Online programs in animal husbandry are not generally available. Students can find hybrid programs with online courses in animal husbandry through a bachelor's degree program in a related field, such as preveterinary medicine, animal science, agricultural business and food science. These programs typically require that students complete on-campus labs and fieldwork at a farm or school livestock facilities. Some schools also offer animal science degrees at the bachelor's degree level fully online, though not all will have animal husbandry coursework.
On-Campus Bachelor of Science in Animal Science
A bachelor's degree program in animal science provides valuable training for students who have an interest in animal biology, livestock production and management, veterinary medicine, biomedical research, horse management or agribusiness. The curriculum presents students with a solid understanding of biological sciences and the management of animals. Graduates from an undergraduate animal science program are prepared for advanced graduate study or a variety of employment opportunities in settings that may include horse or livestock farms, commercial dairy production, and zoos.
The curriculum for a bachelor's degree in animal science incorporates general education coursework, core requirements for the major, and elective courses into one comprehensive program. Graduation requirements typically include a minimum of 128 credit hours. Within the animal science major, students can often select from a number of concentration areas, including laboratory animal science, preveterinary medicine, and animal industries. Students can expect this type of on-campus degree program to require four years to complete.
Common Coursework for an On-Campus Bachelor's Degree in Animal Science
With a focus on sciences, such as biology, many of the animal science courses require lab hours or field experiences on locally run farms and school livestock facilities. Common courses made available to students online may include pet nutrition, animal nutrition, or zoo nutrition.
Although the nutritional needs of domestic livestock species are often emphasized in this online course, other species discussed include birds, turtles, humans, dogs and zoo animals. Students learn to determine nutritional needs based on the stage of life of the animal, such as youth, adulthood, pregnancy or lactation.
Principles of Animal Breeding
This course covers the genetic principles required for animal improvement. Topics discussed include population genetics, systems of mating, animal selection and heritability.
Farm Animal Anatomy and Physiology
Students are introduced to the basic concepts of farm animal anatomy and physiology. Focus is placed on growth, digestion and reproduction.
A variety of career opportunities await graduates with a bachelor's degree in animal science. One option is to pursue employment as agricultural managers. Agricultural managers hire and supervise livestock workers and manage the day-to-day operations of a ranch, livestock yard, or dairy. According to the BLS, employment of farmers, ranchers and other agricultural managers is projected to decline by two percent between 2014 and 2024. The BLS reported that as of May 2015, farmers, ranchers and agricultural managers as a group earned a median annual wage of $64,170.
Many animal science majors choose to pursue further education through graduate-level programs. A popular option among animal science graduates is to apply for veterinary school. Veterinary programs typically require an additional three to four years of study past the bachelor's degree level. Instruction covers the basic sciences, clinical practices and care delivery.
Bachelor's degree programs in animal science train students in animal nutrition, breeding, anatomy and more. Graduates of these programs are qualified to work as agricultural managers and may pursue graduate degrees or veterinary school.