Animal Science

Key Facts

Code D306
  • Typical A-level offer

    BBC-BBB with B in Biology or Human Biology

  • Course Length

    3 Years

Further details on entry requirements

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Animal science is the science of the animals that are used by man. In Aberystwyth, this means farm animals, horses and companion animals. Animal scientists study the nutrition, breeding, fertility, health, behaviour, physiology and anatomy of a wide range of domesticated animals. Our students develop the skills required for successful careers using these animals on a daily basis.

Here’s why we think that Aberystwyth is a great place to be an animal scientist!

  • Passionate teaching staff who conduct research in all areas of animal science.
  • Great module choice within the course, allowing you to concentrate on the species of most interest to you
  • Fantastic modern laboratories, farms, equine centre, aquarium and microscopy suite
  • Opportunities for foreign exchanges
  • An award winning institute environment 

1st in the UK for student satisfaction in the subject area of Animal Science (NSS 2016)
100% student satisfaction on our Animal Science degree scheme (NSS 2016)

 Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS): 91% student satisfaction (NSS 2016)

92% of undergraduates from IBERS who graduated in 2015 were in employment or further education six months after graduating (DLHE 2015)

  • Overview
  • Course Content
  • Employability
  • Teaching, Learning and Assessment
  • Student Views


If you are interested in livestock, horses or companion animals then animal science is for you. Here’s why we think Aberystwyth is the very best place to make your journey of discovery…

Passionate teaching staff who are expert in their field

You’ll be taught by expert animal scientists at the forefront of research, ranging through molecular investigations of parasitology in sheep, cellular investigations of wound healing in horses, nutritional investigations to reduce livestock greenhouse gas emissions, breeding investigations to eliminate hip dysplasia in dogs, and behavioural investigations of how animals cope with new environments. All of this research directly informs our teaching. On successful completion of our animal science course you will have the skills and capabilities sought by employers, and the foundation for a successful career as a nutritionist, researcher, behaviouralist, animal breeder, or welfare inspector. Many of our students continue their studies by undertaking postgraduate qualifications here at Aberystwyth whilst others progress onto veterinary schools.

Great module choice 

Following a general introduction to the subject of Animal Science in your first year, the flexible course structure allows you to focus on one of the three specialist areas in your second and third years: Companion Animal Science; Farm Animal Science; or Equine Science, allowing you to spend more time studying the animal of most interest to you.

Fantastic facilities

As a budding animal scientist, you’ll need access to top-notch research and teaching facilities. We have modern, well-equipped teaching laboratories, lecture theatres, and seminar rooms. You’ll also benefit from other facilities including:

  • Over 1000 ha of farmland, including lowland and upland sheep farms, a 500 cow dairy herd, intensive and extensive beef production systems, an equine centre and a flock of layer poultry
  • An advanced microscopy and bio-imaging laboratory
  • A beautiful local environment, including marine, moorland, mountain, grassland and coast, providing you with a fabulous variety of fieldwork and recreational opportunities 

A prize-winning institute that can help you achieve your full potential!

The Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) received the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education, and the ''Outstanding Contribution to Innovation and Technology'' award at the Times Higher Education Awards, as well as one of the first ever Excellence with Impact Awards from the BBSRC, the UK’s Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. In addition, it was found that 78% of research in IBERS was world-leading or internationally-excellent during the recent Research Excellence Framework assessment (2014).

Want to study in Welsh?

Students can elect to study a number of IBERS modules in the medium of Welsh. Ask the department for further details!

Our Staff

The majority of teaching staff at the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences are qualified to PhD level and are research active. Vocational courses also have staff whose background lies within industry.  The Institute has a large number of research only staff with whom students may have contact.

Course Content

Welsh medium modules available

Please note: The modules listed below are those currently intended for delivery during the next academic year and may be subject to change. They are included here to give an indication of how the course is structured.

