Learn more about the vital roles of zoos in conservation whilst engaging in the exciting world of behavioural research, all from the comfort of your own home!

Broadcast from Edinburgh Zoo and the Highland Wildlife Park in beautiful Scotland, the zoo studies course has been designed to be completed over approximately five days, or learners can choose to spread out the course content for up to four months. Those that successfully complete the course will enhance their CVs by receiving a Zoo Environment Behavioural Research Award (ZEBRA) from the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS).

This online course can be done from the comfort of your own home while also giving you real life experience in ethology: the study of animal behaviour! By using our charity's live webcams at Edinburgh Zoo and Highland Wildlife Park, and the wealth of unique and original online learning materials on our course, we aim to give you a grounding in the importance of behavioural research to the operation of zoos and wider conservation globally.

Asiatic lion Jayendra looking at camera

IMAGE: Sian Addison 2018

Course format

Virtually join our team at Edinburgh Zoo and Highland Wildlife Park as our ZOODle online learning programme guides you through the four modules of our online course:

1. Behavioural Research
2. Conservation
3. Animal Welfare
4. Zoo Design

The course employs a blended learning approach, combining digital interactive games, live animal observations and online webinars. Full participation will require access to an internet-enabled device. No other resources will be required for completion of this online course.

Two polar bears sitting in the snow next to a tree looking to the right IMAGE: Laura Moore 2020

Course assessment

As you progress through the course, zoo studies will introduce five assessments which learners will be required to submit if they wish to receive an RZSS ZEBRA Award:

1. An original design for an animal enclosure 
2. An original design for an item of enrichment 
3. An original design for a piece of interpretation 
4. A maximum 300 word abstract summarizing your webcam-based behavioural research project 
5. The results of your webcam-based behavioural research project displayed visually in the form of a graph(s)

Learners on this course will retain access to the online learning platform for a total of four months to allow ample time to complete the five course assessments.

Meerkat looking to the right. IMAGE: Amy Middleton 2023

Ages 16-18

Zoo studies course for learners aged 16-18

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Giraffe looking at camera

IMAGE: Amy Middleton 2022

Ages 19+

Zoo studies course for those aged 19 and over

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