Online degree programs in veterinary science are unavailable. Specialty areas of animal science, such as food safety and laboratory animal science, are offered as fully online master's degree programs. Food safety graduate programs examine coursework in foodborne pathogens, food chemistry and food animals. A bachelor's degree and food industry experience may be required for entrance into this program. Animal science programs examine the care of animals in a lab setting and animal research. Entrance into this program required a bachelor's degree (typically in life sciences) and related lab experience.
Master's Degree in Food Safety
An online master's degree in food safety conveys a big picture view of the U.S. food production and distribution system and provides specific training in foodborne pathogens, food microbiology and food chemistry. Food safety programs offered through a school's veterinary science department give special emphasis to food animals and food producing animals. Students develop their abilities to conduct risk analysis and hone their research skills. Applicants to a master's level program need to have earned a bachelor's degree or graduate degree in the biological sciences with completed course work in microbiology and maintained a 3.0 grade point average. Schools may give preference to applicants with food industry service experience.
Program Information and Requirements
Students access course content in an online food safety program through the school's website and submit finished assignments and exams through the same portal. Content is available on a 24-hour basis. Coursework can be completed entirely online. A master's degree is typically earned in two years.
Students need a newer Windows or Mac personal computer, Internet access and Web browser to take part in an online course. Schools may use content management systems, such as ANGEL.
List of Common Food Safety Online Courses
Food safety master's degree programs follow a standard organizational structure of core courses and electives. Elective courses allow students to focus on production, processing, packaging or public health.
Food Safety Introductory
This course provides a broad review of the regulatory infrastructure and food industry processes and procedures aimed at keeping the U.S. food supply safe. Topics covered include risk assessment and management, genetically modified organisms, HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) guidelines and bioethics.
Students in this course examine the relationship between pathogens and their hosts and the adaptations foodborne pathogens make throughout the food production cycle. Food storage and processing, major pathogens, pathogen management and emergency management are among the topics covered.
Food Safety Research
Students design, write and conduct food safety research projects in this course. Course work moves through the process of formulating research problems, constructing hypotheses, gathering data, performing statistical analysis and presenting conclusions.
Master's Degree in Laboratory Animal Science
An online master's degree program in laboratory animal science provides training in the care of lab animals and the management of lab facilities. The curriculum covers a broad range of subject matter, including lab procedures, standard business management practices and the anatomy and disease profiles of lab animals - which has direct applications to veterinary science. Admission to a master's degree program requires a bachelor's degree, preferably in the life sciences and a 3.0 or better grade point average. Applicants must have also worked in a field related to laboratory animal science for two years at a minimum.
Program Information and Requirements
Online master's degree programs in laboratory animal science are structured so students have maximum flexibility in accessing course materials and completing assignments. Course content is the same as for a traditional program, and programs may be completed entirely online. A student must find a veterinary science professional who will act as a mentor and counselor. A master's degree is typically earned in two years.
Participation in an online program requires a relatively new computer, current operating system, high speed Internet access and headset with microphone. Schools may use a proprietary course management system.
List of Common Laboratory Animal Science Online Courses
Laboratory animal science master's degree programs are commonly divided into a small core set of basic science courses and a larger group of subject-specific courses. A thesis project is generally not part of the program.
Animal Anatomy Introductory
Students in this course receive a broad review of the anatomy and physiology of animals commonly used in laboratory experiments. Topics covered include mice, rats, guinea pigs, dogs, cats, ferrets, swine, sheep, horses and cattle.
Care of Lab Animals
This course examines established processes and procedures for monitoring the health and maintaining the well-being and safety of laboratory animals before, during and after experiments. Animal pathologies, disease symptoms and lab ethics are among the topics covered.
Animal Research Models
Principles and concepts supporting the use of lab animals as substitutes for human subjects in biomedical research are the focus of this course. Students learn specific taxonomic equivalencies of various lab animals to humans as well as their shared disease profiles.
Graduates of an online master's degree program in food safety are qualified to become food scientists and pursue a range of career paths related to basic food research, food preservation and inspection. Positions are available with food and pharmaceutical manufacturers, university labs, commercial labs and government agencies. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of agricultural and food scientists is projected to grow 5% from 2014-2024, about as fast as the average for all occupations. As of May 2015, the median yearly salary of food scientists and technologists was $65,840 (www.bls.gov).
Graduates of a master's degree program in laboratory animal science are qualified for supervisory, managerial and educator positions at research labs that use animals. Graduates may also become consultants or sales representatives. Universities, pharmaceutical companies and government agencies are among the institutions that may employ their services. According to Payscale.com, as of October 2016, medical lab supervisors with 0-5 years of experience earned a median salary of $66,662 and university lab supervisors earned a median salary of $50,465.
Continuing Education Information
To become a veterinarian, one must complete an accredited Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) program and earn a professional license in all states, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). DVM programs typically do not require a bachelor's degree for admission, but many veterinary students hold a bachelor's degree in biology or another physical science since admissions are competitive and coursework emphasizes science and mathematics.
People who earn a master's degree in food safety can consider pursuing a doctoral degree in food science, particularly if they want to teach at the postsecondary level or conduct advanced research. As of 2016, schools were not offering food science doctoral programs online.
While it is impossible to pursue a veterinary science degree online, students may be interested in pursuing related online master's degrees in topics like animal science and food safety. Though these degrees don't allow graduates to practice as veterinarians, they do set up students for jobs in managerial and educational positions.