Animal welfare is at the heart of our mission, and it is a growing, dynamic field of study. The BSc Animal Biology, Behaviour, Welfare and Ethics builds on our international reputation in this field.

If you are passionate about animal welfare and wonder why different animals behave the way they do, then this course might be for you.

The course builds on the scientific excellence of our BSc Biological Sciences programme and is taught by staff from our outstanding Animal Welfare, Science and Ethics group. The group works closely with farmers, animal owners, policy makers and welfare charities.

During this programme, you will consider fundamental biological questions using a range of field techniques. These include animal perception and adaptation as well as exploring the practical and ethical implications of animal management and welfare. There will be opportunities to study welfare and behaviour across a range of species, including farm, companion, laboratory and zoo animals.

Part of the final year will be devoted to a major research project, to be carried out either at the RVC or with one of our partners.

Tomer Tsur, BSc Animal Biology, Behaviour, Welfare and Ethics

This course is everything I hoped it would be: an exciting and challenging degree with an impressive breadth of content and opportunities to construct and conduct my own behaviour and welfare research.

Moreover, the course benefits from an incredible group of supportive, enthusiastic and expert teaching staff who have only enhanced my academic progression.

Lauren Walker, BSc Animal Biology, Behaviour, Welfare and Ethics

I chose to do a placement year during my BSc, to gain experience to boost my employability, and to learn a bit more about career possibilities. I am especially interested in poultry, and luckily my RVC tutor had a contact in RSPCA Assured, the RSPCA’s ethical farming label.

Being able to work on a laying hen research project using their data was an amazing experience, but the most invaluable thing I gained was passion for a career in farm animal welfare. I previously had very little knowledge about what jobs were available in the sector, and now I am focused on poultry welfare, with contacts in the field and thoughts of doing a Master’s.

William Carter, BSc Animal Biology, Behaviour, Welfare and Ethics

The Animal Biology, Behaviour, Welfare and Ethics course has been fantastic, I particularly loved how many opportunities for practical experience with animals there were.


This programme has been accredited by the Royal Society of Biology following an independent and rigorous assessment. Accredited degree programmes contain a solid academic foundation in biological knowledge and key skills, and prepare graduates to address the needs of employers. The accreditation criteria require evidence that graduates from accredited programmes meet defined sets of learning outcomes, including subject knowledge, technical ability and transferable skills.

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Our biosciences courses follow a ‘pathway’ approach. This means that in your first year, you study a broad range of modules providing you with a fundamental understanding of biosciences.

As you progress through your course, additional study options become available to you, culminating in a final year research project that provides you with the opportunity to choose, with a supervisor, the subject of your choice for further study.

Work placements

You will carry out investigative research projects in the second and third years of the course, and have the opportunity to undertake an industry-based placement (Certificate in Work-Based Learning and Research). The industry-based placement involves being based at an employer where you can focus on developing work place skills and industry expertise that will sit alongside the knowledge you gain throughout your course. Internal research projects will be conducted at the RVC, with supervision from a member of academic staff.

Please note that these are indicative modules and may be subject to change.

Year 1

Biology of Cells (15 credits)

Gain understanding of cellular structure and function, placing particular emphasis on cellular architecture, cell communication and the processing of signals received by each individual cell, and how cells are affected by the structure and function of the specialised extracellular matrix environment. This will be combined with an introduction to homeostasis at the cellular, extracellular, tissue and organ levels of the body.

Inheritance, Genetics and Evolution (15 credits)

Appreciate how different characteristics are inherited leading to a fuller understanding of the mechanisms underlying all biological processes in health and disease. This module will provide a comprehensive overview of genetics from molecules to populations, and how genetics can be applied to increase our understanding of diseases and in the design of new therapies to treat them.

Developmental Biology (15 credits)

An introduction to the principles of developmental biology in humans and other vertebrates. By the end of the module, you will understand the concepts of how a single cell forms an embryo and how genes control this process.

The Moving Animal (15 credits)

Locomotion is one of the primary behaviours of daily living in humans and animals, and healthy locomotor function is essential to well-being. The aim of this module is to introduce you to the principles of movement across the range of organisational levels: from the whole organism interacting with its environment, to integrated systems, tissues, and cells. This module will provide a framework to recognise healthy and impaired locomotor function, and highlight interactions among different body systems in the whole organism. You will explore how many fundamental structures and mechanisms are shared between different body systems, and how the different systems interact and influence one another.

Integrated Physiology I (15 credits)

Explore the reproductive physiology in humans and other mammals from fertilisation to an adult capable of reproduction, and study the basic concepts in immunology by defining the components of the immune system, and how they work in concert to eradicate pathogens.

Integrated Physiology II (15 credits)

A comprehensive introduction to the fundamentals of physiology using a systems-based approach. Units on fundamentals of cellular biochemistry and metabolic processes, digestive physiology, cardiovascular and respiratory systems, neurology and renal physiology, will provide a good overview of how biological processes at the cellular, tissue and organ level contribute to function of the organism as a whole.

