Animal Sciences

Comparing Animal Sciences to other programmes

The Animal Sciences programme at Wageningen University & Research is an academic applied animal biology programme. The Netherlands offers several programmes that focus on animals. This page contains more information about these programmes and how they compare to the Animal Sciences programme at Wageningen University & Research.

In the world there are several programmes that focus on the animals in human society. The Animal Sciences programme is unique, in that it focuses from the start on academic biological knowledge and skills, applied to how humans keep and care for the animals in our society.

Animal Sciences outside the Netherlands

Agriculture with a major in Animal Sciences

With Agricultural sciences you will become an expert in sustainable food production. You will learn about several scientific branches like biology, natural environments, agricultural production, law and economics. Agricultural Sciences is a broad study programme that deals with all aspects of agricultural food production like crops, animals, soil and agrotechnology. Within the study programme you can specialise in Animal Sciences as a major, which will focus on production animals. In the Animal Sciences Bachelor’s, on the other hand, students acquire knowledge of all sectors involving animals with a function for mankind: food production, companionship, health care, recreation and nature management.

Veterinary Medicine

This programme trains you to become a scientific professional in the field of veterinary medicine (i.e. a veterinarian) at University Utrecht. In addition to learning the specifics of animal anatomy and the difference between healthy and sick animals, students also learn how to make diagnoses and practice their clinical reasoning skills. While the Animal Sciences programme also teaches students about animal anatomy and physiology at various levels, it goes into more detail about animal nutrition, genetics, and animal husbandry. Animal Sciences therefore covers a variety of topics of relevance to the role animals serve in relation to humans, which generally refers to healthy animals.


In the BSc Biology you study life in all of its aspects. Curiosity about how living systems function is central to this study. Biology is a broad study programme since it deals with all living organisms, from bacteria to mammals and from microscopic organisms to full-grown plants. Living nature is studied at every level: from molecules to cells to organs to individuals to ecosystems. The same levels are also found in Animal Sciences and Aquaculture, but here the focus is on animals that are part of human society. That means that the living environment is usually influenced by humans.

Agricultural and Bio Resource Engineering

The BSc Agricultural and Bio Resource Engineering is a technological degree programme focused on plants, animals, and their living environment. Therefore, in contrast to Animal Sciences and Aquaculture, technology plays a central role in this degree programme, and its application in things like cowsheds, such as a milking machine or the most optimal design for a livestock enclosure.

Animal Husbandry, Applied Biology, Animal Management

There are a number of applied sciences (HBO) degree programmes focused on animals. Applied sciences degree programmes, resulting in a professional Bachelor’s degree, take 4 years in the Netherlands. The pace of the HBO programme is a bit lighter than a university degree programme, and much of the education consists of group assignments. The subject matter focuses more on the practical use of knowledge and less on knowledge development and theory. An HBO Bachelor’s degree is a good starting point for finding employment, and it offers the possibility to transition to the Master’s Animal Sciences programme.

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