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Animal Health and Behavior

Bachelor of Science

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

Build a Foundation in

Animal Health & Behavior

Do you love animals and want to turn your passion into a career? With an Animal Health and Behavior degree, you will learn how animals think, behave, and evolve, and learn what animals need for rehabilitation, care, and health.

Animal Behavior 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.

Program Features

+ One-on-one academic and professional advising as our world-class faculty and trained staff strive to make your professional and academic goals a reality. 

+ Unity Environmental University is an accredited institution by New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE). 

+ Experiential Online. Experiential programs are delivered 100% online with fieldwork designed with the working professional in mind. 

+ Study when and where you want and finish your degree while still working full-time. 

+ Make professional connections with leaders in your field. 

+ Get job placement assistance. Browse our online job board and use free tools through our career services

+ Multiple start dates. Begin your program on your time. Choose from eight year-round start dates.

+ Transfer friendly! We will accept up to 90 credits. 

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.

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 comprised 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 received a Ph.D. in Animal Science with a focus in Experimental Psychology from Oregon State University and a Master’s in Environmental Science from Miami University. She holds a B.S. in Zoology and a B.A. in Social Geography from Kent State University.

Dr. Vitale studies the impact of human interaction on animal behavior and cognition to find ways to strengthen human-animal relationships and improve animal welfare. One example of her current animal research is the study of the effects of different foster care programs and the effects it has on domestic animals. She is also working on cross-cultural research; how the human-cat relationship varies from the USA to Japan.

In addition to animal behavior research, Dr. Vitale also has experience training cats, dogs, and pigs. Her experience with animal training & continued research in the field of animal behavior is valuable to her students as she provides continuous current data and best practices for working in the field.

Small Class Sizes

At Unity Environmental University, we believe our students are not just a number. The value of small class size intimacy is just as important to us in our distance education program as it is in traditional classroom settings. We give the benefit of creating tight-knit communities where networking can flourish. By keeping our class sizes small, our faculty can dedicate their time to providing all one-on-one guidance when needed by a student.

Animal 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. For more requirements, browse our degree checklist. View our full course catalog for a better look into your program. Then apply online for free to get started.

Frequently Asked Questions

What students are saying

“I enjoyed this class and I feel all of the activities we did led me to a better understanding of the behaviors in all different animals.”

“I found every activity to be helpful. I intend to use much of the information that I learned in the future and towards my career.”

“This course challenged me through every week. I liked the buildup to the final project and how the majority of materials we read helped us in each section.”

“The discussion boards were very interesting. This is my first time doing an online course, so I found the discussions to be helpful in learning the material for the week, and they kept me interested and invested in the course.”

“The discussion posts and interaction with peers really contributes to the class, and the Prof was very involved in the discussions making sure we were thinking deeper into the subjects.”

Career Outlook

Earn your degree.

Unlock new opportunities.


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


Median zoologist pay, 2018. 


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.

Faculty Profiles

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Distance Education Concierge

Last Updated on November 22, 2023