Problem Definition and Investigation (30 credits)

Develop your critical and analytical thinking whilst consolidating the biological principles learned in Year One. You will work in small groups to answer scientific questions in different areas of current research strength within the various departments of the RVC. Then, you will undertake an in-depth independent library-based project focused on an active area of research, under the supervision of an academic member of staff. Through independent analysis of the scientific literature, you will review why the scientific question that you are focusing on is important, describe the methods by which it is being investigated, and provide an analysis, with appropriate conclusions, drawn from published data.

Year 2

Basis of Disease (15 credits)

This module is divided into three units: Genetics, Protein Malfunction, Cell Cycle. 

Ageing and Degeneration (15 credits)

This module is divided into three units: Ageing, Degeneration, Immunopathology. 

Principles of Infectious Diseases (15 credits)

Students will gain insight into how pathogens enter the host and establish infectious.  Students will study examples of bacterial, viral and parasitic infections and will focus on principles and general concepts, with some illustrative examples.

Control of Infectious Diseases (15 credits)

This module will provide an introduction epidemiology. Students will analyse various strategies that can be used to prevent spread of the different pathogens (including prions).  You will appreciate how the understanding of the epidemiology of pathogens leads to better control strategies.

Introduction to Animal Behaviour, Welfare and Ethics (15 credits)

An introduction to the concepts of animal behaviour, welfare science and ethics. You will learn how to scientifically measure behaviour and welfare, how ethical frameworks can help you decide how animals should be treated, why animals behave as they do, the physiology of stress and pain, and more. Practical sessions will include quantifying animal behaviour, applied farm animal behaviour (stockmanship), and husbandry of common livestock species.

Research project (30)

Undertake a pathway-specific research project. These projects involve a topic selected by an RVC supervisor in light of the areas of expertise and cutting-edge research found within the college. However, you are welcome to propose specific topics for investigation to a supervisor in that area of expertise.

Optional modules (select one):

Principles of Pharmacology (15 credits)

Build further understanding of physiology and pathophysiology. The module will provide fundamental knowledge of pharmacodynamics (drug action) and pharmacokinetics (the effects of the body on drugs). This module is divided into three units: principles of drug action, drug targets and selectivity of drug action.

Wild Animal Biology (15 credits)

Explore the important topics in conservation as well as reviewing the basic anatomy and physiology of the non-captive animals. Topics will include anatomy and physiology of non-domestic animals, principles of decision making in conservation, and assessment of currently running conservation projects.

Year 3

Research Project

Undertake an investigative hypothesis driven project or dissertation allied to your own research interests, and at the end of the year present the results in the form of a written report and as an oral presentation. These projects involve a topic selected by an RVC supervisor in light of the areas of expertise and cutting-edge research found within the college. However, you are welcome to propose specific topics for investigation to a supervisor in that area of expertise.

Choose three from the core electives below:

Animal Behaviour and Cognition (15 credits)

Conduct theoretical and applied training in animal behaviour science and animal cognition. You will focus on wild animals, but relevance to domesticated animals will be made clear and examples will be given. You will cover mammals and birds in depth, but will also build your understanding of reptiles, amphibians, fish and invertebrates. This module includes a dog training demonstration and a visit to a professional animal behaviour conference.

Animals and Human Society (15 Credits)

The use of animals within society, and ways of influencing change in societal views. The module will be divided into the different areas of animal use, such as companion, sporting, working, industrial, research and agricultural. We will apply ethical, legal, religious and political frameworks to discuss what defines a ‘reasonable’ use of an animal, and how the ways in which we use animals differ between societies, and according to the type of animal and its legal status.

Applied Animal Welfare (15 Credits)

Examine important animal welfare issues from a national and global perspective. Investigate and critically evaluate the demands of current and future practices on the welfare of animals under the domain of humans. This module will include visits to an abattoir, livestock market, London Zoo and to a farm.

Science of Animal Welfare (15 Credits)

Undertake theoretical and methodological training in animal welfare science, which is broadly equivalent to the biology of sensations, motivation and emotions. This module will cover a range of behavioural, physiological and other indicators of diverse welfare states, illustrated with examples including wild, farm, companion, and laboratory animals. As part of this module, you will take small group tours of appropriate animals in the Queen Mother Hospital for Animals to observe behavioural indicators of pain and sickness and the efforts made to alleviate suffering.

Optional modules:

Advanced Concepts in Bio-business (15 Credits)

Develop a work-relevant theoretical and practical understanding of commercial innovation, within the context of human and veterinary bio-medical sciences. You will learn and experiment with the knowledge, skills and attitudes scientists need in order to play a more effective and integrated role during the development of innovative life-saving and life-enhancing products and services including new medicines, diagnostics and healthcare provision. You will be required to solve commercial problems in small groups and further develop your understanding of bioscience business, management and enterprise.

Advanced Concepts in Reproduction (15 Credits)

Build upon the knowledge you have gained in the first year in Reproduction. You will concentrate on the veterinary applications of research and highlight how it makes a real impact on animal health and welfare. You will learn cellular and molecular aspects of reproductive biology from gonadal development and function to ovulation, fertilization and embryo and germ cells development, and establishment and maintenance of pregnancy and placental immunology in animals.

