Undergraduate Programs for Animal Studies: Program Overviews
In the United States, undergraduate degree programs that are most closely related to animal studies are those offered as animal science programs. Animal science is the study of both companion animals and animals that provide or are used for food. In many cases, undergraduate programs in animal science will satisfy pre-veterinary requirements for those seeking to pursue careers as veterinarians. Degrees in animal science can open doors to careers in animal production, research, care and processing.
Associate's Degree in Animal Science
While a 4-year degree is offered by a larger number of colleges and universities, some schools have 2-year degree programs in animal science. Many of these programs are intended for those seeking to become veterinarian technicians or are looking to gain entry-level positions in the animal or farming industry. Admission to an associate's degree program in animal science typically requires a high school diploma or equivalent.
The curriculum of an Associate of Applied Science in Animal Science degree program will consist mainly of introductory courses plus some general education requirement courses. Some of the coursework related to animal studies includes the following:
- Veterinary technology
- Veterinary medical terminology
- Animal diseases
- Animal behavior
- Animal anatomy and physiology
- Livestock production
Popular Career Options
An associate's degree in animal science will qualify students for entry-level positions in veterinary clinics, wildlife centers or livestock businesses. Job titles may include the following:
- Veterinary technician
- Veterinary assistant
- Wildlife technician
- Animal control officer
Graduates of an associate's degree program in animal science are qualified to enter a bachelor's degree program if they so choose. A bachelor's degree is required for those who would like to apply to veterinary school or other graduate programs in animal science.
Bachelor's Degree in Animal Science
A Bachelor of Science in Animal Science degree program can prepare students for careers in such areas as farm management, livestock sales, agriculture and animal product management. Students can generally choose a concentration, such as livestock management, equestrian studies, dairy science, pre-veterinary medicine or agricultural studies.
At the very least, entry into an animal science bachelor's degree program will require a high school diploma or equivalent, high school transcript and ACT or SAT results. Some program may require a personal essay and letters of recommendation along with the college application.
A bachelor's degree program in animal science will generally include several similar courses as those offered in associate degree programs, though in most cases on a more advanced level. Students may be required to take core science courses such as chemistry, organic chemistry, biology and microbiology. Other courses that might be part of the curriculum of a bachelor's degree program include the following:
- Animal genetics
- Animal reproduction
- Animal breeding
- Animal nutrition
- Animal molecular biology
- Beef cattle management
- Companion animal management
- Poultry management
Popular Career Options
A 4-year degree in animal science can lead to some mid- to upper-level management positions in animal-related businesses and industries. Some typical job titles include the following:
- Farm manager
- Manager livestock marketing company
- Animal-plant health inspector
- Quality control officer for pet food manufacturer
- Animal laboratory research technician
Graduate programs, such as the one that leads to the Master of Science in Animal Science, are available for those who want to further their education. Those who want to become veterinarians would attend veterinary schools.
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