Advanced Certificate in Applied Animal Science

Learn the biology, taxonomy, anatomy and physiology of wildlife, pets and farm animals. Understand the relevance and applications for science with animal management in industry.

Course CodeVSC003
Fee CodeAC
Duration (approx)900 hours
QualificationAdvanced Certificate

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Animal Industries are a Big Part of Our Economy

Pet owners can spend tens of thousands of dollars across the life of a pet. Farmers invest huge amounts of money in buying, breeding and caring for their animals. Wildlife management is another big industry. This course opens up or expands opportunities in any or all of these. 
  • Learn the science that underpins managing animals as pets, farm animals or wildlife
  • Study different types of animals
  • Specialize in the application of animal science to areas that most interest you
Study eight modules and a Research Project or 100 hour Industry meeting
Covering Animal Anatomy and Physiology, Taxonomy (Classification), Behaviour etc. It also incorporates optional study in Environmental Assessment, a marketable skill for people who graduate with a good understanding of animals.

If appropriate Research Project I may be replaced by Industry Meetings (100 hour).


Core ModulesThese modules provide foundation knowledge for the Advanced Certificate in Applied Animal Science.
 Animal Anatomy And Physiology (Animal Husbandry I) BAG101
 Biochemistry I (Animal and Human) BSC103
 Marine Studies I BEN103
 Ornithology BEN102
 Vertebrate Zoology BEN104
 Animal Behaviour BAG203
 Biochemistry II (Plant & Animal) BSC203
Stream ModulesStudied after the core modules, stream modules cover more specific or niche subjects.
 Research Project I BGN102
Elective ModulesIn addition to the core modules, students study any 1 of the following 8 modules.
 Cell Biology BSC110
 Animal Diseases BAG219
 Microbiology BSC209
 Wildlife Conservation BEN206
 Wildlife Management BEN205
 Biochemistry III (Animal Processes) BSC303
 Environmental Assessment BEN301
 Professional Practice For Consultants BBS301

Note that each module in the Advanced Certificate in Applied Animal Science is a short course in its own right, and may be studied separately.

What to Use this Course For?

This is an excellent foundation for building a career with either domestic or wild animals. Some students use this course to advance a career that has already commenced, while others use it as a starting point for their career.
Opportunities to work with animal science are broad, for example:
  • Pet shops, Kennels, Breeders
  • Veterinary industries (not just as a vet, but vet supplies, vet assistants, etc)
  • Animal protection, wildlife rescue,
  • Farming,
  • Zoos
  • Research
  • Media - animal publications, educational film and video, etc

How involved are the Studies?

Our courses are "experiential based" learning (which means we guide you to learn through experience). The things you read in the course notes are part of the learning experience; but there is always a lot more to it than just that.
All along, you have access to the support of our tutors; so if things get too hard, we can help get you over the humps; and if things are too easy, the tutor can guide and challenge you to extend your knowledge further. In this way, the level of study is designed to be different to a traditional TAFE or university course; more able to adjust to the varying potential of each student.
Take a look at the sample from the course notes below, for a little more insight into our standards. 


The digestive system is basically a long tube extending from the mouth to the anus. Its function is to take in food, grind it, digest it, absorb the nutrients, and eliminate the solid waste products that result from the process. Digestion reduces the nutrients in food to compounds which are simple enough to be absorbed and used by the animal for energy and the building of tissues.

Previously we discussed how livestock are divided into ruminants and non-ruminants. Common ruminants on the farm are cattle and sheep while non-ruminants include pigs and horses. We saw that ruminants eat grass while non-ruminants eat cereals and some grass.

Ruminants' stomachs are designed to deal with large amounts of fibrous material (think how tough old grass and corn/sorghum stalks are). Ruminants have a much larger stomach than non-ruminants. The ruminant stomach is divided into four compartments and food travels slowly through them so that a tough food can be thoroughly digested. By contrast, the non-ruminant has a single or simple stomach (like ours).

