Ethology Degree Programs and Schools

Ethology is the study of an animal's behavior in its natural surroundings. Find out what degree programs are available, see what you'll study, and learn about possible careers in the field of ethology. Schools offering Biology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

Ethology is an interdisciplinary field that combines biology and psychology. You can find programs for this career at the bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree level. Due to the large percentage of lab-work required by these degrees, online programs are not typically available. However, you may find certificate programs in applied animal behavior that are available online. Once you have completed your schooling, you can often find work in the laboratory or the field, or even pursue additional schooling in veterinary medicine or teaching.

Future Career Options Research assistant, animal behaviorist in government laboratories, curator in zoos and aquariums, biological scientist or teacher at universities
Degrees Bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in animal behavior; certificates may be available in some programs
Courses Neuroethology, ecology, research methods, animal behavior, primate cognition, evolution, genetics and physiology

What Types of Ethology Degree Programs and Schools Are Available?

You may find this degree program within an animal behavior or psychology department. Degrees in ethology are typically found at the bachelor's and master's degree levels but some doctoral programs are available. If you wish to study ethology, you'll likely have to take your classes on campus, because this degree requires lots of hands-on laboratory and research time working with animals. Here are examples of schools with degree programs in animal behavior:

  • Bucknell University (bachelor's and master's degrees)
  • Arizona State University (doctoral degree)
  • University of California Davis (master's and doctoral degrees)
  • Indiana University Bloomington (bachelor's degree, doctoral degree and graduate certificate)
  • University of New England (bachelor's degree)

What Will I Study?

Your bachelor's degree curriculum will consist of many foundation courses in biology, anthropology and chemistry. Core classes will typically be research and laboratory intensive where you'll learn about the behavior of animals. You may be required to complete an internship or three credit hours in supervised research. Your curriculum may consist of courses similar to the following:

  • Neuroethology
  • Ecology
  • Research methods
  • Animal behavior
  • Primate cognition
  • Evolution
  • Genetics

A master's degree program may prepare you for clinical research positions. Your curriculum typically consists of advanced coursework in animal behaviors, neuroscience, anthropology and physiology. Most of these programs will require you to complete a research thesis.

Doctoral studies typically include coursework and research in an area of your interest. Ethology is commonly offered as a specialization within an animal science or biology doctoral program. You'll likely be required to pass a final exam and deliver a published research-based dissertation.

Is Training Available?

In many programs you'll have opportunities for fieldwork, internships and hands-on learning at university facilities. These programs may involve the local zoo where you have a chance to observe the behaviors of different animals. This kind of fieldwork may also allow you to become more familiar with research ethics.

What Can I Do with My Degree?

With a bachelor's or master's degree you can work as a research assistant in universities, conservation groups and zoos. As a research assistant, you may help conduct and analyze behavior studies with animals. You could work in a laboratory or in the field, depending on the project you are working on. You may choose to continue your education and go on to veterinary school or on to a doctorate program. Your doctorate degree may prepare you for postsecondary teaching or an independent research career as a biological scientist.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Grand Canyon University

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  • Penn Foster

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  • Muskingum University

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    • Ohio: New Concord
  • Hampshire College

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    • Massachusetts: Amherst
  • Franklin and Marshall College

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    • Pennsylvania: Lancaster
  • Carroll University

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    • Wisconsin: Waukesha
  • Canisius College

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    • New York: Buffalo
  • Southwestern University

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    • Texas: Georgetown
  • Bucknell University

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    • Pennsylvania: Lewisburg