Zoology (research placement) MSci

Zoology

Key information

Duration:
4 years full time
Typical A-level offer:
AAA
UCAS code:
C302
Start date:
September 2018

At Sussex, you're taught by experts in the behaviour, conservation and evolution of animals – from white sharks and spider monkeys to ants and cuttlefish – who will inspire your passion for the subject.

You gain practical zoology skills by going on an exciting range of UK and international fields trips. Here, you'll experience zoology first hand.

This course includes an integrated Masters year and paid summer research placements. These develop your advanced research skills and you work with several of our research groups.

Entry requirements

A-level

Typical offer

AAA

Subjects

A-levels must include at least one from Biology, Human Biology, Chemistry or Physics.

Applicants will also normally need to pass the separate science practical assessment in at least one of the science subjects. If students are not able to take the science practical assessment, applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis. 

GCSEs

You must have GCSE (or equivalent) English, Mathematics and two Science subjects with grade B in each (or grade 5 in the new grading scale).

Extended Project Qualification

We take the EPQ into account when considering your application and it can be useful in the summer when your results are released if you have narrowly missed the conditions of your offer. We do not routinely include the EPQ in the conditions of your offer but we sometimes offer alternative conditions that include the EPQ. If you wish to discuss this further please contact Admissions at ug.enquiries@sussex.ac.uk

Other UK qualifications

Access to HE Diploma

Typical offer

Pass the Access to HE Diploma with 45 level 3 credits all at Distinction.

Subjects

The Access to HE Diploma will need to contain substantial amounts of Level 3 credit in science subjects.

GCSEs

You must have GCSE (or equivalent) English, Mathematics and two Science subjects with grade B in each (or grade 5 in the new grading scale).

International Baccalaureate

Typical offer

36 points overall from the full IB Diploma.

Subjects

Higher Levels must include at least one from Biology, Chemistry or Physics, with a grade of at least 6.

Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma (formerly BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma)

Typical offer

DDD

Subjects

The BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma would normally need to be in Applied Science and you will need to have opted for substantial numbers of modules in Biology and Chemistry related topics. 

Alternatively, you will need an A-level in Biology, Chemistry or Physics alongside the BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma.

GCSEs

You must have GCSE (or equivalent) English, Mathematics and two Science subjects with grade B in each (or grade 5 in the new grading scale).

Scottish Highers

Typical offer

AAAAA

Subjects

Highers must include one or two science subjects (other than Maths).

Ideally, you will have at least one science subject (Biology, Chemistry or Physics) at Advanced Higher.

GCSEs

You will also need Mathematics and Chemistry at Standard Grade, grade 1 or 2.

Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced

Typical offer

Grade A and AA in two A-levels.

Subjects

A-levels must include at least one from Biology, Human Biology, Chemistry or Physics.

GCSEs

You must have GCSE (or equivalent) English, Mathematics and two Science subjects with grade B in each (or grade 5 in the new grading scale).

International baccalaureate

Typical offer

36 points overall from the full IB Diploma.

Subjects

Higher Levels must include at least one from Biology, Chemistry or Physics, with a grade of at least 6.

European baccalaureate

Typical offer

Overall result of at least 83%.

Additional requirements

Evidence of academic studies to a high level in science subjects with good results is essential.

Other international qualifications

Australia

Typical offer

Relevant state (Year 12) High School Certificate, and over 85% in the ATAR or UAI/TER/ENTER. Or a Queensland OP of 5 or below.

Subject-specific knowledge

Evidence of academic studies to a high level in science subjects with good results is essential.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Austria

Typical offer

Reifeprüfung or Matura with an overall result of 2.2 or better for first-year entry. A result of 2.5 or better would be considered for Foundation Year entry.

Subject-specific knowledge

Evidence of academic studies to a high level in science subjects with good results is essential.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Belgium

Typical offer

Certificat d'Enseignement Secondaire Supérieur (CESS) or Diploma van Hoger Secundair Onderwijs with a good overall average. 

Subject-specific knowledge

Evidence of academic studies to a high level in science subjects with good results is essential.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Bulgaria

Typical offer

Diploma za Sredno Obrazovanie with excellent final-year scores (normally 5.5 overall with 6 in key subjects).

Subject-specific knowledge

Evidence of academic studies to a high level in science subjects with good results is essential.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Canada

Typical offer

High School Graduation Diploma. Specific requirements vary between provinces.

Subject-specific knowledge

Evidence of academic studies to a high level in science subjects with good results is essential.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

China

Typical offer

We usually do not accept Senior High School Graduation for direct entry to our undergraduate courses. However, we do consider applicants who have studied 1 or more years of Higher Education in China at a recognised degree awarding institution or who are following a recognised International Foundation Year.

If you are interested in applying for a business related course which requires an academic ability in Mathematics, you will normally also need a grade B in Mathematics from the Huikao or a score of 90 in Mathematics from the Gaokao.

Applicants who have the Senior High School Graduation may be eligible to apply to our International Foundation Year, which if you complete successfully you can progress on to a relevant undergraduate course at Sussex. You can find more information about the qualifications which are accepted by our International Study Centre at  http://isc.sussex.ac.uk/entry-requirements/international-foundation-year .

 

 

 

 

 

 

Subject-specific knowledge

Evidence of academic studies to a high level in science subjects with good results is essential.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Croatia

Typical offer

Maturatna Svjedodžba with an overall score of at least 4-5 depending on your degree choice.

Subject-specific knowledge

Evidence of academic studies to a high level in science subjects with good results is essential.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Cyprus

Typical offer

Apolytirion of Lykeion with an overall average of at least 18 or 19/20 will be considered for first-year entry.

A score of 15/20 in the Apolytirion would be suitable for Foundation Year entry. Find out more about Foundation Years.

Subject-specific knowledge

Evidence of academic studies to a high level in science subjects with good results is essential.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Czech Republic

Typical offer

Maturita with a good overall average.

Subject-specific knowledge

Evidence of academic studies to a high level in science subjects with good results is essential.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Denmark

Typical offer

Højere Forberedelseseksamen (HF) or studentereksamen with an overall average of at least 7 on the new grading scale.

Subject-specific knowledge

Evidence of academic studies to a high level in science subjects with good results is essential.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Finland

Typical offer

Overall average result in the final matriculation examinations of at least 6.5.

Additional requirements

Evidence of academic studies to a high level in science subjects with good results is essential.

France

Typical offer

French Baccalauréat with an overall final result of at least 15/20.

Additional requirements

You will need to be taking the science strand within the French Baccalauréat with good results (14/20) in at least one science subject other than Mathematics.

Germany

Typical offer

German Abitur with an overall result of 1.6 or better.

Additional requirements

Evidence of academic studies to a high level in science subjects with good results (14/15) in at least one science other than Mathematics is essential.

