There are dog people, cat people, and even people-people. And while most individuals have at least some level of affection for animals, some are simply obsessed. If you are among the animal-obsessed and want a career that includes caring and nurturing our four-legged friends, then why not pursue an online degree for animal lovers?
Today’s college students seek courses and programs they enjoy. They understand that their education can be inclusive of passions and hobbies. For animal lovers, college programs may include animal behavior, marine biology, or veterinary technology. If you’ve spent your childhood collecting bugs or researching dinosaurs, you don’t have to suddenly switch gears to pursue a major you’re only half-hearted about.
We compiled a list of the 20 best online degrees for animal lovers, showcasing majors that allow students to pursue passions while carving out a unique career path. Take a look at the following degrees that lead to the perfect jobs for animal lovers.
#20 – Online Bachelor’s in Zoology
Zoology isn’t only about zoos! In fact, students who study zoology often make a huge impact in the world through scientific exploration of anatomy, behavior, evolution, and physiology of animals and humans. Zoology is one of the most comprehensive degrees on our list and is specifically designed for individuals seeking careers working with animals. Career options for those graduating with an online bachelor’s in zoology include animal nutritionists, biologists, conservation activists, and veterinary technicians. Also, majoring in zoology can open the door to graduate and pre-professional programs, such as veterinary medicine. The online zoology degree is one of the most versatile bachelor’s degree programs.
#19 – Online Bachelor’s in Biology
Biology is the study of the scientific processes behind living organisms. As such, it has always been one of the most popular major for animal lovers. An undergraduate degree in biology is extremely comprehensive and provides a fundamental understanding of all forms of life within the context of characteristics, processes, habits, and functions. Students take a wide array of courses such as molecular biology, marine biology, anatomy and physiology, zoology, and biochemistry. Because biology is the basis for most scientific principles, students are well prepared for graduate studies or careers in wildlife management and environmental science. Common occupations for biology majors include zoo workers, park rangers, and animal research.
#18 – Online Bachelor’s in Marine Biology
Marine biology is an excellent major for animal lovers, especially those with an interest in studying marine life and its associated environments. Oceans cover more than two-thirds of the earth’s surface and have a huge range of life including microscopic organisms to the largest living creatures on the planet. As a marine biology major, students learn how life is able to survive and thrive in various bodies of water through a mixture of coursework, lab work, and time spent in the field. Marine biology is a major where students gain vast amounts of experience outside of the classroom engaging in exciting learning opportunities such as earning scuba certification, spending a semester at sea, and internships at aquariums, marine research institutes, and more.
Schools offering this degree: Unity College
#17 – Online Bachelor’s in Ecology
Ecology is the study of agricultural concepts and practices that promote a positive impact on the environment in several specific contexts such as farming, renewable energy, and water management. Students take several courses such as agroecology, crop science, soil science, horticulture, agriculture economics, and watershed management. Ecology majors can go into several sectors of the economy dues to the pervasive nature and critical importance of the information they learn as part of the degree. Careers may include agricultural science teachers and professors, conservation scientists, forestry workers, soil and plant scientists, and more. According to the Bureau of labor Statistics, the median salary for an ecologist is approximately $82,000 annually.
Schools offering this degree: Southern New Hampshire University
#16 – Online Bachelor’s in Wildlife
Wildlife majors focus on the biological processes and principles of vertebrate wildlife and their related ecosystems and habitats. Similar majors include zoology, genetics, and animal biology. The goal of most programs is to prepare graduates with the knowledge and skills needed to manage and conserve wildlife and the earth’s precious ecosystems. The major offers excellent hands-on opportunities outside of the classroom. Given the didactic nature, these programs are for students who enjoy spending time in nature and working with a wide variety of animals. Courses focus on topics such as waterfowl, large mammals, and conservation biology. Sample careers include game wardens, field biologists, and wildlife educators.
#15 – Online Bachelor’s in Veterinary Science
Veterinary science is another excellent degree for animal lovers. The curriculum focuses on teaching students to meet the health care needs of animals including pets, zoo animals, livestock, and more. While the major does prepare students for veterinary school, there are a large number of careers students can transition into upon completion of a veterinary science bachelor’s degree. These careers include veterinary hospital managers, veterinary research, or veterinary technician to name a few. Students take a wide assortment of science classes such as zoology, mammalian physiology, and microbiology. As with similar majors, students also spend a lot of time in the field gaining hands-on experience working directly with animals.