Advanced Skeletal Pathobiology (15 Credits)

Failures in the skeletal system, such as osteoporosis and osteoarthritis, provide one of the major challenges to human and animal welfare. Research activities in skeletal pathobiology are commonly directed at understanding the development, growth, ageing and functional maintenance of the skeletal system as well as the evolution of bone and joint pathologies. This module will introduce you to a broad range of skeletal tissues, and explore the anatomy, physiology and functional failure and on occasion include comparative aspects of the skeletal system across species.

Applied Molecular Microbiology (15 Credits)

In addition to their importance as pathogens, microbes have many beneficial uses. This module will give students the opportunity to explore the beneficial biotechnological use of microbes in the food industry, and in human and animal health. The module will explore the use of microbes as factories, microbes and food, microbes in research and microbes and health. The module will highlight the historical and state of the art applications of microbes as useful organisms, and you will have hands-on opportunities to explore how microbes can be used for the production of biopharmaceuticals.

Comparative Models of Disease (15 Credits)

The role of animal models in the understanding of human and animal physiology and in the treatment of infectious diseases is controversial. Modern society is increasingly re-evaluating the value of animal life and, consequently, questioning the use of animal disease models. In this module, you will be introduced into the rationale behind the use of animal models and the increasing number of alternatives, including cells, isolated tissues, zebra fish and drosophila. You will examine the key aspects that need to be considered when developing and analysing models of disease and its uses and limitations.

Endocrine and Metabolic Syndromes (15 Credits)

The increasing problem of obesity in the human and pet population has resulted in a dramatic increase in research efforts to understand and influence metabolism, and treat associated side effects. We will seek to integrate the basic science of endocrinology into more translational topics relating to the diseases and syndromes associated with disorders of endocrinology and metabolism. The module will focus specifically on clinical abnormalities affecting blood glucose regulation and feeding, growth and metabolism, endocrine-related cancers, and reproductive disorders including those affecting sex differentiation and intersex.

Epidemiology: The Bigger Picture (15 Credits)

Discover more about how diseases affect animal and human populations, and how to select the best ways to try to control diseases. You will explore what One Health is, how to investigate a disease outbreak, pandemic prevention, and what the challenges are of working with wildlife. You to discover the patterns, causes, and effects of diseases in animal populations. The key concepts of epidemiology are taught in a structured way, and case studies of pets, livestock, horses and wildlife will show you how to apply what you learn in the real world.

Parasitology of Human and Veterinary Tropical Diseases (15 Credits)

Study major human and veterinary parasitic tropical diseases from the viewpoints of immunology, epidemiology, pathology, treatment and control. This module will cover major human tropical diseases caused by protozoan and helminth parasites. Major veterinary tropical parasitic diseases that cause significant production losses and/or are significant zoonoses will be covered. For each disease, interesting aspects of research conducted on these organisms will be highlighted.

Practical Investigative Biology (15 Credits)

An intense training course in cell and molecular biology, with a view to equipping you with the practical and design skills required to undertake research in areas of molecular biology. You will complete a ‘mini-project’, where you will generate a plasmid DNA construct, amplify this in bacteria, purify and analyse the resulting DNA, then transiently express this gene in a eukaryotic cell line before analysing the effects of its expression by cell imaging techniques (confocal microscopy and flow cytometry).


The Royal Veterinary College is a dynamic place to study, where you will utilise state-of-the-art technology in our research labs, and a modern, innovative curriculum. You are taught through a combination of lectures, seminars and group work scenarios. The practical elements of your course will be carried out in our laboratories, and may be related to the College’s ongoing research activities.

Self-directed learning

Outside of your timetabled lectures and practical sessions, you are expected to undertake self-directed learning. Typically, this involves working on your own research project, reading journal articles and books, working on individual and group projects, preparing coursework assignments and presentations, and preparing for examinations.

Teaching staff

The RVC has renowned researchers and scientists delivering each module. Our staff are passionate about their field, and they are highly qualified. All RVC students are assured teaching of the highest standard.

Teaching contact hours

In a typical week, you will have between 15 - 20 contact hours of teaching. These contact hours are usually made up from:

  • Personal tutorial, small group and practical teaching: 8 – 10 hours per week
  • Large-group teaching: 8 – 10 hours per week
  • Self-direct learning: 5 hours per week

Assessment and feedback

You will be continuously assessed throughout your course, followed by final examinations. You will also be assessed on in-course work, such as completing tests, analysing data and samples, delivering presentations, and writing essays. A major part of your biological sciences courses is the undertaking of a research project.

The estimated breakdown of assessment for your final grade is:

  • Written (coursework, which may include essays, presentations, journal clubs) - 22%
  • Examination (practical, written) – 45%
  • Projects (individual and group work, research) - 33%

The standard academic requirements for entry to the BSc Animal Biology, Behaviour, Welfare and Ethics programme are outlined below.

Lower offers may be made to students who meet our Widening Participation criteria.

Academic qualifications

Click on the links below for details of the standard academic requirements for this course.

