Animals play significant roles in the lives of people and communities, including livestock for food production and pets for companionship. The management of animal health and welfare has wide-ranging implications for areas such as biosecurity, public health, food production and wildlife.

This major will help you develop an understanding of animal health and disease, genetics and biotechnology, disease surveillance, and animal behaviour and handling in the context of veterinary medicine, animal production and management, and animal science research.

This Animal Health and Disease major provides a pathway for you to pursue a career in areas like veterinary or animal science and research, animal production industries, disease surveillance and biosecurity, and animal welfare.

After successful completion of your second-year studies in the Bachelor of Science at Melbourne, you can apply for entry to the Veterinary Bioscience specialisation, which is the prerequisite specialisation for entry into the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine graduate degree at Melbourne.


The Animal Health and Disease major provides a pathway for students interested in careers in veterinary medicine, research, animal production industries and government agencies, particularly in the increasingly important areas of disease surveillance and biosecurity. The major is also the first component of the University of Melbourne veterinary medicine program.

Studies in Animal Health and Disease will prepare you for a career in veterinary or animal research, animal production industries, disease surveillance and biosecurity, and animal care and welfare.

Subjects you could take in this major

  • This subject is an introduction to the core of biochemistry, building on chemical principles and relating structure to function. The subject is an approved biochemistry prerequisite for entry to graduate medicine (and kindred vocational study) at the University of Melbourne. The molecular basis of life as discussed in this subject is essential for the understanding of any biological system and is at the core of all degrees in life science that use molecular techniques. The content includes an introduction to the molecular architecture of cells and the structure of biological building blocks (amino acids, nucleic acids, carbohydrates, lipids). The coverage includes the structure and function of proteins, including the properties of enzymes, their regulation and kinetic behavior. How nucleic acids replicate information and serve as a template for the synthesis of RNAs and proteins (i.e. molecular biology). The structure of lipids is examined to show their major biological roles, particularly as components of cell membranes. Metabolic pathways (glycolysis, gluconeogenesis, glycogen metabolism, TCA cycle and oxidative phosphorylation) will complete this core coverage of essential biochemistry. The subject is designed to complement the laboratory experiences in the subject BCMB20005.

  • VETS20014 Foundations of Animal Health 1 introduces students to the major determinants of health in domestic animals. Using case studies drawing on a range of domestic and exotic animals species and both Australian and international contexts, the roles of animal environments, nutrition, toxins and the scientific approach to managing the health of animals will be investigated.

    Students should develop an understanding of management systems appropriate for optimising the management and health of domestic animal populations.

  • VETS20015 Foundations of Animal Health 2 adds to the understandings developed in VETS20014 Foundations of Animal Health 1, to consider the principles of animal welfare and its management, the genetic basis of animal health and performance and the fundamental principles of infectious disease control.

    A case study approach will introduce students to established health and welfare management practices of companion and production animals in Australia, and will reinforce understandings of the role of welfare, genetics, nutrition, housing and infectious disease control in the maintenance of health populations of animals.

Entry requirements & Prerequisites

This major is available through more than one course, both of which have their own separate entry requirements.

You can read more on the the

Bachelor of Science&Bachelor of Science Extended