Programme Bachelor Animal Sciences

The bachelor's Animal Sciences is a three-year full-time programme. In the first year you follow a basic programme which gives you an orientation in the domain of Animal Sciences. In the second year, you choose one of two specialisations: 'Animal Management and Care' or 'Biological Functioning of Animals'. In the third year a large part consists of elective subjects, as well as writing your BSc thesis.

Outline of the programme Animal Sciences

Programme outline BSc Animal Sciences.PNG

Core curriculum

In the first year you will be introduced to the field of animal sciences. In addition, basic knowledge on biology, chemistry, mathematics and statistics is refreshed and further expanded. In the first half of the second year, this basic knowledge is integrated into pre-master discipline courses within Animal Sciences; think of genetics, nutrition, epidemiology, housing, immunology, reproduction, ecology and sustainability. Below (and in the alongside schedule) you will find the compulsory courses per academic year and per specialization. For details on course content, visit the online course catalogue.

First year

  • Introduction Animal Sciences
  • Bio-organic Chemistry for Life Sciences
  • General Chemistry for Life Sciences
  • Cell Biology
  • Mathematics 1 OR Statistics 1
  • Mathematics 2
  • Fundamentals of Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • Biology of Domestic Animals
  • Statistics 2
  • Animal Science in Society
  • Human and Animal Biology 1
  • Animal Behaviour
  • Mathematics 3
  • Internship

Second year

  • Animal Breeding and Genetics
  • Human and Animal Biology 2
  • Veterinary Epidemiology and Economics
  • Immunology and Thermoregulation
  • Principles of Animal Nutrition
  • Systems Approach in Animal Sciences
  • Introduction in Animal Ecology

Specialisation Animal Management and Care:

  • Aquaculture and Fisheries
  • Reproduction and Fertility
  • Infections and Disorders

Students also choose ONE of the following:

  • Quality of Animal Products
  • Introduction to Business Economics, Management and Marketing

Specialisation Biological Functioning of Animals:

  • Microbiomes and Health
  • Practical Biological Chemistry
  • Behavioural Endocrinology

Third year

  • Advanced Statistics
  • BSc thesis and skills
  • Electives (e.g. BSc minor)

Specialisation Animal Management and Care (choose 1 of 3):

  • The Role of Livestock in Future Food Systems
  • Sustainability in Fish and Seafood Production
  • Companion Animals

Specialisation Biological Functioning of Animals:

  • Cell Biology and Health


The second half of the second year you will choose one of the two specialisations: 'Animal Management and Care' or 'Biological Functioning of Animals'.

The specialisation 'Animal Management and Care' concentrates on how to manage the animals we care for in terms of nutrition, housing and the impact the (human) environment has on animal behaviour, growth and well-being. The focus is from animal to its environment and society.

The specialisation 'Biological Functioning of Animals' concentrates on the biological/physiological processes within animals and how these contribute to the way animals react and interact with their environment. The focus is from gene to animal.

Free choice

For the most part, you decide your course programme in the third. Essentially, you can fill in this free choice with any given course at the university. You could deepen your knowledge in animal sciences principles, but you could also take courses in communication, education, economics or plant sciences, to name a few. As a matter of fact, it is recommended to take a ‘side step’ from animal sciences to broaden your horizon. With this elective freedom you determine yourself how broad or specialised your programme will be. The courses can be taken at Wageningen University or at another university in the Netherlands or abroad.

Online course catalogue


The elective freedom can be filled with individual courses, but you also choose a package of courses on one specific topic: a BSc minor. A BSc minors usually covers 24-30 credits and are usually taught in English. Wageningen University & Research offers around 50 minors on various themes: infectious diseases, marine biology, climate change, communication, food safety, economics or water management, to name a few examples. A minor can also be taken at another university in the Netherlands or even in another country. Read more about this option under ‘Studying abroad’.

BSc Minors

    BSc Thesis

    In the third year of study, you complete your bachelor's degree with the BSc thesis. You write the BSc thesis on the basis of an individual small research project, such as assisting with an experimental doctoral research, writing a literature review, working on a laboratory analysis and/or data analysis, or working on your own project. During your BSc thesis, the following skills are also covered: scientific writing, interpreting and discussing of scientific literature, and presenting scientific research. The subject of your thesis falls within one of the specialisations and within the discipline of Animal Sciences.

