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 Code: VSC003
Fee Code: AC
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 900 hours
Qualification Advanced 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.


ACS Distance Education holds an Educational Membership with the ATA.
ACS Distance Education holds an Educational Membership with the ATA.
ACS is a Member of the Complementary Medicine Association.
ACS is a Member of the Complementary Medicine Association.
Member of Study Gold Coast Education Network.
Member of Study Gold Coast Education Network.
ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.
ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.

How can I start this course?

You can enrol at anytime and start the course when you are ready. Enrolments are accepted all year - students can commence study at any time. All study is self paced and ACS does not set assignment deadlines.

Please note that if a student is being assisted by someone else (e.g. an employer or government subsidy), the body offering the assistance may set deadlines. Students in such situations are advised to check with their sponsor prior to enrolling. The nominal duration of a course is approximately how long a course takes to complete. A course with a nominal duration of 100 hours is expected to take roughly 100 hours of study time to complete. However, this will vary from student to student. Short courses (eg. 100 hrs duration) should be completed within 12 months of enrolment. Certificates, Advanced Certificates and Awards (eg. over 500 hours duration) would normally be completed within 3 -5 years of enrolment. Additional fees may apply if a student requires an extended period to complete.
If a student cannot submit their assignments for 6 months to ACS, they should advise the school to avoid cancellation of their student
registration. Recommencement fees may apply.

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What do I need to know before I enrol?

There are no entry requirements that you need to meet to enrol in our courses, our courses are for everyone.
If you are under 18, we need written permission from your parent/ guardian for your enrolment to continue, we can arrange that after you have enrolled.

You don’t need to purchase any additional resources to complete our courses.

We aim to teach you the essentials without you having to purchase any specific computer program.
We recommend that you have access to a word processing program, such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs, so that you can easily complete and submit your assignments.

You sure can. We are here to help you learn whatever your abilities.

Yes, if you are enrolling in a Certificate or Advanced Certificate, you might be eligible for credits if you have evidence of your previous studies or relevant experience. More information is here.

We recommend that you are able to browse websites, send emails and conduct online research. You will need to be able to type and submit your assignments.
If you have limited computer skills, we can make special arrangements for you.

This is possible, it depends on the institution. We recommend that if you would like to use our courses that you contact the institution first. Our Course Handbook is a good resource for this.

Our courses are written in English and we only have English speaking academic staff. If you can read and complete your assignments in English, our courses are ideal for you.

Our courses are designed to build knowledge, hands on skills and industry connections to help prepare you to work in the area, running your own business, professional development or as a base for further study.

This course is aimed at providing you with a solid understanding of the subject. It has been designed to take 600 hours, which includes your course reading, assignment work, research, practical tasks, watching videos and more. When you complete the course, will have a good understanding of the area/ industry you want to work in.

It’s up to you. The study hours listed in the course are a rough guide, however if you were to study a short course (100 hours) at 10 hours per week, you could finish the course in 10 weeks (just an example). Our courses are self-paced, so you can work through the courses in your own time. We recommend that you wait for your tutor to mark and return your assignment before your start your next one, so you get the benefits of their feedback.

The course consists of course notes, videos, set tasks for your practical work, online quizzes, an assignment for each lesson (that you receive feedback from your tutor from) and ends in an exam (which is optional, if would like to receive the formal award at the end), using our custom built Learning Management System - Login.Training.

Our courses are designed for adults to gain professional development and skills to further their careers and start businesses.

Our custom online learning portal allows you to conduct your learning online. There may be practical tasks that you can do offline. You have the option of downloading your course notes or print them to read later.

There is also the option to pay an additional fee for printed course notes and or USB (availability limited to location and deliverability).

Yes, if you don’t have access to the internet, you can receive the course as paper notes or on a USB stick for an additional fee. We can also make alternative arrangements for you to send your assignments to us.

We offer printed notes for an additional fee. Also, you can request your course notes on a USB stick for an additional fee.

Yes, your tutor is here to help you. Simply post any questions you have in your portal or contact the office and we can pass on a message to your tutor.

We are more learning focussed, rather than assessment focussed. You have online quizzes to test your learning, written assignments and can complete an exam at the end of the course (if you want to receive your certificate). You will not receive a pass/ fail on your course work. If you need to add more details on your assignment, we will ask you to resubmit and direct you where you need to focus. If you need help, you can ask your tutor for advice in the student room.

Each module (short course) is completed with one exam.

Exams are optional, however you must sit an exam if you would like to receive a formal award. You will need to find someone who can supervise that you are sitting the exams under exams conditions. There is an additional cost of $60 incl. GST for each exam.
More information is here

There are practical components built into the course that have been designed to be achieved by anyone, anywhere. If you are unable to complete a task for any reason, you can ask your tutor for an alternative.

