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Harper Adams University College

Animal Studies

The relationship between man and animals is something that philosophers, poets, artists, scholars and scientists have explored for eons. Whether we are talking about domestic, wild or farm animals we continually strive to understand them and to consider their needs whilst at the same time balancing this with sustaining our own.

When we look at the welfare of farm animals we are also as a consequence improving the quality and safety of food for ourselves. In addition when we take care of domestic or companion animals we are addressing our own emotional needs as well as providing security for those in our charge. Managing our landscape and environment also has to be measured against the needs of our wild animals.

The link between science in all of its specialisms and general welfare of animals is a strong one and provides us with a wealth of study areas. As an Animal Studies graduate at Harper Adams you will be presented with many opportunities to broaden your knowledge and develop the specific skills that are needed in the global multi-million pound livestock, animal welfare and food industries


The veterinary industry is a rapidly growing sector dealing with the treatment of domestic pets, farm animals and other exotic species. Nursing care is a key component of the industry along with continued pharmaceutical developments, equipment manufacturing and nutritionists also playing a vital role in all areas of animal welfare.

According to a recent report by LANTRA, National Training Organization for the Land Based Industries, the veterinary activities industry will need 17,000 more people between 2010 and 2020. In addition to this, according to the Pet Food Manufacturers Association there were 24 million pets in the UK (excluding fish) with the industry expected to generate revenue up to £2.7billion pounds during 2010-11.

With a qualification and practical based skills in Veterinary Studies gained at Harper Adams, you will not only be in demand from prospective employers but also have an impact on the health and welfare of animals of all shapes and sizes.


Animal Behaviour and Welfare

The Course

There is greater awareness among the general public of issues involved with the welfare of companion, performance and farm animals. This course enables those interested in the behaviour and welfare of animals to study at degree level without being required to study the broader animal health sciences in detail. However, this course will prepare graduates for a range of careers in the areas of Animal Welfare and Management. This course examines animal biology as it relates to the behaviour and welfare of animals. There is also an opportunity to study ecology as it relates to animal habitats. The core modules studied in the first and second year will include Companion Animal Management, Large Animal Management, Introduction to Behaviour and Welfare, Principles of Animal Health, Companion Animal Behaviour and Welfare, Introduction to Ecology, Habitat Management and Wildlife Care and Conservation. The final part of the course will combine core modules such as: Companion Animal Health and Welfare, Applied Ecology and Integrated Animal Welfare Case Studies. Optional modules include Farm Animal Production Science and Bio-ethics, and Advanced Equine Reproduction. Students carry out an animal-based investigational project in their final year, looking at an aspect of animal behaviour or welfare. All main groups of farm animals are represented on our farm as well as a developing range of exotic and companion animals.

The Placement

Students are expected to complete a 10 week industrial placement in an animal-related organisation of their choice, normally between the second and third years of the course. There will be opportunities to work in a range of placements; examples include animal collections (including zoos), animal training and conservation projects.

The Future

The rise in awareness of animal welfare and behaviour issues has opened up more employment opportunities in the animal sector. Organisations that house animals are becoming more aware of the need for employees to have a sound understanding of animal welfare and behaviour. Welfare organisations are expanding and nutrition and pharmaceutical companies have opportunities suitable for graduates with a sound welfare education. Many graduates move into higher education as lecturers or researchers and others choose further postgraduate study.

Bioveterinary Science

The Course

Modules in the early part of the course are concerned with normal body structure and functioning along with aspects of molecular biology and genetics. The principles underlying animal health are followed by a study of the processes involved in animals’ responses to disease and how animal diseases are spread. There are also specialist equine and nutrition options available. Sample modules include Animal Physiology & Clinical Biochemistry, Applied Companion Animal Health and Behaviour, Animal Disease Sciences, Veterinary Epidemiology, Biological Molecules and Genetics, Animal Medicines, Farm Animal Welfare and Disease Control, and Integrated Health Management.

The Placement

The Bioveterinary Science course includes a one-year long work placement to give you the opportunity to put theory into practice, tackling real-world situations and problems. We will help you to find a placement that suits your career aspirations and when you graduate, you will do so with an enviable combination of education and experience.

