Animal Behaviour

Animal Behaviour is the study of behaviour patterns in animals (including humans), and of how the behaviour of individuals helps to determine the density and distribution of populations. Knowledge of animal behaviour is of increasing importance in areas such as evolutionary biology, conservation, and the efficient and humane management of farm animals.

Career Opportunities

  • Animal Welfare Officer
  • Conservation Officer  
  • Research Assistant  
  • Science Writer  
  • Technician
  • Zoo Curator or Assistant  

Once you graduate in Animal Behaviour will be able to use both biological and psychological approaches to address issues in the fields of animal conservation, wildlife management, animal welfare and the fundamental study of behaviour. You will find employment in the behavioural sciences at local, national and international levels in the agricultural, conservation and animal management industries.

Potential Employers

  • Agricultural Research Industry
  • Environmental Consultancy Firms
  • Government Departments
  • Local Body Authorities
  • Universities and Polytechnics
  • Zoos

School subjects required

As well as biology, students may find mathematics or statistics useful.

Planning Your Degree

Animal Behaviour is available as an interdisciplinary major jointly taught between the Department of Biological Sciences and the School of Psychology.

To complete a major in Animal Behaviour, students must complete 120 points above 100 Level, including 60 points at 300 Level, from compulsory papers.

Papers are worth 15 points.

Recommended Prerequisites

  • BIOL102 – The Biology of Organisms
  • PSYC103 – General and Experimental Psychology
Plus students are strongly advised to include the following paper:
  • BIOL101 – Cellular and Molecular Biology

Highly recommended papers

  • CHEM100 - Chemistry in Context OR
    CHEM111 - Structure and Spectroscopy
  • COMP123 – The Computing Experience
  • ENVS101 – Environmental Science
  • MATH165 – General Mathematics
  • PHIL103 – Critical Reasoning
  • STAT111 – Statistics for Science OR
    STAT121 – Introduction to Statistical Methods

Papers are worth 20 points unless specified.

Compulsory papers

  • BIOL234 – Functional Animal Biology
  • PSYC206– Animal Behaviour: Principles and Applications
  • PSYC225 – Behavioural Psychology and Learning (10 points)
Plus choose one of:
  • PSYC226 –The Psychology of Perception (10 points)
  • PSYC227 - Foundations of Behavioural Neuroscience –  (10 points)

Highly recommended papers

  • BIOL201 – Evolution and Diversity of Life*
  • BIOL210 – Introduction to Genetics
  • BIOL212 – Ecology
  • BIOL235 - Biomedical and Molecular Physiology
  • PHIL217 – Environmental Ethics
  • PSYC208 – Psychological Research: Analysis, Design and Measurement**

*Please note it is strongly advised that you include BIOL201 as it is a fundamental biology paper and is one of the prerequisites for BIOL338, which is required for this major.

**Prerequisite for students enrolling in PSYC307

Papers are worth 20 points unless specified.

Compulsory papers

Highly recommended papers

  • PSYC307 – Research Methods
  • PSYC340 – Applied Cognitive Psychology (10 points)
  • PSYC341 – Visual Neuroscience and its Applications (10 points)
  • PSYC344 – Physiology of Human Performance and Development (10 points)
  • BIOL310 – Advanced Genetics
  • BIOL312 – Applied Terrestrial Ecology
  • BIOL313 – Applied Freshwater Ecology
  • BIOL314 – Marine Biology and Monitoring
  • BIOL335 – Mammalian Physiology

*Please note that BIOL201 is one of the prerequisites for BIOL338, and it is strongly recommended that you take this paper.

Postgraduate Studies

As this is an interdisciplinary major taught between two or more departments, it is recommended that you contact the Dean's Office, Faculty of Science and Engineering as you enrol in your second year of studies for programme advice, if you are considering pursuing postgraduate study on completion of your bachelor degree. This is to ensure that you enrol in the required papers that would gain you entry into a Postgraduate qualification.