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Animal Behavior
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About Animal Behavior

About the Animal Behavior Program


The interdisciplinary major in animal behavior will:

  • Give students a thorough knowledge of animal behavior within the domains of comparative psychology, behavioral ecology and behavioral neuroscience.
  • Provide a foundation for those who wish to pursue graduate studies or professional careers in animal behavior or a related field.
  • Enrich students' understanding of scientific methods used to understand the behavior of animals.

Careers Outcomes in Animal Behavior

  • College teaching and research: Most animal behaviorists teach and/or do research at colleges and universities. Careers in college teaching and research usually require a Ph.D.
  • Animal behavior is a growing discipline; competition for jobs in teaching and research is keen.
  • Government and private research institutions: Most of these jobs will involve research in health-related areas.
  • Zoo, conservation groups, museums: Zoos and museums hire animal behaviorists as curators or researchers. Curators are responsible for acquiring, maintaining and displaying collections of particular animals or specimens. Researchers are responsible for the scientific study of the animals or specimens.
  • Applied animal behavior: A growing number of animal behaviorists are being hired to apply behavioral knowledge to the production, management, conservation and/or care of wild and domestic animals.
  • Research assistants: Research assistants are often hired by universities, zoos, museums, government and private facilities to help conduct ongoing animal behavior research. Here, they work under the direction of faculty or staff researchers and help to design, perform and analyze the results of animal behavior studies. Research assistants might work in laboratories or in the field, depending upon the nature of the research project.
  • Zoo or museum assistants: Zoos and museums hire research assistants or educators.
  • Educators help to prepare educational displays, lead tours and/or give lectures to tour groups.
  • Animal trainers: Some behaviorists train animals for public performance at zoos, circuses, stage or television. Others train pets as in obedience training, guard dog training, seeing-eye dogs or retrieving.
  • Other jobs working with animals: Many other jobs that involve working with animals also involve some knowledge of animal behavior. These include employment as animal caretakers at zoos, universities and research institutions, as pet store workers, and as animal control officers.
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