraduate students is available at


Each year, we offer a range of scholarships and prizes for new students. Information on scholarships available.

International Scholarships

Information on scholarships for international students, is available at



How to Apply

Application for admission to full-time undergraduate and sandwich courses at the University should normally be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Full information can be obtained from the UCAS website at:

When to Apply

UCAS will start processing applications for entry in autumn 2025 from early September 2024.

The advisory closing date for the receipt of applications for entry in 2025 is still to be confirmed by UCAS but is normally in late January (18:00). This is the 'equal consideration' deadline for this course.

Applications from UK and EU (Republic of Ireland) students after this date are, in practice, considered by Queen’s for entry to this course throughout the remainder of the application cycle (30 June 2025) subject to the availability of places. If you apply for 2025 entry after this deadline, you will automatically be entered into Clearing.

Applications from International and EU (Other) students are normally considered by Queen's for entry to this course until 30 June 2025. If you apply for 2025 entry after this deadline, you will automatically be entered into Clearing.

Applicants are encouraged to apply as early as is consistent with having made a careful and considered choice of institutions and courses.

The Institution code name for Queen's is QBELF and the institution code is Q75.

Further information on applying to study at Queen's is available at:

Apply via UCAS

Terms and Conditions

The terms and conditions that apply when you accept an offer of a place at the University on a taught programme of study. Queen's University Belfast Terms and Conditions.

Additional Information for International (non-EU) Students

  1. Applying through UCAS
    Most students make their applications through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) for full-time undergraduate degree programmes at Queen's. The UCAS application deadline for international students is 30 June 2025.
  2. Applying direct
    The Direct Entry Application form is to be used by international applicants who wish to apply directly, and only, to Queen's or who have been asked to provide information in advance of submitting a formal UCAS application. Find out more.
  3. Applying through agents and partners
    The University’s in-country representatives can assist you to submit a UCAS application or a direct application. Please consult the Agent List to find an agent in your country who will help you with your application to Queen’s University.

Download Undergraduate Prospectus