10 Best Bachelor’s in Animal Behavior Degree Programs 2024

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Author: Ben Karleen / Reviewed by: Melissa Anderson / First covered: April 2017 / Updates: 5

Key Takeaways:

  • The #1 school in our ranking is the University of Minnesota, followed by the University of Maryland.
  • A bachelor’s degree in animal behavior can open up a range of exciting career opportunities in fields such as wildlife conservation, animal training, research, and education.
  • Look for universities that offer specialized programs in animal behavior or related fields like zoology, ethology, or animal science.
  • Volunteer or intern at animal shelters, zoos, wildlife rehabilitation centers, or research labs.

The following is a ranking of the best colleges for a bachelor’s degree in animal behavior.

Featured Programs

A bachelor’s degree in animal behavior can provide a solid foundation for careers in:

  • Animal Research
  • Animal Rehabilitation
  • Conservation

Some colleges have a dedicated bachelor’s in animal behavior degree. Others offer a concentration in animal behavior. Animal behavior degree programs emphasize hands-on learning experiences. Many require fieldwork and internships to provide a comprehensive overview of the subject. Most animal behaviorist schools are interdisciplinary. They often establish strong partnerships with their psychology departments. Animal behaviorists can find employment in various fields, such as:

  • Educators
  • Zoo Curators
  • Research Assistants
  • Animal Adoption Specialists
  • Behavioral Ecologists

Best Animal Behavior Degree Programs Ranking Methodology

To determine the best schools for animal behavior degrees, we used College Navigator. We identified 26 colleges and universities offering this undergraduate degree. Some have a strong concentration/focus in animal behavior. From there, we considered each school’s tuition and return on investment. The numbers were taken from College Navigator and PayScale. We also got program information from each school’s website. We used our undergraduate ranking methodology to identify the top animal behavior degree. Schools that offer a concentration or option in animal behavior were also included.

Types of Degree Programs Mentioned in this Ranking

  • Bachelor’s in Interdisciplinary Studies: Animal Behavior
  • BS in Animal Behavior
  • BS in Animal Science
  • BS in Biology: Animal Behavior
  • Bachelor’s in Animal Science: Animal Behavior

The Best College Animal Behavior Degree Programs

#10—Towson University

Towson, Maryland

Bachelor’s in Interdisciplinary Studies: Animal Behavior

Website
Points: 9
Tuition: $10,818

Towson University offers a major in Interdisciplinary Studies. It has a concentration in Animal Behavior. This bachelor’s degree is offered through the school’s College of Liberal Arts. Requirements include:

  • General Zoology
  • Writing in the Biological Sciences
  • Cellular Biology & Genetics
  • Introduction to Ecology and Evolution

Students will also choose from electives in both biology and psychology such as:

  • Tropical Ecology and Conservation
  • Wildlife Management
  • Animal Physiology
  • Marine Biology

To complete the degree, students must complete an internship or independent research project.

Pros:

  • Offers AP and dual credits
  • Excellent student support services

Cons:

  • Acceptance rate is lower than the national average
  • Total cost is more than the national average

#9—Utica University

Utica, New York

BS in Animal Behavior

Website
Points: 10
Tuition: $24,308

Utica University offers an animal behavior degree that emphasizes experiential learning. It works in collaboration with the Utica Zoo. The BS in Animal Behavior features major course requirements, such as:

  • Statistics in the Behavioral Sciences
  • Zoo Animal Behavior, Training, and Husbandry
  • General Biology
  • Genetics

A variety of elective classes are also available. Some of these include:

  • Animal Physiology
  • Biology of Vertebrates
  • Sensation and Perception
  • Basic Psychobiology

Students must also complete a capstone experience before graduation. Utica University is a fully accredited animal behavior college. This is through the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Pros:

  • Small campus atmosphere
  • Many student resources

Cons:

  • A lack of faculty support for students has been reported
  • Some discrimination issues have been reported

#8—Sam Houston State University

Huntsville, Texas

BS in Animal Science

Website
Points: 11
Tuition: $8,960

Sam Houston State offers a versatile bachelor’s degree program. It features a variety of options for minors as well as two formal concentrations:

  • Pre-Veterinary Medicine
  • Animal Care and Welfare

Major courses for the degree include:

  • Animal Breeding & Genetics
  • Anatomy & Physiology of the Domestic Animal
  • Animals & Society
  • Animal Feeds and Feeding

Graduates are prepared for entry-level jobs in fields like:

  • Agriculture
  • Food Services and Inspection
  • Pharmaceutical sales

This animal behavior degree also provides a solid foundation for graduate study.

Pros:

  • Graduation rate is lower than the national average
  • Student to faculty ratio is slightly higher than average

#7—Millersville University

Millersville, Pennsylvania

BS in Biology: Animal Behavior

Website
Points: 13
Tuition: $12,262

Millersville University is home to a BS in Biology with an Animal Behavior option. Students will gain a strong foundation in biology by taking required courses such as:

  • Concepts of Zoology
  • Ecology and Evolution
  • Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • Cell and Development

Students who elect the Animal Behavior track will take additional classes, including:

  • Mechanisms of Animal Behavior
  • Applied Ethology
  • Animal Physiology
  • Behavioral Ecology

A co-op, internship, or research project in animal behavior is also required for the degree. Graduates are prepared for entry-level roles in the field. They will also be ready for graduate study in animal science.

Pro:

  • The combination of hybrid, online, and on-campus courses leads to unique study opportunities

Con:

  • A lack of diversity among faculty and student body

#6—Texas A&M University

College Station, Texas

BS in Animal Science

Website
Points: 14
Tuition: $13,239

Texas A&M University offers a versatile bachelor’s degree program. It features two concentration options:

  • Science Option
  • Animal Production/ Industry Option

Depending on the track they choose, students may take the following courses:

  • Companion Animal Science
  • Animal Science Laboratory Preparation Methods
  • Principles of Animal Nutrition
  • System Dynamics for Animal Sciences

The school also offers a variety of experiences, such as:

  • Extracurricular Activities
  • Internships
  • Study Abroad Opportunities

Pros:

  • Excellent research opportunities
  • Diversity and inclusivity

Cons:

  • Large class sizes
  • Limited course availability

#5—Oregon State University

Corvallis, Oregon

Bachelor’s in Animal Science: Animal Behavior

Website
Points: 14
Tuition: $12,664

Oregon State University’s has a bachelor’s in animal sciences. It is a solid choice for studying animal behavior. The College of Agricultural Sciences and the Department of Animal and Rangeland Sciences offer it. Students must complete courses such as:

  • Topics in Animal Learning
  • Applied Animal Behavior
  • Animal Behavior and Cognition
  • Research Methods in Psychological Science

Scholarship opportunities are available for qualified students.

Pros:

  • Strong STEM programs
  • Many research opportunities

Cons:

  • Minimal racial and ethnic diversity
  • Lack of support from faculty has been reported

#4—Indiana University – Bloomington

Bloomington, Indiana

Bachelor of Science in Animal Behavior

Website
Points: 14
Tuition: $11,447

Indiana University – Bloomington offers a BS in Animal Behavior. It is available through the Center for the Integrative Study of Animal Behavior. This interdisciplinary degree program features foundational courses in life science. There are also specific classes in the animal behavior discipline. Sample course titles may include:

  • The Evolution of Primate Social Behavior
  • Bioanthropology
  • Ethical Issues in Biological and Medical Sciences
  • Ecosystem Ecology and Global Change

A supervised internship or research project is also required prior to graduation. The Higher Learning Commission has accredited Indiana University – Bloomington.

Pros:

  • Acceptance rate is higher than the national average
  • Four-year graduation rate is above the national average

Cons:

  • A lack of career opportunities
  • Known as a party school

#3—University of Florida

Gainesville, Florida

Bachelor’s in Animal Science

Website
Points: 15
Tuition: $6,381

The University of Florida offers a BS in Animal Science. It is one of the most versatile options for the study of animal behavior. It features four specializations:

  • Animal Biology
  • Equine
  • Food Animal
  • Integrative Animal Sciences

Major courses are offered through the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. Examples include:

  • Research and Business Writing in Agricultural and Life Sciences
  • Introduction to Animal Science
  • Growth and Development of Farm Animals
  • Reproductive Physiology and Endocrinology in Domestic Animals

An academic assessment exam is also required to graduate.

Pros:

  • Great mentoring opportunities
  • Research facilities are cutting edge

Cons:

  • Class sizes are large
  • Faculty availability is limited

#2—University of Maryland

College Park, Maryland

BS in Animal Science

Website
Points: 16
Tuition: $11,233

The University of Maryland’s animal science degree features three options for specialization:

  • Animal Care and Management
  • Pre-Science/ Pre-Professional
  • Combined Ag-Veterinary Medicine

Depending on the track they select, animal behavior students will take courses such as:

  • Grazing Animal Management
  • Applied Animal Behavior
  • Companion Animal Care & Management
  • Animal Welfare & Bioethics

Students will take specialty coursework in the study of animal behavior. In addition, each track offers unique experiential learning opportunities, including:

  • Internships
  • Research Projects
  • Extracurricular Activities

Pros:

  • Strong student support
  • Diverse student body

Cons:

  • Relatively high out-of-state tuition fees
  • Can feel impersonal due to its large size

#1—University of Minnesota

St. Paul, Minnesota

BS in Animal Science

Website
Points: 18
Tuition: $15,859

The University of Minnesota has an animal behavior degree. It is offered through the College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences. It is one of the most flexible programs in our ranking. The degree features five concentration options:

  • Pre-Veterinary Medicine/Science
  • Industry and Business
  • Production
  • Companion Animal
  • Equine

Core courses offered through this revered animal behavior college include:

  • Orientation to Animal Science
  • Animal Welfare & Ethics
  • Applied Animal Behavior
  • Animals & Society

The program emphasizes experiential learning and offers various research opportunities for undergraduates.

Pros:

  • A relatively diverse student body
  • Graduation rate is higher than the national average

Cons:

  • A high student-to-faculty ratio
  • Acceptance rate is lower than the national average

This concludes our ranking of the best animal behavior programs.

Sources:

  • National Center for Education Statistics: College Navigator
  • PayScale.com: Best Value Colleges