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Animal Science - MSc

Course Description

About the course

Our MSc in Animal Science provides students with the research-led, high quality postgraduate teaching, education and professional training required to pursue leading careers in a wide range of Animal Science related fields throughout the world. Throughout this course you will be able to use a multidisciplinary approach to explore collaborations with veterinarians, scientists and the industry, learning about the latest scientific advances in the field of animal science. Through a strong emphasis on student centred study you will encounter many opportunities to develop your skills in original thought, analysis, interpretation and reasoning; as well as encouraging you, where appropriate, to pursue your own specific areas of interest. As such you will develop into a reflective, autonomous researcher. On graduation you will be ideally placed to ensure that the demands of production and welfare are appropriately balanced through the development and implementation of innovative management practices and dissemination
of knowledge and advice to practitioners.

Why study MSc Animal Science at Aberystwyth University?

The Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) has an internationally renowned reputation for teaching and research in animal sciences.

With 360 members of staff, 1350 undergraduate students and more than 150 postgraduate students IBERS is the largest Institute within Aberystwyth University. Our excellence in teaching was recognised by outstanding scores in the National Student Satisfaction Survey (2016), with three courses recording 100% student satisfaction and a further 10 scoring above the national average. IBERS has previously been awarded the Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education. The latest employability data shows that 92% of IBERS graduates were in work or further study six months after leaving Aberystwyth University. Our joint submission with Bangor University to the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF) displayed that 78% of our research as world-leading or internationally excellent, and 97% of our research is internationally recognised with 76% judged as world-leading in terms of research impact.

Opportunity to attend conferences with lectures from international animal science experts.

Undertake a challenging course taught by enthusiastic, helpful and research-active staff, and further enhanced by contributions from experts and academics, many of whom are of international renown.

IBERS has an equine teaching yard and the only dedicated and fully licensed equine research yard in the UK outside of veterinary colleges.

IBERS has 1000 ha of farmland, a 400 cow dairy unit, upland and lowland sheep and beef units and a flock of layer hens.

Course structure and content

This course can be studied one year full-time or up to 24 months part-time. When studied full-time, the course is divided into three semesters. During the first two semesters, students complete 120 taught credits (six 20 credit modules), which are delivered primarily through lectures, practicals, field trips, workshops, and seminars.

During the final semester (June to September), you will complete your master’s dissertation and will arrange your level of contact with your assigned dissertation supervisor.

Core modules:

Animal Breeding and Genetics
Infection and Immunity
Research Methods in the Biosciences

Optional modules:

Equine Nutrition or Livestock Nutrition
Equine Reproductive Physiology and Breeding Technology
Grassland Science
Livestock Production Science
Understanding Equine Action: from Anatomy to Behaviour


Depending on the modules chosen, assessment is via a mix of written assignments (essays, reports, case studies, research projects, research critiques, research proposals, critical reviews, and abstracts), written examinations, seminar presentations, and online assignments.

Successful submission of the dissertation in the final semester leads to the award of an MSc.


This course will empower you to:

Advance your specialised knowledge in Animal Science
Enhance your problem-solving and data handling skills
Develop study and research skills
Develop and sustain a self-initiated programme of study
Develop your skills of original thought, analysis, evaluation, interpretation and reasoning
Enhance your communication skills
Work effectively independently and as part of a team


Our Animal Science students often progress to careers in:

Scientific research and development
Public and private commercial enterprise
Scientific publishing
Animal nutrition
Animal welfare
Teaching and training
Animal breeding
Consultancy and advisory work
Laboratory work
Government agencies and non-government organisations
All throughout the world.

Many of our previous graduates have also progressed to PhDs or veterinary medicine.

Visit the Animal Science - MSc page on the Aberystwyth University website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Sarah Parkinson

5308.jpg Equine and Animal Nutritionist, Allen and Page

I chose to study for my MSc in Animal Science after I discovered my love for nutrition during my studies for my BSc in Bioveterinary Science. I chose this degree to broaden my scientific knowledge and focus more on the specific nutrition for livestock and horses. The MSc pushed me academically and helped improve my knowledge not only in well-established subjects but also opened up areas of new research that is of extreme current importance within the food chain and also the environment. My dissertation looking at poultry nutrition helped me to improve my critical thinking, planning and scientific writing skills.

Since graduating from Aberystwyth I moved straight into the animal nutrition sector. I am currently an equine and animal nutritionist working for Allen & Page. The experiences and knowledge that I have gained at Aberystwyth have been invaluable in helping me get to where I am now and preparing me for a career in science.

(Student Profile)

Amanda Warr

5309.jpg PhD Student University of Edinburgh

I took an unusual route to Animal Science; following my GCSEs I did a hands-on animal care course, then I went on to do a BSc in Zoology where I developed a passion for genetics. Genetics is a very complicated subject and I felt that it was important to have a strong base knowledge of animal biology, to understand how genetics can affect the whole animal, and animal breeding, to understand how we can use this knowledge to breed animals for specific traits. I felt like the major gap in my knowledge was around horses and livestock, having largely covered pets and wild animals in my previous training. So I went to Aberystwyth to take an MSc in Animal Science. The MSc covered a range of topics, introducing me to subjects I knew nothing about and improving upon my knowledge of molecular genetics and genetics in livestock breeding. My dissertation project involved using Next-Generation Sequencing to identify bacteria in horses with Inflammatory Airway Disease and involved collaboration with Cotts Equine Hospital. The course was certainly challenging, but was also thoroughly enjoyable. The group of students taking the course was quite small, and we all got on extremely well; I am still in touch with many of them. The lecturers were friendly, approachable and organized, and were always willing to help with any problems we were having.

