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Department of Zoology


Blue Tit on a branch against a blue skyHow is Zoology taught at Cambridge?

Zoology teaching at Cambridge covers a diverse range of topics from single-cell organisms to whole ecosystems; from the outset, students are taught by experts at the forefront of modern scientific research through a combination of lectures, practical classes and small group teaching (supervisions).  This teaching is delivered as part of the Natural Sciences Tripos, an undergraduate course designed to give students the chance to study a variety of scientific subjects over the three (sometimes four) years depending on their interests. Students have the opportunity to go on field courses, hold summer placements in labs, and in their final year complete a project with a leading member of the Department, assisted by members of their research group.

How does the Natural Sciences Tripos work?

The word "Tripos" is simply the way that Cambridge says "study course". The Natural Sciences Tripos prides itself on being one of the broadest courses of study available to undergraduates studying science, both biological and physical. It is jointly run by sixteen Departments of the University and has an exceptionally flexible system allowing you to tailor your time at Cambridge towards the particular subjects you wish to study.

The flexibility of Natural Sciences means you can:

  • experience new areas of science
  • find out what more familiar subjects are like at university level
  • discover the interconnections between apparently diverse subjects
  • gain an insight into different scientific methods
  • postpone your decision to specialise until you’re sure about the direction you want to take.

Natural Sciences course breakdown:

  • First year (known as ‘Part IA’) = four subjects
  • Second year (known as ‘Part IB’) =  three subjects
  • Third year (known as ‘Part II’) = one subject (this will be based in one Department)

For more detailed information on each section of the Natural Sciences Tripos, including admissions requirements, please visit (the ‘Prospective students’ and ‘Subject information’ tabs in particular). For more information on the specific courses that include Zoology teaching, please visit our Current undergraduates page.

How do I apply?

Every Cambridge undergraduate will be a member of a college—applications are made through these colleges—please visit the University’s admissions pages for further information.