30/08/2021

Unique opportunity to study at Bristol Zoo Gardens for the last time

Places are still available on a degree course in Zoological Management based here at Bristol Zoo Gardens.

The degree course, which starts in September, is based at our onsite Conservation Education Centre which offers bespoke facilities including lecture theatres, science labs and a library, as well as all the benefits of studying whilst immersed in a zoo environment.

It is one of the last times that students on the course will be based here at Bristol Zoo Gardens after the Society announced that it is due to close the Clifton site to the public in late 2022 and relocate Bristol Zoo to its Wild Place Project site on the edge of Bristol.  

The second year of the course will also be based here at Bristol Zoo Gardens, after it has permanently closed to the public, but the zoo will still have animals and staff working on site. 

It will offer a never-before opportunity to study at the zoo under unique circumstances, and see first-hand the planning and development of a new, world-class zoo for the 21st century.

The final year of the course is expected to be based at the new Bristol Zoo, which is due to be created on the site of Wild Place Project over the coming years, and which will become the new Bristol Zoo in 2024. 

The course is being offered in collaboration with South Gloucestershire and Stroud College and validated by the University of Gloucestershire, and can be completed on a full-time or part-time basis. Students can take a two-year Foundation degree or go on to complete a Level 6 top-up year for a full BSc in Zoological Management and Conservation.

Conservation and Higher Education Manager, Dr Tim Bray, who oversees this course for the zoo, said: “This really is an amazing opportunity to study at the world’s oldest provincial zoo for the last time before we undergo our exciting transformation over the coming few years, to create a new, world-class zoo that will set the standard for modern zoos. This transformation process will be embedded in the course content and is a unique chance to gain a brilliant insight into zoo management.”

He added: “The course programme is taught by a wide variety of professionals from research, field conservation and captive management backgrounds, who will bring to life protocols and case studies utilising first-hand experiences of zookeeping, conservation and science communication. This will help develop students’ knowledge and skills of current zoo management practices by embedding them within the industry, giving them a leg up when entering this niche job market. 

“The course aims to develop students’ knowledge of biology, behaviour and husbandry, as well as more industry-specific skills such as the development of environmental enrichment, enclosure design and biological specimen assessment and identification. 

“The theoretical delivery will be enhanced by interaction with industry specialists, field trips and practical workshops.”

One of the course alumni is Georgina Cox, who is originally from Chippenham but now lives and works in the United Arab Emirates.

Georgina said: “Completing my degree in Zoological Management and Conservation was one of the best decisions I’ve made. Six months after my final exam, I landed my first animal training job with Worldwide Zoo Consultants and relocated to the United Arab Emirates.

“The things I learned within the course prepared me for my career and allow me to have a voice at my current job when it comes to the care of our animals and the preservation of their wild counterparts. 

“One of the things that really helped me was the teaching style and how I was allowed to apply theory to groups of animals that interested me when writing assignments. Not only that, but being able to apply what I was learning in the lecture room directly to the animals living in the zoo just outside the doorway also heightened my understanding of husbandry and behaviour.

“The course and the setting is wonderfully unique in that it allows you to gain a wide breadth of knowledge and open many doors post graduation. Any prospective students should be excited at the opportunities and doors that can be opened into the field by completing this degree.”

Bristol Zoo Gardens hosts a range of students studying courses varying from Foundation level to PhD supervision. Other degree courses are also offered in collaboration with the University of the West of England and the University of Bristol. 

Open events for admissions in 2022 will be held on October 9 and November 27, from 10am to 12noon. To reserve a place please email undergraduate@sgscol.ac.uk 

To find out more, visit the South Gloucestershire and Stroud College website

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