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Animal Health and Behavior

Bachelor of Science

Next start date is July 15th. Applying is easy and free!

Jobs in animal care are booming.

Be a part of the next generation of experts.

Enrolling in our Animal Health and Behavior program allows you to focus on the well-being of animals but also contribute to a more sustainable and responsible animal care. In this program, you will gain in-depth knowledge on how animals think, behave, and evolve, while also exploring eco-conscious approaches to their rehabilitation, care, and health.

Program Overview

The B.S. in Animal Health and Behavior from Unity Environmental University prepares students for careers at zoos and aquariums, in the veterinary fields, as animal welfare officers, and for a future focused on the care and well-being of wild and captive animals around the world. This degree provides students with essential knowledge and skills for further study in veterinary medicine programs or for use in professional settings such as wild animal care or rehabilitation facilities.

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Career Outlook

Earn your degree.

Unlock new opportunities.

109k

Veterinary technologist and technician jobs in the U.S., 2018.

$63k

Median zoologist pay, 2018. 

+19%

Estimated U.S. job growth for veterinary technologists and technicians through 2028. 


*Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Unity Environmental University cannot guarantee employment. Salary data represents averaged earnings for the occupations listed and includes workers at all levels of education and experience.


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Experiential and Immersive Coursework

Animal Ethogram

In the Animal Ethogram assignment, animal behavior students are asked to pick an animal they can observe, and make a list of their behaviors. If students don’t have an animal in their local environment that they feel comfortable observing, they have a list of different live streams from the Zoo to the Smithsonian, where they can choose an animal to observe. Taking the assignment further, students develop investigative questions that they will analyze through their observations. 

Training & Care Handbook

Students are challenged to create a handbook that demonstrates proper techniques for both training & care of animals for a made-up organization. This project allows the students to practice their knowledge of the coursework they’ve learned throughout the term, as well as asking them to present best practices in the field.

Observation Lab Practical

Professors provide videos of themselves and other experts demonstrating different training techniques. The students are asked to study the interactions and identify what is going on during the training. Being able to observe and accurately assess the training practices will provide valuable knowledge for the students before attempting these practices on their own.


Animal Health and Behavior Degree Requirements and Courses

The Animal Health and Behavior degree requires 120 credits. You may transfer in up to 90 credits from outside institutions. View our full course catalog for a better look into your program. Then apply online for free to get started.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is Animal Health and Behavior?

    Animal Health and Behavior is a critical field focused on the physical well-being and behavioral patterns of animals. Combining veterinary medicine, animal psychology, and behavior analysis, this field aims to ensure animals are healthy and exhibit natural behaviors, improving their quality of life. Professionals in Animal Health and Behavior study disease prevention, treatment, and the environmental impacts on animal behavior. They also explore the complex interactions between animals, humans, and other animals.

    This field is essential in various settings such as zoos, farms, animal shelters, and laboratories. Experts work to enhance animal care and welfare through innovative practices and research. Key areas include understanding animal nutrition, preventive healthcare, behavioral training, and enrichment programs. By focusing on both physical health and behavior, professionals help animals live healthier, more fulfilling lives.

    Animal Health and Behavior is vital for promoting animal welfare, improving human-animal interactions, and advancing scientific knowledge in veterinary and behavioral sciences. With a growing emphasis on animal welfare and ethical treatment, this field offers exciting opportunities for those passionate about making a positive impact on the lives of animals.

  • What courses will I be taking?

    General Education Core: 35 credits
    Environmental Professional Core: 13 credits
    Elective Courses: 42 credits
    Program Core: 30 credits

    • ANIM 103: Animal Training Care
    • ANIM 205: Animal Nutrition
    • ANIM 301: Animal Husbandry and Genetics
    • ANIM 302: Animal Comparative Anatomy
    • ANIM 304: Animal Comparative Physiology
    • ANIM 305: Animal Health and Disease
    • ANIM 307: Designing Captive Animal Environments
    • ANIM 401: Animal Care Technical Skills
    • BIOL 203: Ecological Principles: Applications to Conservation and Wildlife
    • BIOL 301: Animal Behavior: The Evolution, Ecology, and Social Behavior of Animals

    For course requirements and a better look into your program, view our full course catalog. Then apply online for free to get started.

  • How fast can I finish?

    Our comprehensive 120-credit program can be tailored to fit your schedule and goals! Completion time is flexible, determined by the number of credits you choose to take each term (8 terms/year) and less time with transfer credits. Without transfer credits, you can anticipate the following completion times:

    • 48 credits/year: Fast-track your education in only 2.6 years
    • 30 credits/year: Achieve your degree in 4 years
    • 24 credits/year: Complete in just 5 years
  • How much does it cost?

    Your online education should be affordable and manageable. Our team of distance education concierges will work with you through the admissions process to help you plan and pay for your degree. Learn more about the costs here.

  • How many credits can I transfer?

    Apply online (it’s free!) and a distance education concierge will reach out to create an individualized plan for transferring your credits. You may also want to try estimating your transfer credits using Transferology.

Ready to Learn More?

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Program Features


High Value Education: Nationally recognized for the quality of our programs delivered at an affordable price.

Social Mobility: Unity ranks in the top 15% of colleges in the U.S. for fostering upward mobility.

Sustainability Core: All programs are committed to sustainable practices, preparing you for a future of environmental awareness in all fields.

Flexible Learning: Balance work and education effortlessly by choosing when and where you want to study.

Flexible Start Dates: 8 start dates per year allows you to control your schedule

Personalized Guidance: Benefit from individualized academic and professional advising, where we are dedicated to turning your career and academic aspirations into tangible achievements.

Transfer-Friendly: Shorten your academic timeline, since we accept up to 90 credits to value your prior academic achievements.


Student Story

Internship at the Plumpton Park Zoo

Brooke interned at the Plumpton Park Zoo in Maryland working with exotic animals.

“The best part of the internships is being able to do them when it is convenient for me. I make my school schedule around when I am able to intern which is awesome. This way I can devote my time to working with the animals when it is needed for the facility,” Brooke explains.


Experts in the Field

At Unity Environmental University, our faculty is composed of a wide range of environmental science experts who in addition to teaching, conduct their own research and various fieldwork.

Kristyn Vitale

Dr. Kristyn Vitale

Assistant Professor in Animal Health and Behavior

Dr. Kristyn Vitale is a powerhouse in Animal Science and Experimental Psychology. With a Ph.D. from Oregon State University, she’s on a mission to unravel the secrets of human-animal connections. From fostering programs’ impacts on animals to cross-cultural studies on human-cat bonds (USA to Japan), her research breaks boundaries. Not just a researcher – she’s the go-to for cat, dog, and pig training expertise. Her expertise has even led her to be featured in the Netflix documentary “Inside the Minds of a Cat”. Join her in the cutting edge of animal behavior research where every class is a dive into the latest data and best practices. Your journey into the dynamic world of animal behavior starts here!


Ready to Learn More?


Fill out the form below to speak with someone at Unity about the Distance Education programs. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Welcome to Hybrid Learning where you can train for a meaningful environmental career while enjoying ultimate flexibility! Choose the combination of in-person and online courses that fits your life and goals. With 8 terms available per year with 5-week terms, we offer the best of online and hands-on education.
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Welcome to the Technical Institute for Environmental Professions! Join us for in-person, job-focused, environmental associate degrees at our commuter campus in New Gloucester, Maine. The Technical Institute offers flexible, innovative, and affordable preparation for Maine’s high-demand jobs with two-week terms, low per-credit pricing, and state-of-the-art HyFlex classrooms.

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Distance Education Concierge

Last Updated on May 14, 2024