    Studying abroad

    The programme encourages you to broaden your horizon, also abroad. In the third year you can chose your elective subjects at a university outside the Netherlands. We maintain ties with various partner universities, in that various courses with animal sciences related subjects can be offered.

    The purpose of an exchange is to enable students to take interesting courses that are complementary to our own programme, and to make students aware of the global issues concerning animal sciences. In addition, you obtain an international mindset and approache. Countries that are currently participating in such exchange programmes include Canada, the United States, Sweden and Switzerland.

    Student experience

    The option to study abroad is subject to exchange agreements between partner universities and admission requirements set by these universities. To be eligible for a BSc exchange minor, students must therefore satisfy some prerequisites.

    The programme office collaborates with our University Exchange Office to ensure that exchanges are properly organised. Animal Sciences students who are interested in a third-year exchange programme should contact the coordinator (Francine Wartena, during their first year.

    More information on exchanges in general and Wageningen’s partner universities is available from the Wageningen Exchange Office website.

    Wageningen Exchange Office

    Student Counselling

    The Animal Sciences programme has an education team consisting of a programme director, three bachelor study advisers (one especially for international students), two master study advisers and a study recruiter.

    For a conversation or counselling you can always contact one of the study advisers. They can help you plan your study, with choosing specialisations and subjects, study problems or private matters that affect your study.

    Student counselling

    Study Load and the Academic Year

    The programme is a three-year bachelor in which 60 credits (ECTS) can be obtained per year. The total study load is therefore 180 ECTS. One ECTS corresponds to 28 study load hours, 1 academic year includes 40 teaching weeks. This means students are expected to devote an average of 42 hours per week to their studies, making the programme genuinely full-time.

    The academic year in Wageningen is divided into 6 teaching period. Periods last 8 weeks (period 1, 2, 5 and 6) or 4 weeks (period 3 and 4). Each eight-week teaching periods is worth 12 ECTS, usually spread across two courses. Each four-week teaching period is worth 6 ECTS, usually including one course.

    Calendar Academic Year

    Teaching methods

    Courses are taught by members of the academic staff, who also form the research groups that produce the scientific content and maintain quality within the programme. Teaching is organised in various ways, and most subjects are trained in a variety of teaching methods.

    Lectures usually involve sitting in a large room with lots of other students, and listening to the lecturer. The lecturer will discuss the material, give the broad outline and sometimes explain more difficult concepts in greater detail. Lecturers will often hand out copies of their presentation beforehand, or post them digitally on the subject’s Blackboard site.

    During tutorials, groups of 20-40 students work actively on equations, tasks or assignments, either independently or in groups. A supervisor is present to assist and aid discussion afterwards. The first-year mathematics subjects are given primarily as tutorials; however, Behavioural Endocrinology also involves a lot of tutorials.

    In practical classes, students get to work themselves. Practical classes vary greatly depending on the subject’s learning objectives. Examples include conducting biochemical experiments or analyses using laboratory microscopes (e.g. Chemistry or Human and Animal Sciences), or conducting a nutrition or behavioural study at the research facility (e.g. Introduction to Animal Nutrition or Biology of Domestic Animals). The aim of practical subjects is to acquaint students with a variety of research and measurement methods, to teach about the limitations of these methods and how to interpret the results. Practical classes also serve to illustrate theory.

    PBL stands for Problem-Based Learning (also sometimes called Inquiry-Based Learning). In PBL, groups of four to twelve students take classes with a supervisor, who presents a problem or case study requiring a solution. Students gain knowledge by solving the problem and learn skills by going through the problem-solving process (e.g. allocating tasks, meeting and discussion skills). The group assignments are sometimes followed by presentations, in which each group presents their results.


    English is the language of international cooperation and science. That is why it is important that you learn to read, write, listen and speak about animal sciences in English. The programme is entirely in English. Both literature and lectures are provided in English by teachers of different nationalities.

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