Greece

Typical offer

Apolytirion with an overall average of at least 18 or 19/20 will be considered for first-year entry.

A score of 15/20 in the Apolytirion would be suitable for Foundation Year entry. Find out more about Foundation Years.

Subject-specific knowledge

Evidence of academic studies to a high level in science subjects with good results is essential.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Hong Kong

Typical offer

Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE) with grades of 5, 4, 4 from three subjects including two electives. 

Subject-specific knowledge

Evidence of academic studies to a high level in science subjects with good results is essential.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Hungary

Typical offer

Erettsegi/Matura with a good average.

Subject-specific knowledge

Evidence of academic studies to a high level in science subjects with good results is essential.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

India

Typical offer

Standard XII results from Central and Metro Boards with an overall average of 75-80%. 

Subject-specific knowledge

Evidence of academic studies to a high level in science subjects with good results is essential.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Iran

Typical offer

High School Diploma and Pre-University Certificate.

Subject-specific knowledge

Evidence of academic studies to a high level in science subjects with good results is essential.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Ireland

Typical offer

Irish Leaving Certificate (Higher Level) at H1 H1 H2 H2 H2.

Additional requirements

Highers will need to include at least one from Biology, Chemistry or Physics, with a grade H1.

You must have at least grade O5 in Mathematics and English.

Israel

Typical offer

Bagrut, with at least 8/10 in at least six subjects, including one five-unit subject.

Subject-specific knowledge

Evidence of academic studies to a high level in science subjects with good results is essential.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Italy

Typical offer

Italian Diploma di Maturità or Diploma Pass di Esame di Stato with a Final Diploma mark of at least 90/100.

Additional requirements

Evidence of academic studies to a high level in science subjects with good results is essential.

Japan

Typical offer

Upper Secondary Leaving Certificate is suitable for entry to our Foundation Years. Find out more about Foundation Years.

Subject-specific knowledge

Evidence of academic studies to a high level in science subjects with good results is essential.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Latvia

Typical offer

Atestats par Visparejo videjo Izglitibu with very good grades in state exams.

Subject-specific knowledge

Evidence of academic studies to a high level in science subjects with good results is essential.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Lithuania

Typical offer

Brandos Atestatas including scores of 80-90% in at least three state examinations (other than English).

Subject-specific knowledge

Evidence of academic studies to a high level in science subjects with good results is essential.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Luxembourg

Typical offer

Diplôme de Fin d'Etudes Secondaires.

Subject-specific knowledge

Evidence of academic studies to a high level in science subjects with good results is essential.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Malaysia

Typical offer

Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM). As well as various two or three-year college or polytechnic certificates and diplomas.

Subject-specific knowledge

Evidence of academic studies to a high level in science subjects with good results is essential.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Netherlands

Typical offer

Voorereidend Wetenschappelijk Onderwijs (VWO), normally with an average of at least 7.

Subject-specific knowledge

Evidence of academic studies to a high level in science subjects with good results is essential.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Nigeria

Typical offer

You are expected to have one of the following:

  • Higher National Diploma
  • One year at a recognised Nigerian University
  • Professional Diploma (Part IV) from the Institute of Medical Laboratory Technology of Nigeria
  • Advanced Diploma

You must also have a score of C6 or above in WAEC/SSC English.

Subject-specific knowledge

Evidence of academic studies to a high level in science subjects with good results is essential.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Norway

Typical offer

Norwegian Vitnemal Fra Den Videregaende Skole- Pass with an overall average of 5.

Additional requirements

Evidence of academic studies to a high level in science subjects with good results is essential.

Pakistan

Typical offer

Bachelor (Pass) degree in arts, commerce or science.

Subject-specific knowledge

Evidence of academic studies to a high level in science subjects with good results is essential.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Poland

Typical offer

Matura with three extended-level written examinations, normally scored within the 7th stanine.

Subject-specific knowledge

Evidence of academic studies to a high level in science subjects with good results is essential.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Portugal

Typical offer

Diploma de Ensino Secundario normally with an overall mark of at least 16/20. 

Subject-specific knowledge

Evidence of academic studies to a high level in science subjects with good results is essential.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Romania

Typical offer

Diploma de Bacalaureat with an overall average of 8.5-9.5 depending on your degree choice.

Subject-specific knowledge

Evidence of academic studies to a high level in science subjects with good results is essential.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Singapore

Typical offer

A-levels, as well as certain certificates and diplomas.

Subject-specific knowledge

Evidence of academic studies to a high level in science subjects with good results is essential.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Slovakia

Typical offer

Maturitna Skuska or Maturita with honours, normally including scores of 1 in at least three subjects.

Subject-specific knowledge

Evidence of academic studies to a high level in science subjects with good results is essential.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Slovenia

Typical offer

Secondary School Leaving Diploma or Matura with at least 23 points overall.

Subject-specific knowledge

Evidence of academic studies to a high level in science subjects with good results is essential.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

South Africa

Typical offer

National Senior Certificate with very good grades. 

Subject-specific knowledge

Evidence of academic studies to a high level in science subjects with good results is essential.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Spain

Typical offer

Overall average result of at least 8.5.

Additional requirements

Evidence of academic studies to a high level in science subjects with good results is essential.

Sri Lanka

Typical offer

Sri Lankan A-levels.

Subject-specific knowledge

Evidence of academic studies to a high level in science subjects with good results is essential.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Sweden

Typical offer

Fullstandigt Slutbetyg with good grades.

Subject-specific knowledge

Evidence of academic studies to a high level in science subjects with good results is essential.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Switzerland

Typical offer

Federal Maturity Certificate.

Subject-specific knowledge

Evidence of academic studies to a high level in science subjects with good results is essential.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Turkey

Typical offer

Devlet Lise Diplomasi or Lise Bitirme is normally only suitable for Foundation Years, but very strong applicants may be considered for first year entry. Find out more about Foundation Years.

Subject-specific knowledge

Evidence of academic studies to a high level in science subjects with good results is essential.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

USA

Typical offer

We look at your full profile taking into account everything you are studying. You must have your high school graduation diploma and we will be interested in your Grade 12 GPA. However, we will also want to see evidence of the external tests you have taken. Each application is looked at individually, but you should normally have one or two of the following:

  • APs (where we would expect at least three subject with 4/5 in each)
  • SAT Reasoning Tests (normally with a combined score of 1300) or ACT grades
  • and/or SAT Subject Tests (where generally we expect you to have scores of 600 or higher). 

We would normally require APs or SAT Subject Tests in areas relevant to your chosen degree course.

Subject-specific knowledge

Evidence of academic studies to a high level in science subjects with good results is essential.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

My country is not listed

If your qualifications aren’t listed or you have a question about entry requirements, email ug.enquiries@sussex.ac.uk.

