Programme overview

This programme can turn your dream of working in the zoo industry into reality. Develop your knowledge and understanding of how to maintain the safety and welfare of animals, and yourself, in a captive wild animal environment. This includes feeding, safety and hygiene practices, natural behaviours, enrichment and life histories. Learn to recognise and respond to health issues and emergencies involving captive wild animals. You’ll learn about what role captive wild animal facilities play in society, both in today’s world and historically, and you’ll explore the impact of zoos on conservation locally and globally.

This programme replaces the Certificate in Animal Management (Captive Wild Animals).

Highlights

  • The only qualification in New Zealand that can train you to become a zookeeper.
  • Recognised by all the main zoos in New Zealand as the entry-level qualification to work in this industry.
  • As a distance learning programme, you have the benefit of lots of work experience: 280 hours at an approved zoological park where you can apply what you’ve learnt about husbandry to a wide variety of exotic species.
  • Take part in three compulsory block courses, each six days, on-campus in Auckland, learning crucial skills and gaining knowledge in face-to-face lectures, meeting students from other zoos around New Zealand and attending field trips at Auckland Zoo.

Note:

  • This programme has specific work experience requirements: you must obtain a total of 280 hours structured work experience at an approved facility in the year of study.
  • The 280 hours are split between three different animal groups and you must complete a minimum number of work experience hours with each group.
  • You must organise and confirm your own work placement with an approved New Zealand zoo facility in addition to meeting the programme admission requirements before you can enrol in this programme. We require written consent from the facility/facilities where you will undertake your work experience.
  • Each zoo has different age requirements and final application dates so it is a good idea to contact zoos as soon as possible to express your interest.
  • For more information, download the programme application information.

Where to next?

If you’re interested in continuing your studies, this programme will give you the academic admission requirements for higher-level animal programmes at Unitec, including the Bachelor of Applied Science (Animal Management and Welfare).

Admission requirements

For this programme, you will need the following:

1. 36 credits at NCEA Level 2 including 12 credits in English

2. 12 credits at NCEA Level 1 in a relevant science subject

3. Provide evidence you have been accepted by one or more approved zoo facilities in New Zealand to complete 280 hours work experience with them. Work experience must be completed within your year of study and must include minimum hours on specific animal groups (see application information)

4. If English is your second language, you will need one or more of the following:

  • Have achieved NCEA Level 3 and New Zealand University entrance
  • Be able to provide evidence you satisfy our criteria for existing English proficiency
  • Have achieved at least one English proficiency outcome in the last two years

Don’t have NCEA? We also accept:

  • The New Zealand Certificate in Animal Care (Level 3) or an equivalent qualification; or
  • Provide sufficient evidence to be eligible for special or discretionary admission.

For more information download the programme regulations:

Programme Regulations

Courses and timetables

For more details on the courses including timetables, please click on the course names below.

CoursesCreditsAim
The Zoo Industry (Sem A) (NSCI4734-SA) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)This course examines the roles of zoo keepers and similar positions, and how the roles pertain to working within the zoo industry and associated facilities in New Zealand and globally
The Zoo Industry (Sem B) (NSCI4734-SB) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)This course examines the roles of zoo keepers and similar positions, and how the roles pertain to working within the zoo industry and associated facilities in New Zealand and globally
Canine Specific Husbandry (NSCI4739) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)This course will enable students to develop a theoretical and applied understanding of best practice canine husbandry in order to provide for optimum health and a positive welfare state.
The Practice of Zoo Keeping (Sem A) (NSCI4740-SA) 22.5 credits (0.1875 EFTS)This course enables the student to develop best practice skills for the care of captive wild animals in a zoo context.
The Practice of Zoo Keeping (Sem B) (NSCI4740-SB) 22.5 credits (0.1875 EFTS)This course enables the student to develop best practice skills for the care of captive wild animals in a zoo context.
CoursesCreditsAim
Vertebrate Anatomy and Physiology (Sem A) (NSCI5720-SA) 7.5 credits (0.0625 EFTS)To enable students to understand the concepts of anatomy and physiology as they relate to the maintenance of homeostasis and animal health
Vertebrate Anatomy and Physiology (Sem B) (NSCI5720-SB) 7.5 credits (0.0625 EFTS)To enable students to understand the concepts of anatomy and physiology as they relate to the maintenance of homeostasis and animal health
Principles of Captive Wild Animal Husbandry (Sem A) (NSCI5741-SA) 7.5 credits (0.0625 EFTS)To enable the student to understand and apply the principles of best practice captive wild animal husbandry.