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Vertebrate Zoology 100 Hours Certificate Course


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Vertebrate Zoology 100 Hours Certificate Course

Price: £295.00Course Code: BEN104 CLD
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( Kerry, 11/04/2018 ) Q:

Hi, I see in the course details this is a level 4 certificate. I am wondering what the UK equivalent qualification is, eg GCSE, As or full A level course. Will it count towards Ucas? Also what is the type of exam taken? Is it online or do we have to sit as independents in a local centre? Thanks for your time

( 12/04/2018 ) A:

Hello Kerry.

The course level is at least comparable to an A level. It is an unregulated course carrying an endorsed certificate from a Recognised Awarding Organisation, when study option A is selected.

As an unregulated course, it will not officially earn UKAS points. However that does not mean it won't be accepted by a university. Many of our previous customers have used their qualification from us to study for a degree and even a Masters in some cases. The reason for this is as follows:

Our courses focus on helping you learn as much as possible, as opposed to many that primarily focus on teaching you how to pass an exam. Ultimately, assessment and endorsement for many courses delivered by other providers, merely means you have met a set criteria of minimum standards with regards to learning and in doing so, you actually learn less. Our effort is almost entirely on helping you learn, which means the learning outcome is better and many universities will recognise that you have a solid understanding required to progress to degree level.       

We believe that we achieve the correct balance between your qualification being recognised and providing you with an in-depth learning in your chosen discipline, that will empower you to succeed. This is because in the real world, the person who can demonstrate that they have the level of knowledge and transferable skills necessary to an employer, will often be more successful than the one who might be endorsed as meeting minimum standards, but who in fact has only received a superficial understanding of the subject.

The exam is taken at a time and place convenient to you.Here are the links to the relevant sections on our website:



Don't forget to check out our Testimonials page, to see what previous learners think of us and how they used the new knowledge and skills they gained.

I hope this information helps Kerry

Kind Regards


( Deborah Robertson, 29/08/2015 ) Q:

can I just check that there is no time limit on courses. I may struggle to complete one in a year. Do you have to pay any additional fees if you need to take longer? Many thanks

( 03/09/2015 ) A:

Hi Deborah,
you can rest easy- you have as long as you need to study with us, and there are no additional fees or hidden charges for this or any other service, unless explicitly stated. 


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Vertebrate Zoology 100 Hours Certificate Course

This course is  "experiential based"and designed to provide you with practical components to make the course as interactive as possible. It will also provide an opportunity to learn from industry professionals, while exploring the fundamental principles of vertebrate zoology. It will give you a thorough understanding of “higher” animals’ Zoology, Taxonomy and Biology, together with some principles on animal ecology and morphology.

You will learn the essentials of Vertebrate Zoology, giving you a solid foundation to understand animals. It will benefit anyone who is working with animals or it will build a sound foundation for further studies whether in farming, wildlife, veterinary or pet care industries. 

The Academy for Distance Learning has a history of supporting wildlife projects.The world renowned Conservationist David Youldon, Chief Operating Officer of AFRICA NEEDS LIONS www.lionalert.org, completed our Advanced Certificate in Wildlife Management and with previous qualifications, went on to study a Masters in Biodiversity, Wildlife and Ecosystem Health at Edinburgh University. He was also accepted for a short course in Data Analysis in Ecology at the University of Oxford.

Currently we have the Primate Naturalist: Karin Saks, studying our Primatology course. Karin has been fostering and rehabilitating orphan baboons, caring for injured monkeys returned to the wild, plus promoting a harmonious co-existence between primates and humans since 1997. She also founded The Darwin Primate Group as a non-profit organisation in 2008 and in 2014, moved to Kwazulu Natal to research the endangered samango monkey populations in the Midlands.

Watch "A Day in the Life of a Trail Camera", the latest video on the Samango Vervet Monkey Research Project by clicking HERE.


