Applied Animal Biology


Do you want to study or work with animals in your career? UBC’s Applied Animal Biology program is intended for people just like you. In this major, you’ll learn about animal physiology and behaviour, as well as the role of — and ethics around — animals in human society. Gaining practical in-the-field experience, applying your knowledge to real-world biological issues, and building your research skills along the way primes you for graduate studies or a career in this fast-growing field.

What You Need to Know

UBC’s Applied Animal Biology program is flexible and practical, and provides you with hands-on experiences that prepare you for a career after graduation. Our instructors are passionate about what they do, and come from a variety of backgrounds, which means you’ll be learning with professionals who are outstanding in their fields. It also means you’ll get a broader awareness of career paths and opportunities to work with animals beyond the careers you’ve already heard of.

If you want to study and/or work with animals, UBC’s Applied Animal Biology program is ideal for you. This program gives you a broad background in the fundamentals of animal behaviour, animal physiology and related fields as they apply to farm, companion and other animals. You’ll learn about the role of animals in human society, and examine the ethical, environmental and other issues that arise from our connection with them. This degree program offers training in the research skills you’ll need for graduate work, and — with the appropriate selection of courses — it can even prepare you for admission to veterinary and human medicine. Throughout your degree, you will be offered a variety of opportunities to gain practical experience on farms, as well as in laboratories, animal shelters and wildlife rehabilitation centres. In Applied Animal Biology, you’ll grapple with real-world biological issues, problems and challenges, and you’ll study — and possibly even devise — real-world solutions to them. This experiential learning gives you transferable skills to take with you into the workforce, or into further studies at grad school.

In completing your Applied Animal Biology degree, you will take a combination of degree requirements (required of all students) and restricted electives (courses selected from a curated list of approved electives). You’ll be able to round it all out with some unrestricted electives (courses you get to pick yourself).

Applied Animal Biology students need a strong foundation in the sciences, so you’ll take first-year chemistry, math and biology before moving on to the subject-specific courses. There are too many exciting courses to list here, but some of the learning you can look forward to in this program includes:

  • APBI 314: Animals in Society
  • APBI 315: Animal Welfare and Ethics of Animal Use
  • APBI 410: Applied Animal Health and Physiology
  • APBI 414: Animals and Global Issues

To see the complete list of required courses for this program, please consult the UBC Academic Calendar. Current students, please use the ‘Degree Navigator’ tool in your Student Service Centre (SSC) to track your progress.


Are you an exceptional achiever? Do you have a strong interest in research? Then the Applied Animal Biology Honours program just might be the perfect fit. If you’re interested in a research-intensive career, including areas in veterinary medicine, biomedical science, animal welfare, animal reproduction and wildlife conservation, you may especially benefit from this opportunity. Admission to the Honours program is competitive. To learn more about this option, please consult the UBC Academic Calendar.


You may choose to supplement your Applied Animal Biology major with a minor program, which involves taking courses in a subject area outside of your specialization. As an APBI student, you’re eligible to apply for a Minor in Arts, Commerce, Fermentations, Sustainable Food Systems, or Science. Learn more about minors, including application timelines, here.

Dual Degree with Master of Management

If you are interested in complementing your LFS degree with a strong foundation in management, consider applying for the Bachelor of Science (Applied Biology) – Master of Management Dual Degree. Please note: admission to this program is primarily available to students coming directly out of high school. Depending on enrolment, the UBC Sauder School of Business may release a limited number of spaces on a competitive basis to students who are going into their third year at UBC (or those who are transferring to UBC for their third year). For more details about this dual-degree program option and for information about how to apply, please see the Faculty of Commerce and Business Administration section of the UBC Academic Calendar.

If you are a current APBI student interested in the Applied Animal Biology major, you will be prompted to select your specialization through your Student Service Centre (SSC) when registering for second year. This major is not competitive. (You’ll only need to formally apply if you are interested in the Honours program, which is competitive.)

If you are a high school, college or university student and you want to major in Applied Animal Biology at UBC, you should apply for the Bachelor of Science in Applied Biology. You can learn more here.

Where Can a Degree in Applied Animal Biology Take You?

LFS graduates have gone on to careers in veterinary medicine, human medicine, biomedical research, animal ecology, sustainable aquaculture, animal training, animal nutrition, wildlife rehabilitation, wildlife conservation, agricultural extension and animal welfare. Some examples of exciting careers in the field of applied animal biology include:

  • farm manager;
  • field biologist;
  • teacher (elementary through high school);
  • college instructor; and
  • wildlife rehabilitator.
  • Click here for a bio of BC SPCA Chief Scientific Officer Sara Dubois, an LFS alumnus!
  • Or check out alumnus Katelyn Mills, who now works as a research assistant in UBC’s animal welfare program.

Get a head start on your career-related work experience while you’re at UBC. Check out What You Can I Do With an Applied Animal Biology major here, and scroll through our job board for postings that relate to your field of study!

Got Questions?

If you are a prospective or current student with questions about planning for or choosing this major, or if you’ve got questions about how your transfer credits apply, please get in touch. One of our academic advisors in LFS Student Services will be glad to help you.

If you’re already in the major, and have specific questions about restricted electives and directed studies, please contact your program advisor, Dan Naidu.

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