skip to primary navigationskip to content


Programme Specification: Part II Zoology

This course is taught within the Department of Zoology, by members of staff of that Department together with some from other University Departments and external organisations.


  1. the Department aims to provide a broad multidisciplinary course in Zoology;
  2. to train students in a wide range of science-based skills that provide the learning base for future careers in disciplines such as health sciences, agriculture, environmental management, the engineering biotechnologies, publishing, teaching, research and management;
  3. to offer a modular course of lectures and associated seminars, research projects and practical classes, supported by supervisions where appropriate;
  4. to promote training in practical and conceptual skills in sub-disciplines ranging from molecular cell biology, through physiology and neurobiology, to the ecology, evolution and conservation of populations;
  5. to provide constructive feedback on their progress by assessing individual students throughout the year in their project work, participation in seminars and written work for supervisions;
  6. to provide an optional Zoology-based course in statistics in the Michaelmas Term enabling students to apply quantitative methods to complex biological problems;
  7. to provide professional training in effective verbal and written communication skills.

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course students should:

  1. think critically in terms of their learning and research;
  2. evaluate critically the published literature;
  3. assess and implement the practical techniques necessary to solve a particular biological problem;
  4. quantify and analyse data collected during a research project;
  5. communicate with expert and non-expert audiences, both orally and in writing.

Teaching and Learning Methods

These include lectures, supervisions, practical classes, journal clubs and a field course.


Assessment of this course is through:

  • five unseen written examinations (for aims 2, 4, 6 and 7 and learning outcomes 1-5);
  • two dissertations each of no more than 5,000 words based on two research projects or one dissertation of no more than 7,500 words based on a single research project: a single practical examination may replace either of the two shorter dissertations (for aims 2, 4, 6 and 7 and learning outcomes 1-5);
  • a critical review of no more than 2,000 words (for aims 2, 4, 6 and 7 and learning outcomes 1-5).

Courses of Preparation

Essential: either Part IB of the NST; or Part IB of the Medical and Veterinary Sciences Tripos.

Additional Information

Further information on each subject is available in the Subject summary and on the Course Websites pages.