A Levels


ABB* in three A Level subjects including:

  • Biology or Chemistry at grade A


BBB* in three A Level subjects including:

  • Biology or Chemistry
  • Another science subject from Biology, Chemistry, Physics or Maths. 
  • A third subject of your choice

*We also require a 'pass' in the science practical for each subject, where taking the English curriculum.

Contextual Offers

Offers of a grade below in each subject will be made to those meeting certain Widening Participation (WP) criteria, i.e. a BBB offer would become CCC for WP students, an ABB offer would become BCC for WP students. No separate application is required but care leavers should submit proof from the relevant local authority once they have applied.

For further information on our policy on reformed UK qualifications, please click here.

We support the opportunity to take additional subjects at AS Level, but do not prescribe or prefer any particular subject choices or combinations.

The non-prescribed A Level subject(s) should not overlap with Biology or Chemistry, and cannot be General Studies.  

See additional GCSE requirements.

Welsh, Scottish and Irish applicants

Welsh Baccalaureate

Applicants who have achieved the Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate with grade B will be accepted with two A Levels, including:


  • Biology or Chemistry at grade A
  • Another subject of your choice (excl. General Studies) at grade B


  • Biology or Chemistry at grade B
  • Another science subject from Biology, Chemistry, Physics or Maths at grade B

We support the opportunity to take additional subjects at AS Level, but do not prescribe or prefer any particular subject choices or combinations.

See additional GCSE requirements.

Contextual Offers

Offers of a grade below in each subject will be made to those meeting certain Widening Participation (WP) criteria, i.e. a BB + B in Welsh Bacc. offer would become CC + C in Welsh Bacc. for WP students, an AB + B in Welsh Bacc. offer would become BC + C in Welsh Bacc. for WP students. No separate application is required but care leavers should submit proof from the relevant local authority once they have applied.

Scottish Highers/Advanced Highers


Advanced Highers in:

  • Chemistry or Biology at grade A
  • Another subject of your choice at grade B


Advanced Highers in:

  • Biology or Chemistry at grade B
  • Another science subject from Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Maths at grade B

In addition to:

5 Highers at grade B or above

and at least National 5* grade B in:

  • English
  • Mathematics
  • Biology, Chemistry or Physics

* If you have bypassed one or more of these subjects at National 5, you will need this subject/grade at Higher level. 

Contextual Offers

Offers of a grade below in each subject will be made to those meeting certain Widening Participation (WP) criteria, i.e. a BB offer would become CC for WP students, an AB offer would become BC for WP students. No separate application is required but care leavers should submit proof from the relevant local authority once they have applied.

Irish Leaving Certificate

H2,H2,H3,H3,H3,H3 including:

  • Biology or Chemistry
  • Another science subject from Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Maths.

If not included in the above, O3 is required in:

  • A second natural science (i.e. Biology, Chemistry or Physics)
  • English
  • Mathematics

International Baccalaureate


655 at Higher Level including:

  • Biology or Chemistry at grade 6


555 at Higher Level including:

  • Biology or Chemistry
  • Another science subject from Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Maths
  • One other subject of your choice

Our standard offer is based on specific subject-grade requirements, rather than a total points score.

See additional GCSE requirements below. 

Where candidates have not taken GCSEs or an equivalent qualification prior to IB, they will need a minimum of grade 5 in:

  • EITHER MYP Mathematics (standard or extended) OR SL Mathematics Analysis and approaches OR SL Mathematics Applications and interpretation.
  • SL English A (or grade 6 in English B)

Mathematical Studies cannot be accepted in lieu of Mathematics.

Diplomas and Further Certificates (including Access and L3 Extended Diploma)

All qualifications below are considered on top of existing Level 2 requirements (e.g. GCSEs, National 5s, O Levels, etc). If you are not sure you have equivalent qualifications, please contact us at 

Access to HE Diploma (England and Wales)

It is expected that applicants undertaking the Access to HE Diploma will normally be returning to education after a period of at least three years absence. If have extenuating circumstances which mean you do not fulfil this please contact the Admissions team on before you submit your application.

Diplomas must be Science based and include a minimum of:

15 Level 3 credits in Chemistry at Distinction or 15 Level 3 credits in Biology at Distinction, and with Merits achieved in all other Level 3 modules.

See the Access to Higher Education website to search for possible courses in your area.  

Birkbeck College's CertHE in Life Sciences for Subjects Allied to Medicine

Merits must be achieved in the Chemistry and Biology modules.

See the Birkbeck website for further details.

Level 3 Extended Diploma

Applied Generals

BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma in Applied Science or Applied Science (Biomedical Science)

DDD overall with Distinctions in:        

  • Principles and Applications of Science I (90)       
  • Principles and Applications of Science II (120)       
  • Science Investigation Skills (120)       
  • Contemporary Issues in Science (120)

In addition:

For Applied Science: at least three units from Group A must be taken.

For Applied Science (Biomedical Science): at least four units from Group A must be taken.

