To be read in conjunction with the program of study requirements for the Bachelor of Science.

The Animal Behaviour Specialisation is offered as part of the Bachelor of Science and requires three years of full-time study (or the equivalent part-time). The Specialisation is offered by the School of Biological Sciences, within the Faculty of Science and Engineering.

Specialisations have different admission requirements to other programs of study available in the Bachelor of Science. In order to undertake a Specialisation students must be admitted to the Specialisation program. The name of the Specialisation will appear on the transcript and parchment.

Admission requirements

The minimum requirements for consideration for entry to all undergraduate courses are specified in detail in the University Entry Requirements.

Course aims

The program of study aims to provide students with a broad-based foundation in animal behaviour. The program will examine animal behaviour in captive and wild animals, and will promote an understanding of the role of animal behaviour for assessing animal welfare, survival, and evolution. The program also aims to develop a range of transferable research, analytical and communication skills including the capacity to:

  • understand and apply relevant scientific principles in the area of animal behaviour
  • retrieve and present information about animal behaviour effectively, communicate clearly with a variety of audiences in written and spoken forms
  • critically analyse and evaluate information relevant to animal behaviour
  • appreciate the multidisciplinary aspect of studies in animal behaviour and engage positively with people and ideas beyond the discipline
  • work cooperatively and productively within a team
  • work independently and take responsibility for updating and adapting their knowledge and skills
  • appreciate the societal and ethical contexts of conservation biology, animal behaviour, and animal welfare issues.

The program provides the foundations that will underpin ongoing professional development, preparing graduates for further study in biology or another science or non-science related discipline or for a career in a biology related field or in other areas where the range of skills and knowledge acquired is needed or desirable. 

Learning outcomes

Graduates are expected to be able to:

  • know and critically apply theories, subject content, professional methodologies and research procedures relevant to Animal Behaviour; for example focal sampling method, ethogram analysis, and experimental design
  • understand and describe the processes through which current knowledge about the disciplines of animal behaviour, evolution, and sociobiology were developed
  • analyse and critically evaluate ideas/information/data and apply relevant scientific principles to solve problems by, for example, creating hypotheses, testing theories and predictions, designing and carrying out experiments and analysing reported data
  • design and carry out experiments using appropriate techniques, protocols and appreciation of ethics
  • communicate their findings to lay, general scientific and specialised scientific audiences in written and spoken form
  • appreciate that animal behaviour science is multidisciplinary and has connections to other science and non-science disciplines
  • work and learn independently and appreciate the need for continuing professional development
  • interact effectively as part of a team in order to achieve common goals.

Program of study

To qualify for the Bachelor of Science (Animal Behaviour) a student must complete 108 units, with a grade of P or NGP or better in each topic, according to the study detailed below.

No more than 45 units of First Year level topics may be included in the 108 units for the degree. Topics designated 'any year' or with no year level specified are regarded as First Year level topics.

Elective topics to complete 108 units may be selected from any offered within the University or, with approval from the Faculty of Science and Engineering, from outside the University, provided any course and prerequisite requirements are met.

Not all topics are necessarily available in a given year.

Except where there is an approved double specialisation (see Bachelor of Science program of study) the same upper level (2xxx or above) topic cannot be counted twice. For example an upper level topic that is counted towards a specialisation may not also be counted towards a minor.

Specialisation - Animal Behaviour - Year 1 topics

36 units comprising:

 BIOL1101  Evolution of Biological Diversity  (4.5 units)
 BIOL1102  Molecular Basis of Life  (4.5 units)
 BIOL1711  Introduction to Animal Behaviour  (4.5 units) #

Plus a 4.5 unit First Year Science topic

Plus 9 units of elective topics*^ from across the University where entry requirements are met.

Plus one of:

 CHEM1101  Chemical Structure and Bonding  (4.5 units)
 CHEM1201  General Chemistry  (4.5 units)


 CHEM1202  Chemistry for the Life Sciences  (4.5 units)

Specialisation - Animal Behaviour - Year 2 topics

36 units comprising:

 BIOL2701  Experimental Design and Statistics for Biology  (4.5 units)
 BIOL2702  Genetics, Evolution and Biodiversity  (4.5 units)
 BIOL2711  Ecology  (4.5 units)
 BIOL2712  Animal Diversity  (4.5 units)
 BIOL2721  Foundations of Animal Behaviour  (4.5 units)
 BIOL2722  Disease and Immunology  (4.5 units)

Plus 9 units of elective topics*^ from across the University where entry requirements are met.

Specialisation - Animal Behaviour - Year 3 topics

36 units comprising:

 BIOL3701  Conservation Biology and Restoration Ecology  (4.5 units)
 BIOL3702  Marine and Freshwater Biology  (4.5 units)
 BIOL3711  Plant and Algal Diversity  (4.5 units)
 BIOL3712  Integrative Physiology of Animals and Plants  (4.5 units)
 BIOL3721  Research in Animal Behaviour  (4.5 units)
 BIOL3722  Conservation and Ecological Genetics  (4.5 units)

Plus 9 units of elective topics*^ from across the University where entry requirements are met.

# These topics are cognate studies topics which must be taken to complete the specialisation.

* Students may choose to undertake a Bachelor of Science Minor as part of the elective component of their degree subject to meeting course/topic requirements.

^Specialisation - Animal Behaviour - Recommended Electives

While students are able to select elective units from anywhere across the University, these are recommended electives.

 BIOD1102  Introduction to Biodiversity and Conservation  (4.5 units)
 BIOD2701  Biodiversity and Conservation  (4.5 units)
 BIOL1112  Biology and Society  (4.5 units)
 BIOL1301  Introduction to Marine Biology  (4.5 units)
 BIOL3700   Biology Research Project (4.5 units)
 BIOL3703  Vertebrate Palaeontology  (4.5 units)
 EASC1101  Earth and Environmental Sciences  (4.5 units)
 EASC1102  Marine Sciences  (4.5 units)
 ENVS1001  Introduction to Environmental Investigations  (4.5 units)
 GEOG1003  Introduction to GIS  (4.5 units)
 GEOG2700  Geographical Information Systems  (4.5 units)
 PSYC1101  Psychology 1A  (4.5 units)
 PSYC1102  Psychology 1B  (4.5 units)
 SCME1000  Film Form and Analysis  (4.5 units)
 SCME2001  Television: History and Theory  (4.5 units)
 SCME2102  Sex and Gender  (4.5 units)
 TOUR1101 International Tourism Management  (4.5 units)
 TOUR1102 Interpretive Tour Guiding  (4.5 units)
 TOUR1103 Event Design and Practice A  (4.5 units)
 WMST2016  Indigenous Women’s Voices: Race, Gender and Colonialism  (4.5 units)
 WMST2017  Gender, Globalisation and International Development (4.5 units)


Admission to an honours program may be offered to a student who meets certain academic criteria and subject to the school/department being able to provide appropriate resources and staff to supervise the program of study.

Refer to Bachelor of Science (Animal Behaviour) (Honours)

Combined degrees

The Bachelor of Science (Animal Behaviour) may also be studied in a combined degrees program with the: