skip to content

Department of Zoology


The course is made up of:

Lecture modules in the Michaelmas and Lent Terms. Students do two modules each term, but are free to attend lectures in any modules.

Project work. Students do practical research projects that are related to the modules they are taking. You may do two one-term projects, each amounting to about 80 hours of practical work and analysis, or one two-term project (about 160 hours). A two-term project is normally undertaken during the Michaelmas and Lent Terms, the exact timetable being established by discussion with the supervisor.

At the beginning of Easter term, students give a compulsory oral presentation of one of their projects. 

Research Project Proposal. Students write a short research proposal on a selected topic from a module they are taking in either the Michaelmas or Lent Term.

Statistics course in Michaelmas Term. This course is designed to familiarise students with quantitative methods and computing and is not examined.

Long vacation field course

An exciting field course to Panama provides a superb opportunity for training in experimental design and analysis of behavioural and ecological data. Students attending the course will use their research to form the basis of a short research project.

Special seminars

In addition to these formal parts of the course, there are a number of Special seminars on a range of topics such as careers advice and how to give a research presentation. 

Facilities and contacts

Part II students are treated as full members of the Department, which is unusually large and diverse. There is a tradition of easy and informal access to members of the teaching staff and others, with whom students share the Tea room and other facilities and activities. The friendliness of the Department is often one of the first things a student will mention about the course.

Part II students have full use of the excellent and comprehensive facilities provided by the Balfour Library, including workstations. There is also a dedicated Part II Common Room with full facilities.

Professor Andrew Balmford is the current Part II Zoology and BBS Zoology course organiser and is available to give you advice and information on any aspect of the course, and to deal with any day-to-day problems that may arise during the year. You should feel free to contact him as your first port of call when you have any questions or difficulties connected with the Zoology course.

George Rutherford organises many practical aspects of the course, and is always willing to discuss issues with Part II students. The Teaching and Graduate Office is in Room 13 on the first floor of the Department.

 is the librarian and can help with any matters related to the library or online access to journals/books.

Students are welcome to attend Happy Hour in the Tea room on Friday afternoons. Parties for Part II students are held at the start of Michaelmas Term and after the exams.


Candidates submit two pieces of coursework comprising one research project proposal and project work, the latter being either a single long, two-term project or two short one-term projects. Students take four written three hour examination papers, one per module. On each of these four papers candidates answer three questions.