Typically, equine science associate's, bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs are only offered on campus because they require a lot of hands-on training with horses. However, some programs may include a blend of online and on-campus coursework. Most programs also include other in-person requirements, such as seminars, internships and practicums. Universities and colleges with these programs usually maintain their own horses, so students aren't required to have their own.
Admission requirements vary based on school and degree level, but they typically include placement test scores and high school diplomas for undergraduate programs. Master's degree program applicants must have a bachelor's degree, which may need to include coursework related to equine or animal science. Doctoral program applicants need a relevant master's degree and possibly work experience in the field.
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Programs by Degree Level
At the undergraduate level, general education courses such as college math, sociology, psychology, history, composition and English literature may be offered in an online format, allowing a student to complete some of the degree online and only take required core equine science classes on campus.
Students in a distance learning or hybrid class complete online components in a virtual classroom, which contains lectures, assignments and other educational materials. Class chat rooms, discussion forums and even video conferencing allow students and instructors to interact on a regular basis. While some equine science courses may be offered fully or partially online, students should be prepared to spend a significant amount of time on campus. In addition to campus-based coursework, students are often involved in seminars, assisting with equine events and participating in internships or practicums.
Associate's Degree Programs
Associate's degree programs usually focus on the knowledge and skills necessary to become a trained professional in the horse industry. Core coursework generally consists of business and farm management, legal and ethical issues for the horse industry, introduction to training methods, and the scientific knowledge needed to care for, feed, and maintain horses. Internships are commonly required in these programs.
Bachelor of Science Programs
Bachelor's degree programs in equine science allow students to specialize according to their career goals. A concentration in equine business prepares students to run training barns and operate an equine business. A science concentration focuses on the biology and physiology of horses for those students with a desire to become veterinarians or equine researchers. Equine psychology specialties focus on treating human mental states with horses and are targeted at students interested in equine-assisted learning and therapy. Typical courses offered in a bachelor's degree program in equine studies may include:
- Training techniques
- Equine disease management
- Equine production and industry
- Therapeutic riding
- Theories of equitation
- Equine nutrition
- Facilities design
- Principles of management and marketing
Master's and Ph.D. Programs
Graduate programs typically concentrate on developing advanced knowledge and skills in the areas of equine physiology, biology, orthopedics and reproduction. Graduate programs focus a great deal on research and often allow students to customize their studies through concentrations or a variety of electives. Master's programs usually require a thesis or another capstone experience and Ph.D. candidates must complete dissertations. After graduating, students are prepared for careers in consulting, education and research in equine science.
Blended online and on-campus equine science degree programs may be found at the associate's, bachelor's, master's and doctoral levels. Students in these programs will gain hands-on experience with horses, as well as study various horse training and management techniques.