#14 – Online Bachelor’s in Cellular Biology
Cell biology majors study the processes that govern the basic unit of life – the cell. Cell biology draws from several disciplines such as chemistry, genetics, biochemistry, physics, and physiology, which provide more context and a deeper understanding of how the cell impacts life. Students should have a keen interest and affinity for the natural sciences as well as courses in mathematics. In addition to coursework, students spend considerable amounts of time in laboratories gaining hands-on experience as they apply the concepts they learn in class. Graduates are well prepared for graduate school or to move into careers in teaching, research, healthcare, and the like.
#13 – Online Bachelor’s in Genetics
Genetics is a fascinating major where students learn about the inheritable traits and mutations that are passed down through genetic information and DNA. Genetics majors learn about cellular growth and reproduction, which provides essential research in the fight and prevention of diseases such as cancer. Courses include developmental genetics, biochemistry, molecular genetics, human genetics, chemistry, and more. In addition to a general major, students can choose from several concentrations such as molecular genetics, animal genetics, plant genetics, and genome sciences. This degree often prepares students for graduate or medical school as well as a host of careers in research and health care.
Schools offering this degree: University of Maryland Global Campus
#12 – Online Bachelor’s in Neurobiology
Neurobiology is the study of the human brain and its development. The major is known for its research-intensive curriculum, which prepares students well for a potential career in neurobiological research or graduate school. Students take courses in molecular biology, cognitive biology, molecular biology, and psychology. Students learn skills and concepts valued by most employers. Careers include medical laboratory assistants, medical sales, biomedical engineers, medical researchers, and more. Students spend vast amounts of time doing research their junior and senior years. In addition, neurobiology has several internship opportunities that allow students to earn practical experience that can lead to lucrative employment opportunities.
#11 – Online Bachelor’s in Anatomy
Anatomy majors focus their studies on tissue structures and organ systems in the human body. In addition, they spend a lot of time understanding how these interconnected systems and structures work together to impact human capacity, function, and health. Students take courses in biology, chemistry, anatomy and physiology, endocrinology, and neuroanatomy. Students should have a passion for the natural sciences as well as an in inquisitive nature. Anatomy majors often leverage the degree as preparation for physical therapy school or other types of graduate study. For those seeking to move directly into a career, options include biological science teachers, physical therapy assistants, and athletic trainers.
#10 – Online Bachelor’s in Animal Behavior
A less well-known major, animal behavior studies the brains and nervous systems of animals in an effort to understand their behavior. How do they learn new behaviors? How do they adapt to their environment? And how do animals solve problems? These are all questions that animal behavior majors attempt to tackle. With a foundation in the natural sciences, animal behavior is major that can propel graduates to fruitful careers or as preparation for graduate studies. Graduates go on to work in careers training animals to assist people with disabilities, supervising animals at various locations such as zoos and sanctuaries, and researching various animals in their natural habitats.
Schools offering this degree: University of New England
#9 – Online Bachelor’s in Equine Studies
Equine studies is the perfect major for horse lovers. Students become horse experts through studying their behavior, their interaction with humans, their anatomy, breeding patterns, and effective training techniques. Additionally, students focus on learning the equine industry including how to run horse-related businesses such as riding schools, stables, and farms. Courses concepts include equine anatomy and physiology, equine breeds, equine nutrition, and stable management. In addition to classroom learning, students spend a considerable amount of time in the field working with horses in various contexts. Students spend the first year intensely studying equine nutrition and anatomy, followed by field experiences during their junior and senior years.
Schools offering this degree: Midway University
#8 – Online Bachelor’s in Fish and Wildlife
Fish and Wildlife studies is an excellent major for students interested in life sciences and outdoor work environments. Students generally move into careers managing conservation areas, enforcing conservation laws, and managing fish and wildlife farms and fisheries. The curriculum focuses on several areas that impact fish and wildlife. Students study public policies that impact animals along with conservation strategies and new technologies. Students should possess a strong acumen for natural sciences and mathematics and a love for working in labs and nature. Students who engage in internships will have the best employment and graduate school opportunities. Sample careers include wildlife biologist, fisheries biologist, and wildlife program manager.