Year 1 Core (60 Credits) You must take these modules

Semester 1

Biology Of The Cell BR10310
Equine Anatomy And Physiology BR10910
Genetics BR11310
Biological Molecules And Methods BR11710

Semester 2

Metabolism BR12010
Career Development In The Animal Sciences BR13410

Year 1 Options This CORE MODULE is offered bilingually: choose your preferred language

Semester 1

Cyflwyniad I Systemau Cynhyrchu Da Byw BG11400

Introduction To Livestock Production Systems BR11400

Semester 2

Cyflwyniad I Systemau Cynhyrchu Da Byw BG11410

Introduction To Livestock Production Systems BR11410

Year 1 Options This CORE MODULE is offered bilingually: choose your preferred language

Semester 1

Bioleg Cymhwysol Anifeiliad BG13300

Applied Animal Biology BR13300

Semester 2

Bioleg Cymhwysol Anifeiliad BG13320

Applied Animal Biology BR13320

Year 1 Options This CORE MODULE is offered bilingually: choose your preferred language

Semester 1

Sgiliau Astudio A Chyfathrebu BG12410

Study And Communication Skills BR12410

Year 1 Options This CORE MODULE is offered bilingually: choose your preferred language

Semester 2

Amrywiaeth Microbau BG12110

Microbial Diversity BR12110

Year 1 Options Choose 10 credits.

Semester 2

Equine Exercise Physiology BR11010

Disease Diagnosis And Control BR13010

Year 2 Core (40 Credits) You must take the following modules

Semester 2

Applied Animal Behaviour And Welfare BR20510
Immunology BR22220
Reproductive Physiology, Growth And Development BR23310

Year 2 Options This CORE MODULE is offered bilingually: choose your preferred language

Semester 1

Maeth Anifeiliaid Fferm, Ceffylau Ac Anifeiliaid Anwes BG20720

Applied Nutrition Of Livestock, Horses And Companion Animals BR20720

Year 2 Options This CORE MODULE is offered bilingually: choose your preferred language

Semester 1

Dulliau Ymchwil BG23400

Research Methods BR23400

Semester 2

Dulliau Ymchwil BG23420

Research Methods BR23420

Year 2 Options FARM ANIMAL PATHWAY: All 40 credits must be taken if choosing this pathway (Where modules are offered bilingually: choose your preferred language)

Semester 1

Systemau Cynhyrchu Da Byw BG20400

Livestock Production Systems BR20400

Principles Of Veterinary Science BR23110

Grassland Management BR25110

Semester 2

Systemau Cynhyrchu Da Byw BG20420

Livestock Production Systems BR20420

Year 2 Options EQUINE PATHWAY: All 40 credits must be taken if choosing this pathway

Semester 1

Equine And Human Exercise Physiology BR21520

Principles Of Veterinary Science BR23110

Grassland Management BR25110

Year 2 Options COMPANION ANIMAL PATHWAY: Choose 40 credits from the selection for this pathway.

Semester 1

Companion Animal Health BR21310

Ethology BR21620

Principles Of Veterinary Science BR23110

Semester 2

Vertebrate Anatomy BR23710

Zoo Science BR24310

Final Year Core (50 Credits) You must take the following modules

Semester 1

Veterinary Infectious Diseases BR34120

Semester 2

Livestock And Equine 'omic' Technologies BR30610
Animal Breeding BR30710
Veterinary Pharmacology And Toxicology BR32610

Final Year Options This CORE MODULE is offered bilingually: choose your preferred language

Semester 1

Traethawd Estynedig BG32300

Dissertation BR32300

Semester 2

Traethawd Estynedig BG32330

Dissertation BR32330

Final Year Options FARM ANIMAL PATHWAY: Choose 40 credits for this pathway. Where modules are offered bilingually or in EITHER semester: choose your preferred language or semester if applicable. (Note: due to limited spaces on field courses/study tours, attendance must be agreed in advance with the module co-ordinator)

