Online B.S. in Animal Health and Behavior

Turn your love of animals into a rewarding career

Make your dream a reality!

Applying is fast, free, and easy! 

Next Start Dates:

May 4, 2020
May 25, 2020
July 6, 2020

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BS in Animal Health and Behavior

B.S. in Animal Health and Behavior

Turn your passion into a career

Prepare for careers at zoos and aquariums and in the veterinary fields.

A leader for over 50 years

Unity College has been educating animal caretakers for over 50 years.

Pre-veterinarian degree

An ideal bachelor’s degree for preparing to satisfy veterinary school admission requirements.

Fundamental skills in animal care

Learn the biological, ethical, psychological, medical, legal and social concepts underlying the care and maintenance of wild and captive animals

Captive and wild animal training

Learn the training, health and habitat needs for optimal wild or captive animal health

100% Online: B.S. in Animal Health and Behavior

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

The B.S. in Animal Health and Behavior from Unity college 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 the essential knowledge and professional skills to succeed in settings such as veterinary medicine degree programs, companion and wild animal care facilities, wildlife rehabilitation, and preserves. Unity College has been a leader in educating animal caretakers for over 50 years, and now this important biology-focused degree is available online to anyone, anywhere.

Online Animal Health and Behavior Degree Program Highlights:

  • One-on-one academic and professional advising Our world-class faculty and trained staff strive to make your professional and academic goals a reality.
  • Unity College is an accredited institution by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).
  • Learn about fundamental concepts underlying the care and maintenance of wild and captive animals.
  • Study when and where you want and finish your degree while still working full-time.
  • Get professional skills training by doing a concentration in Environmental GIS, Renewable Energy, Sustainable Business, or Wildlife Ecology, or Emergency Disaster Management.
  • Make professional connections with leaders in your field.
  • Get job placement assistance through our career development department.
  • Eight start dates per year

B.S. in Animal Health and Behavior

Job Outcomes of the Online B.S. in Animal Health and Behavior

With this degree, you can pursue a career at a zoo, aquarium, wildlife preserve, rehabilitation center, humane society, or veterinary hospital. Or, you may enter a graduate program in biology, zoology, animal behavior, wildlife management or aquarium sciences. This major may also be used as a stepping stone to a professional program in veterinary medicine if you select the elective courses needed to satisfy veterinary school admission requirements.

As an Animal Health and Behavior major, you will gain the knowledge and skills to work with animals in zoos, wildlife rehabilitation, conservation parks, marine parks, veterinary hospitals, and university research labs. You can pursue pre-veterinarian (wild or domestic animal), animal shelter director, zoo/aquarium caretaker, veterinary assistant, animal welfare officer, wildlife preserve administrator, or continue on to graduate school in animal science, evolution, or behavior.

Veterinary Assistant

Projected 10-year growth:

+ 19.3%

Median Salary:



Veterinary Technician

Projected 10-year growth:

+ 20.1%

Median Salary:




Projected 10-year growth:

+ 7.7%

Median Salary:



Animal Caretaker

Projected 10-year growth:

+ 24.2%

Median Salary:



Animal Trainer

Projected 10-year growth:

+ 11.1%

Median Salary:



Veterinarian (additional education required)

Projected 10-year growth:

+ 18.8%

Median Salary:



Source: Burning Glass Technologies. “Labor Insight™ Real-Time Labor Market Information Tool.” Updated March 11, 2020.

Costs and Financial Aid:

We believe investing in your education is the best thing you can do for your future. The cost of completing your degree depends on how many credits you can transfer into the degree program. You may also be eligible for special tuition rates as a member of the military or if you already have a degree from a community college partner. Learn more about costs and financial aid.

Animal Health and Behavior Degree Requirements:

A minimum of 120 earned credit hours, 30 credits earned at Unity, and an overall cumulative GPA of 2.0. For all degree requirements, download the Unity College Animal Health and Behavior Degree Checklist​ or the Unity College Distance Education Course Catalog.


Sample Animal Health and Behavior Courses:

ANIM 103 Animal Training and Care

This course is an introduction to the requirements for training and caring for animals in captive and wild settings. Issues covered include habitat maintenance, sanitation, and best care practices. Students will additionally be introduced to and explore the various practices and techniques associated with animal training, with a particular emphasis placed on the skills necessary to train domestic and wild animals for husbandry, handling, and healthcare needs. Best practices related to detailed observation, notation, and data collection will be underscored as students explore the basic principles of animal training and care.