Tech Levels

City & Guilds Advanced Technical Extended Diploma in Animal Management (Science*): DDD overall with Distinctions in:

  • Biological Systems of Animals
  • Synoptic Assessment (1) or (2)
  • Theory Exam (2)
  • Undertake Investigative Project in the Land-Based Industries
*Please ensure that you are enrolled on the correct pathway - you must be on the Science pathway and taking the mandatory Science pathway modules listed in this document:

Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma in Animal Management (1080): DDD overall with Distinctions in:         

  • Animal Biology (120)
  • Animal Breeding and Genetics (120)
  • Animal Welfare and Ethics (120)
  • Practical Skills in Animal Science* (60)
  • Animal Metabolism* (60)

The following unit is relevant to the course, but will not disadvantage your application if not taken:

  • Human and Animal Interaction

*Please note, not all colleges will offer all units so do check beforehand to ensure eligibility. 

Level 3 Extended Diploma (unreformed syllabus)

Applied Science (2010 syllabus) QCF

DDD overall required, including Distinctions in the following units:

  • Genetics and Genetics Engineering
  • Physiology of Human Body Systems or Physiology of Human Regulation and Reproduction
  • Using Statistics in Science or Informatics in Science

Plus two of: 

  • Biomedical Science Techniques; Chemical Laboratory Techniques; Chemistry for Biology Technicians

Animal Management (2010 syllabus) QCF

DDD overall required, including Distinctions in the following units:

  • Understand the Principles of Animal Nutrition 
  • Understand the Principles and Carry Out the Practice of Biochemistry and Microbiology
  • Understand the Principles of Inheritance and Genetic Manipulation 
  • Fundamentals of Science 
  • Chemistry for Biology Technicians or Understand the Principles of Chemistry for Biological and Medical Science

Cambridge Pre-U


M1, M2, M2 in three Principal Subjects including:

  • Biology or Chemistry at grade M1


M2, M2, M2 in three Principal subjects including:

  • Biology or Chemistry
  • Another science subject from Biology, Chemistry, Physics or Maths
  • One other subject of your choice

Applications are welcome from those who meet our science requirements and are taking a combination of A Levels and the Cambridge Pre-U. Offers will be made on an individual basis, depending on the combinations.


We have considered the programme specifications and assessment materials for the T-level subjects currently available and these do not provide suitable preparation the degrees that we offer at the RVC. We are therefore currently unable to accept T-levels as entry qualifications to any of our courses.

As further T Level subjects are introduced the specifications will be reviewed and, if they are suitable for entry to the RVC, they will be added to the lists of acceptable qualifications.

GCSEs (only in addition to other qualifications)

  • 6-6 in Combined Science or BB in Science (Double Award) or B in both Science & Additional Science or 6/B in two of Biology, Chemistry or Physics. 

And at least grade 6 (B) in:

  • English Language
  • Mathematics

For further information on our policy on reformed UK qualifications, please click here.

Welsh applicants

Please note, GCSE Mathematics-Numeracy will not be accepted instead of a B in GCSE Mathematics but is welcomed alongside it, and as part of the Welsh Baccalaureate.

International and EU applicants

The standard international entry requirements below are in line with our double-science 'BBB' offer at A Level. Those taking a single science should contact us for details of the standard offer for their qualification. 

For advice on the acceptability of your qualifications please send details, referring to each of the relevant subjects (Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Maths, and English) to

For more information useful to international applicants, please go to the International students section.

North America


High school graduation:
We will accept any of the following combinations:

  • Graduate High School with at least four full-year Advanced Placement examinations at grade 4443 including two science subjects* both at grade 4.

ACT Test:
We will accept any of the following combinations:

  • ACT score of 26 (including Writing test) plus APs in 2 science subjects* at grade 4;
  • ACT score of 26 (including Writing test) plus IB Higher Level certificates in 2 science subjects * at Grade 5.

*Science subjects: Where “science subjects” is specified above, applicants are required to fulfil the requirements by offering either Biology or Chemistry plus one further science, which can be any of the following: Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Calculus or Mathematics. If you are only taking once science subject, please contact the Admissions Office.

The RVC's institution code for College Board to be used when sending your results is 7970

Please contact us for the previous SAT requirements, if you sat these prior to the qualification being discontinued.


As there are regional differences, please contact Admissions for province-specific requirements. BC and ON are shown below as a guide:  

British Columbia

Pass the British Columbia Certificate of Graduation with five grade 12 courses. An 83% average across grade 12 courses, with 83% in Biology or Anatomy & Physiology or Chemistry, and a second science (Biology*, Anatomy & Physiology*, Chemistry, Physics or Maths). A minimum of 73% is required in grade 11 English and Mathematics if not achieved as part of the above. *The second science cannot be Anatomy & Physiology 12 if Biology 12 has already been taken. 


Pass the Ontario Secondary School Diploma with six grade 12 'U' courses. An 83% average is required across grade 12 courses, with 83% in Biology or Chemistry, and a second science (Biology, Chemistry, Physics or Maths). A minimum of 73% is required in grade 11 English and Mathematics if not achieved as part of the above.  


Pass the Diplôme d’Etudes Collègiales with five academic grade 12 courses. An 83% average is required across grade 12 courses, with 83% in Biology or Anatomy & Physiology or Chemistry, and a second science (Biology*, Anatomy & Physiology*, Chemistry, Physics or Maths). A minimum of 73% is required in grade 11 or grade 12 English and Mathematics (e.g. Pre-Calculus, Calculus, Functions, Advanced Functions). Grade 11 Biology or Life Sciences will normally be expected. 