Semester 1

Gwyddor Cynhyrchu Da Byw BG30800

Taith Astudio Amaethyddol A'r Amgylchedd Gwaith BG34010

Animal Bioethics BR30510

Livestock Production Science BR30800

Agricultural Study Tour And The Work Environment BR34010

Semester 2

Gwyddor Cynhyrchu Da Byw BG30820

Livestock Production Science BR30820

Both Semesters

Cyfathrebu Ymchwil BG31710

Communicating Research BR31710

Final Year Options EQUINE PATHWAY: Choose 40 credits for this pathway. Where modules are offered bilingually or in EITHER semester: choose your preferred language or semester if applicable

Semester 1

Animal Bioethics BR30510

Equine Stud Management BR32500

Semester 2

Advanced Equine Nutrition And Digestive Disorders BR30310

Equine Stud Management BR32520

Both Semesters

Cyfathrebu Ymchwil BG31710

Communicating Research BR31710

Final Year Options COMPANION ANIMAL PATHWAY: Choose 40 credits for this pathway. Where modules are offered bilingually or in EITHER semester: choose your preferred language or semester if applicable

Semester 1

Animal Bioethics BR30510

Behavioural Neurobiology BR31510

Semester 2

Advanced Animal Behaviour BR30220

Advanced Equine Nutrition And Digestive Disorders BR30310

Biodiversity Of Birds BR31320

Both Semesters

Cyfathrebu Ymchwil BG31710

Communicating Research BR31710


You will be fully supported with developing your employability skills throughout the degree scheme. The degree will allow you to develop your ability to assess the welfare of domestic animals based on the underpinning science and the ability to explain the principles of genetics to maximise the efficiency of breeding programmes for domestic animals as well as developing a range of transferable skills highly valued by employers. You will join a department that has excellent facilities to support your studies; £55 million pounds has been invested over the last five years in IBERS infrastructure. Many students as part of their supervised final year project have access to highly specialised facilities for example world class animal nutrition facilities. These facilities enable students to develop their specialist skills and knowledge preparing them for a successful transition into the workplace. Depending on your chosen study pathway, you will also have skills in management of people, animals and resources, and you will possess the latest expertise in animal-related business practices.

IBERS staff have close links with many learned societies which provide a route for students to network with others in their discipline and explore funding opportunities and recognition for their work. Guest lecturers and expert external teachers also contribute to the curriculum to pass on their expertise and knowledge. You will also benefit from the unique biodiversity of west Wales where your practical skills can be further developed.

The department has resources on the virtual learning environment, Aberlearn Blackboard to support your development and has a dedicated Twitter feed to keep students informed of developmental opportunities and work experience. Students have participated in a work experience module to help them identify and reflect on the employability skills they are developing through their work experience. 

The department has a close working relationship with the Careers Service who can help and support you sourcing work experience opportunities locally and nationally. You can also participate in the Year in Employment Scheme (YES) to gain graduate level work experience and IBERS students have successfully gained placements with a number of employers including West Midlands Safari Park and Chester Zoo.

As a specialist branch of Zoology, your BSc in Animal Science opens up a range of exciting opportunities for employment and further training. You will be a strong candidate for work as an ecologist, conservationist, veterinary scientist, livestock manager or farming consultant. Graduates also find work in the media, scientific journalism, teaching and research.

Teaching, Learning and Assessment

What will I learn?

In the first year you will take modules that cover areas such as cell structure, molecules, genetics, and metabolism, with special emphasis on the physiology of the horse. You will look at the major farm animal production systems (beef, sheep, dairy, pig, broiler and egg) in the context of UK and world agriculture. You will also receive training in communication and research skills.

In the second year you will study areas such as mammalian reproductive anatomy and physiology in livestock, equines and companion animals; animal welfare; and the immune system. You will be given the option to follow an equine, livestock or companion animal pathway, and modules will vary according to your chosen specialism, but all will include relevant veterinary training. You will have the opportunity to undertake a period of work experience, in which you will put your academic and vocational training into practice.

