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Course content

Programme description

This programme involves an in-depth scientific approach to managing health and welfare, reproduction, behaviour, nutrition and exercise for horses. You will also learn how to practically apply a scientific approach to benefit horse health, welfare and performance.

Our online programme is the first and only Equine Science programme to be hosted within an international centre of veterinary excellence. It provides students with detailed knowledge and understanding of equine science and its applications and is excellent preparation for enhancing your equine career or future independent research such as a a PhD.

Online learning

Our online learning technology is fully interactive, award-winning and enables you to communicate with our highly qualified teaching staff from the comfort of your own home or workplace.

Our online students not only have access to Edinburgh’s excellent resources, but also become part of a supportive online community, bringing together students and tutors from around the world.

Programme structure

The taught part of the programme consists of a series of courses, while the final year is devoted to a dissertation.

Certificate and Diploma courses:

  • Research Methods in Equine Science
  • Equine Digestion and Nutrition
  • Equine Behaviour and Welfare
  • Equine Orthopaedics
  • Equine Reproduction
  • Equitation Science
  • Equine Exercise Physiology

Your final year dissertation of a maximum of 9,000 words will allow you to analyse and present relevant research data that you have collected yourself. Alternatively, you can undertake desk study to explore and develop your own area of interest.

Read more about how the programme is structured:

Programme duration

The full MSc Equine Science programme can be completed within two years if students wish to study several courses at any one time, so all taught courses are completed in one year and the second year is devoted to a dissertation project.

Alternatively students can take up to 6 years to complete the full MSc programme and there is also the option to graduate with either an Equine Science postgraduate certificate or diploma.

Postgraduate Professional Development

Postgraduate Professional Development (PPD) is aimed at working professionals who want to advance their knowledge through a postgraduate-level course(s), without the time or financial commitment of a full Masters, Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate.

You may take a maximum of 50 credits worth of courses over two years through our PPD scheme. These lead to a University of Edinburgh postgraduate award of academic credit. Alternatively, after one year of taking courses you can choose to transfer your credits and continue on to studying towards a higher award on a Masters, Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate programme. Although PPD courses have various start dates throughout a year you may only start a Masters, Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate programme in the month of September. Any time spent studying PPD will be deducted from the amount of time you will have left to complete a Masters, Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate programme.

Career opportunities

Graduates from this research-rich, taught MSc will be prepared for employment in research establishments, such as universities and research institutions; industry, such as feed companies, stud farms, pharmaceuticals and consultancy firms; government organisations, such as ADAS and DEFRA; and welfare organisations such as the RSPCA, WSPA and WHW.


Visit the Equine Science (Online Distance Learning) - MSc/PgDip/PgCert/PgProfDev page on the University of Edinburgh website for more details!

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