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Animal Related Degrees

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Animal Related Degrees Image by M.H. Kramer

There are many animal related degree programs that may interest students hoping to find future employment in the animal industry. It is also possible to major in an area that is not specifically "animal-related” (such as marketing, business administration, or education) and to combine that course of study with a minor in an animal related area. Here are some of the most popular animal related degree programs:

1. Animal Behavior

Animal behavior programs are generally graduate level courses of study that a student can pursue after completing an undergraduate degree in biology, psychology, animal science, or a related field. Animal behaviorists generally achieve a Masters degree or Ph.D. in the field. Coursework may include ethology, biology, ecology, anatomy & physiology, zoology, animal science, psychology, and statistics. Graduate programs in animal behavior are offered at U.C. Davis, Arizona State University, and a few other U.S. colleges. It is more common for colleges to offer advanced degrees in biology or psychology with a concentration in animal behavior.

2. Animal Science

Animal science majors pursue a course of study that usually focuses primarily on the management of livestock species such as cattle, horses, pigs, goats, and sheep. The study of companion animal species is included to some degree in many programs. Coursework may include topics in behavior, production, meat science, reproduction, genetics, nutrition, ration formulation, agricultural marketing, biology, chemistry, and statistics. Animal science graduates can work in many fields or pursue graduate studies for veterinary medicine, reproduction, nutrition, etc. Animal science programs are offered by many colleges and universities.

3. Biology

Biology majors study a variety of topics such as microbiology, biochemistry, inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, ecology, genetics, immunology, development, anatomy, and physiology. The biology degree is particularly versatile and can provide a path to dozens of animal related careers or graduate level studies depending on the specific courses the undergraduate chooses to pursue. Nearly all colleges and universities offer a biology degree, and it is also a very common graduate offering.

4. Dairy Science

Dairy science majors study dairy cattle management topics including milk production, nutrition, herd health, reproduction, genetics, and marketing. Students that graduate from these programs are qualified to work as dairy farmers, dairy managers, or in other related dairy positions. Dairy science programs are offered at the University of Wisconsin, the University of Georgia, Mississippi State University, Texas A&M University, and several other institutions across the U.S.

5. Equine Science

Equine science majors study equine management topics including equine exercise physiology, reproduction, anatomy and physiology, behavior, nutrition, training methods, and topics in business management or marketing. Some equine science programs include significant hands on riding and competition experience in various disciplines. Equine science programs are offered by many colleges and universities; an equine science minor is also a popular option for those studying animal science or biology.

6. Poultry Science

Poultry science programs focus on poultry management topics such as egg production, meat production, reproduction, anatomy and physiology, genetics, nutrition, ration formulation, biotechnology, business management, and marketing. Poultry science graduates can work as egg producers, meat producers, poultry farm managers, veterinary pharmaceutical sales reps, or many other related positions. Poultry science degrees are offered by institutes such as the University of Georgia, Texas A&M, and Auburn University.

7. Veterinary Technology

Veterinary technology majors study a variety of topics relating to animal health, disease transmission, anatomy, physiology, and proper use of medical equipment. Veterinary technology graduates are eligible to sit for the national licensing exam which grants them certification as veterinary technicians. Veterinary technology graduates may work as veterinary technicians, veterinary pharmaceutical sales representatives, and a variety of related positions. The 21 AVMA approved veterinary technology programs that grant a four year B.S. degree include Purdue University, Michigan State University, the State University of New York, and California Polytechnic University. (There are also 191 AVMA approved programs with two year degrees).

8. Zoology

Zoology programs may focus on a variety of topics such as general zoology, marine biology, wildlife biology, ecology, behavior, nutrition, reproduction, cell biology, developmental biology, chemistry, physics, and statistics. Zoologists are qualified to work in zoos, in research positions, in wildlife conservation organizations, or related positions. Zoology degrees are offered at a number of educational institutions such as the University of Florida, Michigan State University, Auburn University, and NC State University. Many programs also offer graduate level study in the field of zoology to those who have completed an undergraduate degree in zoology or a closely related field (such as biology, animal science, etc).

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