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Animal Studies

Our Animal Studies department is based in a 12-acre farm and small animal centre, home to a wide range of animals from sheep to a giant python! We pride ourselves on providing our students with a supportive and challenging environment, where the passion for caring for animals will be developed into the skills for a rewarding career.

Available courses

The Animal Studies Department

If you are interested in working in the landbased industry, or specifically with animals, our department is ideally equipped to prepare you for this most rewarding and fulfilling career. The courses we teach attract people with many different career aims, from potential veterinary nurses and zoo keepers to stock managers and conservationists. Practical sessions are reinforced by theory classes to ensure that you are well equipped to begin a career in the land-based industry. This approach has seen Ofsted consistently award us a Grade 2 for our teaching since 2004.

In the Animal Studies department we recognise that the transition to college can be exciting but daunting. We pride ourselves on providing our students with a warm, supportive but challenging environment in which anything is possible. We use a wide range of teaching and learning methods because we know that students are as diverse as the animal kingdom.

What You Can Expect...
  • Large animal care unit set in 12-acres of pleasant and attractive grounds accommodating numerous species.
  • Our course provision spans Level 1 to Level 6.
  • Lecturers are highly experienced in teaching, assessing and animal management.
  • Evolving curriculum to meet the changing requirements of the animal industry.
  • While the courses are both physically and mentally challenging, this is a friendly, welcoming place to learn and you will find yourself growing in maturity and confidence throughout your time here.
  • Nescot's 12-acre plot is home to a wide range of exotic, agricultural and domestic animals, which you will be responsible for. We work closely with the Cats Protection animal charity on our rehoming centre for cats.
  • All students complete a work placement with an animal organisation such as Deen City Farm, London Zoo or Heathrow Animal Reception Centre.
Our Staff

Our Tutors are passionately committed to teaching you the latest practices in landbased skills and Animal Management. All our staff have industry experience and undertake continuing professional development so that we remain up-to-date with current thinking and practices. Our Animal Management experience ranges from zoos and veterinary nursing to re-homing for animal charities and wildlife rehabilitation.

Our Facilities

All of the landbased courses at Nescot take place in purpose built facilities which surround the main campus buildings. Including the Animal Care Unit, more than half of the College's available space is dedicated to supporting the studies in our courses. We are equipped with more than 400 exotic, agricultural and domestic pet animals, which you will learn to care for.


Our students have gone on to higher education including:

  • Herpetology - Aberystwyth University
  • Veterinary Biosciences and Veterinary
  • Medicine - University of Surrey
  • Zoology - University of Roehampton
  • Animal Behaviour - University of Lincoln

Or directly into employment in:

  • Veterinary surgeries
  • Zoo conservation projects
  • Animal behaviour
  • and many others

Some students have set up their own businesses, such as:

  • Dog walking
  • Dog grooming
  • Birds of prey education

We believe that Landbased subjects are a way of life as well as a job. While many of the skills you learn are practical, we also want to give you a deep understanding of the various parts of the industry and how they all fit together. We will prepare you to give the best levels of care to the animals you will take charge of and help you turn your passion into your livelihood. Search for a career on Animal Jobs Direct.

At Nescot we encourage our students to think ahead, so that they can choose the right courses to fit them and their future. We also use an innovative online platform called Start, which is a free and comprehensive digital platform, offering students a single starting point to help simplify careers guidance. Students can build a personal profile aimed at guiding them throughout their career.  Find out more here.

Labour market trends

This chart shows some details about employment trends in the sector, and companies Nescot works with.

Skills you will gain

Through your learning in both practical and classroom sessions you will gain the skills and know-how to work in a range of roles in the animal care sector, and progress to higher education. You studies will develop contextual skills including:

  • Day-to-day animal care
  • Understanding animal behaviour
  • Customer service
  • Team working
  • Professional standards in animal care
  • Flexibility and working in a ‘round-the-clock’ industry
  • Organisational Skills
  • Admin Skills
  • Work stamina and productivity
  • Budget awareness and management

Photograph of a Nescot student

I chose the course at Nescot because it involves animal theory, science and hands-on experience with animals. What we learn in class we get to apply in practical sessions. I’ve learnt so much – the terminology of the sector, animal husbandry, administering injections. This all comes from lecturers who share their expert knowledge and passion for working with animals

Photograph of a Nescot student

I’m really enjoying the course, it’s a dream come true. We have a really good balance of theory and practical, so that we’re putting what we learn into use straight away. Each week we do ‘duties’ on the farm, which usually includes doing basic health checks and giving food and water to the animals. At the moment it’s lambing season, so we’re helping out with that. The facilities here are amazing, and we get great experience working with all sorts of different animals. The teachers are approachable and they’re all really knowledgeable.
Alfie, Level 1.5

Photograph of a Nescot student

Time on the farm here is valuable, but you can’t miss classroom or coursework – the tutors make sure we know what we have to achieve to progress to higher education and a career in the sector. I’m going to do my degree in wildlife conservation at Writtle and plan to work with big cats in the future.

Photograph of a Nescot student

I still can’t believe that this is the college experience we get to have – that we can learn directly from all these different animals in this beautiful environment, rather than just sitting in a classroom reading from a textbook.