Schools offering this degree: Oregon State University
#7 – Online Bachelor’s in Poultry Science
Poultry Science is the study of chicken, eggs, turkey, and other poultry products. Students learn about the animals and the associated industries that help deliver one of the most widely used commodities in the world from the farm to the dinner plate. The curriculum is as wide-ranging as the industry. Students investigate these species through courses in anatomy and physiology, genetics, biochemistry, and biology. They also learn about poultry regulation and production, and processing. Careers in research, business, and education abound for the graduate with a poultry science degree in hand. Graduates are also well prepared for advanced poultry science studies in graduate school.
#6 – Online Bachelor’s in Dairy Science
Dairy Science prepares students for a wide range of careers in agribusiness and dairy farming. Students exit programs with a strong background in applied animal biology and strong business acumen within the context of the dairy industry. In addition, man graduates move on to roles in education, consulting, government, and the private sector. Courses may include agriculture economics, animal nutrition, animal reproduction, and dairy farm management. As with other animal degrees, dairy science offers a plethora of real-world learning opportunities from observations to internships that are critical in teaching students the important skills they need for their future careers.
#5 – Online Bachelor’s in Wildlife Conservation
The wildlife conservation covers ecology and conservation of animals and their associated habitats. Students study birds, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals. In addition, students study how public policy and climate change impact animals and their habitats. Wildlife conservation is a proven major that prepares students very well for graduate school or a move into an exciting post-graduation career. Students take a wide range of classes such as natural resources management, evolutionary biology, chemistry, statistics, and more. Career options include wildlife technician, game warden, fishing and hunting guide, wildlife biologist, and zookeeper. This major is available at most post-secondary colleges and universities.
Schools offering this degree: Southern New Hampshire University
#4 – Online Bachelor’s in Agricultural Science
Agriculture science continues to be a popular major for animal lovers. Because agriculture is so pervasive in society and impacts people in myriad ways, the major reflects those areas of influence. Interested students can choose one of several curriculum paths within the major such as animal science, sustainable farming, business management, policy and education, and more. No matter the area of interest, the student will receive a lot of hands-on training that bridges the real world and the classroom. Whether it’s spending time discussing agricultural issues with local and state politicians or engaging in sustainable farming research to improve crop production, this major prepares students for the rigor of an agriculture career.
#3 – Online Bachelor’s in Oceanography
Oceanography is a major where students use scientific concepts and applications to study the ocean as well as its inhabitants. The major is very interdisciplinary as it involves coursework from biology, chemistry, geology, geography, math, and physics. Students will learn about the varying topographies of the earth’s oceans along with the plant and animal species that call the ocean their home. Students also delve into how oceanic health impacts the world and how environmental threats to the oceans can be mitigated and even stopped through effective science, innovation, and public policy. Students will have plenty of opportunities to spend time on the water during observations, internships, and field experiences.
Schools offering this degree: University of Washington
#2 – Online Bachelor’s in Forestry and Wildlife
The main goal of the forestry and wildlife major is to help empower students to use biological principles to create sustainable ecosystems and habitats for the world’s animal and plant species. It has always been a popular major for animal lovers with a passion for science and hands-on learning. Students can often specialize within the major and focus on a niche area such as forestry, wildlife, or fisheries. This ensures students not only have a broad foundation in forestry and wildlife, but an area of expertise that prepares them for specific careers. This major is available at most four-year colleges and universities.
#1 – Online Bachelor’s in Animal Science
The study of animal science gives animal lovers the opportunity to apply natural and life science principles as they relate to animals of all kinds. Students study various topics including animal biology, animal biochemistry, and animal anatomy and physiology throughout their curriculum. Students are prepared for further graduate study or a wide range of careers including dairy management, biomedical research, wildlife conservation, farm management, and wildlife education. Students with a love of the sciences are good fits for this major. In addition, those who desire an active career where working outside and with their hands are common job functions should also consider this degree path.
Schools offering this degree: North Carolina State University