*The second science cannot be Anatomy & Physiology 12 if Biology 12 has already been taken. 


Obtain Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) unit 2 grades of II, II, II (two, two, two) in Biology or Chemistry, and a second science (Biology, Chemistry, Physics or Maths) plus a third subject of your choice in addition to Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) grade II (two) in English A, Mathematics and two individual sciences from Biology, Chemistry and Physics.


Where an English grade is not specified, applicants will also need to meet one of our accepted English Language qualifications

European Baccalaureate

Pass the Baccalaureate with 75% overall, and 7.5 in elective Biology or Chemistry and Maths 5/Advanced Maths. 7 in L1 English is an accepted English language requirement.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Pass the Diploma o polozenom maturskom ispitu with 4 overall with 4 in Biology and Chemistry, and at least grade 3 in Maths and Physics compulsory subjects. 


Pass the Bevis for Studentereksamen with 7 in three Level A subjects including Biology or Chemistry and a second science. English required at Level B grade 10 or Level A grade 7.


Successfully complete the Ylioppilastutkinto/Studentexamen (Matriculation Certificate) with grades EMMC, including M in Biology or Chemistry, and Maths


Pass the Baccalauréat Général with 12 overall and 13 both Year 12 (première) and Year 13 (terminale)in Biology and Chemistry and 12 in Maths. [OIB Anglais: if 14 is achieved in English, no further English language qualification is required].


Pass the Abitur with 1.8 overall, with 13 in Biology or Chemistry as one of the Kurse mit erhöhtem Anforderungsniveau/Leistungskurse. Applicants should demonstrate successful completion of grade 10 having achieved at least 3 in Maths. [If 12 is achieved in English as Kurse mit erhöhtem Anforderungsniveau/LK, no further English language qualification is required]. 


Pass the Matura with 70% in two Advanced subjects including Biology or Chemistry. 75% must be achieved in three Intermediate subjects including Maths if not one of your Advanced subjects. 


Pass the Stúdentspróf (natural science specialisation) with 7 in Biology or Chemistry and 7 in Maths. 9 is required in English. 


Pass the Diploma di Esame di Stato from a Liceo Scientifico with 80 overall and individual grades of 8 in Science and Maths


Pass University of Malta Matriculation Certificate with BB at Advanced Level in Biology or Chemistry, and a second science (Biology, Chemistry, Physics or Maths), and BBB in three Intermediate Level subjects. If not included as an Intermediate subject, grade 3 must be achieved in Maths as part of the Secondary Education Certificate. Alternatively, IGCSE/O Levels in Maths and a science at grade B are accepted. English may be accepted if taken as a first language; please contact admissions. 


Pass the Baccalauréat (S stream required) with 12 overall and 13 both Year 12 (première) and Year 13 (terminale)in Biology and Chemistry and 12 in Maths


Pass the VWO (Natuur profiel) with 7 overall and the following individual grades: 7 and 8 in two sciences to include Maths and either Biology or Chemistry; 9 in English

North Macedonia

Pass the Matura with 4 in Biology, Chemistry and the elective exam. Competency must also be demonstrated in Maths. 


Pass the Vitnemal - videregaende opplaering (Natural sciences and mathematics stream) with 4 overall. Biology and Chemistry must be taken as Optional Programme Subjects in both course 1 and 2 (e.g. Chemistry 1 and Chemistry 2) and grade 4 must be achieved in both. English at grade 4 and Maths at grade 3 are also required. 


Pass the Polish Świadectwo Dojrzałości (Matura) with 80% in Advanced Level Biology and Chemistry and one further subject, 75% in Standard Maths.


Pass the Diploma Nível Secundário de Educação with 17 overall and 17  in Year 12 Biology and Year 12 Physics-Chemistry. 15 is also required in Y12 Maths or 16 in Y11 Maths.


Pass the Diplomă de Bacalaureat (science stream) with 8 overall and 8 in Biology or Chemistry and a second science. 


Pass the Diploma o položenom završnom ispitu/Matura with 4 overall and 4 in Biology or Chemistry, and 4 in Maths. 


Pass the Vysvedčenie o maturitnej skúške with 2,2,2,2 including 2 in Biology or Chemistry, and 2 in Maths.


Pass the Maturitetno spričevalo (Matura) with 20 overall and 4 in Biology or Chemistry, and 4 in Maths.


Pass the Bachillerato with 7.5 overall and 8 in Biology or Chemistry and a second science. 


Pass the Slutbetyg från Gymnasieskolan with 2500 credits taken and an overall score of 16.0. Grade B must be achieved in Biology and Chemistry and C in Maths and English


Pass a Federal Maturity Certificate or Federally Recognised Cantonal Maturity Certificate with an overall average of 4.6 (on the 6-point scale) including 4.5 in Biology and Chemistry as the Schwerpunktfach/Option Spécifique. A minimum of 4.0 in Maths.



