Diploma in Zoology


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Diploma in Zoology

Why Oxford Learning College


Animals have always been part of human existence – in fact we are classified as being part of the Animal Kingdom, and have been found in the oldest archaeological sites, in tombs, as symbols on ancient characters and painted on walls in caves. Zoology is the scientific study of animal life from this ancient perspective to more in-depth modern research. Its research has explained its origins as the simplest single-celled organism to the present day diverse ones containing the most complicated internal systems, not dissimilar to that found in humans. We also discuss the historic development of animals from theories of mass extinction to evolution and sustainability.


Module 1 - Introduction to Zoology


The first module introduces Zoology as a subject, and begins by defining animals gained the properties of life. How inorganic chemicals made the leap to organic molecules to begin the origin of life on Earth as simple celled organism is discussed. The first organisms, the prokaryote blue green algae (cyan bacteria) progress the story into a discussion on the basic building blocks of life, the cell. This brief history of the discovery of the cell as the basic unit of life, its structure and functions and the process of cellular reproduction, mitosis is included. The module concludes with a brief look at cellular metabolism, and the importance of enzymes in a biological system, e.g. in cellular respiration and energy production and movement.


Module 2 - Animal Development, evolution to individual


It is clear that animals developed and became complex through the development of genetics and mixing of hereditary material. This module examines genetics, evolution and the two basic characteristics of life, that of development and reproduction. An overview of genetic theory, from a historical perspective, followed by a closer examination of genetics at the cellular and whole animal level is given. The module then moves logically onto evolutionary theory, setting it in a historical context pre- and post-Darwin, before discussing its implications, for animal species. The large range of strategies used by animals to ensure reproductive success is summarised, followed by a brief review of the process of development from fertilized zygote, through gastrulation to the embryo and adult individual.


Module 3 - Animal Diversity: Part 1, Simple Animals


This module introduces the subject of animal diversity, beginning with a review of the various architectural patterns which occur in animal bodies. There are five major grades of organisation starting at the cellular level rising to multicellular, tissue, organ and organ-system level. The same development is reflected in the evolutionary pathways of animals and the taxonomic system currently used to classify animals supports this. The second part of the module seeks to describe the simple animals, from unicellular protozoans through to the development of multicellular animals such as sponges and jellyfish. Various characteristics of these animals such as movement, nutrition and reproduction are briefly described.


Module 4 - Animal Diversity: Part 2, Complex invertebrates


Following on from the last section, this module looks at complex invertebrates, from the simplest molluscs (including gastropods, and cephalopods), segmented worms (annelids e.g. ragworms, earthworms, leeches), to the advanced arthropods (from horseshoe crabs to crustaceans, spiders and insects), the echinoderms ( starfish, sea urchins) and hemichordates (marine worms). Aspects of these groups which make them unique in the evolutionary history of the animal kingdom are discussed briefly as the group of animals is so large and varied. Species and groups of great interest to humans will therefore be covered in more detail.


Module 5 - Animal Diversity: Part 3, The first vertebrates


Humans most resemble this group as they share the characteristics of a backbone or “chorda” cord. The function of the vertebrae is to support, hold muscles and protect the body. This module examines how the first vertebrate animals arose, and follows the history of animal life from the first emergence of backbone like animals, the proliferation of the fishes, through to the first walking vertebrates who moved to land, the early tetra pods and the modern amphibians. Various aspects of their life cycles, and uniqueness within the animal kingdom that cause them to evolve in the way they did e.g. move from water to land is discussed.


Module 6 - Animal Diversity: Part 4, Complex vertebrates


What caused animals to want to inhabit the land, and how did they adapt e.g. develop their limbs to make changes to their form in order to do this? In order for animals to be free of the need to have water in which to reproduce, the evolution of non-porous eggs to the amniotic egg was necessary. This module deals with the origins of non-porous eggs, and the corresponding proliferation of reptile groups, some of which became known as 'dinosaurs'. The connections between birds and reptiles are discussed as well important features of the avian group e.g. flight, migration and navigation.


Module 7 - Animal Diversity: Part 5, Mammals


Mammals are small in number when compared to birds, insects and fish, however they are the most biologically differentiated e.g. from the 1.5kg bats to the blue whale. They inhabit almost every environment, even trying to conquer outer space. Mammals in all their forms are the focus of this module. Their evolution and origin is discussed and well as the myriad of structural and functional adaptations (such as fur, highly developed nervous system and movement, and also the impact of humans on this adaptability such on domesticated pets, farm animals) the group has evolved to take advantage of the huge number of ecological niches which exist. The classification of living mammalian orders is discussed, along with specific examples of individual species. Human evolution is presented as a specific topic, although the advances in DNA modelling have helped to explain theories, full agreement on the exact path of evolution remains disputed.


Module 8 - Animal activity: Part 1, Body, senses and movement


Having looked at the diversity within the animal kingdom, we now focus on their life process activities, their relationship with each other and their environment. The first section discusses the various strategies animals have developed to support their body structures, e.g. internal/external skeletal systems. It then moves on to discuss how animal move through their environments, from whole animal movements to the cellular changes which enable muscle to contract. The module concludes with a discussion on how animals have developed senses to help become aware of their environments, and how those signal are processed in the nervous system.