English language requirements

IELTS (Academic)

6.5 overall, including at least 6.0 in each component

IELTS scores are valid for two years from the test date. Your score must be valid when you begin your Sussex course. You cannot combine scores from more than one sitting of the test.

If you are applying for degree-level study we can consider your IELTS test from any test centre, but if you require a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) for an English language or pre-sessional English course (not combined with a degree) the test must be taken at a UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI)-approved IELTS test centre.

Find out more about IELTS.

Other English language requirements

Proficiency tests

Cambridge Advanced Certificate in English (CAE)

For tests taken before January 2015: Grade B or above

For tests taken after January 2015: 176 overall, including at least 169 in each skill

We would normally expect the CAE test to have been taken within two years before the start of your course.

You cannot combine scores from more than one sitting of the test. Find out more about Cambridge English: Advanced.

Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE)

For tests taken before January 2015: grade C or above

For tests taken after January 2015: 176 overall, including at least 169 in each skill

We would normally expect the CPE test to have been taken within two years before the start of your course.

You cannot combine scores from more than one sitting of the test. Find out more about Cambridge English: Proficiency.

Pearson (PTE Academic)

62 overall, including at least 56 in all four skills.

PTE (Academic) scores are valid for two years from the test date. Your score must be valid when you begin your Sussex course. You cannot combine scores from more than one sitting of the test. Find out more about Pearson (PTE Academic).

TOEFL (iBT)

88 overall, including at least 20 in Listening, 19 in Reading, 21 in Speaking, 23 in Writing.

TOEFL (iBT) scores are valid for two years from the test date. Your score must be valid when you begin your Sussex course. You cannot combine scores from more than one sitting of the test. Find out more about TOEFL (iBT).

The TOEFL Institution Code for the University of Sussex is 9166.

English language qualifications

AS/A-level (GCE)

Grade C or above in English Language.

Hong Kong Advanced Level Examination (HKALE)/ AS or A Level: grade C or above in Use of English

French Baccalaureat

A score of 12 or above in English.

GCE O-level

Grade C or above in English.

Brunei/Cambridge GCE O-level in English: grades 1-6.

Singapore/Cambridge GCE O-level in English: grades 1-6.

GCSE or IGCSE

Grade C or above in English as a First Language.

Grade B or above in English as a Second Language

German Abitur

A score of 12 or above in English.

Ghana Senior Secondary School Certificate

If awarded before 1993: grades 1-6 in English language.

If awarded between 1993 and 2005: grades A-D in English language.

Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE)

 Level 4, including at least 3 in each component in English Language.

Indian School Certificate (Standard XII)

The Indian School Certificate is accepted at the grades below when awarded by the following examination boards:

Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) – English Core only: 70%

Council for Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) - English: 70% 

International Baccalaureate Diploma (IB)

English A or English B at grade 5 or above.

Malaysian Certificate of Education (SPM) 119/GCE O-level

If taken before the end of 2008: grades 1-5 in English Language.

If taken from 2009 onwards: grade C or above in English Language.

The qualification must be jointly awarded by the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate (UCLES).

West African Senior School Certificate

Grades 1-6 in English language when awarded by the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) or the National Examinations Council (NECO).

Country exceptions

Select to see the list of exempt English-speaking countries

If you are a national of one of the countries below, or if you have recently completed a qualification equivalent to a UK Bachelors degree or higher in one of these countries, you will normally meet our English requirements. Note that qualifications obtained by distance learning or awarded by studying outside these countries cannot be accepted for English language purposes.

You will normally be expected to have completed the qualification within two years before starting your course at Sussex. If the qualification was obtained earlier than this we would expect you to be able to demonstrate that you have maintained a good level of English, for example by living in an English-speaking country or working in an occupation that required you to use English regularly and to a high level.

Please note that this list is determined by the UK’s Home Office, not by the University of Sussex.

List of exempt countries

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Australia
  • Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Canada**
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • Ireland
  • Jamaica
  • New Zealand
  • St Kitts and Nevis
  • St Lucia
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • United Kingdom
  • USA

** Canada: you must be a national of Canada; other nationals not on this list who have a degree from a Canadian institution will not normally be exempt from needing to provide evidence of English.

Admissions information for applicants

Transfers into Year 2

No

If your qualifications aren’t listed or you have a question about entry requirements, email ug.enquiries@sussex.ac.uk.

Why choose this course?

  • 100% for overall satisfaction for Biology (National Student Survey 2016).
  • Exceptional learning experience with a heavy emphasis on fieldwork learning in locations from the UK to Ecuador, for which there is generous financial support.
  • Develop career-relevant skills – including research, conservation, environmental management and teaching – to help boost your career prospects.

Course information

How will I study?

During your degree you learn through lectures, seminars, laboratory practicals and tutorials. Across all years there is a heavy emphasis on fieldwork, with residential field courses and embedded fieldwork in some of our modules. 

Year 1 covers the fundamentals of zoology, including:

  • animal behaviour
  • evolution
  • conservation. 

It includes a marine biology field course, the opportunity to learn about the science behind our understanding of some of the most exciting animals, and a range of interdisciplinary options.

Modules

These are the modules running in the academic year 2017. Modules running in 2018 may be subject to change.

Core modules

Options


Customise your course

At Sussex, you can choose to customise your course to build the sort of degree that will give you the knowledge, skills and experience that could take you in any direction you choose.

Explore subjects different to your course – electives and pathways allow you to complement your main subject. Find out what opportunities your course offers

How will I study?

You study the core topics in zoology in detail, including:

  • animal behaviour and physiology
  • evolutionary biology
  • conservation biology.

There are field courses to study animal behaviour and ecology in the Mediterranean and the UK. You can also choose topics from a range of options from neurobiology to climate change.

Modules

These are the modules running in the academic year 2017. Modules running in 2018 may be subject to change.

Core modules

Options


Customise your course

At Sussex, you can choose to customise your course to build the sort of degree that will give you the knowledge, skills and experience that could take you in any direction you choose.

Explore subjects different to your course – electives and pathways allow you to complement your main subject. Find out what opportunities your course offers

Gain programming skills and apply them to areas such as digital media, business and interactive design. Find out about our Year in Computing

Study abroad (optional)

Apply to study abroad – you’ll develop an international perspective and gain an edge when it comes to your career. Find out where your course could take you.

Research placements

You can apply to do a research placement during each summer vacation throughout your degree,  with funding to cover your living expenses.

The research placement gives you practical experience of research in Zoology, based in the School of Life Sciences. You work with faculty on cutting-edge projects, develop your professional and research skills, and receive unique training for your future career.

Find out about other placements and internships

Please note

If you’re receiving – or applying for – USA federal Direct Loan funds, you can’t transfer to the version of this program with an optional study abroad period in any country or optional placement in the USA. Find out more about American Student Loans and Federal Student Aid

How will I study?

