Training courses
James Godwin

Training courses

There are many different courses available which can be useful for those interested in careers in zoos and aquariums.

The Diploma in Management of Zoo and Aquarium Animals (DMZAA) is run by Sparsholt College and BIAZA. It is a two year program and delivered by distance learning. Units in the course cover subjects found in modern collections such as organisations, research, education, conservation, enclosure design, breeding, nutrition, (animal) health and horticulture. Please be advised that at the moment due to the practical elements of the course applicants must already be placed or working in a zoological collection or aquarium to be able to partake in the course. Sparsholt College also runs the Diploma in Management of Zoos and Aquarium Animals Volunteer Programme. As the title suggests this programme is similiar to the DMZAA programme for keepers except this is tailored towards volunteers in zoological collections or aquariums and is only open to those that do not have paid employment in zoological institutions. 

Foundation degrees

Ashkam Bryan College, York, validated by Harper Adams University
Degree Information UCAS code
FdSc Management of Animal Collections with Conservation which gives participants skills and knowledge which can be applied in a range of animal management industries, particularly in the areas of substantial and varied animal collections with a focus on the aspect of animal species conservation D328
FdSc Animal Management gives participants skills and knowledge which can be applied in a range of animal management based industries in particular areas of conservation, health and science D301
Cornwall College Newquay, validated by Plymouth University
Degree Information UCAS code
FdSc Animal Behaviour and Psychology will teach participants, through the study of the underlying science, about the techniques used in the management of animal behaviour with a special focus on the consideration of animal welfare and promotion of humane treatment of animals DC38
FdSc Animal Husbandry and Welfare offers specialised modules which develop skills in animal care and health and enhance knowledge of animal biology D301
FdSc Conservation and Ecology will teach participants about field (research) techniques used conservation management programmes C180
FdSc Marine Conservation teaches participants about marine ecology, biology and conservation as well as practical survey skills F711
FdSc Wildlife Education and Media mixes biological and conservation science with creative modes of communication and is designed for those interested in a scientific communications careers (e.g. educators in zoos or aquariums) XP33
FdSc Zoological Conservation gives participants the skills required to help conserve wild animals by developing knowledge in topics such as ecology, biodiversity, animal nutrition, captive breeding, reintroduction and conservation of marine species C390

Sparsholt College offer an FdSc in Animal Management and Applied Science. This course gives participants a strong science foundation in biological science, biochemistry and vertebrate anatomy and physiology (UCAS code D329) (Sparsholt College, Hampshire, validated by University of Portsmouth).

Capel Manor College offers an FdSc in Animal Management and Zoology. Participants will gain advanced practical animal care skills whilst developing the business knowledge needed to manage zoological collections. Learning how to enrich customer experience, education and animal encounters so that they make a lasting impression (UCAS code 103Z) (Capel Manor College, validated by the the Royal Agricultural College).

Bachelor degrees

Hadlow College
Degree Information UCAS code
Bsc (Hons) Animal Management offers participant a broad understanding of applied animal sciences with modules including husbandry, exotic animal collection management, conservation and behaviour D300
Bsc (Hons) Animal Conservation and Biodiversity which focusses on wildlife and offers subjects which include ecology, field ID skills, exotic collection management, global conservation and wildlife and landscape conservation DC41
Bsc (Hons) Applied Animal Behaviour Science and Welfare teaches participants about the welfare of animals in captive environments and offers modules which include animal training, behaviour, problem behaviour management, behavioural therapies and neuroscience D302
Askham Bryan College, York, validated by Harper Adams University
Degree Information UCAS code
Bsc/Bsc (Hons) Animal Conservation emphasis on conservation projects and how organisations are funded alongside a critical review of recent advances made in species conservation C3T4
Bsc/Bsc (Hons) Zoo Management teaches participants about the recent advances made in collection management and the role of zoo visitors in terms of visitor experiences, conservation education and business sustainability. Additionally, it teaches about species and habitat conservation and how (zoological) collections are involved in conservation D303
Bsc/Bsc (Hons) Animal Management teaches participants about animals in captive and nature environment combines with business management skills needed to run a successful animal enterprise D300
Hartpury University Centre
Degree Information UCAS code
Bsc (hons) Animal Behaviour and Welfare will provide participants with detail knowledge about animal behaviour and welfare and includes modules on assessing animal welfare, measuring behaviour and animal training D329
Bsc (hons) Applied Animal Science will teach participants a wide range of skills and include pathways within the degree including animal nutrition, wildlife conservation, health and diseases, behaviour and welfare and laboratory science D320
Writtle University College, Chelmsford
Degree Information UCAS code
Bsc (Hons) Animal Management offers participants to gain practical husbandry skills and teaches modules which include nutrition, breeding, health and behaviour in a wide range of species D301
Bsc (hons) Animal Science offers participants a science – based course which include nutrition, health, genetics and reproduction and allows a specialisation in zoo animals D321

Sparsholt College offers a Bsc (hons) degree in Animal Management. The programme combines knowledge and research techniques in aspects of animal welfare and behaviour, animal collections management and wildlife management. (UCAS code 320). (Sparsholt College, Hampshire, validated by University of Portsmouth).

