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Entry requirements

A first or upper 2.1 (Honours) undergraduate degree in a biological science.

Months of entry


Course content

The MSc in Animal Behaviour is a one-year taught programme run by the School of Biology.


  • This programme has a distinct focus on the theoretical, experimental design-based, analytical and technical approaches underpinning modern animal behaviour research.
  • The programme will be taught within the School of Biology’s Centre for Biological Diversity, an internationally recognised centre of excellence for animal behaviour research. The staff who will teach this programme are renowned researchers in areas of animal cognition, cultural evolution, biologging and the study of complex behavioural systems.
  • A core curriculum focused on training in valuable transferable skills is supplemented with a range of specialised options allowing students to explore topics of particular interest at an advanced level.
  • Students will undertake a detailed independent research project within one of the School of Biology’s research groups. Wherever possible, students will choose which laboratory they wish to complete their project in.
  • Student-led seminars and workshops are designed to support learning, enhance confidence and promote employability.

Teaching format

The course consists of two taught semesters followed by an independent research project culminating in a 15,000-word dissertation and poster presentation. The research project takes place during the entire year with particular focus during the last three months from June to August.

Semester 1 will focus on research skills. Students will receive training in statistical analysis and data handling, experimental design and conducting animal behaviour research in the laboratory and in the field, including a residential field trip.

During Semester 2, students will select specialist optional modules in topical areas of research and also further develop their professional communication skills. The latter involves writing and peer reviewing scientific articles. It also involves outreach and presenting science to the public, including material to be exhibited in the University’s Bell Pettigrew Museum.

The modular curriculum is designed to be coherent, providing integrated, hands-on training that will provide a strong foundation for students wishing to further their studies (for example, PhD) or for those choosing to pursue research-focused careers.

Teaching takes the form of:

  • lectures
  • seminars
  • debates
  • workshops
  • tutorials.

Practicals involve lab and field work and computer-based data analysis.

Class sizes range from 5 to 30 students, depending on the module. There is a strong focus on small-group teaching so that students are individually supported and can ask for help when it is needed.


The modules in this programme have varying methods of delivery and assessment. For more details of each module, including weekly contact hours, teaching methods and assessment, please see our website; some elements may be subject to change for 2021 entry.

Fees and funding

UK students
International students
EU: £9,450 Overseas: £23,090

There are a variety of funding options available for postgraduate students. For more details visit our website.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MSc
    full time
    12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

Postgraduate Secretary
+44 (0)1334 46 3441