Pass the Araratian Baccalaureate with BBB in three Extended subjects, including Biology and Chemistry . Maths must be passed at grade 8 or above at Certificate of Secondary General Education level

Hong Kong

Obtain the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE) with grades 544 in Biology, Chemistry and one other elective subject, plus grade 4 in Maths and grade 5 in English core subjects. We will consider Maths as an elective subject in place of either Biology or Chemistry, provided both the compulsory and the extended modules are taken with grades 5* (compulsory part) and 5 (extended part).


Obtain the Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM) with grades BBB in three Principal level subjects including Biology or Chemistry, and a second science (Biology, Chemistry, Physics or Maths). In addition, grade 4/B is required in the SPM in Maths and two of Biology, Chemistry and Physics. Grade B must be achieved in English (first language) at either O Level (1119), or as part of the STPM.


Pass the Matrikulasi with a cGPA of 3.33 and Grade B+ or 3.33 in Biology or Chemistry, and a second science (Biology, Chemistry, Physics or Maths). In addition, grade 4/B is required in the SPM in Maths and two of Biology, Chemistry and Physics. Grade B in English (first language) at either O Level (1119), or as part of the STPM is accepted as meeting our English Language requirements.


Obtain Singapore GCE A Level grades BBB at H2 level including grade A in Biology and Chemistry.* 


Singapore Integrated Programme / GCE A levels: BBB at H2 level including grade B in Biology and Chemistry* 


Pass the NUS High School Diploma: NUS High School Diploma with a CAP score of 3.8. Biology and Chemistry must be studied during the Specialization Years and achieve a CAP score of 3.8 in these subjects. English and Maths with a CAP score of 3.5 is required.

*Offers may be subject to IELTS and GCSE equivalency in relevant subjects. 


All references to English below are to first-language English only. If you are studying English as a second language, please see our accepted English Language qualifications.


Excluding Queensland, an ATAR score of 75 or higher is required. As there are significant regional differences, please contact Admissions for state-specific requirements if yours is not shown below:  

New South Wales

Pass the Higher School Certificate (HSC) with the following 2-unit Category-A Board Developed Courses: Biology or Chemistry, and a second science (Biology, Chemistry, Physics or Maths) plus one other at band 4; English and Maths must be achieved to at least band 3 if not part of the above


Pass the QCE including the following core subjects: Biology or Chemistry at HA, and a second science (Biology, Chemistry, Physics or Maths) at SA; English and Maths must be achieved to at least SA. Your OP score should be in bands 1-10.


Pass the VCE with the following: 3/4 Biology or Chemistry, and a second science (Biology, Chemistry, Physics or Maths) at grade B (average), with English and Maths at grade C+ (average).

Western Australia

Pass the WACE with the following: Year 12 Biology or Chemistry, and a second science (Biology, Chemistry, Physics or Maths) plus one other at grade B. Year 11 English and Maths at grade B. 

New Zealand

Obtain the University Entrance Certificate with National Certificate in Educational Achievement Level 3 with Merit overall including in Biology or Chemistry, and a second science (Biology, Chemistry, Physics or Maths). Minimum of NCEA Level 2 Merit grades required in English and Maths.

Some countries' education systems are not equivalent to A Levels in the UK. The programmes below are designed to give you that equivalent level of study so you can apply for our programmes:

University of London Foundation programmes for International Students (UK-based)

UCL University Preparatory Certificate for Science & Engineering (UPCSE) for International Students

You must take Chemistry and a second Science subject as Core Units. Achieve 65% overall in the Certificate, and 65% in Chemistry and the second Science Unit.

View website for more information on the programme. 

These requirements assume that you have met the standard entry requirements for UPCSE: if you have entered that course with special circumstances or through a different route, please see advice for International and EU applicants, above.

Other qualifications

For advice on the eligibility of other qualifications, please contact Admissions at Please note, we do not typically accept Foundation years unless otherwise advertised.

Tel: +44 (0) 20 7468 5147

English language requirements

  • IELTS (Academic) score of 7.0 or above with minimum 6.5 in each component

All applicants must have an acceptable English Language qualification, many of which are listed under 'Academic qualifications' above. Please see our English Language Requirements page for a list of qualifications we accept as alternatives.

Mitigating circumstances

If you wish to make us aware of any mitigating circumstances related to your application please see our guidance on mitigating circumstances here:



Does it count against me if I re-sit a qualification?

No, we accept re-taken grades or modules at GCSE and A-Level or equivalent without penalty for this programme. 

Can I re-apply if I've been unsuccessful previously?

We accept repeat applications for this course and new applications will be treated separately from any previous one. 

What will I be able to do with my degree? 

The BSc in Animal Behaviour, Welfare and Ethics has relevance to many career options, including, for example:

  • Animal welfare policy or advisory positions in diverse organisations, from charities to government, pharmaceutical companies to the agricultural industry
  • The animal behaviour component will equip you with background knowledge suitable for work in animal training, behavioural consultation and animal conservation work
  • Para-veterinary careers, including veterinary scientists, veterinary nurses and veterinary physiotherapists and other roles that complement and support veterinary surgeons in their promotion of animal health and welfare in all its aspects 
  • Academic publishing or science journalism
  • Animal management positions in organisations ranging from zoos to laboratories, kennels to liveries, and animal sanctuaries to farms
  • Livestock and companion animal food and husbandry industry roles

Please note that holders of this degree are not qualified to become members of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons or to practise as a veterinary surgeon. However, from your final year, you will be able to apply for entry onto the BVetMed Accelerated Programme.