Cornwall College Newquay, validated by Plymouth University
Degree Information UCAS code
Bsc (Hons) Applied Marine Zoology offers participants who are interested in marine wildlife a complete understanding of marine animals and ecosystems 0B4X
Bsc (Hons) Applied Zoology and Conservation has an emphasis on practical application within the field of conservation. Modules range from anatomy, physiology of specific animals, behaviour and population managements 0V47
Bsc (Hons) Applied Zoology is designed for foundation degree graduates and will develop skills of scientific analysis, communication and evaluation C300

Nottingham Trent University offers the Bsc (Hons) Zoo Biology. The course focusses on the biology of exotic animals and applies this to all aspects of management and species conservation in captive and none captive populations

University Centre Sparsholt offers the Bsc (top up) Zoo Biology. The course emphasis on evidence-based husbandry as a fundamental feature of contemporary zoo biology and combines practical research skills, husbandry techniques and vital management skills. (UCAS Code 300). 

Master degrees

Hartpury University Centre offers the MRes Animal Behaviour and Welfare and will expand participants knowledge of animal behaviour and animal welfare science and offers subjects such as animal cognition, animal personality, animal communication and language, social behaviour and method of animal welfare assessments, welfare legislation and implications on welfare of keeping captive animals (UCAS code D329).

Edinburgh University
Degree Information
Msc International Animal Welfare, Ethics and Law is a part time programme delivered by Online Learning and aims to develop the participants understanding of how scientific evidence can be applied to give insight and improve animal welfare standards worldwide.
Msc Applied Animal Behaviour and Animal Welfare is run in conjunction with SRUC and aims to give participants a scientific background and approach to animal behaviour and welfare

Plymouth University offers an Msc in Zoo Conservation Biology which focusses on captive populations and how those effects behaviour, conservation, welfare and interactions and how zoological institutions are managed. Working closely together with Paignton Zoo provides participants access to direct insight into management of a zoological institution.

The Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London and the Royal Veterinary College offer an Msc in Wild Animal Health and an Msc in Wild Animal Biology. The Msc Wild Animal Biology provides participants with advanced training in principle of biological science which underpin wildlife health and wildlife research strategies. The Msc Wild Animal Health teaches participants principles and practises of managing all aspects of wild animal health in both captivity and in the wild.

Manchester Metropolitan University offer an Msc in Zoo Conservation Biology. The course is run in collaboration with the North of England Zoological Society (Chester Zoo) and is designed to teach graduates who want to develop careers in a zoo-based research, welfare, conservation or a managerial role. The theory classes take place both at Manchester Metropolitan University and Chester Zoo. The course offers the possibility for a three month placement and relevant research project at zoological institutions around the UK.

University Centre Sparsholt offers an Msc in Applied Zoo Biology. With a strong science foundation, the course is designed to expand knowledge of zoo animal biology and welfare, while investigating contemporary issues in the zoo industry. There is a particular emphasis on research methods and application, not only to improve animal husbandry, but also to consider visitor experience and education.

Writtle University College offers an MSc in Animal Welfare and Conservation which develops an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the biology, welfare and conservation of domesticated and wild animals managed for production or leisure. Writtle has excellent links with Colchester Zoo and new links have been established with the University of Aberdeen, the University of Reading, the Royal Veterinary College and the Institute of Zoology.

The University of Chester offers an MRes in Biological Sciences: Wildlife Behaviour and Conservation that focuses on developing core research skills whilst carrying out student-led projects in the fields of animal behaviour and conservation. We work with a range of zoos and NGOs, both within the UK and internationally, to ensure our students’ projects contribute directly to the conservation of the species or habitats involved. Students work closely with their supervisory team to acquire the specialist skills necessary to pursue their chosen career path.

Other courses of interest

Writtle University College offers a two-year Diploma of Higher Education in Animal Management, which includes subjects such as nutrition, breeding, behaviour, health and animal’s environment. Participants on the course develop legal knowledge and applied management skills necessary to effectively manage an animal collection (Writtle University College, Chelmsford. UCAS code D392).  It also offers a two-year Diploma of Higher Education in Animal Science. A wide range of species are available to enable students to gain sound practical animal management skills, which are then complemented by an academic programme that covers topics such as nutrition, breeding, health and behaviour. Students are able to focus their studies on different animal species in order to make their degree relevant to a particular career (Writtle University College, Chelmsford. UCAS code J2BQ). Writtle also offers a one-year Certificate of Higher Education in Animal Studies. For more information contact their admissions team.

The Royal Veterinary Colleges in collaboration with the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science in Sri Lanka together with Chiang Mai University in Thailand in recent years have run the Asian Elephant Health Course. To stay up to date with the latest information and availability please visit here

Sparshold College in Hamshire run a Certificate and Diploma in Zoo Leadership. This course builds on the DMZAA course and develops management skills for zoo leadership. To apply please email Andy Beer at Sparshold College by clicking here.