Learning Goals: Vertebrate Zoology BEN104
  • Distinguish between major groups of vertebrates through a demonstrated understanding of their taxonomic classification and diversity.
  • Describe the distinguishing characteristics of all major groups of fishes.
  • To describe the distinguishing characteristics of all major groups of Ectotherms, Amphibians and Reptiles.
  • Describe the distinguishing characteristics of major groups of birds
  • Describe the distinguishing characteristics of all major groups of Mammals.
  • Describe the distinguishing characteristics of animals in the order Marsupialia and compare mammalian specialisations with those of other vertebrates.
  • Describe the distinguishing characteristics of animals within the grandorders Glires and Insectivora.
  • Explain Ectothermy in a variety of different animals.
  • Describe the distinguishing characteristics of animals within the order Carnivora.
  • Describe the distinguishing characteristics of animals within the grand order Ungulata.
  • Describe the distinguishing characteristics of animals within the grandorder Archonta.


Lesson Structure: Vertebrate Zoology BEN104

There are 10 lessons:

1  Vertebrate Taxonomy and Diversity Taxonomic classifications (Kingdom, Phylum, Division, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species).

  • Morphology and Evolution
  • Environmental and Genetic Influences
  • Speciation
  • DiversificationConvergence
  • Diet
  • Habits
  • Distribution
  • Terminology

2  Fishes Fish Diversity (major groups):

  • Class Agnatha (jawless fishes)
  • Class Chondrichthyes (cartilaginous fishes) and
  • Class Osteichthyes (bony fishes).

3  Ectotherms - Amphibians and Reptiles:

  • Definitions, Endothermy, Ectotermic, Tetrapods
  • Class Amphibia
  • Order Anura (Salientia) Frogs and Toads, Salamanders and Newts
  • Order Apoda (Gymnophiona) Caecilians
  • Class Reptilia: Reptiles (turtles, lizards, snakes, crocodiles and the extinct Dinosauria)
  • Order Rhynchocephalia - Tuatara
  • Order Chelonia (Testudines) - Turtles, tortoises
  • Order Crocodilia - Crocodilians
  • Order Squamata - Lizards and Snakes

4  Birds -Physiology (Structure) and Anatomy, Feathers, Colour, Legs, Skeletal structure, Muscles, Senses, Behaviour (Flight, Diving, etc), Egg formation, Hatching.

  • Bird Taxonomy
  • Ratitae (flightless) birds
  • Carinatea (flying birds)
  • Water Birds (eg. Grebes, divers, Ducks, geese and swans, Storks, flamingoes and herons, pelicans, gannets and cormorants,)
  • Owls, Eagles, falcons and hawks
  • Chickens, turkeys, game birds and mount birds
  • Rails, coots and cranes,
  • Pigeons and sand grouse,
  • Gulls, auks and plovers,
  • Parrots, parakeets, Hummingbirds, swifts, Woodpeckers, toucans, Kingfishers, bee-eaters and hornbills, Trogonos, quetzals, plumed birds
  • Perching birds such as sparrows, starlings, swallows (Passeriformes),
  • Diving birds, loons, Cuckoos, coucals Nighthawks, whippoorwills, Mousebirds, etc.

5  Mammals (Mammalia)

  • Overview - Taxonomy
  • Sub class Prototheria (egg laying animals) - echidna and platypus
  • Sub class Metatheria (Marsupials) eg. koala, kangaroo and opossum
  • Sub class Eutheria (Placental masmmals -these include such diverse forms as whales, elephants, shrews, and armadillos, dogs, cats, sheep, cattle and horses. Humans, of course, are also placental mammals).

6  Marsupials -Subclass Theria

  • kangaroos
  • koalas
  • wombats
  • bandicoots
  • opossums
  • phalangers, etc
  • Marsupials Physiology and locomotion, Reproduction

7  Grandorders Glires and Insectivora

  • Rodents
  • Rabbits
  • Pikas
  • Hedgehogs
  • Moles
  • Shrews and Tenrecs
  • Taxonomy, structure, Adaptations

8  Carnivores

  • dogs
  • wolves
  • bears
  • racoons
  • cats
  • weasels
  • hyenas
  • seals, sea lions and walruses
  • Taxonomy, Physiology, Adaptations

