Zoology is the study of animals at every scale. We study everything from anatomy and physiology to behaviour and evolution, whilst also studying the impacts of biodiversity, conservation and trade.

Zoology Alfred Denny Museum students

About zoology at Sheffield

Our courses in zoology span microbes, invertebrates, birds, fish, mammals and humans and allow you to focus on tropical, urban, terrestrial, marine and freshwater ecosystems.

You’ll learn how all kinds of animals  evolved and why there are so many species, how their physiology works, how they behave, and how they respond to global change. You’ll discover how they transmit disease and how their biodiversity is maintained and lost.  You’ll use this knowledge to help us to address important issues such as global wildlife trade, the conservation of biodiversity, disease outbreaks and maintaining ecosystems that deliver freshwater, recreation and food to humans.

Top 5 in the UK for zoology

The Guardian University Guide 2023

You'll cover three main themes at Sheffield:

  • Comparative physiology - the functional characteristics of animals;
  • Evolutionary biology - how animals adapt to their environment, and their genetics,
  • Behaviour, ecology and conservation - how animals interact with their environment and each other to support biodiversity on the planet.

Our courses

Our courses all come with options to gain additional experience beyond the three-year BSc. You can add an extra year of research experience with an integrated masters, or gain valuable work experience with a top employer as a recognised part of your degree by spending a year on a work placement. You can even apply to spend a year studying abroad in a fantastic location, after you've joined the University.

2024-25 entry

Courses with a placement year

2024-25 entry

What our students say

Photo of Chris Butler

My MBiolSci was a fantastic opportunity to gain hands-on experience in an active research lab

Chris Butler MBiolSci Zoology

Chris’ MBiolSci in Zoology has given him the chance to get hands-on experience in an active research lab working alongside PhD students. It also gave him the opportunity to carry out his own research project while on a field trip in Wales.

Photo of Georgia Mills

From Zoology to science communication at Cambridge University

Georgia Mills Graduate role: Radio Producer for The Naked Scientists at Cambridge University

Georgia’s MBiolSci in Zoology led her to work for the BBC and ABC Australia, making podcasts and science programmes. The skills she gained at Sheffield have given her the tools needed to interpret scientific findings and communicate them accurately and without hyperbole.


As a zoology student you'll learn in lots of different ways, from lectures and small group tutorials to learning by doing during field work, practical lab sessions and research projects.

Alongside your specialist zoology modules, you’ll have the flexibility to study topics across the breadth of biology to complement your knowledge. These modules are available from your first year. Topics range from ecology and molecular genetics that underpin conservation, to pharmacology, neuroscience and even human physiology.

Our staff are committed to great teaching and you'll have lots of opportunities throughout your degree to be creative, think independently, and express your ideas. You’ll be in the lab completing in-depth practicals, out in the Peak District conducting your own research projects, visiting zoos, aquariums and other scientific spots around the country and embarking on a once-in a lifetime field course in the UK or abroad. All giving you plenty of chances to gain new transferrable skills and experience to put on your CV.

Find out more about our teaching

Research projects

APS students in the lab (15724)

You’ll undertake research projects throughout your degree, getting practical hands-on experience in the laboratory and the field that will lead to an in-depth research project and dissertation in your third year.  Most students focus their interests as they progress and specialise in a theme such as:

  • Animal Behaviour - understand the development, cause and function of animal behaviour by studying the roles of both genes and the environment. Much of this work is placed within an evolutionary biology framework, in order to understand why certain behaviours have evolved.
  • Species Interactions - using big data to study complex systems, including the relationship between hosts and parasites.
  • Conservation and Climate Change - study the impact of climate change on natural ecosystems and the potential for mitigation

There are several types of capstone projects to choose from depending on your interests and career goals, each of them giving you plenty of chances to gain new transferrable skills and experience to put on your CV. Current projects include:

  • Hands-on Research: Investigate a scientific problem, in either the lab or the field using state-of-the-art facilities and working alongside our leading research scientists
  • Analysis of big data: Analyse and evaluate genomic data or large biodiversity databases  to investigate fundamental biological processes, or address major ecological questions, with opportunities to learn computer programming and/or bioinformatics.
  • Science communication: Build up a portfolio of writing on a scientific topic of your choice and evaluate the effectiveness of different communication strategies
  • Education and outreach: Organise events to get school children better engaged with science – students generally work in primary schools or university technical colleges (UTC) to gain teaching experience communicating science to school children

And if this really excites you, our integrated Masters courses (MBiolSci) allow you to work for a fourth year to complete a further, in-depth research project whilst embedded in one of our specialist research groups.

Four students laughing while sat at a bench, outside the Students' Union

International Merit Scholarships

We offer a generous package of financial support for international students including 75 undergraduate scholarships worth £10,000 towards the annual tuition fee and 125 postgraduate taught scholarships worth £5,000 towards the tuition fee. Applications are now open for existing offer holders.