Animal Studies Major: Information and Requirements

An animal studies degree program can lead to careers in a variety of industries, including veterinary medicine, agribusiness, agriculture, animal biology and food science. The most common type of degree offered at the undergraduate level is a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science. Read on to learn about the prerequisites for this program as well as common courses and options for continuing education in animal studies.

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Essential Information

Students enrolled in a bachelor's degree program in animal studies can choose from a specialization such as animal biology, animal production, exotic animal studies, pre-veterinary medicine, agribusiness management and biotechnology. Oftentimes an undergraduate major in animal studies is designed to lead to a graduate program in one of these fields.

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

Students enrolled in each of the concentrations of the animal studies major participate in classroom lectures, seminars, laboratory experiences and practical fieldwork that gives them hands-on experience working with animals.

Education Prerequisites

Many schools offering animal studies programs require that students first complete courses in natural sciences, biology and mathematics before declaring the major.

Program Coursework

The courses in an animal studies program can vary greatly depending upon the specific concentration chosen, but there are core courses that might be required of each animal studies major. Some of these include:

  • Professional development in animal science
  • Anatomy and physiology of animals
  • Animal feeding and nutrition principles
  • General chemistry
  • Genetic improvement of domestic animals
  • Ethics in animal agriculture
  • Statistics for biologists
  • Cattle management
  • Avian management

Popular Career Options

Graduates of an undergraduate degree in animal studies have several career options open to them. Some of these include:

  • Veterinary technician
  • Research veterinarian
  • Biologist
  • Ranch manager
  • Agriculture sales representative
  • Animal breeder
  • Animal trainer
  • Wildlife specialist
  • Environmental analyst
  • Park ranger

Continuing Education Options

Many graduates of an animal studies program go on to pursue graduate degrees in the field. Some common master's degrees include those related to veterinary science, agriculture and agribusiness, animal biology, animal research and food science. Students can also earn Ph.D.'s in several of these fields, which can provide them with the advanced research and training necessary to teach animal science at a university level.

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