MSc Applied Zoo Biology
I started at Sparsholt right after school and completed a diploma and BSc in Animal Management and Applied Sciences before I moved on to the MSc course. Sparsholt came highly recommended as the place to study for anybody looking at a career with animals, from agriculture and domestics to aquatics and zoo species. A visit to the site gave me the opportunity to see the facilities and talk to a lot of the staff, and it felt like the right choice for me!
My course covered all aspects of zoo biology from visitor studies and education, to animal husbandry and ethics, and had a well-balanced mix of lecture, discussion, and independent research. Smaller group sizes at Sparsholt gives the lessons more of a tailored feel and allows all students easy and frequent access to help and advice from lecturers and technicians whenever needed. Furthermore, having an on-site BIAZA accredited zoo allows some activities and lessons to be delivered more practically, using some of the exotic species available within the collection.
I think the most useful skill I learned from my time at Sparsholt was how to carry out independent study, behavioural observations and how best to utilise the information you gather. It has helped me to no end in expanding my knowledge and understanding of the animals in my care and allows me to make changes and suggestions to improve husbandry and daily practices.
The facilities are very good; whilst not in lectures there is ample space provided for study and revision, the library contains a lot of relevant literature. The lecturers are fantastic; all have a lot of industry experience and knowledge in a variety of areas and apply this to their classes wherever possible. They are always readily available to give help and support and have many contacts in the industry that they can utilise where and when possible.
I am now working as a qualified zookeeper at Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens, working with a range of birds and large mammals. I started out as a six-month intern and was lucky enough to be offered a two-year traineeship straight after. Without Sparsholt, I never would have secured my current position; Sparsholt have great contacts to multiple collections and facilities across the country. Having the support of Sparsholt throughout my internship was a great help and encouraged me to work even harder.
Find out more about the Applied Zoo Biology course at University Centre Sparsholt