Animal Studies Major: Information and Requirements

Essential Information

Students in animal studies bachelor's degree programs can specialize in animal biology, animal production, exotic animal studies, pre-veterinary medicine, agribusiness management or biotechnology. Often an undergraduate major in animal studies is the first step towards graduate study in one of these fields.

The core subjects in an animal studies program include animal biology and reproduction, anatomy and physiology of farm and domestic animals, and principles of animal feeding and nutrition. Other courses are program-specific. For instance, a pre-veterinary track in an animal science degree program includes courses in biochemistry, organic chemistry, natural organisms and animal biotechnology.

Prerequisites include a high school diploma or its equivalent, including experience in mathematics and the natural sciences.

Bachelor's Degree in Animal Science

Many programs require that students complete courses in natural sciences, biology and mathematics before declaring the major. Courses can vary greatly depending upon the specific concentration chosen, but there are core courses that might be required of all animal studies majors. Topics such as ethics in animal agriculture, general chemistry and statistics for biologists are commonly taught along with the following:

  • Professional development in animal science
  • Anatomy and physiology of animals
  • Animal feeding and nutrition principles
  • Genetic improvement of domestic animals
  • Cattle management
  • Avian management

Popular Career Options

Holders of bachelor's degrees in animal studies have numerous career options such as veterinary technician, research veterinarian, biologist and ranch manager. Other job possibilities are:

  • Agriculture sales representative
  • Animal breeder
  • Animal trainer
  • Wildlife specialist
  • Environmental analyst
  • Park ranger

Continuing Education Options

Many graduates of animal studies programs continue on to graduate study in the field. Some common master's degrees fields include veterinary science, agriculture and agribusiness, animal biology, animal research and food science. Students can also earn Ph.D.'s in several of these fields where they will gain exposure to the advanced research and training necessary to teach animal science at the university level.

A bachelor's degree in animal science often allows students to select a specialized course of study such as agribusiness management or pre-veterinary medicine. Graduates often go on to continue their education at the master's level in the area of study they have chosen for their undergraduate work.

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