You work towards your integrated Masters degree. The year is devoted to developing your research skills.

Your focus is a major research project that has the aim of producing a scientific publication. There is also a range of other options, including field trips, skills and advanced research topics.

Modules

These are the modules running in the academic year 2017. Modules running in 2018 may be subject to change.

Core modules

Options

My research takes me from genetics to behaviour, and from ants to sharks, in a quest to understand how animals behave and evolve.”Professor Bill Hughes
Professor of Evolutionary Biology 

Fees

UK/EU students:
Fees are not yet set for entry in the academic year 2018. The University intends to set fees at the maximum permitted by the UK Government (subject to continued satisfaction of the Teaching Excellence Framework). For the academic year 2017, fees were £9,250 per year.

The UK Government has confirmed that if you’re an EU student applying for entry in September 2018, you’ll pay the same fee rate as UK students for the duration of your course, even if the UK leaves the EU before the end of your course. You’ll also continue to have access to student loans and grants. Find out more on the UK Government website

Channel Islands and Isle of Man students:
The University aligns fees for Channel Islands and Isle of Man students with fees for UK/EU students. These fees are not yet set for entry in the academic year 2018. We intend to set fees at the maximum permitted by the UK Government (subject to continued satisfaction of the Teaching Excellence Framework). For the academic year 2017, fees were £9,250 per year.
International students:
£19,200 per year
Study abroad:
Find out about grants and funding, tuition fees and insurance costs for studying abroad
Placement:
Find out about tuition fees for placements

Note that your fees may be subject to an increase on an annual basis.

Find out about typical living costs for studying at Sussex

Scholarships

Our focus is personal development and social mobility. To help you meet your ambitions to study at Sussex, we deliver one of the most generous scholarship programmes of any UK university.

Careers

Your future career

While studying Zoology, you’ll develop many new skills, preparing you for a fieldwork-based career. You also graduate with a range of transferable skills, including teamwork, good communication and analysis – making you highly employable.

With your Zoology degree you can start a career in:

  • agriculture, conservation and ecological management
  • nature documentaries and photography
  • veterinary work, zoos and wildlife parks.

You could also go on to teaching, or research in academia or industry.

Working while you study

Our Careers and Employability Centre can help you find part-time work while you study. Find out more about career development and part-time work

Introduction to Evolution and Biodiversity

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 1

It has been said that 'nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution' (Dobhansky, 1973). Understanding the principles of how the diversity of life has evolved is essential for any biologist. This module will introduce the basic theories and priciples in evolutionary biology including the mechanisms by which it works. The module will also introduce you to the diveristy of life and how it is classified using selected taxonomic groups of organisms as examples to teach the core principles.

Lives of Carnivores

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 1

Many of the most charismatic and ecologically important animals have a carnivorous lifestyle. Carnivores are represented in most animal groups, with extant species ranging from white sharks and killer whales to African hunting dogs and lions, and extinct species including famous examples, such as T. rex. In this module you will discover the science behind our understanding of the biology of these exciting animals and learn about their relevance to the different areas of zoology, from physiology and behaviour to conservation and evolution.

The module will introduce you to the different aspects of zoology using charismatic carnivores as case studies, illustrate the way similar ecological problems are overcome in different species, and develop your understanding of the scientific method, including the challenges that face scientific research with carnivores and the techniques used to overcome them.

Introduction to Ecology and Conservation

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 1

This module provides a broad introduction to the main principles of ecology and conservation. Topics to be covered include population ecology (population growth, regulation, species interactions - competition, predation, mutualisms), community ecology (trophic structures and food webs, biodiversity, ecosystem services).

We then move on to macro-ecology, where we discuss local global patterns of biodiversity, factors controlling speicies distribution, abundance and biogeography. Finally we move on to consider applied issues in ecology and conservation, including habitat loss and fragmentation, invasive species, harvesting and ecological restoration.

Neuroscience and Behaviour

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 1

The module deals with nervous and hormonal bases for sensory perception and behavioural action by humans and other animals.

You will be introduced to the basic components of the nervous systems: neurons, synapses and neurotransmitters, and learn how neurons transmit signals and processes information. You will also cover specialisation of the cerebral cortex, looking at lateralisation and language, as well as sensory processing and perception, exemplified by the visual pathway from the eye to specialised feature detectors in the cortex. Finally, lectures on feeding deal with neural and hormonal controls in behaviour.

Research Methods for Biology, Ecology and Zoology

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 1

There are certain skills and methods that are essential for being a biologist, ecologist or zoologist. Accurate observation and identification of organisms, and curiosity about them, provides the fuel for scientific discovery.

The use of statistics allows us to test our hypotheses, form a quantitative understanding of experimental and observational data, and draw conclusions based on the information we can extract from them.

Writing and presentation skills are then essential to present our findings in a clear and coherent form so that scientists, policy makers, end-users and the general public can understand them.

This module will help you develop these skills. It will consist of three components:

  • an Introduction to Statistics and the use of statistical software to analyse biological and ecological data
  • the development of your ability to research and synthesise the primary scientific literature, and communicate your findings
  • a series of exercises to develop your observation and identification skills, and scientific curiosity.

Biology Research Placement 1

  • Summer Vacation, Year 1

You learn about research methods and practices while you develop your knowledge and understanding of biology.

This is particularly valuable if you are considering a research career. During your research placement in the summer vacation each year, you work as a member of one of the School’s research groups and receive a stipend to cover your living costs.

During your research placement, you explore research methods, learn to understand and use scientific literature, and develop practical skills.

The placement can be done in the same research group each year or a different one in different years. You work on a project to contribute to the research programme of the group.

Human Physiology

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 1

An introduction to homeostasis, physiological mechanisms and control in humans and other mammals. This module deals with circulatory and respiratory systems, fluid balance and kidney function, digestion and feeding. The approach to regulation and control uses hormonal signalling as a unifying principle, with several negative feedback examples. Furthermore, some case studies are explored such as exercise related cardiovascular and respiratory changes, diabetes as a break-down of control and regulation, and satiety mechanisms and obesity.

Molecular Biology

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 1

Despite the diversity of life, the molecular mechanisms that ensure the flow of genetic information from one generation to the next, and the expression of genes from DNA to protein via an RNA intermediate, are remarkably conserved.

This module aims to teach fundamental mechanisms such as DNA replication, transcription and translation.

You will also learn about how the structures of nucleic acids and proteins relate to their functions. Finally, you will find out how the tools of molecular biology, such as cloning and PCR, allow us to manipulate and understand genes and proteins.

The Cellular and Molecular Basis of Life

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 1

Throughout the diversity of life, from slime moulds to elephants, organisms are; built from cells; function by the expression of genes from DNA to proteins and cellular process via RNA intermediates; and achieve fitness by the flow of genetic information from one generation to the next.

