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Best Online Degrees in Animal Science

Explore some of the top schools that offer online programs in animal science and learn what degree options are available. Review program components, such as length and coursework, as well as careers that are available to animal science graduates.

Top Schools for an Online Animal Science Degree Program

When choosing a school for an online animal science degree program, you should consider factors like admissions requirements, program length, cost, and flexibility. Some of the top schools with online animal science degree programs are highlighted below.

1. Kansas State University

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Manhattan, KS $10,440 89%

Kansas State University has maintained accreditation through the Higher Learning Commission since 1917 and more than 22% of their undergraduate students are enrolled in distance learning. The school offers an online bachelor's degree program in animal sciences and industry that includes 120 credit hours and has a tuition rate of $526 per credit. Students take courses in nutrition, animal science, food science, and quality assurance and earn a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture with a specialization in animal products. This program provides an overview of animal sciences and animal food production and prepares students for a variety of roles, including those in the food industry.

2. University of Florida

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Gainesville, FL $6,38193%

The University of Florida has an overall graduation rate of 90% and has been accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) since 1913. The school offers an online program that leads to a Master of Science in Veterinary Forensic Medicine. The program consists of 30 credit hours of coursework, including classes in animal crime scenes and veterinary forensics, and has a tuition rate of $525 per credit. Graduates of this program, who often are already veterinarians, may pursue careers such as forensic investigators, animal control officers, and more.

3. North Carolina State University at Raleigh

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Raleigh, NC $9,101 70%

North Carolina State University at Raleigh, commonly referred to as NC State, boasts a student-to-faculty ratio of 14:1 and has maintained accreditation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) since 1928. The school offers an online Distance Education Master of Animal Science program that includes 36 credit hours of coursework and has a tuition rate of $446 per credit hour (in-state students). The program includes courses in statistics, animal science, animal genetics, and animal reproduction. The program is the only one of its kind in the U.S. and allows students to focus some of their curriculum in areas such as genetics, animal management, and physiology.

4. Sul Ross State University

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Alpine, TX $6,419 93%

Sul Ross State University offers an online Master of Agriculture in Animal Science program that consists of 36 credit hours of coursework. With more than 80% of all graduate students enrolled in distance education courses, the school offers students in the animal department program several student organizations to choose from. The program includes a total of 12 classes, including those in animal nutrition and reproduction, research and statistics, and genetics and physiology. Texas residents have a tuition rate of $225 per credit hour while out-of-state students have a tuition rate of $647 per credit.

5. Tarleton State University

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Stephenville, TX $7,851 89%

Tarleton State University has been accredited by the SACSCOC for almost 100 years and offers an online Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) in Veterinary Technology. The program is open to students who have previously earned an AAS in Veterinary Technology and consists of 120 credit hours (prior to AAS transfer credits). Students can select from a companion animal or veterinary practice track, depending on their specific career interests. Students are able to take courses at their desired pace and have a tuition rate of $174 to $596 per credit hour, depending on their state of residence.

All data provided by the National Center for Education Statistics; tuition represents the undergraduate 2019-2020 school year.

Learn.org's school ranking methodology categorizes and assesses data from schools and other reliable sources, such as the U.S. Department of Education, and weighs the information based on quality, cost, value, and other factors critical to students' academic decisions.

Choosing the Right Online Animal Science Program

As you review different schools for an online animal science degree program, there are a few considerations that you should keep in mind.

Program Levels

Not all schools offer undergraduate and graduate options for online animal science degrees, so you should carefully review the program information from each school to ensure that the degree you are interested in is offered at your desired level of education.

Admissions Requirements

Some online animal science programs have specific admissions requirements. For example, some bachelor's degree programs are only open to students who already have an associate's degree, and some master's degree programs require incoming students to have specific undergraduate degrees. Make sure you meet the requirements for the specific program you're interested in before applying. If you don't, you will still likely be able to find a program for which you are qualified elsewhere.

Cost

Consider the total costs for each of your candidate programs and be sure to ask your admissions counselors about any indirect fees that may apply. Cost is an important consideration in choosing your program, but keep in mind that there are a multitude of financial aid options available to online students.

Accreditation

Not only does choosing a program at an accredited school mean you increase your chance of receiving a quality education, it also means you can qualify for more types of financial aid (such as federal aid). Ask each of your candidate schools about their accreditation status to be sure they have valid accreditation.

Flexibility

Courses in animal science degree programs online might be offered as fully-asynchronous, meaning students can complete assignments and access course components at their convenience each week, or they may have some synchronous (scheduled) components, such as live lectures and exams. Before applying to a program, determine if that difference is important to you. If it is, research the program offerings to make sure it meets your needs.

Career Outcomes

When choosing your online animal science program, consider the learning objectives that it includes and how those can be applied to your career interests. Many programs allow you to use electives for focused study, so consider what choices you will have and how they will prepare you for your desired role.