The Future

Graduates of this course are ideally equipped for a career in the pharmaceutical or biotechnology industries. The grounding provided in both science and applied animal studies also opens up opportunities in areas such as research and animal welfare. You must study at least 120 credits (equivalent to 1200 study hours) per year from a combination of core (compulsory) and optional modules. Ordinary Degree students would normally study the Degree Review Project as an alternative to the Honours Research Project. The final measure of any course must be the employability of the graduate and Harper Adams graduates are to be found working in many different careers in many parts of the world.


MSc / PgD / PgC
Veterinary Nursing

The innovative masters level veterinary nursing programme will commence in September 2012 (subject to validation). It is designed as a series of three module postgraduate certificates, though most will be available as stand alone modules (please see Course Structure for proposed modules).

Successful completion of two sets of modules (i.e. 6 modules) will lead to an award of a postgraduate diploma and it is intended that 180 credits will lead to an MSc in Veterinary Nursing. Entry will require a Veterinary Nursing qualification and prior study at degree level.

It is not yet certain which of the certificates will be offered in the first year - that will depend upon demand. Delivery will be by blended learning; a combination of days on-site at Harper Adams for keynote lectures, seminars and practical classes, and distance learning supported by the electronic Learning Hub. VNs currently studying the Dip AVN are enjoying this flexible method of delivery.

More details will be available January 2012, including costs and application details.


Advanced Animal Husbandry

This four-day course will benefit farmers, managers and advisers and help provide a practical understanding of livestock husbandry regimes, the risks of health and safety arising from those regimes, and the safeguards needing to be imnplemented


As a results of this course participants will be able to:

  • Outline the husbandry regimes involved in rearing cattle, sheep, pigs, poultry and the production of milk, meat and eggs.
  • Identify major zoonoses arising from agricultural livestock and recautions against infection.
  • Identify the desireable features of facilities, equipment and systems of work used to house and handle various types of cattle.
  • Describe the equipment and reduce manuel handling risks when sheep and sheared and foot trimmed and when beef cattle are handled and weighed.
  • Identify the consideration required for ectoparasite control in sheep and the safeguards needed when dipping sheep.
  • Describe the appropriate facilities and equipment for housing and handling pigs, including boars, and the health risk associated with their husbandry.
  • Explain the health and safety risks arising from poultry and egg production.
  • Have a practical understanding of livestock husbandry regimes, the risks to health and safety arising fropm those needing to be implemented.

Course Content

  • Introduction to livestock systems
  • Modern poultry and egg production
  • Visits to livestock facilities
  • Introduction to sheep husbandry and ectoparasite control
  • Dairy cow condition scoring
  • Health and safety risks relating to pig, sheep, poultry and cattle
  • Zoonoses and agricultrual livestock

An Introduction to Farm Animal Management & Production

Who can benefit?

This three-day course has been specifically designed for prospective applicants to Veterinary Science degree programmes. At Harper Adams we understand the difficulty these students have in gaining access to farm resources.

Please note, the minimum age of applicants for this course is 16 years.

About the course

The objective of the course is to provide delegates with sufficient information and knowledge to be able to identify and understand modern animal production systems and their impact on animal health and welfare.

It provides a vital insight into the current and recent issues facing the livestock production industries and highlights management practices and basi scientific principles.

Participants will spend half a day on each of the five animal systems; dairy, beef, sheep, pig and poultry, and current legislation on farm.

This will involve sessions of a practical and classroom nature in small groups of ~17 students as well as farm enterprise visits with industry specialist vets.

Watch the course video: Farm animal training for young vets

Why Harper Adams?

Harper Adams is the largest provider of Higher Education in the UK Land Based sector. There is extensive modern on-site facilities which provide a unique opportunity to experience commercial practices in a research environment. These include:

  • 400 cow dairy herd
  • 240 sows on a high welfare indoor unit
  • 7,000 free range poultry unit
  • 90,000 indoor layers
  • Beef finishing unit
  • 200 ewes including a milking flock

These resources are underpinned by major research programmes primarily directed towards sustainable management systems.

Contact information

For course related enquiries please contact:

Telephone: +44 (0)1952 815 000

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