Some organisms are unicellular, while others contain millions of cells that may be specialised to carry out particular functions in the organism as a whole.

However, the molecular and cellular processes of life are remarkably conserved and govern biological systems at all levels of complexity, so a knowledge of the essential principles of cell and molecular biology is important for any biologist, ecologist or zoologist.

In this module, you will gain an introduction to the essential concepts and components of molecular and cell biology, and cover key principles of molecular biology including:

  • the chemistry of life
  • nucleic acids
  • DNA replication and repair
  • laboratory techniques.

You also cover fundamentals of cell structure and function, including comparison of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells, cell organelles, cell cycles, and microscopy techniques.

This module is designed to give anyone who is primarily interested in whole-organism biology the knowledge of essential principles of cell and molecular biology to underpin your future studies.

Cell Biology

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 1

In this module, you cover the fundamentals of cell structure and function.

You begin with a comparison of procaryotic and eucaryotic cells, and then proceed with a systematic dissection of a eucaryotic cell - attending lectures on:

  • the nucleus
  • membrane architecture and permeability
  • the secretory apparatus
  • origin and function of mitochondria and chloroplasts and their role in metabolism
  • the cytoskeleton
  • the cell cycle
  • the extracellular matrix and cell adhesion.

Emphasis is placed on the role of key proteins in regulating specific cellular functions and on experimental techniques used to study cellular processes.

Environmental Management and Sustainable Development

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 1

This module explores contemporary debates on environmental management and sustainable development from a perspective that bridges physical and human geography. It examines the development of core scientific and social theories and discourses that underpin contemporary management of the environment and sustainable development. In particular it explores the trade offs between the three different pillars of sustainability; economics, environment and society. These trade offs are explored in relation to a range of real world problems, including climate change, biodiversity loss and energy use. The module explicitly deals at a range of geographical scales, from the global to the local, as well as considering different approaches to the management of natural resources.

Marine Biology and Ecology Field Course

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 1

The marine environment includes some of the most diverse and biodiverse habitats on the planet. Many of these marine environments, such as rocky shores, are highly dynamic, presenting particular challenges and selection pressures for the organisms inhabiting them. This module will introduce you to some of the basic fieldwork skills of marine biology, and develop your general skills in experimental biology and field research: experimental design, data sampling, organism identification, data analysis and report writing. The module involves a residential marine biology field course and subsequent independent marine biology fieldwork exercises for you to learn and develop these skills.

Animal Behavioural Ecology

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

The module will cover the evolution and ecology of the behaviour of non-human animals. The module will introduce key concepts and methods for studying the evolution of animal beahviour, such as optimisation modelling and game theory then apply them to specific areas such as foraging, animal contests, alternative strategies and social behaviour.

Conservation Biology I

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

After an introduction to the major threats to global biodiversity, the module will explore a series of broad conservation themes. The first half will focus on the species level, exploring some of the particular threats faced, why species become rare and endangered, and what measures can be taken to halt or reverse population declines and how populations of threatened species can be restored. The module then adopts a habitat and ecosystem focus, working up from a consideration of specific habitats and their management to a landscape approach and exploring methods for repairing damaged habitats and ecosystems.

Comparative Animal Physiology and Morphology

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

This module deals with how an animal's physiology is adapted to the environment in which it lives. We will explore how a wide range of animals, including vertebrates and invertebrates, have solved problems posed by their environments, such as ensuring their tissues have sufficient oxygen and food for respiration.

We will study how animals regulate their water loss, temperature, and other aspects of their internal environment. We will also consider how animals sense their environment and how they move through it. Finally, we will consider plasticity and the response of animals to rapidly changing environments, such as those created by climate change.

These various topics will highlight the key principles by which physiological systems have evolved. Solutions may be remarkably similar in distantly related animals indicating convergent evolution but also different even in closely related species indicating divergence.

Evolutionary Biology

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

The module covers the full breadth of evolutionary biology.

Subjects will include:

  • the fate of individual mutations in populations
  • sexual selection
  • the evolution of altruism and of sex
  • the process of speciation.

Throughout this module, you will develop an understanding of the central concepts of evolutionary biology.

Biology Research Placement 2

  • Summer Vacation, Year 2

You learn about research methods and practices while you develop your knowledge and understanding of biology. This is particularly valuable if you are considering a research career.

During the summer vacation of your research placement, you work as a member of one of the School’s research groups and receive a stipend to cover your living costs.

During your research placement, you explore research methods, learn to understand and use scientific literature, and develop practical skills.

The placement can be done in the same research group each year or a different one in different years. You work on a project to contribute to the research programme of the group.

Environmental Research Skills (E&C)

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

This module will provide all BSc Geography, and BSc Ecology, Conservation and Environmental Policy (ECEP) students with many of the skills they will need for their final year research projects. The module will be delivered by lectures and workshops. Each week a generic lecture will introduce a particular study skill and this will be supported by practical-based workshops in which you will gain experience in these skills. The workshops will last up to 4 hours and will cover an array of environmental research topics.

Genetics and Genomics

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

This module covers aspects of both classical and molecular genetics. Starting from the basic principles of Mendelian inheritance and meiosis, the concepts of genetic linkage, recombination and mapping will then be introduced. We discuss, in detail, how the understanding of these processes can be used in the analysis of human disease traits.

You then move on to looking at the structure of genomes – again with an emphasis on the human genome and how changes to this structure can relate to human disease. Finally, we build on basic molecular genetics (covered in the Level 4 molecular biology module) to describe the advanced techniques now being used to analyse and manipulate genomes.

Introduction to Sustainable Development

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

This module aims to provide an understanding of the principles of sustainable development and, in particular, an introduction to the role of science and technology in contributing to key sustainable development challenges.

We explore the origins of the concept of sustainable development and the core ideas that underpin it. We examine the ways in which sustainable development is interpreted by different interest groups, along with the assumptions made and the contradictions that arise. These ideas are illustrated through a series of contemporary case studies that highlight efforts to address sustainable development challenges from the local to international, and examine the role of science and technology within these contexts.

Principles of Neuroscience

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

Neuroscience is the study of the nervous system from its structure, molecular and cellular biology and function through to the consequences of its operation, namely behaviour. The aim of this module is to provide you with your first real insight into the detailed workings of the brain and its development through consideration of the fundamental principles of nervous system operation. The module is also an important grounding for those wishing to take its sister module, Neural Circuits.

Topics covered include:

  • Signalling and transmission by nerves and synapses
  • Neurotransmission and neuromodulation
  • Plasticity in the nervous system
  • Cellular and molecular basis of learning and memory
  • Fundamental disease mechanisms
  • Development of the nervous system
  • The role of early experience in the development of the visual system
  • Methodological approaches to studying fundamental brain processes.

