'I never expected to like cows so much...'
Applied Animal Science
Studying animals from a scientific perspective
Applied animal scientists share a passion for animals mixed with a desire to understand them on a scientific level, and apply their knowledge to practice.
As a student choosing to specialise in Applied Animal Science, you focus on nutrition, immunology and diagnostics, disease control, animal welfare and many other topics related to animals. However, in order to become a successful animal scientist, one must also understand the basics of the business in which you will be working. For that reason, courses on marketing, management and business administration are given as well. You will also learn about applied research and scientific research methods and project management. The combination of knowledge you gain will allow you to set up projects for policy change and applied or scientific research, and to translate results into recommendations for everyday practice.
Nowadays, scientists, and farmers alike are facing a new kind of crisis; with more and more mouths to feed globally, the time has come to start producing meat efficiently and responsibly. The industry needs individuals who care for the welfare of animals kept for commercial purposes and who understand how to feed and breed them, while also knowing the ins and outs of the animal production industry. A researcher, consultant or farm employee... These are just some of the career paths you can look forward to!
Specialising in Applied Animal Science
Your final two years of study will focus on Applied Animal Science.
In the first semester of the third year you will work on your chosen species, covering subjects such as nutrition, reproduction, immunology, environmental conditions and their influence on animal welfare and performance. You will also work for an external party (e.g. Animal Health Service or farmers) on a current topic at the sector level. Your work placement will take you to a research institute or an organisation active in animal health or policy-making, where you will specialise in a range of subjects including epidemiology and reproduction.
In the first semester of the fourth year you will either take a minor course at VHL or a course at another university or a university abroad.
Finally, in your last semester, you will prepare your thesis, working at VHL but collaborating with an animal husbandry specialist in the Netherlands or abroad.