Overview of Online Animal Science Degree Programs

Online animal science degree programs are available to both graduate and undergraduate students. These programs include online coursework that is often asynchronous, allowing students to complete their assignments at their convenience. While programs leading to degrees titled 'animal science' are traditionally on campus because of the significant amount of hands-on components, there are various other types of programs that lend themselves to animal science studies; these can include programs in agriculture, zoology, or even general studies with options for animal science electives. Several key characteristics of online animal science degree programs are discussed below.

Online Associate's Degree in Animal Science

These programs are available to students with a high school diploma (or equivalent) and usually take around two years to complete. Students are usually required to complete 60 to 70 credit hours of coursework, which consists of general education courses as well as courses specific to the animal science program. Students in these programs may take courses in animal health, animal reproduction, animal science fundamentals, and animal health and disease.

Online Bachelor's Degree in Animal Science

Online bachelor's degree programs in animal science are either open to students with a high school diploma (or equivalent) or those who have previously earned an associate's degree.

High School/GED Entry

These online bachelor's degree programs in animal science usually take 4 years to complete and consist of about 120 credit hours. Students in these programs take general education courses, such as mathematics and social sciences, as well as significant coursework relating to their major. While coursework in these programs vary, students might take courses in animal biology, animal food products, animal care, and animal nutrition.

Associate's Degree Entry

Because students in online animal science bachelor's programs with associate's degree entry have already completed around 60 credit hours of college-level coursework, their bachelor's degree programs are typically cut in half (compared to traditional entry). These programs can be completed in about two years and consist of around 60 credit hours. Courses included in online animal science bachelor's degree programs can include animal science, meat production, equine science, and companion animals.

Online Master's Degree in Animal Science

Online animal science master's degree programs typically take around two years of full-time study to complete. Graduate students are considered full-time if they take 9 credit hours per semester; students who take more credits during a semester can decrease the overall time it takes to complete their programs. To enter an online master's degree in animal science program, students usually need to have a bachelor's degree in a related field; in addition, some schools require students to take a graduate entrance exam (such as the GRE). Animal science master's degree programs usually require 30 to 40 hours of coursework, most of which is focused on their field of study. Online animal science master's degree students may take courses such as statistics, animal genetics, animal breeding, and animal industries.

Careers for Online Animal Science Graduates

Graduates of online animal science degree programs can pursue a variety of different careers depending on their degree level, interests, and backgrounds. Some of these career options are highlighted below.

Agricultural and Food Scientists

Agricultural and food scientists look for ways to improve the safety and efficiency of agricultural products and organizations. Their duties can include researching methods for improving efficiency, developing new products and packaging, preparing reports and traveling between locations. Animal scientists, for example, usually work with farm animals. They can be responsible for tasks such as exploring animal nutrition and reproduction, crossbreeding research, and finding ways to increase animal growth rates. These professionals usually have a bachelor's or master's degree in a related field, such as animal science, and can greatly benefit from internship and volunteer experience.

Farmers and Agricultural Managers

These professionals oversee and operate organizations that produce agricultural products, such as livestock. Their duties can include overseeing staff, assessing animal health, ordering and maintaining supplies, and managing financial records. Livestock, dairy, and poultry managers oversee activities relating to animals, such as production of products like eggs and milk. While educational requirements vary for these positions, many managers have at least an associate's degree or bachelor's degree in order to maintain sufficient knowledge and be competitive.

Sales Managers

Sales managers oversee sales teams within organizations and are usually responsible for analyzing sales data, developing training plans, and settings sales objectives. Their duties can include reviewing customer behaviors, projecting sales, and developing agendas for acquiring new customers. Animal science graduates can become sales managers of agricultural establishments, such as those that sell livestock and animal products. Sales managers working in agricultural establishments may complete tasks such as participating in livestock organizations, maintaining relationships with stakeholders, and identifying markets and strategies. Sales managers may oversee sales that are direct to customer or business-to-business, depending on their organization and position. These professionals typically have a bachelor's degree and experience in their field.

Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists

Zoologists and wildlife biologists research and study various wildlife and animals to better understand how they interact with each other and their environments. Their duties can include creating studies, collecting and analyzing data, preparing reports and presentations, and monitoring animal populations. Entry-level positions are frequently open to candidates with a bachelor's degree in a related field while higher-level and research positions often require master's degrees or doctoral degrees.

Veterinary Technologists and Technicians

Veterinary technologists and technicians work under the supervision of veterinarians, completing a variety of medical and other assistive tasks. Their duties can include bathing animals, observing and restraining animals, taking samples and conducting tests, and administering medications as ordered. Veterinary technologists typically need a bachelor's degree while veterinary technicians usually have an associate's degree. These individuals generally need to have a degree in veterinary technology from a program accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Job Title Median Annual Salary (2018) Estimated Job Growth (2018-2028)
Agricultural and Food Scientists $64,020 7%
Farmers, Ranchers and Other Agricultural Managers $67,950 -1%
Sales Managers $124,220 5%
Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists $63,420 5%
Veterinary Technologists and Technicians $34,420 19%

All career data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics