This undergraduate degree program is designed to prepare individuals with an interest in working with animals for graduate study and positions in the field of animal science and animal welfare with specific emphasis on domesticated companion animals including cats, dogs, birds, pleasure horses, and small mammals/reptiles. Enrollment in this program requires an Associate’s degree or a minimum of 60 credits including the required general education courses from another college or university. Almost all of the Bachelor of Science degree courses can be completed in online classrooms anytime, night or day. Students may also choose academic residency and field study courses as electives to qualify for board certification as a certified Canine Behavior Counselor (CBC) with the Association of Companion Animal Behavior Counselors.
Students will study foundation and upper level courses in biology, psychology, learning and behavior, animal anatomy/physiology, welfare, nutrition, reproduction, endocrinology, pharmacology and behavioral ecology. A field study project is also a requirement. The Department of Animal Science continuously reviews its curriculum to ensure that courses offered are relevant for employment in current animal-related fields and industries. Students are assigned an academic adviser in the Department to assist in managing their plans of study and future goals in the scientific field.
Graduates may work for academic institutions, animal training organizations, animal shelter and welfare organizations, law enforcement agencies, the government, or veterinary practices. Graduates may also choose to continue with their higher education by applying to veterinary school or to graduate programs with the goal of becoming animal scientists, consultants, managers, companion animal behavior counselors, or educators.
In addition to being a major health benefit for humans, companion animals are also trained to assist humans in living richer and fuller lives. Graduates may wish to apply to work in the field of animal assisted therapy or with non-profit organizations that train therapy animals, services dogs, search & rescue dogs, alert dogs, and guide dogs for the blind.
Elective Modules - Elective Module I- Multi Species and Community Service can be completed online and in the student's community. Elective Module II - Canine Behavior Analysis and Counseling requires a 5-day academic residency lab course. This is a board certification track with the Association of Companion Animal Behavior Counselors.
5-day Faculty Lead Academic Residency Lab Courses with Animals - Upon the satisfactory completion of online classroom core and elective courses, students taking Elective Module II will register for and attend one 5-day, 45 hour faculty lead academic residency lab course with animals. The course is presently held at the college 20-acre Dream Pond Science Field Station and Reserve in Florida. This is a unique opportunity for students to apply the theory learned from online coursework to real-world situations with animals under faculty supervision. Students will handle animals, work with training equipment, perform function based assessments (FBAs), formulate hypotheses, test the hypotheses through phase changes, and develop behavior intervention plans BIPs. Baseline and intervention data will be graphed in the field on laptops to demonstrate behavior change and trends. Students will develop skill sets for caregiver training to teach caregivers how to implement and monitor the BIPs. Clinical behavior reports for the family or facility veterinarian will also be written.
Externship Practicum Capstone in your Community - The final capstone requirement for this program involves several 90 hour externship practicum, usually completed in the student's community. The student will identify a facility, practice or animal behavior professional to work with. The student's faculty adviser will vet the supervisor and agreements with learner outcomes will be established. The student will communicate weekly with the faculty adviser via an online classroom and submit a project report at the end of the semester.