Back to: Animal Science and Management major Animal Science and Management major

Domestic animals play a more significant role in our lives than we realise! Cows, sheep and poultry are vital to our food production. We share companionship with our pet dogs, cats, birds and even goldfish.

The Animal Science and Management major brings together studies in animal nutrition, growth and development, behaviour and welfare, genetics and breeding, health, livestock science and reproduction, and biotechnology. These studies allow people to manage animals in a way that integrates animal welfare with modern and demanding production requirements. You can choose to specialise in Animal Behaviour and Welfare, Livestock Production, or Animal Science.

This major will help you develop an understanding of the biology of domestic and captive animals, as well as their care, management and use as a resource for food, fibre, recreation and companionship. You will learn about the complex ethical and moral issues facing society concerning animal ownership, and will have the opportunity to focus on the systems management of a chosen species or classification of animals.

Careers

Graduates with a major in Animal Science and Management can explore careers in the public or private sectors related to a wide range of animal production, environmental, biomedical and service industries, and community organisations concerned with public good.

These can include careers in the following sectors:

  • Enterprise management: Manager of large livestock enterprises or farm service businesses (e.g. feed or animal health companies), livestock improvement officer, consultant or research scientist. Careers are available across the whole food supply chain, from the farm level to processing, distribution and marketing.
  • Animal research and biotechnology industries: Animal molecular genetics and breeding, identification and quality assurance, biotechnology in health related research and management methods.
  • Agriculture industries and animal production: Animal nutritionist, development of animal health products, environmental management in animal industries, quality assurance, horse industries, dairy herd and farm management, pig and poultry manager, pasture agronomist/adviser.
  • Animal care and welfare: Animal welfare and protection, animal behaviour, improvement of conditions and treatment of animals, stockmanship and quality assurance, animal health services, improved and alternative management strategies.

Subjects you could take in this major

  • This subject elaborates on the scientific basis of disease recognition in populations of animals. It explores causes of disease in animal populations, the mechanisms of disease processes and their transmission, principles of biosecurity, and the scientific basis of technologies and procedures available for monitoring disease status. Students will acquire skills in a variety of techniques used to monitor the health of populations of animals, and will develop abilities in critical analysis of animal health reports.

  • This subject expands on the themes developed in VETS30011 Animal Disease Biotechnology 1 and the role of animal health surveillance in maintaining the health of human populations. The subject may include industry placements, with opportunities to develop laboratory skills in areas such as haematology, biochemistry, serology, microbiology, molecular biology, anatomic pathology and toxicology.

  • Success in animal enterprises and systems is a result of interdisciplinary interactions between animal, plant, climatic, human, risk and market factors. This subject aims to develop the skills required to analyse these interactions and support decision-making in animal enterprises. The subject is taught using problem-based learning by doing. Students will conduct system management case study analyses during the semester, and submit a detailed report on these. Each case study is based on an animal enterprise or system. Case study analysis will require students to clearly identify the problem to be solved and the context for problem solving (including business and personal goals of the owners/managers and their approach to management and decision making), analyse options for solving the problems and meeting goals, and prepare a report of their findings for the 'client'. Case study visits are supplemented by lectures and tutorials that develop the theory and practice of system thinking and analysis. The subject integrates biophysical science disciplines, management economics, and human systems elements. It is designed to enable students to work effectively with the owners and managers of animal businesses in bringing about change in their system.


  • This subject develops knowledge and understanding of systems for regulating body function, and physiological and behavioural processes that are utilised by animals in response to environmental challenges. This basis will allow students to evaluate and assess animal welfare and ethical issues that confront livestock production and amenity use of animals in society. The subject will also develop knowledge in adaptation, preference testing, cognition, and short and long-term biological responses.

    Specific topics covered include;

    • The current debate about animal usage and animal welfare
    • Systems regulating the body (homeostasis, motivation and control systems, and development of regulatory systems)
    • Limits to adaptation (stimulation, tolerance and coping, variation in adaptation)
    • Stress and welfare (Selye’s concept of stress and refinements to the concept, coping and fitness, definition of welfare and its assessment)
    • Assessing welfare using short-term and long-term biological responses
    • Assessing welfare using preference testing
    • Assessing welfare by studying cognitive skills
    • Ethical problems concerning welfare
    • Welfare issues in agriculture and the general community; and codes of practice for the welfare of livestock and welfare solutions
  • This subject allows students to examine the behaviour of farm, companion and laboratory animals and highlights the processes and factors involved in cause and effect manipulating behavioural functionality. The subject will train students to describe, record and measure behaviour, examine the development of behaviour in a range of species; examine the effects of stimuli and communications; motivation, decision making, learning and memory; genetic and hormonal basis of behaviour; organisation, social, sexual, maternal, and dam-neonate interactions.

    Topics covered include:

    • Describing, recording and measuring behaviour; development of behaviour
    • Stimuli and communication
    • Motivation and decision making
    • Learning and memory
    • Genetic influences on behaviour
    • Hormonal influences on behaviour
    • Organisation of behaviour
    • Social behaviour; sexual behaviour
    • Maternal behaviour and dam-neonate interactions; and behavioural problems
  • The aim of this subject is to give students of animal science a fundamental understanding of both applied reproductive biology and genetics. This will enable students to develop the skills necessary for management of reproductive performance and to implement genetic improvement of domestic animals. The content includes comparative structure and function of reproductive organs; endocrinology and neuro-endocrinology of reproductive cycles; environmental and genetic influences on reproduction, interventions to manipulate reproduction; reproductive biotechnologies including cloning; breeding values and selection indices; inbreeding and crossbreeding; applied animal genomics.

  • Pastures and grasslands comprise the dominant vegetation cover across the Australian continent. The way pastures and grasslands are managed is therefore central to the sustainable use of natural resources such as soil and water, as well as the economic development of the pasture-based livestock industries (meat and wool sheep, beef cattle, and dairy).

    This subject will include:

    • An overview of Australia's pasture and grassland resources
    • The population biology of pasture plants, including the growth cycles of annual and perennial plants, and pathways of plant survival
    • The major pasture plant species and pasture types, their agronomic and adaptive characteristics and management requirements
    • Pasture improvement principles and practices
    • Plant and pasture growth processes influencing the accumulation of yield in pastures, and implications for management
    • The feeding and nutritive value of pastures and factors affecting animal intake
    • The principles and practices of grazing management
  • This subject aims to provide an introduction to the principles and practices in effective operation and improvement of the major livestock industries in Australia. This subject will cover:

    • The major livestock industries in terms of size, distribution and value
    • Factors that determine the location of the different industries in southern Australia
    • Basic annual and seasonal cycles of production
    • The feedbase for ruminant and non-ruminant industries
    • Basic inputs and outputs, i.e. the roles of genetics, environment, nutrition, reproductive efficiency and health in setting the opportunities and constraints
    • Practices that influence profitability, environmental impact
    • Product quality
    • New and emerging animal industries
    • Current and future issues affecting industry development, e.g. welfare and human health concerns

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 pages.