Animal science is the study of the biology of animals that are under the control or care of humans. This includes the production and management of farm animals, nutrition and foods of animal origin such as meat, eggs, and dairy. It also encompasses the behaviour, nutrition, care and welfare of companion animals.
At Nottingham, students are also encouraged to consider more broadly the interaction of humans upon domesticated and wild populations of vertebrates. Since the subject is so broad, graduates go on to challenging careers in a huge variety of different areas.
What skills will I gain during my degree?
In addition to your subject specific knowledge, your animal science degree will equip you with a range of transferable skills including the ability to:
- develop a creative approach to problem solving
- handle and evaluate complex information and synthesise ideas
- critically evaluate information and ideas
- accurately operate laboratory equipment
- communicate experimental results clearly and concisely
- present and articulate information coherently
- obtain experience in animal handling techniques
- manage and organise time effectively and work to deadlines
- work productively as an individual and as part of a team
Biosciences Core Graduate Competencies
You will also develop 12 competencies which have been divided into these four headings:
- Fundamental skills
- Interpersonal skills
- Personal aspiration and development
- Professional responsibility
Explore the Biosciences Core Graduate Competencies
How can I develop my skills and experience during my degree?
Regardless of whether you are a first year or final year, developing skills outside your degree will enhance your CV and allow you to provide evidence of these in applications and at interviews. There are a wide range of opportunities at the university and beyond for you to explore.
Many charities who work with animals are supported through volunteers, so they are always happy to hear from people eager to help out. Charity Choice have produced a comprehensive directory of the UK’s leading animal charities.
The Students’ Union Volunteer Centre has opportunities with local animal charities such as Cats Protection, Stonebridge City Farm and Riding for the Disabled.
You can also find voluntary opportunities directly through animal charities such as the RSPCA, Bluecross, Dogs Trust or the Wildlife Trusts
Many kennels and livestock farms hire seasonal workers to help during busy times of the year. For example, kennels and catteries seek extra help around summer and Christmas and farms take on staff to assist during the lambing season.
To learn more about a particular job role you could ask for work shadowing opportunities. For example, if you are interested in going into sales, shadowing an experienced sales representative in the field can give you a real insight into what the job is like and a competitive edge in the recruitment process.
Attending conferences and making use of professional networking websites such as LinkedIn are great ways to start connecting with and approaching professionals.
Pharmaceutical and healthcare companies
Companies such as IDEXX, Boehringer Ingelheim and Covance offer animal-related summer internships.
Some charities, such as Sea Watch offer unpaid internships that can result in a paid role at the end.
Societies and research organisations
Some societies and research organisations offer opportunities, such as The Fisheries Society of the British Isles which has funded summer research internships.
The Royal Society of Biology has links to various organisations for internships and summer research projects.
Summer research opportunities
The School of Biosciences offer summer research opportunities - it is worth approaching the academic staff working in the area of research that interests you.
There are also other sponsored opportunities and funding for summer research placements through organisations such as the BBRSC.
If you are interested in working further afield, there are many global short and long-term animal-based opportunities. Check out:
Year in Industry
Why not take an optional industry placement, between years two and three of your degree? This will extend your degree to a four-year programme. Find out about what's on offer.
Nottingham Consultancy Challenge
The Nottingham Consultancy Challenge offers the chance for you to gain hands-on experience of managing a short term project for a local business or charity as part of a multi-disciplinary team.
Nottingham Advantage Award
The Nottingham Advantage Award offers interesting extracurricular modules to develop and reflect on your employability. With over more than 200 modules across our three campuses in the UK, China and Malaysia.
The Students’ Union offers a wide range of volunteering options both locally and internationally which you can fit around your studies.
Alternatively you could get involved in a society or sports club - there's so many, you're bound to find one that interests you!
What are the range of careers I could enter?
Many of our animal sciences graduates have moved into animal science roles but we have also seen them use their skills, experience and knowledge to enter a diverse range of employment areas.
Examples of employers who have recruited our animal science graduates
- AB Agri
- Anpario PLC
- Charles River
- Engage Tech
- Jobs in Science
- One Scientific Ltd
- Mole Valley Feed Solutions
- Moy Park
- Peasbrook Equine Clinic
- Pet Blood Bank
- Peters Frazer and Dunlop
- Public Health England
- Royal Mail
- Shaldon Wildlife Trust
Examples of roles undertaken by our graduates
- Agricultural business consultant
- Animal care assistant
- Animal technician
- Business development executive
- Commercial and technical graduate
- Feed formulator
- Graduate operations manager
- Graduate management trainee
- Lab technician
- Nutrition graduate scheme
- Quality control technician
- Recruitment consultant
- Research assistant
- Ruminant technical specialist
- Veterinary assistant
- Zoo keeper
Spotlight On: Katy Hogg
Alumna Katy Hogg is a regional technical account manager for Rentokil.
Katy talks about how she uses the skills she learned during her degree on a daily basis at work. She offers her advice to students considering their next steps.
Spotlight On: Sarah Johns
Sarah Johns, animal sciences alumna talks about what her roles in project management within the science.
She explains the relevance of her degree to project management and gives advice to students considering their future career path.
Oluchi Ibegbu, animal nutrition alumna, 2017
I currently work as a farm manager and I manage farm projects and personnel. As a vet, I ensure health of animals and safety of food produced.
As a graduate of animal nutrition, I am putting into use the skills learnt during the course of my masters study. Some of the skills I have put to use include team work, leadership and time management.
I am looking forward to further my studies and career, first by doing a PhD. I want to be a global impact maker and inspire more people, especially the young ones towards achieving their goals.
What are my further study options?
A large proportion of our animal science graduates progress onto further study. If you want to pursue a research-focused career either in industry or academia, a postgraduate qualification is usually a prerequisite.
Examples of masters and PhDs our students have gone onto study.
- MPhil or MRes Animal Sciences
- MRes Animal Behaviour
- Msc Animal Nutrition
- Msc Conservation
- Msc Marine Biology
- Msc Veterinary Epidemiology
- Msc Veterinary Physiotherapy
- PGDip Animal Nutrition
- PhD Animal Sciences
Other graduates have opted to take a postgraduate qualification which will allow them to pursue a particular career interest such as conservation.
Veterinary surgeon or nurse
A degree in animal science does not qualify graduates to work as veterinary surgeons or veterinary nurses, although many go on to study veterinary degrees after graduating from their first degree.
British Veterinary Association
Named Animal Care and Welfare Officers (NACWO)
Some animal technology roles may require a NACWO licence. The following companies run introductory courses accredited by the Institute of Animal Technology.
A career in nutrition
If you're interested in pursuing a career in nutrition, registered nutrition status is recommended for greater credibility. Students who have gone down the nutrition pathway of the course here are eligible to apply to become professional nutritionists with the UK Voluntary Register of Nutritionists (UKVRN).
Association for Nutrition - find out UKVRN
A career in teaching
A number of animal science graduates undertake a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) in science or biology in order to train to become a teacher - a profession for which science students are currently in high demand.
Find out about teaching
Find out more about further study - courses, applying and funding