Ethology Major: Information and Requirements

There are a few colleges that have ethology bachelor's degree programs. These programs provide students with hands-on experiences and a knowledge base in psychology and biology that prepares them to work directly with animals and animal habitats.

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Essential Information

Bachelor's ethology programs are science-intensive and combine training in psychology and biology. Students in this four-year degree learn how theories and principles from both areas of study relate to behavior in mammals, birds, fish and insects. They also may be able to assist faculty with research and help prepare ethologically-specific articles for scholarly publication.

Additionally, some schools offer animal behavior majors the opportunity to study abroad in areas known for wildlife, such as Asia and Africa. Students who pursue a Bachelor of Science as opposed to a Bachelor of Arts in Ethology often take a few additional labs and foundational science classes.

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  • Animal Behavior
  • Animal Physiology
  • Entomology
  • Wildlife Biology

Bachelor's in Ethology

In addition to a senior project or thesis on a specific ethology topic, such as species awareness, learning patterns, reproduction behaviors or predatory instincts, many ethology courses are taught in laboratories and through field experiences. Online courses and programs are available. Areas of study often include the following:

  • Evolution principles
  • Behavioral ecology
  • Communication among species
  • Ethical issues concerning animal studies
  • Biostatistics
  • Research methods in ethology

Popular Career Options

Many careers in ethology require a master's or doctoral degree. However, there are few employment options for students with a bachelor's, such as:

  • Animal trainer
  • Ethology research assistant
  • Educator at an aquarium
  • Zoo animal caretaker
  • Animal control official

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment of zoologists and wildlife biologists (who study animal behaviors and habitats) is predicted to grow 4% from 2014 to 2024. The annual mean salary for these professionals was reported to be $64,230 in May 2015.

Continuing Education Information

Many students who have majored in ethology or a related field go on to veterinary school. Those who are more focused on research or academia might pursue a Master of Science or Ph.D. in Biology with a concentration in ethology.

Bachelor's degree programs in ethology typically have coursework that has a psychology and biology focus in relation to animals. Possible career fields for those who complete this major include animal trainer and zoo animal caretaker.

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