What is Typical Coursework in an Animal Sciences Degree Program?

“Animal sciences” refers to the various scientific pursuits of humans to ultimately understand everything about animals. It is this field that educates the masses as to all things involving animals. It is also this field that is looked to more and more for the assurance of the continuance of many animal species as man populates the Earth at record rates.

Those looking to enter into a line of work related to such studies will need to first earn a degree in this field of expertise. Want to learn more about an animal sciences degree? Let’s become acquainted by taking a look at some of the college coursework typical of this major.


The study of animal genetics places a lot of focus on providing “new scientific discoveries to age-old livestock production problems to help producers and consumers.” Understanding how to make livestock and other highly human-dependent animals more genetically viable can change the entire world. How do we end up with more product? How can we keep more animals healthy and resistant to common mortality and quality issues? Students in such animal genetics courses will explore the deep implications of DNA, gene-mapping, genetic alteration, and other concepts of reproduction and genetics – not just with livestock, but with all animals.


Any study of microscopic organisms is considered microbiology. In microbiology courses, students will learn the ins and outs of microscopic life, how it lives, where, why, how, and when. This is particularly important to the understanding of animals just as it is to the physiological understanding of humans.

What types of microorganisms affect which animals? How are they treated or prevented? How may these organisms be used for potential good in animals? Learning the answers to questions like these is what microbiology coursework is all about.

Animal Physiology

Most animal science majors will have completed substantial coursework in animal physiology at some point during their college curriculum. Such coursework prepares the student with in-depth knowledge on the anatomical make-up of animals. This is similar to coursework undertaken by a future doctor, learning about the anatomical make-up of humans. This is necessary as a sort of core knowledge in animal science but is even more essential in career routes involving veterinary medicine specifically.

Animal Husbandry

In times past, a major in animal science was actually called “animal husbandry”. Today, animal husbandry is actually a sub-study within the greater study of animal science. The study of animal husbandry encompasses the finer points to animal companionship, training, and the animal-human relationship as a whole. Experts in such pursuits are therefore experts in human relationships with animals. This can be with regard to domesticated animals as well as interactions with the non-domesticated.

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Agricultural Science

The utilization of animals for human, agricultural gain falls under the study of agricultural science. This science focuses on the ins and outs of animal utilization such as for beef, poultry, eggs, and other material goods and wares. Students attending agricultural science coursework will also come to understand relevant studies of soil composition, crop cultivation, and even harvesting processes for plants and animals. Agricultural purpose dictates most of this human-animal dynamic. Fittingly, agricultural science coursework is an essential component to animal science studies.

The relationship between humans and animals is as old as civilization itself. Animal science and its associated coursework focus on that exact dynamic as well as the greater understanding of those same animals native to our planet and important to its entirety. For more detailed information regarding the state of the art of animal sciences as well as associated career and educational resources, the Journal of Animal Science is an excellent venue to check out.