Structural Basis of Biological Function

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

This module builds on the topics of protein structure and function relationships introduced by first year modules Fundamentals of Cell and Molecular Biology and Biological Chemistry. Topics covered will include:

  • an introduction to protein structure and folding
  • the methods used to determine high-resolution protein structures
  • protein superfamilies
  • the functional properties of enzymes
  • the methods of analysis for exploring enzyme mechanism
  • how enzyme properties can be modified by protein engineering techniques to produce new enzymes with desirable properties, illustrated using a case study of subtilisin
  • the specificity of small molecule enzyme interactions, illustrated using an example of rationale drug design
  • the role of proteins as transducers of mechanical energy, explored by considering the role of actin and myosin in muscle contraction.

Upland Ecology Field Course

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

Experience of a wide range of environments and habitats is essential training for any field biologist, ecologist or conservationist. This module will involve a field course to the Yorkshire Dales National Park in late June which will provide access to a variety of upland habitats and species that participants would not normally experience in the rest of their degree at Sussex.

You will develop a familiarity with the ecology of a range of habitats, an ability to identify a range of animal and plant groups to species level, and an ability to collect, analyse and interpret quantitative field data.

Computing for Life Sciences

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

Gain basic computer coding skills in modern structured languages.

This enables you to apply these skills to develop computer programmes that perform computations and analyses of direct relevance to modern Life Sciences research.

Conservation Biology II

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

The module follows logically from the Conservation Biology I module taught in Term 1. It starts with an in-depth consideration of the major threats to world biodiversity that were first introduced in Conservation Biology I. It then considers the national, European and international system of conservation designations and their associated legal framework. After a consideration of how modern molecule genetics can be used to clarify and address various conservation issues, the module finishes with considering how people and wildlife interact, both positively and negatively, and how emergent conflicts can be resolved.

Conservation Ecology Field Course

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

Experience of environments and habitats in the field is essential for an understanding of the conservation issues that can face them.

This module will involve a field course to Slapton Ley in March/April. The site is an SSSI within the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which provides access to a variety of ecologically vulnerable habitats that makes it ideal for learning about conservation biology. You will develop an understanding of, and ability to identify, the main conservation issues for a range of habitats.

Developmental Biology

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

How does an adult organism arise from a fertilized egg? This module presents the concepts and principles that are rapidly emerging from studies of developmental processes in animals.

Topics to be discussed include egg organisation and origins of cell differences, molecular mechanisms of cell differentiation, cell movements and inductive interactions, long-range signalling mechanisms, the cellular and molecular processes underlying pattern formation, and the evolutionary conservation of developmental mechanisms in different phyla.

Geographical Information Systems

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

Gain an introduction to Geographical Information Systems (GIS) using both the current industry-standard software, and the increasing number of web-based geographical tools.

You develop a theoretical background which means you look critically at the subject and gain practical skills in using these tools.

You also get experience of data collection, data capture, database, analytical and visualisation techniques, and learn how to produce maps using free web-based applications.

This methodology is illustrated through a range of social and environmental applications, emphasising the decision-assisting potential of GIS analysis. This module is useful if you want to:

  • use GIS software
  • use the products of GIS analysis
  • commission or evaluate GIS work by others.

Mediterranean Ecology and Behaviour Field Course

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

The Mediterranean phylogeographic region includes a diversity of habitats that contrast markedly with those found in the UK and contains very different flora and fauna. Experience of a variety of environments is essential for a good understanding of the ecology of biodiversity and the selection forces driving its evolution. Experience of carrying out research in novel environments is also an essential part of learning to be a field biologist or ecologist. On completion of this module you should be able to design and carry out simple ecological or behavioural field research projects using the flora or fauna of a Mediterranean field site as their study system. You will develop research proposals, conduct field work, analyse your data and present your findings both in written form and in the form of a research seminar.

Neural Circuits

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

This module will teach you about neural mechanisms generating animal behaviour. The level of analysis emphasises types of behaviour that can be understood in terms of underlying neural circuits or specific structures with well­ known neural architectures within the brain.

Topics covered include:

  • organisation and modulation of central pattern generator (CPG) circuits
  • advanced techniques for monitoring and manipulating neural circuits
  • modelling of neural circuits
  • sensory and motor functions of spinal cord circuits
  • brain circuits underlying motor control
  • circuits underlying non-associative and associative learning
  • addiction and learning circuits
  • defects in circuits
  • development of neural circuits

Animal-Plant Interactions

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

This module examines the impact of social, economic and technological transformations on people, the environment and ecology in the Tropics. A wide temporal perspective will be adopted incorporating historical perspectives, present day impacts and future scenarios. The module will also compare local and international perspectives on wildlife, ecotourism and environmental protection. You will cover, amongst other topics:

  • the continuing impact of colonisation
  • sustainability in marginal environments
  • the roles of indigenous environmental knowledge
  • intellectual property rights
  • and biotechnology.

Coral Reef Ecology Field Course

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

You learn how coral reefs are one of the most ecologically and economically important habitats on the planet.

Coral reefs have exceptional levels of biodiversity, are critical to the life-history and development of many pelagic as well as reef-associated marine species, and provide critical ecosystem services upon which many human communities rely.

You study how coral reefs are also globally threatened from direct human activities and the indirect impact of climate change.

You learn about marine ecology, and the need for an improved understanding to inform policy and conservation management strategies.

This field course will involve scuba and snorkel-based data collection at coral reefs, giving you the chance to learn and apply techniques from marine biology, develop and test scientific hypotheses, and gain an in-depth understanding of the unique ecosystem of coral reefs.

Intelligence in Animals and Machines

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

The module will develop your understanding of what it means for an animal or a machine to behave intelligently, and how brain and behavioural systems are adapted to enable an animal to cope effectively within its environment. You will consider diverse aspects of intelligence, including navigation and motor control, numerical, language, memory and social skills. You will explore how these are related to one another and how they are matched to the particular needs of animals and machines.

Life Sciences Final Year Research Project

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

This is an individual research project involving the investigation of a biological problem or phenomenon using experimental procedures, or the investigation and evaluation of a medical condition, intervention or treatment using literature-based methods, in addition to patient feedback where possible. You will obtain data and information from either laboratory or field-based experiments; from work performed in silico, or from literature-based research.

Literature Project in Life Sciences

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

Palaeozoology of Dinosaurs and Megafauna

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

Dinosaurs and other extinct megafauna, from sabre-toothed cats to megalodon sharks, have fascinated most of us since we were children. These animals which dominated the Earth for hundreds of millions of years were incredible for many reasons, and the more we uncover about their palaeobiology the more amazing they turn out to be.

The science of palaeozoology is also a fascinating study in the scientific method, and a useful example of the remarkable insights science can achieve even with only limited material to work with, such as that provided by the fossil record. How can we not only identify animals, but also work out their biology, behaviour and ecology, from only ancient bones and other fossilised material? Guesswork has now been replaced by researchers using a wide range of quantitative techniques to develop a rigorous, detailed understanding of the palaeobiology of animals, making palaeozoology one of the fastest moving fields of scientific research today.

