Unit 1 | Introduction to the Role of Zoos and Aquariums
Unit 2 | Research in Zoos and Aquariums
Unit 3 | Education and Learning in Zoos and Aquariums
Unit 4 | Conservation and Collection Planning in Zoos and Aquariums
Unit 5 | Enclosure Management in Zoos and Aquariums
Unit 6 | Principles of Breeding in Zoos and Aquariums
Unit 7 | Animal Transfers, Records and Health in Zoos and Aquariums
Unit 8 | Nutrition in Zoos and Aquariums
Unit 9 | Horticulture in Zoos and Aquariums
Unit 10 | Ethics and Welfare in Zoos and Aquariums
Unit 11 | Animal Research Project in Zoos or Aquariums
Unit 31 | Specialist Husbandry Portfolio in Zoos or Aquariums
Unit 32 | Training and Enrichment in Zoos and Aquariums
Unit 12 | Management of Invertebrates in Zoos and Aquariums
Unit 13 | Management of Freshwater Fish in Zoos and Aquariums
Unit 14 | Management of Live Food Culture in Zoos and Aquariums
Unit 15 | Management of Marine Fish in Zoos and Aquariums
Unit 16 | Management of Elasmobranchs in Zoos and Aquariums
Unit 17 | Management of Coral Reef Aquariums in Zoos and Aquariums
Unit 18 | Management of Aquatic Mammals in Zoos and Aquariums
Unit 19 | Management of Chelonia and Crocodilians in Zoos
Unit 20 | Management of Snakes and Lizards in Zoos
Unit 21 | Management of Amphibians in Zoos and Aquariums
Unit 22 | Management of Aviary Birds in Zoos
Unit 23 | Management of Aquatic Birds in Zoos
Unit 24 | Management of Raptors in Zoos
Unit 25 | Management of Paddock Birds in Zoos
Unit 26 | Management of Primates in Zoos
Unit 27 | Management of Small Mammals in Zoos
Unit 28 | Management of Carnivores in Zoos
Unit 29 | Management of Ungulates in Zoos
Unit 30 | Management of Elephants in Zoos
Unit 33 | Transportation in Zoos and Aquariums
These units are themed into aquarist, herpetology, birds, mammals and invertebrate specialisms. Please contact the College for further details
In some cases, the employing collection pays for the course. Where this happens, learners may be required to contract to work for an agreed time period after completing the course. It is also possible to self-fund this course. If you will be paying the fees yourself a 10% deposit is payable at point of application and the remainder is payable when the course starts. This can be paid in a lump sum for the year or in monthly instalments, via our online store. Sparsholt College administers the City & Guilds registration process and course delivery on behalf of BIAZA.
Year 1 Costs: £1,598
Includes £1,450 course fee and + £148 one-off City & Guilds registration fee, lasting five years.
Mandatory Residential Block: £150
Covers accommodation Sunday PM – Friday AM at £30 per night. Colleagues who can share a twin room will be charged £100 per person for the week. Food costs must be met by the student whilst on site at approximately £20 per day, for three meals.
Year 2 Costs: £1,44
Each candidate will be assigned to the nearest Regional Centre to their collection and
the corresponding Regional Co-ordinator, whose role is to ensure smooth running of the
programme. They are responsible for conducting tutorials, launching assignments, acting
as a point of contact for information and support, following up on assignment feedback
and preparing the venue for supervising the national test.
All students within a particular region must begin the course by attending an Induction
event online via Microsoft Teams, when the course content is explained, course materials
provided and key personnel identified. These events will mark the point of registration
on the course and will normally take place in late August before the start of the
The course is run using electronic technology via a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) where resources and assignments are available. Submitted assignments are uploaded to the VLE and marked electronically by a panel of industry experts. In addition an ‘Open Athens’ account is provided to all candidates to remotely access the library and its wealth of electronic books, journals and media. Therefore, candidates should be aware that access to a computer, reliable Internet and an email account is essential.
Course content and outcomes are guided directly by BIAZA and as such remain updated for relevance to real Zookeepers and Aquarists ‘on the ground’
A mandatory five day residential block for Year 1 students is convened at Sparsholt College. Two identical blocks are arranged each year in September. Students need only attend one during the programme and the arrangements for this are made on application to the course. Students can look forward to a series of workshops and lectures from leading industry experts that help guide assignment work in Units 1 – 10 especially, and also to encourage zoo networking and professorial development.
The week’s purpose is to reinforce learning which is difficult to deliver at a distance, e.g. computerised recording systems, ethics and welfare, records and movement paperwork, introduction to nutrition and health and safety, role of horticulture in zoos and aquariums and use of electronic resources.
Each core unit will be assessed by one written assignment – with ten assignments to be completed in Year 1 and eight in Year 2. It is expected that each assignment will take, on average, about 30 hours to complete and should be written at Level 3 (A Level equivalent) standard for submission.
In addition, candidates will also sit a National Test at the end of Year 1 (usually in the first week of September of Year 2) which is in two parts; one with questions on units 1 – 5 and the second with questions on units 6 – 10. The test is scheduled on the same day at all centres across the UK and Ireland and is comprised of information supplied in the online learning materials provided for the course.
Assessment in the second year is by a panel of taxonomic specialists who then provide detailed feedback on written work via the VLE – as in Year 1. As well as chosen optional specialisms in Year 2, students will carry out a Research Project in a related subject of their own choosing. This is assessed through the production of a written paper and can be recommended for industry publication if appropriate. Finally, the extensive practical skills of a Zookeeper or Aquarist are demonstrated and evidenced through a personal e-portfolio, accumulated over the duration of the course. The portfolio is formally assessed but can also form the basis of an electronic profile for the candidate to take forward into the rest of their career, which is also remotely viewable for anyone in receipt of the secure link, anywhere in the world.
– IT literacy and reliable access to a computer and internet
– Formal school education completed with a satisfactory level of qualification (GCSE grade A-C or 9-4)
– Candidates with Irish qualifications should have a leaving certificate with science options at Higher Level
– Candidates with Scottish qualifications should have a National Level 3 of 4 in relevant subjects
– Able to produce written work in the English language at A Level equivalent standard
– Working in paid role as a Keeper/Aquarist in a licensed zoo/aquarium (a bespoke programme for active Keeper/Aquarist volunteers is available)
– Understanding of science equivalent to grades A-C (9-4) at GCSE
– Understanding of basic research and referencing using the Harvard system
Candidates may already have completed vocational courses (Advanced National Certificate in Animal Management or Extended Diploma in Animal Management). Additionally, others may have completed HE courses (Foundation Degrees in Animal Management, or BSc in Animal Management or Zoology).
Application forms are made available in February/March, obtained from Regional Co-ordinators and returned to them for approval, to be returned to the college for processing by the end of May each year, in readiness for Induction. Please note your collection is also required to countersign the application to confirm your role.
Please contact the College Part-time Admissions for details of your nearest Regional Co-ordinator or an application pack on DMZAA@sparsholt.ac.uk