We will deal in more detail with simple and ruminant stomachs later, but for now we are going to look at the various parts that make up a digestive system. We will first discuss the digestive system of a non-ruminant so that you can understand the workings of a simple system before moving on to the slightly more complicated ruminant system.


The mouth is a cavity that has several functions. Some of the functions of the mouth are to:

  • gather food
  • grind food into small pieces
  • mix food with saliva and mucous to form a slippery ball (called a bolus) that can be easily swallowed by the animal
  • The mouth is lined by a mucous membrane.
  • Mucous membrane is a layer of specialised epithelial tissue


The tongue is a muscular organ that is covered in a mucous membrane. The tongue helps in the grinding of food, the formation of the bolus, and in the swallowing of the bolus. The surface of the tongue contains glands and taste buds which play an important part in the selection of food. The taste buds are sensitive to sweet, bitter, sour and salty tastes. In grazing animals, the tongue is also covered with a layer of small, stalk-like structures called papillae, which help the animal to grip the blades of grass.


An animal's teeth play an important part in the biting, tearing, and grinding of food. There are three types of teeth:

  • Incisors - the sharp cutting teeth at the front of the mouth;
  • Canines - the conical, pointed teeth used for ripping;
  • Molars and Premolars - the blunt, irregularly shaped teeth used for grinding food into small pieces.

Farmers and veterinary surgeons look at an animal's teeth to estimate its age. Teeth will be dealt with in more detail in the section on teeth and dentition.


The oesophagus is a thick, muscular tube connecting the mouth to the stomach. It passes through the diaphragm (the partition between the chest and the abdomen). The tube is lined with mucous membrane and the walls are made up of involuntary muscle.

Once a ball or bolus of food has been forced into the oesophagus from the mouth by the process of swallowing it is automatically pushed down the tube by an action known as peristalsis. This process is also found in other organs of the GIT tract.

The muscle behind the bolus becomes contracted and narrow but the muscle in front of the bolus becomes relaxed and wide. This squeezes the bolus forward into the area of relaxed muscle. This muscle now contracts and propels the bolus further forward. The whole process is like a wave-like motion. Once the bolus is in the oesophagus, it must travel down to the stomach. The animal has no control over this process.


After Your Studies?

Some people are already involved with animals before or during their studies; but others may have little or no real experience working with wildlife, farm animals or even pets, until after they finish studying.
  • When you complete your studies, you will know things about animal science that you never knew before, even if you have been working with them. 
  • Your fundamental understanding of animal science will allow you to observe, hear and read things about animal care and management.
  • Attitude makes a huge difference to your opportunities early in your career. Recognise your need to keep learning and build your experience at any cost.
  • Recognise how the world is changing. You are not living in the same world as your parents, and the way to develop a career is not the same today as it was in past decades.
  • Recognise that your studies are a valuable commodity; but also that there are other equally valuable commodities that can impact on career success. Experience, problem solving,networking and communication skills are also important. Without the learning, these other things are not so useful, but without these other things, the learning may not be so valuable either.
First step after studying is to take stock of what else you need to develop.


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Dr Robert Browne

Zoologist, Environmental Scientist and Sustainability, science based consultancy with biotechnology corporations. Work focused on conservation and sustainability. Robert has published work in the fields of nutrition, pathology, larval growth and develop
Bob James

Horticulturalist, Agriculturalist, Environmental consultant, Businessman and Professional Writer. Over 40 years in industry, Bob has held a wide variety of senior positions in both government and private enterprise. Bob has a Dip. Animal Husb, B.App.Sc.,
Dr. Gareth Pearce

Veterinary scientist and surgeon with expertise in agriculture and environmental science, with over 25 years of experience in teaching and research in agriculture, veterinary medicine, wildlife ecology and conservation in the UK, Australia and New Zealand
Cheryl Wilson

Cheryl has spent two decades working in agriculture, equine and education industries, across England, Scotland, Australia and New Zealand. She graduated with a B.Sc.(Hons), HND Horse Mgt, C&G Teaching Cert. For several years, Cheryl managed the distance
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