In this module you will learn about the palaeozoology of dinosaurs and other extinct megafauna, from their classification, phylogenetics and evolution, to form and function. You will learn about the scientific evidence behind our understanding of how these animals lived, behaved and interacted with other organisms in their ecosystems, and the techniques, strengths and limitations of the methods that scientists use to study extinct animals.

Regulating the Transcriptome

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

This module takes an up-to-the-minute look at the molecular mechanisms controlling RNA expression in prokaryotes and eukaryotes, focusing largely on gene transcription but also examining RNA processing events in eukaryotes.

We will examine the way in which bacteria control gene expression in response to different environmental cues through precisely coordinated transcription regulatory networks, and investigate the way in which eukaryotic transcriptional regulators control RNA polymerase recruitment and retention and modulate chromatin structure during transcriptional activation and repression.

Understanding these processes and mechanisms is fundamental for the study of health and disease, for example to aid the development of new antibiotics and decipher how gene regulatory networks are perturbed during cancer development.

Social Insects

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

The eusocial insects comprise approximately 20,000 species of ants, termites, bees and wasps. Eusociality in these groups has evolved 20­-100 million years ago on approximately 10 occasions and has given rise to highly ­organized societies with up to 20 million individuals. Eusocial insects are of great economic and ecological importance. They are also key model systems in many important areas of biology.

The module is divided into several parts:

1) general background material on social insects, focusing in greater detail on four contrasting areas in which research on social insects is particularly active

2) inclusive fitness theory and relatedness

3) how insect societies are organised

4) another special topic relevant to social insect biology, such as mutualisms and symbioses involving social insects; the ecological importance of social insects; the evolution of eusociality in insects; or using social insects to investigate sensory physiology (topics will vary each year)

There will also be two laboratory sessions from a range including: the honey bee waggle dance, nestmate recognition and guarding in honey bees, organisation of ant trail systems, and reproductive queueing in Polistes wasps.

Tropical Rainforest Science (Field trip Ecuador)

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

The Tropical Forest Science field module is based at the Santa Lucia Cloud forest Reserve in NW Ecuador. The field station and laboratory were established by the University of Sussex to provide the opportunity for you to gain expertise in tropical plant, invertebrate and vertebrate taxonomy. Following an introduction to the wildlife and plants of the region you undertake your own fieldwork project to investigate the unique flora and fauna of this biodiversity hotspot.

Advanced Topics in Evolutionary Biology

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

You will work in groups on advanced research-led topics in evolutionary biology. Topics may include symbiosis, and sex and variation but will vary from year to year. They will be selected according to staff interests, recent developments in the field and the construction of a coherent package that covers a range of approaches in evolutionary biology, from molecular to ecological. Each topic will be introduced by a 'scene setting lecture' by a member of staff. You will then be given a set of references to relevant papers in the library. Groups will present their reports on the topics, via written material in Study Direct, seminars, reviews and news and view articles. Once you successfully complete the module you will understand recent theoretical and empirical developments in several areas of current research in evolutionary biology, critically read the primary literature in evolutionary biology, synthesise information from the primary literature and present your findings in written analyses and oral presentations.

African Zoology Field Course

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

The rich biological diversity of southern Africa, including ecologically dominant megafauna, and the conservation challenges this presents, makes the region an exceptional place to learn about zoology.

This field course is based at research sites in southern Africa, which provide you with the opportunity to study terrestrial African animals, including some of the charismatic megafauna.

Following an introduction to the sites, you carry out a fieldwork research project to investigate the behaviour, ecology or conservation of African animals. The field course concludes by studying marine megafauna at sites in South Africa.

Conflict & Cooperation in Social Groups

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

Conflict and cooperation cuts across the whole of biology and can be studied among genes or among organisms, in societies of micro-organisms, animals and humans, and also in multi-species mutualisms. It is relevant both in the origin of life and in modern-day organisms and societies. The module focuses on factors affecting the balance between conflict and cooperation in human society, vertebrate societies including primates and cooperative breeders, mutualism partners, and genes within organisms. There are eight lectures followed by six two-hour seminars covering research papers in a single area. In the first of these seminars the research papers are presented by the faculty, and in the others by you and your coursemates.

Conservation in Practice

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

The module aims to:

  • familiarise students with the management practices required to maintain key habitats in western Europe, and with conservation issues concerning specific groups of organisms in those habitats
  • examine issues in practical conservation at the level of NGOs, governments and society in general
  • introduce students to professionals currently working in conservation, in order to give them a realistic idea of what the work involves, as well as an indication of employment opportunities.


The module will consist of a combination of lectures, seminars by internal and external guest speakers and field visits to local nature reserves for demonstrations of practical conservation management and survey techniques.

Evolution of Communication: from animal signals to human speech

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

In this module, you explore the evolution of communication, progressing from the vocal signals that animals produce and the functions they serve, to then consider the differences between animal and human communications - to evaluate theories of language evolution and discover the unique properties of human speech. In the course of this, you also examine ape language studies and gestural theories of language origins.

You are exposed to tools and skills that will allow you to conduct research in this area yourself - through lectures, interactive research workshop sessions and practical demonstrations.

This module should very much appeal to both psychologists and biologists who are interested in how vocal signals provide the basis for animal sexual and social behaviour, the evolution of communication, the question of whether any animal can be said to have a language, and the production and perception of human speech.

Genomics and Bioinformatics

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

This module will introduce the common types of genomic and proteomic data available in biological databases; including DNA and protein sequences, motifs, gene structure, protein interactions and expression profiles. The aims and methods of DNA and protein sequence analysis will be covered, including analysis of homology, identification of motifs and domains, pair-wise and multiple alignments and prediction of gene structure.

The practical sessions will include the analysis of DNA and protein sequence data from biological databases. In these sessions you will learn how to integrate data to find the functional links between disease related genes and proteins.

Innovation in Bioscience and Medicine

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

The purpose of this module is to provide you with an overview of how research in the Life Sciences can lead to innovation in society, and the factors that shape, boost or inhibit such innovation.

The module explores the applications of bioscience, particularly in medicine, its products and processes, and their patterns of development. It examines the mechanisms through which products and services are commercialised, such as university-industry links, spin-off firms and corporate alliances.

Wider regulatory and ethical debates and the role they play in the development of biotechnology are also explored.

Protein Form and Function

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

Protein Form and Function provides a sense of how protein structures are related to each other and of how these structures relate to protein function. On this module you will be equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to learn about and appreciate this class of molecule. This module covers aspects of protein structure in detail and introduces computational and experimental techniques that are essential for studying proteins, and provides the basis for the in depth discussion of more topical issues such as protein engineering and design, protein folding, chaperones and protein folding diseases.

