University of Reading cookie policy

We use cookies on to improve your experience, monitor site performance and tailor content to you

Read our cookie policy to find out how to manage your cookie settings

Your learning experience

Biological sciences, ecology, wildlife conservation and zoology are very diverse fields, and our teaching structure is equally diverse.

You’ll learn through lectures, small group tutorials, and practical work in the lab, on campus and on field trips.

Image: Borneo field course

A student taking a photograph of plants in a wood

Tailor your degree

We offer a wide array of modules so you can tailor your degree to your interests. Biological scientists have the opportunity to study all aspects of biology. Ecologists and zoologists can study their chosen subject from day one.

Lectures and practical work

You'll learn about theory in lectures and put it into practice in our new laboratories or on our award-winning campus.

Undertake biodiversity surveys in our new research woodland at EcoValley and make use of the collections in the Cole Museum of Zoology.

Learn in small groups

Your learning will be guided by academics on the frontier of discovery. Classes are kept small and interactive to ensure you have the chance to interact with peers and lecturers.
Having this training is a good head start for anyone that wants to work in a museum. It's also really useful if they're going into scientific research because institutions with collections like this quite often use them for ongoing scientific research.

Claire Smith, Cole Museum of Zoology volunteer,
on teaching Zoology students to look after preserved specimens

Field trips

Learning within the field provides essential knowledge and experience for anyone entering a career in ecology, conservation or zoology. 

At Reading, we offer an excellent breadth of field work as part of the BSc Ecology and Wildlife Conservation and BSc Zoology courses. As the BSc Biological Sciences degree covers a broad range of subjects, students on this course can join their ecologist and zoologist peers on these trips.

Fieldwork on campus

We offer modules that are partially or completely taught out in the field. This is possible because the School of Biological Sciences is located on the beautiful Whiteknights Campus.

A winner of multiple Green Flag awards, the campus encompasses multiple species and environments in one place, including woodland, meadows, a lake and botanical gardens. This means you can learn in the field with no travel.

Ecology and Wildlife Conservation projects

You will have the opportunity to complete your third-year dissertation with a field project. In recent years some students have arranged overseas projects, for example on sea turtle conservation in Greece.

We also offer dissertation projects closer to home, which might be based on campus, or at our EcoValley site just to the south of Reading. Other students have worked in Devon or with UK wildlife charities or trusts.

Zoology projects in the UK

In your second year, you can take an eight-day residential course at the National Nature Reserve in Slapton Ley, Devon. Visiting rivers, lakes, meadows, woodlands and coastline, you will observe, trap, sample and record animals including mammals, birds and marine life.


Taking a placement will allow you to gain valuable professional experience in the workplace, learn new skills and increase your visibility to employers.

Our School has a dedicated member of staff in charge of placements, who can provide you with advice and support.

With all our degrees, you can choose to undertake a year-long placement between your second and final year. Academic research placements are also available. Alternatively, you may choose a 3-8 week summer placement, as part of our Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme.

The School of Biological Sciences has excellent relationships with employers in the field. Students in previous years have worked on industrial and summer placements at:

  • Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust
  • Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust (BBOWT)
  • Environment Agency
  • Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT).

The University is keen that everyone's placement should be as useful as possible. Learn more about institution-wide support for placements.

Polly's story

Zoology student, Polly Bennett, spent her placement year at Woburn Safari Park working with both the research and animal-keeping teams.

"My placement gave me invaluable experience and helped me meet many new people in that world of work... The experience was great as I got to apply what I'd learnt beyond the university walls."

Polly Bennett, BSc Zoology with Professional Experience

Read Polly's story

Opportunities overseas

Voluntary work

You'll have the chance to carry out voluntary work abroad, allowing you to make a real, positive impact, pick up essential working skills and see a different part of the world.

Previous field trips, open to ecologists, zoologists and biological scientists, have been offered in Tanzania, Spain, Borneo, Java, Madagascar, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands. We also offer a Marine Biology and Conservation field course to South Africa.

Field courses

Zoologists have the opportunity to undertake a unique research-focused field course. Hosted between the University of Reading and the Royal Tyrrell Museum, Canada, the trip includes field surveys and fossil extraction in Dinosaur Provincial Park.

Note that places on field courses are limited and cannot be guaranteed, and that they incur an additional cost.

Study abroad

If you are interested in the possibility of spending a semester abroad, view the grants and bursaries information on our Study Abroad website.


Our courses

Our undergraduate degrees offer you a wealth of options for learning about the living world. Explore our BSc Biological Sciences, BSc Ecology and Wildlife Conservation and BSc Zoology courses.
Whiteknights lake surrounded by trees

Why study with us?

With no common first year, you will be able to concentrate on your subject from day one, in a stimulating environment on a beautiful "living laboratory" campus. 

Life in the Department

Join our friendly, supportive community who are as passionate about the biological sciences as you are.
Athena SWAN Silver Award