Module 9 - Animal activity: Part 2, Maintaining the internal environment


Cellular activities need to occur in a constant stable environment and how this is maintained is called homeostasis. The internal environment changes e.g. due to nutrient concentration changing or from external changes such as of temperature, need to be maintained and this involves many systems. These processes involve several systems such as osmotic regulation (water balance) temperature regulation, circulation, respiration, digestion and nutrition and finally defence against micro-organisms, i.e. immunity. This involves coordinated activities within the circulatory, nervous and endocrine systems, and the organs which act as exchange environment with the external environment such as the kidneys, lungs or gills or the skin or digestive tract.


Module 10 - Animals and their environment


This final module examines how animals behave (Ethology) and deal with their external environment e.g. in social behaviour e.g. the flight patterns of a group of swallows, and communication such as the mating calls within animals. The module continues with a discussion of animals at a global level, including the biosphere and animal distribution. We study every environment and how animals are distributed in each. Animal ecology is defined as the relation of the animal to its organic and inorganic environment, and includes an examination of predator/prey relationships and biomass pyramids. Animals have been studied at the micro- and global level throughout this course to give a brief overview of a complex and interlinked topic.

Entry Requirements

All students must be 16 years of age and above.

Level 3 Diploma courses require a minimum prior learning to GCSE standard in order that students can manage their studies and the assumed knowledge within course content.

Study Hours

Approximately 20 hours per unit

Assessment Method

Final online multiple choice examination.

Please note that you can enrol on this course at anytime.


Diploma in Zoology

This course is Quality Assured by the Quality Licence Scheme
Quality Assured by QLS

At the end of this course successful learners will receive an e-Certificate from Oxford Learning College. There is also the option to purchase an Embossed Certificate and also a certificate from ABC Awards for the qualification.

The course has been endorsed under the ABC Awards Quality Licence Scheme. This means that Oxford Learning College has undergone an external quality check to ensure that the organisation and the courses it offers, meet certain quality criteria. The completion of this course alone does not lead to an Ofqual regulated qualification but may be used as evidence of knowledge and skills towards regulated qualifications in the future.

The unit summary can be used as evidence towards Recognition of Prior Learning if you wish to progress your studies in this sector. To this end the learning outcomes of the course have been benchmarked at Level 3 against level descriptors published by Ofqual, to indicate the depth of study and level of demand/complexity involved in successful completion by the learner.

The course itself has been designed by Oxford Learning College to meet specific learners' and/or employers' requirements which cannot be satisfied through current regulated qualifications. ABC Awards endorsement involves robust and rigorous quality audits by external auditors to ensure quality is continually met. A review of courses is carried out as part of the endorsement process.

ABC Awards is a leading national Awarding Organisation, regulated by Ofqual, and the Welsh Government. It has a long-established reputation for developing and awarding high quality vocational qualifications across a wide range of industries. As a registered charity, ABC Awards combines 180 years of expertise but also implements a responsive, flexible and innovative approach to the needs of our customers. Renowned for excellent customer service, and quality standards, ABC Awards also offers Ofqual regulated qualifications for all ages and abilities post-14; all are developed with the support of relevant stakeholders to ensure that they meet the needs and standards of employers across the UK.

How can I progress

For more information on how to progress after completing this course, please click here

Additional Information

You will receive a certificate from the College. A digital version is included in the price and will be emailed to you within 5 days of taking your online exam.

Should you require an embossed hard copy of your certificate to be sent to you by Special Delivery post, you can order this separately after taking your exam.

The course can be enrolled upon by students Internationally. There are no deadlines for enrolments.

To view the differences between our qualifications, please click HERE

What's Included

Online study materials to enable the student to successfully complete the Diploma. Support is provided by the tutor department for the duration of the course (1 year). Certification upon completion. All examination fees.

Course Fee


Payment by Instalments

Students are able to pay course fees in monthly instalments. Click here to download our instalment plan.

Further Information

The Quality Assured Diploma is a Level 3 equivalent on the National Qualifications Framework. The Diploma is a 1 year course which is self study and is examined by online examination. The Diploma is awarded by Oxford College. Upon completion of the course you will receive certification awarded by Oxford College.

The Level 3 Diplomas require a minimum prior learning to GCSE standard in order to for students to manage study and the assumed knowledge within course content.

They provide an ability to gain and apply a range of knowledge, skills and understanding in a specific subject at a detailed level. Level 3 qualifications such as A levels, NVQ3, BTEC Diplomas etc. are appropriate if you plan to progress to university study.

Level 3 Diploma courses can assist you in career development, continued professional development, personal development, and provision of a basis for further study.

Progression from Level 3 is to specialist learning and detailed analysis of a higher level of information (for example university level study, Diploma Level 5 study).

Your course is delivered online via the Oxford Learning On Campus website.

This is a flexible learning course, so the more time you have to commit to your studies, the sooner you are able to complete.

In the student 'On Campus' you are also able to take part in the student chat room and forums as part of our online student community.

After enrolling online you will receive your username and password to access the On Campus area within 3 working days.

Materials and support provided by Oxford Learning. Oxford Learning

For more information please visit our FAQ page.

Overall rating 5 out of 5 based on 1 student reviews

I completed this course earlier this year. I found the subject fascinating, the materials were challenging but interesting which kept be motivated. My tutor was also helpful and quicj to respond to my work and questions. I will now look at the hnd animal studies with oxford.

Rating: 5 Stars! [5 of 5 Stars!]

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This product was added to our catalog on Thursday 13 August, 2009.

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