9  Hoofed Mammals (Ungulata: Includes seven orders)

  • Order Artiodactyla. This includes: Hippopotami, Deer, Giraffe, Sheep, Cattle, Antelope, Camelids
  • Order Cetacea. This includes: Dolphins, Porpoises, Whales
  • Order Perissodactyla. This includes: Horses, Rhinoceroses, Tapirs
  • Order Tubulidentata. This includes: Ardvarks
  • Order Hyracoidea. This includes: Hyraxes (or Conies)
  • Order Proboscidea. This includes: Elephants
  • Order Sirenia. This includes: Manatees and Dugongs

10 Primates and other Archonta. This grandorder is sub divided into four sub orders:

  • Scandentia e.g. Tree Shrews
  • Dermoptera e.g. Flying Lemurs, Colugos
  • Chiroptera. This order comprises the bats.
  • Primates (Or Order Primates and sub order Strepsirhini) e.g. humans, monkeys, apes and lemurs


What you will be doing during this Course
  • During this course, the student will carry out the following activities. Where a student is mobility is limited or there is a lack of facilities in the student's home locality, an equivalent activity can be offered
  • Visit a Zoo, Wildlife Park or even a Pet Shop. Observe the range of animals present and report on them.
  • Visit an aquarium supply shop, marine park, fish retailer, or other facility where you can observe fish. If your mobility is restricted or you are unable to locate such a facility, look at the web site of an aquarium, and see what diversity of animals is to be seen on that web site. Identify animals from different orders and report on them.
  • Research the anatomical characteristics of one species of fish
  • Investigate the biological characteristics of one species of amphibian
  • Investigate the biological characteristics of one species of reptile
  • Research the biological characteristics of one species of bird
  • Observe the behaviour of a bird or birds for 1 hour (in the wild, or captivity). Take notes
  • Investigate the biological characteristics of one species of mammal.
  • Research a particular family or genus of marsupial.
  • Visit either a pet shop or zoo and observe any animals from the Glires or Insectivora that you find there.
  • Observe a dog closely. Take note of its external features in the light of the things you have learned in this lesson. Notice the shape of the head, body and legs, the characteristics of the feet, etc. Make notes on your observations. Compile a scientific description of the anatomy of the dog you observed. Where possible, use technical terminology that you have learned during your course.
  • Visit a farm, pet shop or zoo and observe any animals belonging to the Grandorder Ungulata that you find there. Make a list of these animals.
  • Research an order, family, genus or species of hooved Mammal (Ungulata).
  • Try to find out about the characteristics of your chosen group
  • Try to observe some monkeys and/or apes. You might do this by visiting a zoo, watching a video or looking on the Internet. Make notes of any similarities and dissimilarities you observe between these animals and humans. Research their physical and behavioural characteristics with a view to comparing these with human characteristics.
  • SPECIAL PROJECT: Prepare a report on the relationship between environmental change and mammalian evolution.


Gain all important hands-on experience with wildlife animals, to add to your CV whilst you are studying your Vertebrate Zoology course with ADL, or after completing it. We are very happy to be associated with GVE, which offers an unforgettable volunteer experience in South Africa with their Game Capture and Vet Experience programs.

The program fee charged for the experience also acts as the main support for GVE's non-profit clinic.

Interested in reading more information about both the Game Capture and Vet Experience programs? Then just click on the GVE logo below

caring students attending sick giraffe lying on the groundlogo Game Capture and Vet Experiencevery sick being cared by trainees



Karin Saks – primate naturalist:Woman with caring for baby monkey

Since 1997, Karin Saks has been involved in the fostering and rehabilitation of orphan baboons, the caring of injured monkeys who have been returned to the wild and has worked towards a harmonious co-existence between these primates and humans. She has monitored wild baboon troops who raid human homes to research ways of baboon management and has observed wild troops in her area with a view to finding out damage done to troop structures and numbers because of human intervention. Due to legislation that allows for the persecution of vervet monkeys and baboons in South Africa, hundreds of orphaned primates currently reside in rehabilitation centres without much chance of being released back into the wild. The primate pet trade is also on the increase due to the amount of infants orphaned when mothers are killed.  Educating the public on how to live harmoniously with these primates and appealing for new protective legislation - that is actively enforced - are crucial aspects to finding solutions.

The Darwin Primate Group – registered NPO 059-587: Like many who take on the task of rescuing these persecuted animals, Karin self funded her work until 2008 when she founded the Darwin Primate Group and registered it as a non-profit organization.

