Undergraduate Handbook

UMass Academic Calendar 2024-2025 - Please note, this calendar is subject to revisions.


This Undergraduate Handbook has been prepared to introduce prospective students to the majors in the Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and to inform incoming and current students of the requirements of the curriculum and the requirements of our specific majors. Our program includes a combination of courses that meet general education requirements, writing, basic physical and biological sciences. The curriculum in the Pre-Veterinary major meets the requirements of Veterinary Colleges, Medical Colleges and Graduate Schools (for DVM, Masters and Ph.D. programs). The curriculum in the Animal Science major offers a variety of specialized courses that prepare students for careers in the Biotechnology, Health Sciences, and Livestock Industries and broadens the educational experience of students.

Because individuals have special interests, the departmental faculty encourages students to interact with the faculty to develop a program of study that meets their career objectives.  This interaction is an on-going process in addition to the formal meetings between faculty members and advisees that are required in both the Fall and Spring semesters for registration of courses for the next semester. We offer a curriculum that combines basic science and experience in handling multiple animal species, ranging from small animals to large domesticated livestock, beginning from the student’s first day on campus. The curriculum is designed to prepare our students for success in careers in healthcare, biotechnology, agriculture and other animal-related businesses and to give them a firm grounding on the critical thinking and deductive reasoning skills needed to adapt to change in the workplace.


Animal Science and Pre-Veterinary Science majors

   Learning Objective 1: Cellular and Animal Biology: Students will identify and define the role of the molecules that build cells, the foundations of cellular organization and communication, and the cellular assemblies that create the organs adapted to perform highly defined and required functions.
   Learning Objective 2: Cellular and Animal Anatomy and Physiology: Students will recognize the anatomy of a variety of species including limbs and organs and the function of these organs that is required to establish and maintain homeostasis of living animals. Students will learn and perform basic reactions catalyzed by enzymes that make possible cellular function and homeostasis.
   Learning Objective 3: Animal Husbandry: Students will identify different animals species, strains and breeds, the physiological and behavioral requirements for these species to thrive as well as how to the feed them including formulation of rations, how to breed and manage them to assure their well-being and productivity. Students will gain knowledge on the principles of immunization and will practice immunization along with other routine mgmt. procedures. Students will perform physical exams of a variety of species.
   Learning Objective 4: Laboratory techniques and biotechnology: Besides learning the basis of laboratories techniques used in clinics and common microbiological and biotechnology procedures, students will run these procedures and clinical tests.
   Learning Objective 5: Scientific awareness:  Students will receive broad training in basic biological and physical sciences including upper-level coursework in genetics, immunology, reproduction and nutrition providing an emphasis on health-related technologies.
   Learning Objective 6: Analytical skills: Students will acquire basic knowledge in mathematics and statistics. Students will design trials to demonstrate advantages and disadvantages of treatment and procedures. Students will catalog and analyze information.
   Learning Objective 7: Critical and ethical thinking/problem solving: In addition to standard knowledge (fact-based), students are expected to develop abilities to gather information needed to address broad questions. Students will learn ethical use of animals for research and production.
   Learning Objective 8: Communication: Students will write a cover letter such as those required for a job application or for applying to professional schools, will prepare a professional CV, write a lab report; summarize the main points of a manuscript and prepare a professional presentation either from data in the literature or from their own collected information.