Sensory Function and Computation

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

You learn fundamental concepts in sensory coding, including:

  • feature detection
  • adaptive representations
  • coding by spike rates and timing
  • population coding.

You will learn in seminars as well as workshops where computer code will be introduced and used to analyse and simulate sensory coding by neurons.

Structure and Function in the Brain

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

The aim of the module is to reveal the anatomical substrates on which the processing of sensory information and the generation of motor commands depend. Specific attention will be paid to the relationship between structure and function. The module will cover the development of the anatomical features of the nervous system and will give a comparative interpretation of the anatomy of brain regions and their cellular components using a variety of examples including vertebrate and invertebrate models. The module will provide basic knowledge of the main techniques used to study the functional anatomy of the brain at systems, cellular and molecular levels.

Tropical Rainforests: Biogeography and Conservation

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

The module aims to develop an understanding of tropical rainforest (trf) ecosystems and the consequences of their great antiquity, present rapid destruction and uncertain future. You will examine and evaluate the many hypotheses attempting to explain the astonishing species richness of trfs and explore their complex ecological organization. Sustainable use of trfs is contrasted with their ever-increasing destruction by peasant farmers, timber companies, cattle ranchers and other commercial interests. You will learn about the impact of trf destruction on world climates, global biodiversity, and natural resources. Future prospects for conservation and management are assessed, including less damaging methods of timber harvesting, ecotourism, the potential of a new 'carbon market' (REDD++) and the role and contribution of scientist and international conservation organisations. The coursework and seminar series associated with the module will introduce skills of practical use to you if you decide to follow a career within conservation - the main focus being the development of an original grant proposal to the Royal Geographical Society.

Research Foundations

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 4

As part of the module, you carry out the foundations for a research project on a specialised topic in the area of your degree.

It will involve a project-specific mix of training in:

  • practical skills
  • the consideration of ethical aspects, potential impacts and the risks to health and safety associated with the planned research
  • the generation of hypotheses
  • the production of initial data.

Records of training, experiments and practical work are recorded in a laboratory book together with a reflective commentary to form a record of your research journey.

Masters Research Project (45 credits)

  • 45 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 4

As part of this module, you carry out an independent, original, in-depth research project in consultation with a research supervisor on a specialised topic in biology, ecology or zoology.

The research project involves bespoke, project-specific training in practical skills, the generation of hypotheses, the production of data, statistical analysis and interpretation of results, and the presentation of results in a research seminar and a dissertation written in the form of a scientific paper.

Current Topics in Evolution, Behaviour and Conservation

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 4

This module will introduce you to a diversity of active areas of research in conservation biology, animal behaviour, and evolutionary biology.

The module will be taught via a series of advanced research seminars given by University of Sussex staff, research students and invited speakers in the Evolution, Behaviour and Environment (EBE) seminar series.

These seminars will provide an excellent opportunity for you to learn about the latest developments in a range of current topics, gain insight into the nature of scientific research, and meet with a diversity of researchers.

The module will be assessed via a portfolio of work summarising, synthesising and communicating the research for a scientific audience and the general public.

Masters Tropical Rainforest Field Course

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 4

The Masters Tropical Forest Science field trip module is based at the Santa Lucia Cloud forest Reserve in NW Ecuador. The field station and laboratory were established by the University of Sussex to provide the opportunity for you to gain expertise in tropical plant, invertebrate and vertebrate taxonomy.

Following an introduction to the wildlife and plants of the region, you undertake your own fieldwork project to address a conservation issue at this biodiversity hotspot.

Advanced Topics in Evolutionary Biology (Masters)

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 4

In this module, you work in a group, on advanced research-led topics in evolutionary biology.

The topics you work on may include symbiosis, sex and variation, etc. - but these may vary from year to year.
The topics will be selected according to staff interests, recent developments in the field, and the construction of a coherent package that covers a range of approaches in evolutionary biology, from molecular to ecological.

In this module, you are introduced to each topic by a 'scene-setting lecture', given by a member of staff. You are then given a set of references to relevant papers in the library.

In your group, you present your report on the topic, based on written material in Study Direct, seminars, reviews and news and view articles.

By completing this module, you will understand recent theoretical and empirical developments in several areas of current research in evolutionary biology, critically read the primary literature in evolutionary biology, synthesise information from the primary literature and present your findings in written analyses and oral presentations.

Field Biology and Conservation Skills

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 4

Field research and conservation practice require a range of practical skills, and experience of many of these is consequently often key to being able to obtain employment in these areas.

This module will give you the opportunity to learn, practice and apply a range of specialist practical skills for field biology and conservation. Over the course of the module, you will build up a skills portfolio by selecting from a broad range of specialist workshops delivered by Sussex staff or external providers that will demonstrate your ability to carry out the various techniques and methods.

You will then complete an assignment that will demonstrate your understanding of the techniques and ability to apply them to research questions or conservation objectives.

Masters African Zoology Field Course

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 4

The rich biological diversity of southern Africa, including ecologically dominant megafauna, and the conservation challenges this presents, makes the region an exceptional place to learn about zoology.

This field course will be based at research sites in southern Africa that will provide students with the opportunity to study terrestrial African animals, including some of the charismatic megafauna.

Following an introduction to the sites, you will carry out a fieldwork research project to investigate the behaviour, ecology or conservation of African animals. The field course will conclude by studying marine megafauna at sites in South Africa.

Masters Mediterranean Ecology and Behaviour Field Course

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 4

For this module, you visit an ecological site in the Mediterranean and carry out field work. 

The Mediterranean phylogeographic region includes a diversity of habitats that contrast markedly with those found in the UK, and contain very different flora and fauna.

Through this module, you gain experience in a variety of environments which is essential for a good understanding of the ecology of biodiversity and the selection forces driving its evolution.

You also get experience of carrying out research in novel environments, which is an essential part of learning to be a field biologist or ecologist.

When you finish this module, you should be able to design and carry out ecological or behavioural field research projects, using the flora or fauna of a Mediterranean field site as your study system.

You develop research proposals, conduct field work, analyse your data, and present your findings both in writing and in the form of a research seminar.

Rewilding and Ecosystem Services

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 4

In this module, you explore the theory that underpins rewilding covering:

  • Pleistocene and Holocene baselines
  • natural process function
  • trophic cascades
  • keystone species.

You also considers the process and application of rewilding to deliver ecological and social benefits.

Rewilding is emerging as an optimistic agenda in conservation biology that seeks to reverse the decline in biodiversity by restoring natural processes, typically through the reintroduction of missing keystone species. 

Rewilding gained global recognition when it was suggested that these keystone species should include the missing late Quaternary megafauna, but it is still an emerging field that is encouraging innovation and exploration of ideas. 

 

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