ANIM 205 Animal Nutrition

This course is focused on the basic concepts of and science behind animal nutrition, including digestion, absorption, dietary requirements, consumption needs from their environment, and formation of regular feedings. will introduce the student to the science of animal nutrition. Discussions will be focused on the role nutrition plays in the development of animal disease. A comparative approach will yield insight into the varying nutritional spectrums across animal groups commonly handled by wildlife and veterinary professionals.

ANIM 301 Animal Husbandry and Genetics

This course provides an in-depth look at the design, implementation, and optimization of breeding animals, with a particular focus on conservation of genetic diversity. Students will explore the principles of genetic and breeding productivity, inheritance patterns and genetic drift, as well as the basics of quantitative and molecular genetics. Methods covered will help students learn how to create, maintain, and improve the genetics of populations in a variety of controlled environments.

ANIM 302 Animal Comparative Anatomy

This course involves detailed study of the different structural systems found in the global array spectrum of animals, including the underlying evolutionary relationships among the groups. Anatomical structures ranging from the cellular to tissue, organ, and organismal levels will be covered. Functional interpretations of anatomy are stressed, as well as their broader connection to the physiology and health of animals. 

ANIM 304 Animal Comparative Physiology

The course is a systematic study of the function of internal animal systems, from the cellular to the organ-system level. Particular emphasis will be placed on processes supporting organismal homeostasis, with examples from animals commonly found in wild and captive veterinary care.  Throughout the term, you will investigate how environmental differences dictate the physiological strategies and responses of animals, including consequences to their health and well-being. Additional work will be focused on processes to collect physiological data, including analysis and interpretation for use in care of their health.

ANIM 305 Animal Health and Disease

Maintenance of health is critical for the care of animals. In this course, students will learn about the most prevalent health issues and how to prevent them. Concepts covered will include disease transmission vectors and pathways, zoonotic diseases, and preventative measures. Particular emphasis will be placed on both the diagnostic processes used to assess animal health, as well as the role animal diseases play in the health of ecological populations, communities, and ecosystems.

ANIM 307 Designing Captive Animal Environments

This course will engage students in the principles of designing, displaying, and enriching the environments of captive animals. Topics covered will include creating basic and complex habitats in a wide variety of settings, from zoos and aquariums to wildlife preserves, as well as forming environments which promote the enrichment, engagement, and promotion of health outcomes which reflect the animals’ natural behaviors while in captivity. Particular emphasis will be placed on promoting animal welfare and creating productive environments for animal husbandry and veterinary care.

ANIM 401 Animal Care Technical Skills

In this course, students learn and apply various clinical and laboratory techniques used in the animal care and veterinary medical fields.  Emphasis is placed on acquiring new skills and putting the skills to practice to improve abilities.  Skills will be focused on those used in both clinic (e.g., drawing blood samples) and lab (e.g., molecular techniques, software applications for analysis) settings, and include reference to those used in wildlife and game preserves (e.g., chemical immobilization).

BIOL 203 Ecological Principles: Applications to Conservation and Wildlife

In this course students will explore key concepts of ecology.  The course emphasizes concepts applicable to understanding and mitigating impacts of climate change, human activities, and invasive species on ecological systems, as well as other concepts underlying conservation ecology and management of wildlife species.  Through course activities focused around practical application of concepts, students will gain a basic understanding of evolution, autecology, population ecology, community ecology, and ecosystem ecology. 

BIOL 301 Animal Behavior: The Evolution, Ecology, and Social Behavior of Animals

Animal Behavior is an exciting and fascinating scientific discipline. In this course, students will study why animals behave as they do. Students will also have to discard many of your former ideas about animal behavior. Students will discover that most species do not see, hear, smell, or experience the world as we do. Animal behavior is the scientific study of everything animals do, whether the animals are single-celled organisms, invertebrates, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, or mammals. In this course, you will investigate the relationships between animals and their physical environment as well as between other organisms, and you will study how animals find and defend resources, avoid predators, choose mates and reproduce, and care for their young.  

EVPC 101 Professional Skills

In this course, students will develop professional skills and explore career pathways related to [wildlife conservation/business, etc.], including considerations of the role of social media, professional networks, and professional development. Students will establish expectations of being a successful online learner including time management, research and writing skills, technology, and community building. 

EVPC 490 Transdisciplinary Capstone

The Capstone course is the culminating course for students in Unity College bachelor’s degrees. In this course, students will develop a project that deals with a real issue and produce a final artifact reporting the project’s findings. During this process, students will demonstrate and apply learning from their degree program and their ability to communicate to a broad audience. The course will also cover other important topics that support a student’s career development and goals. All projects will be workforce-related products that students can use for their current or pitch to a future employer. 

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