Zoology courses: studying all creatures great and small

By Anne Sexton - Last update

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Zoology appeals to animal lovers and to people who want to study the animal world. Zoology is a scientific discipline, so zoologists do need objective detachment. However, they must also have care and respect for all creatures, great and small, marine and terrestrial.

When most of us think of a zoologist, we imagine someone working in a zoo, or going on deep into the wilderness to find a new species of squirrel or spider. While some zoologists do this work, zoology training is far broader. Zoologists work in wildlife education and conservation, in aquariums and fishery boards, in museums, laboratories, as environmental consultants and even in private enterprises.

Why study zoology?

If you want to study animals and work on projects that could make a real difference to their lives, zoology may be the course for you. Zoology encompasses a number of different fields. This includes:

  • Animal health care
  • Zoo-keeping
  • Animal Behaviour
  • Animal Breeding
  • Wildlife Conservation

Working with animals is a dream come true for any animal lover. However, zoology requires dedication and hard work. There is very little animal cuddling involved! In fact, many zoologists spend most of their time in a lab or office.

What does it involve?

Most zoologists undertake a four-year university degree course. You will study biology, chemistry and mathematics as well as zoology. Many graduates go on to do a Masters degree. Anyone who wants to work as a university lecturer or as a researcher will need postgraduate education.

There are shorter courses available. These are especially relevant for anyone who wants to work at a zoo or wildlife park. These courses aimed at people who want a hands-on role instead of a scientific one. Your duties would include feeding animals and maintaining their enclosures. As you can imagine, there is fierce competition for these jobs. Volunteering in animal or wildlife organisation, can be a real asset here. These shorter courses are also ideal for vet’s assistants, animal shelter workers, or people working in animal care.

At a glance

Zoology is often thought of in terms of studying animals in the wild, but in truth, the subject covers everything from pets to pest control. Modern zoologists work in diverse fields, from aquariums to zoos. Most zoologists undertake a four-year degree and postgraduate studies. It is a scientific discipline and requires research. Shorter courses are available for people who want to work directly with animals.

Anne Sexton

Studying to be a secretary or administration assistant
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  1. Louiose Deegan 16th October 2016 at 4:54 pm

    Hi, I am interested in doing this course but it would have to be part time as I work full time as an assistant manager in a pet shop, being in a retail business id high demand so it would literally have to be one day a week. Is there a course like this?

    1. Cormac O' Meara 17th October 2016 at 12:52 pm

      Hi Louiose,

      There is an online Zoology course right here

      Best of luck,


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