Research into endangered samango monkey (Cercopithecus mitis labiatus) populations: In 2014, Karin moved to Kwazulu Natal where she is researching the endangered samango monkey (Cercopithecus mitis labiatus) populations in the Midlands. (She is no longer working directly with rescued baboons or vervet monkeys.) As the samango monkey is restricted to forest habitat and is a seed dispersing species, it is listed as Vulnerable in the Red Data Book of the Mammals of South Africa (2004) with samango subspecies - C. m. labiatus - occurring on the IUCN (2007) Endangered list making research into populations necessary to identify if management and further protection is needed.

You are welcome to watch her online video: Co-existing Peacefully With Baboons/Monkeys and read her Blogspot on the Samango Monkey Project. If you want to support Karin in her work financially or practically, please contact us and we will happily pass your details on.


Course Info
How Do Our Tuition Fees Compare?
Course StartBegin your course at anytime.
Course Prerequisite None - Our course levels are an indication of the depth of learning you should receive. They do not describe the level of difficulty.
Course Qualification (Study Option A)Endorsed Qualification from TQUK - Training Qualifications UK, an Ofqual Approved Awarding Organisation - Completed written assignments, plus final exam (N.B. Some courses have Final Project alternative).
Course Qualification (Study Option B)Certificate of Attainment from ADL - Completed written assignments only - no final exam.
Comparative Credits InformationUK Course Credits: 10 - U.S. Credit Hours: 3 - when compared to regulated courses.
Course Duration and Deadlines100 hours approx. Course hours given are a guide only. Work at your own pace with no assignment deadlines or completion date. You are in control!
Study SupportPersonal tutor/mentor support from industry relevant professionals throughout your whole course. Mentors are contactable by e-mail, telephone and through the online classroom. They provide assistance with your course material, plus discuss, explain and give advice when needed.
Suitability for Self Employment and Small BusinessesOur courses are ideal for sole traders and small business owners and their staff. Customer confidence in what you can do will determine how successful you are in getting clients. Completing one or more of our courses for the service you have to offer, will give you the tools to grow your business.
Recognition of Your Course By EmployersWe aim to achieve the correct balance between your qualification being recognised and providing you with the in-depth learning, to empower you to succeed. Select study option A when enrolling, so an employer can check the status of the awarding organisation for your qualification on the Ofqual Register.
Recognition of Your Course By UniversitiesPrevious students have used their qualification to get into university. However each one will have its own entrance criteria and acceptance may also depend on your other qualifications and experience.
Designing Your Own QualificationBundle up your choice of related courses to form your own qualification. Choose from a Diploma (6 courses), Advanced Diploma (8 courses) and Higher Advanced Diploma (12 courses.
How Can I Enrol?Online via eCommerce, by completing our Online Application Form, or by calling us on +44 (0) 1227 789 649. Lines open 9am till 5pm Monday to Friday, excluding Bank Holidays and between Christmas and New Year.
How Can I Get a Pro-forma Invoice for my Employer?Contact us with details and we will email your employer an invoice. We will need: employer's name, address, telephone number, email address and contact name. We will also require your name, telephone number, email address, date of birth and the course and code you wish to enrol for.

                       Learn, Progress, Change, Achieve                                                     


Previous Customer Experiences with our CoursesWoman leaping to the next level in her career development

"Fantastic Teacher. Well organised modules. Assignments force me to learn and research more so I can prepare well for exams. I really enjoyed studying via ADL.  I can now continue study at Ulster University which accept my certificate from ADL".    Level 4,  Advanced Certificate in Applied Science,  VSC001,  Stanislawa,  Poland.

Its with great pleasure I am announcing you my new job as 'Park Manager' for a 5 star hotel in Reunion Island.  Its definitely my courses with ADL (Botany, Agronomy and Trees for Rehabilitation) which were decisive for my nomination. Accordingly, my sincere thanks goes to all the ADL team.

"The course was a valuable learning experience as it provided me with the knowledge and understanding for me as a Careers Advisor. The feedback was very good from my tutor, and allowed me to  build upon my assignments that were marked. The comments were very informative  and very useful. Well written course material."  Andrew W, Careers  Counselling, UK

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