Livestock Science

You are viewing this course for September start 2024

MSc Livestock Science at Aberystwyth University offers biological, scientific and professional training that will provide you with the knowledge and skills required to pursue leading careers in the livestock industries, in scientific research, in consultancy services, and in education.

Food security is vital to the success and stability of any country and its population. Meeting the world’s increasing demand for food is one of the most important challenges of the 21st century. Livestock Science is, and will remain, central to meeting this challenge. Not only is food quantity important, but so too is quality, with consumers continuing to demand a high quality product at an affordable price. These demands can only be met by the development and implementation of innovative concepts and ideas by suitably qualified postgraduates, who will also then drive forward these exciting developments in livestock science and production. 

Typical Entry Requirements

Entry Requirements 2:2 Bachelors (Honours) degree in a relevant subject area or equivalent.  Non-graduates will be considered individually based on relevant work experience.

English Language Requirements IELTS 6.5 with minimum 5.5 in each component, or equivalent

Other Requirements Applicants are encouraged to submit an up-to-date CV as part of their application.

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Course Overview

This course allows you to develop your independence in critical thinking and analysis within the field of Livestock Science. You will focus on animal biology relevant for livestock production and welfare and learn to apply this within research and the wider livestock industry. The course covers a broad understanding, with the opportunity to specialise within a specific area of research through the dissertation.

Why study MSc Livestock Science at Aberystwyth University?

  • Aberystwyth University has 800 ha of farmland, which supports a dairy cow unit using a robotic milking system, upland and lowland sheep and beef unit
  • The Pwllpeira‌‌n Upland Research‌‌ Centre at Aberystwyth University is a 500 ha upland grazing system, with sheep, goats and alpacas, used for research into upland farmed ecosystems
  • The Department of Life Science's (DLS)  livestock-related research was worth in excess of £20 million in the last 5 years
  • Our submission to the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021) displayed that 75% of our research is world-leading or internationally excellent, and 98% of our research is internationally recognised
  • DLS has been recently been awarded the 2023 Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education for research carried out in the department, including work on livestock parasitology.

About this course


1 year full-time or 2 years part-time.


Scholarships are available for this course.

Additional funding opportunities may be available, please check our funding calculator for details.

Course Fees: 

Please see the tuition fee pages for current tuition fees. Please note that all fees are subject to an annual increase.

Modules September start - 2024

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.


Module Name Module Code Credit Value
Animal Breeding and Genetics BRM5820 20
Grassland Science BRM5120 20
Infection and Immunity BRM1620 20
Livestock Nutrition BRM0320 20
Livestock Production Science BRM5420 20
Research Methods in the Biosciences BRM6420 20
M.Sc. Dissertation BRM3560 60

* Also available partially or entirely through the medium of Welsh



Our graduates often progress to careers in:

  • Scientific research
  • Scientific publishing
  • Laboratory work
  • Animal Nutrition
  • Animal Welfare
  • Teaching
  • Animal breeding
  • Technical Sales.

Many of our previous graduates have also progressed to PhDs or Veterinary Medicine.


This course will empower you to:

  • Develop an in-depth knowledge and critical understanding of the key contemporary topics affecting the Livestock Sciences
  • Enhance your problem-solving and data handling skills
  • Develop and sustain a self-initiated programme of study
  • Develop study and research skills
  • Develop your skills of original thought, analysis, evaluation, interpretation and reasoning
  • Enhance your communication skills
  • Work effectively independently and as part of a team.

Teaching & Learning

How will I learn?

This course can be studied one year full-time or up to 24 months part-time. When studied full-time, the course is divided into three semesters. During the first two semesters, students complete 120 taught credits (usually six 20 credit modules), which are delivered primarily through lectures, practicals, field trips, workshops, and seminars.

During the final semester (June to September), you will complete your master’s dissertation and will arrange your level of contact with your assigned dissertation supervisor.

What will I learn?

In the first two semesters, students will study a number of core modules, covering topics such as animal breeding and genetics, infection and immunity, grassland science, livestock nutrition, and livestock production.

Students will also undertake a research training module (Research Methods in the Biosciences), which will give them a strong grounding in statistical techniques and analytical approaches to biological/environmental investigations, and will enhance their research skills and techniques.

Throughout the course, a strong emphasis is placed on student centred study. This culminates in the master’s dissertation, a key part of the course which allows you to pursue specific areas of interest.

