Animal Science Majors and Undergraduate Degree Programs

Animal science is the study of animal agriculture and animal production. Undergraduate programs in animal science are offered at the associate's and bachelor's degree levels. Continue on for details on these degrees, as well as career options and graduate work.

Essential Information

Training in animal science programs features development of practical skills in animal care and management, along with learning the science involved. Graduates of both associate's and bachelor's degree programs will be prepared for entry-level positions doing animal care, farm management or veterinary assisting. Some students enroll in graduate programs or veterinary school.

Associate's Degree in Animal Science

Associate's degree programs in animal science typically focus on industry vocabulary and research in the field. Many programs offer students the option of pursuing a specialization, such as dairy management, disease identification or small animal care. Students can gain experience using the latest technologies while working in a hands-on environment with livestock.

Programs might provide students with knowledge in business and production aspects of animal science while teaching them information related to species and breed types, husbandry and basic animal management. Students generally have the opportunity to participate in a cooperative work experience to gain on-the-job training with animals.

Throughout the program, students might develop knowledge in nutrition, marketing, health, reproductive issues and training, all as related to animals. Students might take courses that address:

  • Animal anatomy
  • Equine science
  • Domestic animal physiology
  • Lab procedures
  • Toxicology
  • Disease prevention

Bachelor's Degree in Animal Science

Animal science programs at the bachelor's level usually offer courses in nutrition, genetics, reproduction, management and breeding. Programs might provide students the option of following a track, such as science or industry. Students might get to work with a variety of animals throughout their program, including cattle, goats, horses, sheep, donkeys, pigs and alpaca. A high school diploma or the equivalent is typically required for admission to such a program.

In a bachelor's degree program in animal science, students might study areas of animal welfare, development, nutrition, physiology, pathology, behavior and management. Courses might address topics such as:

  • Animal genetics
  • Farm animal care
  • Reproductive physiology
  • Cell biology
  • Food science
  • Animal biotechnology

Popular Career Options

Students who graduate with an associate's degree in the field might be prepared for entry-level, animal-related careers. These individuals might find positions as:

  • Veterinary assistants
  • Agricultural sales employees
  • Crop managers
  • Laboratory animal caregivers
  • Animal care and control technicians

Graduates from a bachelor's degree program in animal science are prepared for animal-related careers in production and animal agriculture. They might work at zoos, labs, farms, nature centers or animal shelters. Students who have earned a bachelor's degree in the field might find positions as:

  • Research technicians
  • Farm managers
  • Animal care technicians

Continuing Education

Individuals who have earned a bachelor's degree in animal science might choose to continue their education in graduate school. They might pursue a master's degree or doctorate in animal science or a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM).

To summarize, animal science majors can work towards an associate's or a bachelor's degree in this area of study. Coursework will include animal genetics, animal anatomy, equine science, lab procedures, food science and cell biology. Upon completion of their degree, students can work in a variety of positions or continue their education.

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