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MSc Animal Sciences

Course Description

MSc Animal Sciences

The two-year MSc programme Animal Sciences is a continuation of a BSc in Animal Sciences or an equivalent programme in the field of livestock, companion animals and wildlife.

The focus is to deliver skilled professional animal scientists who are well equipped to tackle problems related to sustainable livestock development as well as to the management of livestock and companion animals. The animal-human interaction plays an important role in this study programme. Themes like animal nutrition, animal health, animal welfare, levels of management, genetic diversity and socio-economic factors are all widely discussed.

Programme summary

Humans interact with animals in many different ways, ranging from raising livestock for food to keeping pets for companion. Animal husbandry and livestock development are not only constrained by technical factors, such as feed supply, animal health, management and genetics, but also by infrastructural and socio-economic factors. Consequently, today’s animal scientists need in-depth scientific training combined with a critical attitude towards all factors that limit the sustainable development of animal husbandry. Our individually tailored programme trains students to become expert animal scientists, well-equipped to tackle relevant issues of livestock and animal management.


Within the MSc Animal Sciences you can choose from various specialisations. Each of the specialisations trains you to become an expert in the field. The specialisations in MSc Animal Sciences are:

Animal Breeding and Genetics
Understanding how genetic differences work and how they can be used in a sustainable manner in a wide range of species plays a central role in this specialisation. Students learn how breeding and genetics can contribute to safe and healthy food from animal origin and how it contributes to the health and welfare of animals.

Animal Nutrition
This specialisation deals with the interaction between animals and their nutrition. Students learn about the way animals digest and convert food by studying the nutrient flows and the physiology of the animals in relation to the composition of feeds. They also learn about the effect of feed in relation to health, welfare and behaviour of the animal.

Applied Zoology
Understanding the relationship between structure and function of all systems within the body is the main focus of this specialisation. Students look at organ structures, hormones, bone structure or the immune system of animals and learn how these systems respond to external influences.

Animal Health and Behaviour
Knowledge of the adaptive capacity of animals is required to be able to determine how to keep an animal healthy and how changes affect the animal. Students learn to study behaviour, stress or immune parameters or energy metabolism to determine e.g. which housing system or feed regime is best for animal health and welfare.

Animal Health Management
How can the risk of transmission of infectious diseases be quantified between and within groups of animals? And which factors are of influence on this process? In this specialisation, students learn to combine animal health management at population level with socioeconomic aspects by studying aspects of veterinary epidemiology.

Animal Production Systems
In this specialisation, students will look at animal production systems in relation to the environment worldwide. Students learn about human and animal interaction. They will also study the environmental, economical and social impact that animal production has on the world.

Professional Tracks and International Programmes
In addition to a specialisation, students can choose a professional track that leads to a specific type of career. You can focus on Research, Education, Communication & Policy, or Business & Management. We also offer international programmes that lead to a double master degree, i.e. in Animal Breeding & Genetics, Sustainable Animal Nutrition & Feeding, European Animal Management, or Animal Welfare Assessment.

Your future career

Our graduates work as nutritionists, policymakers, breeding specialists, advisors, managers, researchers or PhD students. They work for feed manufacturing companies, pharmaceutical companies or breeding organisations but also within regional and national governmental organisations, non-governmental organisations or research institutes and universities.

Alumna Linda van Zutphen.
"I work as a Communication Officer for the Research & Development and Quality Affairs department of Nutreco. This company is a global leader in animal nutrition and fish feed. I am involved in marketing and group communication about innovations, quality and sustainability. During my MSc Animal Sciences, I did my internship at Nutreco’s research facility in Spain. The MSc programme provided me with multidisciplinary knowledge on animal production and the skills to apply this. My job gives me the opportunity to combine my scientific background with my passion for communicating about the applications of our research in products for animal health."

Related programmes:
MSc Biology
MSc Forest and Nature Conservation
MSc Aquaculture and Marine Resource Management
MSc Biosystems Engineering
MSc Organic Agriculture.

Visit the MSc Animal Sciences page on the Wageningen University website for more details!

Entry Requirements

Enrolment in a MSc Programme at Wageningen University requires: A BSc degree (or equivalent) in a field of science relevant to your selected programme +A Grade Point Average (GPA) for this BSc of at least 70% of the maximum grade +Fluency in English, both written and spoken +Good skills in mathematics and/or statistics + Basic computer skills (Microsoft Office: Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook; use and structure of the Internet; RSI-prevention)

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