Short courses


Zebrafish and Medaka Personal Licence (PiL) Course

  • 14 hours + 2 hours independent study
  • 2 days


This two-day online course is for anyone planning to apply for a Home Office zebrafish personal licence (PiL). 

It focuses on the husbandry, biology, and legal and ethical implications of working with zebrafish and medaka.

This course is run by one of the largest zebrafish facilities in the UK, based in UCL's Division of Biosciences. It's accredited by the Royal Society of Biology.

Who this course is for

You must be preparing to undertake work with zebrafish, medaka, or other small teleosts and require a PiL. 

You could be a:

  • MSc or PhD student working on a project
  • postdoctoral researcher
  • technician
  • PPL (project licence) holder or another principal investigator (PIs)

Any Named Persons under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 (ASPA) may also benefit from this course.

Course content

The course includes 3 modules. You can choose to take all three or just PiL A and PiL B.

E1/L covers: 

  • ethics
  • legislation

PiL A covers:

  • basic and appropriate biology
  • animal care and welfare
  • recognition of pain, suffering, distress, and lasting harm
  • schedule 1 (Mod K)

PiL B covers:

  • anaesthesia for minor procedures

Teaching and structure

This course will be delivered online through UCL's Extend platform.

Over two days, you'll attend virtual lectures and participate in group activities. You'll also need to complete a number of quizzes, which can be done at any point over the two days.

A mandatory exam will be held at 4:30pm on the second day.

Day one will cover E1/L and the first part of PiL A.

Day two will cover the second part of PiL A, PiL B and S1K.

Assessment and certificates

There will be an exam at the end of the course which you'll also complete on UCL Extend.

You'll also need to submit a form confirming handling competency. You must complete handling competency at your place of work, either before or after the course.

If you pass the course, you'll receive a Royal Society Biology Certificate for E1/L, PiL A, PiL B, which you can use in your application to the Home Office for a PiL.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the courses, you will:

  • have an overview of the ethical and legal requirements of working with fish
  • be able to demonstrate proper handling techniques
  • be able to discuss the various points of zebrafish and medaka husbandry
  • have a basic understanding of zebrafish and medaka biology and physiology
  • be able to recognise ill health in fish
  • be able to compare anaesthetics available for fish
  • have a theoretical basis for S1K

Dates and times

This course runs over two days, from 9am to 5:30pm both days.

It runs every six weeks. Future dates include:

  • 9 and 10 August 2022
  • 13 and 14 September 2022
  • 1 and 2 November 2022
  • 13 and 14 December 2022

Costs and concessions

The standard fees are:

  • full course (E1/L, PiL A, PiL B): £400 plus VAT
  • PiL A and PiL B only: £350 plus VAT (enter the voucher code zebrafish when booking)

For UCL staff and students, the fees are:

  • full course (E1/L, PiL A, PiL B): £350 plus VAT
  • PiL A and PiL B only: £300 plus VAT (enter the voucher code uclzebrafish when booking)

Course team

Carole Wilson

Carole Wilson

Carole has been the Head of the Fish Facility at UCL Division of Biosciences since 2000. She has multiple roles, including NIO, NTCO, and NACWO, as well as a service PPL holder.

Karen Dunford

Karen Dunford

Karen is a Research Assistant in the UCL Division of Biosciences. She's worked with zebrafish for more than 10 years and has been delivering the PiL course since 2016.

Course information last modified: 26 Jul 2022, 11:37