When you complete the course work and the exams (8-9 exams) and you will be able receive your course certificate- an Advanced Certificate. Otherwise, you can receive a Letter of Completion.

You can bundle the short courses to create your own customised learning bundle, Certificates or Advanced Certificates. More information is on this page.

Yes, our courses are built to be applicable for people living anywhere in any situation. We provide the fundamentals, and each student can apply their own unique flair for their own interests, region and circumstances with the one-on-one guidance of a tutor. There is also a bit of student directed research involved.

Employers value candidates with industry skills, knowledge, practical skills and formal learning. Our courses arm you with all of these things to help prepare you for a job or start your own business. The longer you study the more you will learn.

ACS has an arrangement with OAMPS (formerly AMP) who can arrange Professional Indemnity from Australian and New Zealand graduates across all disciplines. Ph: 1800 222 012 or email

Who are ACS Distance Education?

ACS Distance Education have been educating people for over 40 years.

We are established and safe- we have been in education for over 40 years.
We are focused on developing innovative courses that are relevant to you now and what you will need to know in the future.
We are focused on helping you learn and make the most of your experience.
You can enrol at any time, you can work on your course when it suits you and at your own pace.
We are connected to many industry bodies and our staff participate in continuous improvement and learning activities to ensure that we are ahead of what learning is needed for the future.

Our courses are not accredited by the Australian Government. However many of our courses are recognised and held in high regard by many industry bodies.

Our courses are written by our staff, who all have many years experience and have qualifications in their speciality area. We have lots of academic staff who write and update our courses regularly.

How do I enrol my staff/ sponsored students?

Yes, you can do a request for a bulk enrolment and request an invoice on our Invoice Request Form

We can prepare an invoice, quote or proforma invoice. Simply complete your details on our Invoice Request form

We can arrange bulk discounts for your course enrolment, please get in touch with us to discuss your needs.

Yes, we have many students who are in locked facilities, such as prisons or hospitals. We can cater by also offering paper notes at an additional cost.

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Course Contributors

The following academics were involved in the development and/or updating of this course.

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. Post-graduate qualifications in Education, Wildlife Conservation Medicine, Aquatic Veterinary Studies and Wildlife Biology & Conservation.
Gareth has a B.Sc.(Hons), B.V.Sc., M.A., M.Vet.S,. PhD, Grad. Cert. Ed.(HE), Post-Grad.Cert. Aq.Vet.Sc., Post-Grad. Cert. WLBio&Cons., Dipl. ECPHM, MRCVS.

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 education courses for Warwickshire College (a large UK government institution), out of their Moreton Morrell campus. In more recent years, she has co authored several books including titles on Horse Care, Dog Care and Poultry. Along with this solid background in edication, she brings a wealth of practical experience, having held positions including: Sports Horse Stud Groom, Stable Manager, Yard Manager, Equine industrial Training Manager, FE Distance Learning Manager

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 development, husbandry, thermo-biology, reproduction technologies, and facility design.Robert has B.Sc., Ph, D.


Meet some of the tutors that guide the students through this course.

Maria Schmitz Fontes

Maria has extensive experience in Environmental Science working in the private and public sectors. She has 6 years of experience teaching graduate and post-graduate students subjects as Marine Pollution, Microbial Ecology, Geochemistry, Oceanography, Methods in Aquatic Science and Benthic Ecology. She has published over 20 scientific articles and book chapters. She has also coordinated an innovative project in bioenergy production using simple-cheap methods to isolate microbes in laboratory. She has collaborated with scientists of Climate Change Cluster Group from University of Technology Sydney and has current interests in areas such as: sustainability and clean energy.

Lyn Quirk

Lyn has 35 years of experience in the Fitness, Health and Leisure Industries. She has a string of qualifications that are far too long to list here; being qualified and registered to teach, coach or instruct a wide range of different sports and other skills.

Lyn established and managed Health clubs at three major five star resorts on Australia's Gold Coast, including The Marriott. She was a department head for a large government vocational college (TAFE), and has conducted her own aquafitness business for many years. Lyn has among her other commitments worked as a tutor for ACS for almost 10 years, and over that time, participated in the development or upgrading of most courses in her fields of expertise.

Yvonne Sharpe

Over 30 years of experience in horticulture, education and management, Yvonne has travelled widely within and beyond Europe, and has worked in many areas of horticulture from garden centres to horticultural therapy. She has served on industry committees and been actively involved with amateur garden clubs for decades.

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