The combined Senate of the University of Nigeria and the Technical Committee from the Michigan State University approved the establishment of the Department of Zoology in 1961, following a presentation by a team from the Michigan State University.  By the approval of the Senate of the University in March 2011, the name of the Department was changed from “Zoology” to “Zoology and Environmental Biology”. This followed the submission of a revised curriculum by the Department of Zoology to reflect current trends and to accommodate relevant areas in the emerging multidisciplinary fields of environmental biology/management and climate change. The change in nomenclature and associated revised curriculum had been approved by the Nigerian University Commission (NUC) in August 2015.

In line with the guiding principle on which the Department was founded – “To restore the dignity of man”, – the Department was envisioned to be the first indigenous citadel of learning where Zoology and Environmental Biology courses should be taught to young Nigerians, Africans and global youths. The Department came out with the clear objective of giving effective training. Thus, filling the need for the national and international production of high quality, competent and competitive Zoology and Environmental Biologists which possess the attitude and attributes essential for the building of the nation to a desired focused direction and excellent level of intellectual development. These objectives were articulated with great clarity aimed at producing graduates who are versatile and of excellent intellectual fibre in addition to acquiring through passage within the university, a sound, impeccable moral character and a burning desire and willingness to devote themselves and their energies towards making great the Nigerian nation where excellence,  truth and justice prevails. Against this background, the founding fathers in 1961 established the foundation Faculties of Science, Arts and The use of Library and Study Skill in addition to Engineering, and for the first time in Nigeria, the School of General Studies. Within the Faculty of Science the Departments of Zoology, Physics and Chemistry were inaugurated as service and foundation Departments essential for man power development. The Department of Zoology and Environmental Biology offers courses leading to the B.Sc. (Hons.) Degree in Zoology and Environmental Biology.

Admission is by University Matriculation Examination (UME) or by Direct-Entry. Candidates admitted by UME shall undergo a four-year degree programme while those admitted by Direct-Entry shall undertake a three-year degree programme. The students are trained to respond to the needs of the Nigerian society through broad training/education in the areas of General Biology, aspects of Plant Biology and Biotechnology, General and Applied Invertebrate and Vertebrate Zoology and Environmental Biology, Developmental Biology, Histology, Genetics and Cytogenetics, Animal Ecology, Systematics & Evolutionary Zoology and Environmental Biology, Animal Behaviour and General Physiology. In the final year the students are expected to branch out into one of the special areas (Entomology, Environmental Biology, Fisheries Biology, Genetics and Animal Biotechnology, Parasitology, Physiology), and take advanced courses in areas that offer them greater exposure and in-depth knowledge in their chosen options.