Having completed my MSc I was accepted for a 4-year PhD in Genetics and Genomics at The University of Edinburgh in The Roslin Institute. My project involves using bioinformatics to find genetic variants in the pig genome that could be used to improve pork production or that could be used in medical modelling of human diseases. The use of sequencing in my MSc dissertation project not only helped me to get this position, but let me experience the practical side of genetics and genomics, helping me to really understand my data now. The MSc modules relating to genetics and statistics were extremely important in preparing me for the work I am doing, but I also find I am drawing from my knowledge of many of the other subjects we learned about such as endocrinology, reproduction and immunology.

The MSc in Animal Science at Aberystwyth gave me exactly what I was looking for: the knowledge and experience I needed to further my career, some lifelong friends and some wonderful memories."

(Student Profile)

Jenna Thompson

5314.jpg PhD Student University of Bristol at North Wyke Rothamsted Research

I graduated from Aberystwyth in 2001 with a BSc Animal Science degree and after a few years working within the agricultural industry I decided to return to Aberystwyth in 2012 to do MSc Animal Science. I wanted to add to my experience in the industry by developing my scientific knowledge further. My previous experience at Aberystwyth and knowing that they were active in research areas that interested me were key reasons why I chose to return there.
The MSc was very challenging and hard work, but I really enjoyed the course and it gave me the opportunity to get back into an academic situation and this has led to me now doing a PhD through the University of Bristol at North Wyke Rothamsted Research, Devon. My PhD is considering the environmental and productivity impacts of different types of grassland management systems on pasture based beef production. North Wyke has a unique facility called the Farm Platform which I am using to measure inputs and outputs of these systems.

(Student Profile)

Ruth Clamp

5315.jpg Studying for PhD Aberystwyth University

After completing a BSc in Equine and Human Sport Science at Aberystwyth, I decided to develop my scientific knowledge of a wider range of animals by undertaking the Animal Science MSc course. The MSc was a challenge which I enjoyed. I liked the course design, giving core subjects that gave a good broad biological knowledge of the subject areas and also option modules which develop the core modules further in either equine or livestock areas. Lecturers on the course were very helpful and willing to help when needed.

Throughout the MSc I developed an interest in immunology and endocrinology. I completed my dissertation looking at the innate immune response within bovine mammary epithelial cells. This and many other skills that I learnt on the MSc course helped me to obtain Aberystwyth Doctoral Career Development Scheme funding to study for a PhD in bovine endometrial endocrinology and immunology.


Marshal Papworth Scholarship for Environmental Studies - 4 Awards

Aberystwyth University is pleased to be able to offer a number of Scholarships within our world class Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences.Programmes available under scholarship:- MSc Food and Water Security
- MSc Livestock Science
- MSc Animal Science
- MSc Managing the Environment
- MSc Green Biotechnology and InnovationEach student obtaining a scholarship must intend to return to their own country to utilise their skills for the benefit of their own countrymen.Contact Dr Mina Davies- Morrel for more details - [email protected]

Value of Scholarship(s)

Full Fees & on average £8000 living costs


See Marshal Papworth for Scholarship application details and country eligibility. http://www.marshalpapworth.com/applications/application-process.htmlCriteria judged on - qualifications, work and job related experiences and the standard of the application form.

Application Procedure

See Marshal Papworth for Scholarship application details. http://www.marshalpapworth.com/applications/application-process.htmlSee Aberystwyth University for course and application details.


International Postgraduate Excellence Scholarship - 20+ Awards

The scholarships will be awarded for academic excellence (minimum of a UK upper second class honours degree or the equivalent award, either already achieved or predicted by the candidate’s awarding university).In order to be considered for one of these awards, an application for a place on a taught Masters degree at Aberystwyth University must be received by 31st August 2015.Up to 72 scholarships worth £2500 towards tuition fees for full-time non-EU students on taught Masters courses are available for students who commence their studies in September 2015 on a first-come-first-serve basis.

Value of Scholarship(s)



Up to 72 scholarships, each worth £2,500 towards tuition fees will be available for non-UK/EU students commencing full-time Taught Masters courses in September 2015.

Application Procedure

Separate application forms are not required. Therefore it is essential that the application for a place be received by the AU Postgraduate Admissions Office by 31st August 2015 at the very latest. Selection will be on the basis of academic excellence and the applicant’s suitability for their proposed course. A minimum (UK) 2.i Honours (or equivalent) is required for an award. Information on the comparability of non-UK degrees is available at http://www.aber.ac.uk/en/postgrad/howtoapply/before-you-apply/comparability/.

Further Information


Entry Requirements

Good Undergraduate degree 2.2 (UK) (or above) equating to a mark of 56.5 or above in Animal Science, Biological Sciences and Agricultural Science or closely related discipline. European and International applicants can find their grade equivalence on our comparability page. Those who are not graduates must satisfy the University that they are of the required academic standard to pursue postgraduate study.

Last Updated

21 June 2017

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