How will I be assessed?

Assessment is via a mix of written assignments (case studies, research proposals, research critiques, essays, and reports), written examinations, seminar presentations and online assignments.

Successful submission of the dissertation in the final semester leads to the award of an MSc. 

Student Testimonials

Find out more on what our students think about their course: 

Bryan Harte

"After completing an undergraduate degree in Animal Science I returned to the Emerald Isle and started working with Grassland Agro. Grassland Agro are first and foremost a fertilizer company which also have a range of ruminant mineral supplements. I was in this job for just under a year, and at this stage I had spoken to a number of senior management in Grassland Agro and also in different companies about career progression. They all had different opinions, however the one thing they all agreed on was that a MSc would practically be a “must have” in the not so distant future.

It was at this stage I started to begin to look into the different MSc options. With a keen interest in livestock function and nutrition, the MSc in Livestock Science at Aberystwyth University seemed to provide everything I was looking for! The course was broad enough that many different aspects of livestock science were covered while also allowing you to focus on what really interested you, by allowing you to choose the titles of your assignments and dissertation. An excellent night life and rugby may have also contributed to the decision to come to Aber. . . . .

For my dissertation I worked with Professor Jamie Newbold investigating the effects of a plant extract (saponins) on the protozoal population in the rumen. After completing the lab work I moved home to Ireland to write up the dissertation. I was also lucky enough that Grassland Agro had held my position, so I was able to start working straight away when I moved home. On a typical day I meet with a few merchants which sell our stock and also walk potato, wheat and silage crops which were treated with our fertilizer. The purpose of walking such crops is to demonstrate to the farmer the benefits of using our products, so they will hopefully continue to buy the product.

The knowledge and experience I gained from completing an MSc in Livestock Science is vital in an industry which is increasingly getting more technical and complex. Having now completed the MSc I am very confident I have many of the skills required to progress my career within the agricultural industry."

Manod Williams

"Studying towards an MSc in Livestock Science was a highly beneficial choice in terms of academic and personal development. The course was challenging. It provided a detailed understanding of the biological function of livestock species, their management, and how we can work towards providing sustainable global food security. With this, I firmly believe that the course would provide the candidate with the knowledge and frame of mind to fulfil any role within the livestock sector, or indeed to pursue further academic studies. I was lucky enough to gain a scholarship from the Coleg Cymraeg to study for a PhD focused on using GPS as a means of detecting the early onset of lameness in dairy cattle. I may not have achieved this without studying for the MSc; a choice I can be proud of having made and one which will certainly improve my employability should I choose to follow other roles within livestock production having completed the PhD."

Xenofon Dimitrakopoulos

"I was working as a Veterinary Surgeon in the Greek Livestock industry for three years when I felt the need to improve my knowledge and understanding in the area of livestock nutrition. A significant number of health issues in livestock derive from improper nutritional management and I was seeking a course which could enrich my knowledge and offer me the potential to implement on-farm nutritional strategies. The Livestock Science MSc in Aberystwyth University was the most suitable for my needs. IBERS is globally the most recognizable institute in livestock nutrition, combining numerous aspects of animal science. Vast research on livestock productivity, microbiology, genetic improvement in both livestock and plants are a few of the scientific areas covered in IBERS.

So here I was in Aberystwyth. A small, but 'big', town at the same time. Nice memories with my fellow students and professors but most importantly a scientific lift off. During the course I had the opportunity to discover in depth the connections between livestock nutrition, productivity and disease development. State of the art laboratories with the latest equipment, a library with vast resources and teaching personnel always willing to assist, turned the course into a journey to knowledge.

This last year scientifically I was more equipped, ready to provide solutions for farmers and the feeding industry. With my dissertation I made my contribution to the research on bovine lameness investigating the impact on productivity. However Livestock Science MSc added to my personality as well as scientific knowledge. Cooperation with students from all around the globe, team work and above all getting to live in original Welsh scenery and getting to meet the true warm Welsh people.

After my Welsh journey I returned to Greece and applied my knowledge to my clients. Running a mixed animal veterinary practice is a hard task itself however my experience in IBERS assisted me in providing optimal nutritional services, which add extra value to my practice.

If your target is professional improvement and scientific enrichment in the livestock nutrition area do not hesitate to become a member of the vast IBERS family. Pob lwc"