Postgraduate research options

This degree will also prepare you for further study if you wish to pursue this path. It is relevant to veterinary and scientific research, for example. Some recent PhD and Masters research titles within the Animal Welfare Science and Ethics group include:

  • Relationships between different outcome-based indicators of welfare in the dairy cow
  • Scientific validation of a quality of life assessment in UK horses
  • Quantifying health conformational limits in domestic dog breeds
  • Comparison of the effects of alternative identification-marking methods on laboratory mouse welfare
  • Objective and subjective assessments of positive emotional states in companion dogs
  • Adolescent attitudes to farm animal welfare and animal welfare education

RVC Destinations

We offer a Placement Year with all our BSc and MSci Biological Sciences courses after your second year of study. Courses including the Placement Year hold Advanced Degree Accreditation by the Royal Society of Biology, highlighting its potential to educate the life science leaders and innovators of the future.

Not only do you get a year of practical work experience, as part of the Placement Year you also undertake a research project that is devised and supervised by your placement provider. This allows students to have a diverse experience which is useful for students who want a taste of a certain sector or type of work, and also provides you with a fantastic opportunity to gain and develop your employability skills and attitudes to work. This is encouraged through a focus on self-reflection, which is supported by the Professionalism module.

The second type of placement is a Masters level placement. This is taken in your final year of the MSci Applied Biological Research and MSci Applied Bioveterinary Research courses (including with a sandwich Placement Year). This placement is dedicated to a research project which is assessed in several ways, including a project report and oral exam. This year is particularly useful for those who want to find out if research is for them before committing to a PhD, and allows them to experience what it is like to work outside of the RVC, either in industry, research institutes, or charities, for example.

Both types of placement will provide you with insight into the organisation and sector you are working in, as well as the huge variety of jobs available, therefore enabling you to identify your preferred career path. Both will also provide you with those crucial employability skills you need as a graduate and enable you to expand your network of connections. Most placements are salaried and you can expect to earn between £8,000 and £17,000 during the year. A placement sometimes leads to an offer of a position after graduation or future sponsorship for studying a PhD, and you can certainly expect to extend your professional network.

All placement providers will provide you with the training you need to complete the work or research you are tasked with. You will also be assigned a tutor from the RVC who will guide you through the year, and there are several online tutorials with the placement year leader.

How do I find a placement?

You are required to be proactive in searching for, applying to and securing your own placement. Support and guidance on finding a placement will be provided in specific timetabled sessions and on a dedicated website listing previous placements and those currently advertised, however many placements are generated through speculative applications from students with specific interests to relevant organisations. Support and guidance will be provided in timetabled sessions. Further advice will be available from the Careers Service.

Tuition Fees

The tuition fees for students commencing the course in 2024/25 are as follows:

Home Tuition Fees including Island Fees (Channel Islands & Isle of Man)

International Fees



Tuition fee amounts are subject to increase each academic year, please be aware of this when making your calculations and planning how much money you will require.

  • For Sandwich/ Placement year fees for UK and international students see link 
  • Students from countries outside the UK who wish to undertake full-time study at the RVC are required to pay the international fee for their programme of study (please see Fee status section).
  • Information on Fees & Funding can be found here

The following course-related costs are included in the fees:

  • Student affiliate membership of Royal Society of Biology 
  • Access to books and journals essential to your course (print and digital)
  • Open access and bookable IT equipment such as PCs and laptops
  • Largely paperless curriculum plus £10 p.a. printing allowance
  • Annual membership of College gym (both campuses)
  • Entrance to ZSL London Zoo for study purposes (BSc/MSci Biological Sciences (Wildlife Health Sciences) only)
  • Any costs relating to compulsory field trips outside of London

The following course-related costs are not included in the fees:

  • £16 Howie laboratory coat
  • Travel to placement/s (placement year pathways)
  • Travel to non-home campus for optional modules or project work will not be covered

Accommodation and living costs are not included in the fees. Our Housing Advice pages provide further information on College and private housing. 

Funding Options

RVC Bursary for Home Undergraduate Students

RVC Bursaries are customary to assist students from lower income households with the cost of undergraduate study.

UK Government Financial Support for Undergraduate Students

Financial support in the form of tuition loan and maintenance loan is available for students from England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and EU countries who normally live in UK.

NB: UK students considering studying on the BVetMed Graduate Accelerated or the BVetMed as a second degree are entitled to maintenance loan (a variable means tested living cost loan) and RVC bursary. However, they are not eligible for tuition fee loans so please consider how you will pay the tuition fees for each year before enrolling. For more info see money-matters.

For full details of the government financial support visit the links below.

Tuition fee loan

Maintenance loan



Additional important point to note

Maintenance Grant - this is only available to full-time UK undergraduate students who commenced their studies on or before 2015/16 academic year.

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