Animals play significant role in the lives of people and communities, including livestock for food production and pets for companionship. The management of animal health and welfare has wide-ranging implications for areas such as biosecurity, public health, food production and wildlife.

This major will help you develop an understanding of animal health and disease, genetics and biotechnology, disease surveillance, and animal behaviour and handling in the context of veterinary medicine, animal production and management, and animal science research.

This Animal Health and Disease major provides a pathway for students wanting to pursue a career in areas like veterinary or animal science and research, animal production industries, disease surveillance and biosecurity, and animal welfare. After successful completion of your second-year studies, you can apply for entry to the Veterinary Bioscience specialisation, which is the prerequisite specialisation for entry into the graduate Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program. The alternative specialisation is Animal Disease Biotechnology, from which you will graduate with skills in the areas of animal health and disease surveillance.

Jasmine Lowe

“I have always been passionate about animal conservation and zoology, and pandas are my favourite animals. Biology was my best subject in high school, and my favourite subject, so I decided to do Science and see where it would lead. I hope in future to combine my interests in both zoology and veterinary medicine through studying conservation medicine or becoming a zoo vet.”


  • Career Outcomes

    The Animal Health and Disease major provides a pathway for students interested in careers in veterinary medicine, research, animal production industries and government agencies, particularly in the increasingly important areas of disease surveillance and biosecurity. The major is also the first component of the University of Melbourne veterinary medicine program.

    Studies in Animal Health and Disease will prepare students for careers in veterinary or animal research, animal production industries, disease surveillance and biosecurity, and animal care and welfare.

    Employment in animal health leading to 2019 is expected to remain steady.

  • Graduate Pathways

    Science graduates with an Animal Health and Disease major (Veterinary Bioscience specialisation) will have guaranteed progression to the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. You will also be well-placed to apply for:

    • Further study in agricultural, animal and biomedical sciences, in particular Masters and Honours pathways to research higher degrees in the sciences and technology within the Faculty of Science, Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences, and the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences;
    • Graduate degrees preparing for a wide range of professions including veterinary medicine, law, health sciences and teaching.

    Caitlyn Mankey

    "The Animal Health and Disease major was the perfect foundation for knowledge I would need to carry right through into the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. It also set me up to be selected as a recipient of a “fast-tracked” undergraduate place in the 2012 intake, meaning I finished my last year of science as my first year of the veterinary degree."

Sample Course Plans
Majoring in  Animal Health and Disease

The flexibility of the BSc means you can adapt your study plan to your situation, or combine your major with another study area of interest. See some examples below.

Major Core Prerequisite
Major core
Complementary / Recommended
Major Selective Prerequisite
Major Selective
Breadth subject / Science Elective