In the third year you will explore general topics such as animal biotechnology, breeding, parasitology and infectious diseases, as well as continuing with your chosen specialism. A compulsory dissertation will allow you to perform in-depth research under the guidance of a supervisor. Your project may be based on laboratory experiments or fieldwork exercises, comprise a computer modelling exercise, or involve a critical review of published scientific literature.

Among many skills, you will learn to: synthesize information from scientific literature; understand and explain the implications of technological developments in animal science; scrutinize data in terms of quality and quantity; and respond to new data through laboratory investigation.

How will I be taught?

The course will be delivered through a balanced programme of lectures, workshops, tutorials, and practicals. Some aspects of the course will rely on student-centered e-learning, supported by computer workshops. You will receive thorough training in concepts, research and methodology relating to animal science. You will explore this learning in laboratory research and experimentation, as well as hands-on practical exercises.

You will be assessed through numerous methods including essays, practical exercises, oral presentations, worksheets, reports, statistical exercises, dossiers, posters, portfolios, wikis, reflective diaries, literature reviews, magazine articles, field notebooks and exams. In all these areas you will need to demonstrate scientific rigour and apply a systematic approach to the problems with which you are presented.

The university's vibrant culture of learning will support you in your training and encourage you to take advantage of the many opportunities within the department and the university to develop your theoretical and practical expertise so that, upon graduation, you are perfectly positioned for the next stage of your career.

You will be assigned a personal tutor throughout your degree course, who will help you with any problems or queries, whether these are academic-related or personal issues. You should feel free to contact them at any time for help and advice.

You will also have the opportunity to complete a Personal Development Plan (PDP) at Aberystwyth. This is a structured process of self-appraisal, reflection, and planning, which will enable you to chart your personal, academic and professional development throughout your time at university. By recording your academic performance, and highlighting the skills you already have and those you will need for future employability, the PDP portfolio will equip you with the necessary tools to plan effectively, develop successful approaches to study, and consider your future career options and aspirations.

Student Views

I love the practical aspect of the Animal Science course as well as the interesting lectures. Being able to choose a pathway means we are able to specialize and study what we are most interested in from the second year. Being based in Aberystwyth means there is plenty of scope for lambing and farm work alongside my studies. Lewis Wescott

The course has greatly increased my knowledge. It has opened many doors for my future career prospects or to go on to further study. Caitlin Jenkins

I chose Aberystwyth University because of the excellent reputation, wide variety of modules available and because of the horse riding facilities. I remember University life as a great mix of life with horses, meeting great friends with similar interests and studying topics that were close to my heart. Barbara - Commercial Manager, Animal Health for Charles River Laboratories

Doing Animal Science at Aberystwyth University was the best decision of my life – it has moulded me into the person I am today. Everyone was so friendly and the course was set at just the right level with great facilities from studying in the libraries to the practical sessions in the labs and field. My course helped me by giving me an insight into the farming industry alongside an in depth knowledge of the anatomy and physiology of the animals I work with on a daily basis.
Dawn - Egg Marketing Inspector for Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA), part of DEFRA

Growing up in the east of England, I had never even set foot in Wales until I came to visit Aberystwyth University. I was sold on ‘Aber’ that day. Not only was the location truly beautiful but the Animal Science course really stood out alongside other universities I had applied for, allowing me to specialise in specific subject areas to suit my skills and interests.
Laura - Nutrition Advisor, Dodson and Horrell Ltd

Entry Requirements

A Levels BBC-BBB with B in Biology or Human Biology

GCSE requirements (grade C min):
English or Welsh, Mathematics and a Science subject

BTEC National Diploma:

International Students

International Baccalaureate:
30 points overall with 5 points in Biology at Higher Level

European Baccalaureate:
65-70% overall with 75% in specified subject

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