Applied Animal Biology


Do you want to study or work with 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.

Applied Animal Biology Major

Students in AABI are encouraged to take a number of APBI courses as these courses span a range of topics.  In addition to APBI courses, students are encouraged to explore topics from one or more of the grouped courses listed below.  Please note that these groupings are themes only and are designed to support students in exploring their course options. Students must also take into account that some courses on this list may be credit excluded. For support in exploring your restricted electives, please contact your Program Advisor, Lesley Dampier (

Applied Animal Biology

  • APBI 311 - Comparative Cardiovascular, Respiratory and Osmoregulatory Physiology
  • APBI 312 - Reproductive and Digestive Physiology
  • APBI 314 - Animals and society
  • APBI 315 - Animal welfare and the ethics of animal use
  • APBI 316 - Equine Biology, Health and Welfare
  • APBI 317 - Animals Used in Science: Welfare and Ethics
  • APBI 319 - Aquaculture and the Environment
  • APBI 327 / BIOL 327 - Introduction to Entomology
  • APBI 398 - Research Methods in Applied Biology
  • APBI 410 - Applied Animal Health and Physiology
  • APBI 413 - Stress and Coping in Animals
  • APBI 414 - Animals and Global Issues
  • APBI 415 - Applied Animal Behaviour
  • APBI 416 - Compassionate Conservation
  • APBI 418 - Intensive fish production
  • APBI 419 - Fish Health
  • APBI 427 / BIOL 411 - Insect Ecology
  • APBI 490* - Topics in Applied Biology (consult your Program Advisor for current offerings)
  • APBI 495 - Principles of Wildlife Management in Forests and Agricultural Environments
  • APBI 496 - Applied Animal Biology Practicum
  • APBI 497 - Directed Studies
  • APBI 498 - Undergraduate Essay
  • APBI 499 - Undergraduate Thesis

Agroecology and Food

  • APBI 260 or APBI 265 - Agroecology I or Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems (students may select only one of these two courses)
  • APBI 360 - Agroecology II
  • APBI 361 - Key Indicators of Agroecosystem sustainability
  • APBI 460 - Advanced Agroecology
  • APBI 490 - Topics in Applied Biology (consult your Program Advisor for current offerings)
  • FNH 250 - Nutrition Concepts and Controversies
  • FNH 350 - Fundamentals of Nutrition
  • LFS 340 - First Nations Health and the Traditional Role of Plants
  • LFS 350 - Land, Food & Community II
  • LFS 450 - Land, Food & Community III: Food System Sustainability


  • BIOL 310 - Introduction to animal behaviour
  • PSYC 1st - 3 credits of first year psychology
  • PSYC 270 - Introduction to Behavioural Neuroscience
  • PSYC 360 - Biopsychology
  • PSYC 306A - Principles in Animal Behaviour
  • PSYC 363 - Principles of Animal Learning


  • BIOC 302 - General Biochemistry
  • BIOC 303 - Molecular Biochemistry
  • BIOC 402 - Proteins: Structure and Function
  • BIOC 403 - Enzymology
  • BIOC 410 - Nucleic Acids-Structure and Function

Biology – Special Topics

  • BIOL 204 - Vertebrate structure and function
  • BIOL 205 - Comparative Invertebrate Zoology
  • BIOL 328 - Introductory parasitology
  • BIOL 331 - Developmental Biology
  • BIOL 427 - Ornithology and Herpetology
  • BIOL 445 - Darwin's Fishes
  • BIOL 455 - Comparative Neurobiology
  • EOSC 475 - Marine Microbiology
  • EOSC 478 - Introduction to Fisheries Science
  • MICB 202 - Introductory Medical Microbiology and Immunology
  • MICB 302 - Immunology
  • MICB 306 - Molecular Virology

Ecology and Conservation

  • APBI 327 - Introduction to Entomology
  • APBI 427 / BIOL 411 Insect Ecology
  • APBI 428 - Integrated Pest Management
  • APBI 444 - Agroforestry
  • BIOL 230 - Fundamentals of Ecology
  • BIOL 306 - Advanced Ecology
  • BIOL 402 - Aquatic Ecology
  • BIOL 413 - Zoogeography
  • BIOL 416 - Principles of Conservation Biology
  • CONS 330 - Conservation Science and Sustainability
  • CONS 486 - Fish Conservation and Management
  • EOSC 315 - The Ocean Ecosystem
  • EOSC 470 - Biological Oceanography
  • FRST 308 - Forest Entomology
  • FRST 386 - Aquatic Ecosystems and Fish in Forested Watersheds
  • FRST 395 - Forest wildlife ecology and management
  • LFS 302D - Asian Elephant Compassionate Conservation field course in Thailand
  • MNRE Courses - Some MNRE courses can be used for restricted electives but must be pre-approved by your program advisor prior to completing the course.


  • ECON 101 / LFS101 / ECON 310 - Principles of Microeconomics
  • ECON 102 / ECON 311 - Principles of Macroeconomics
  • FRE 295 - Managerial Economics


  • ISCI 433 - Ethical Issues in Science
  • PHIL 332 - Environmental Ethics
  • PHIL 333 - Bio-Medical Ethics


  • MATH 103 (or equivalent) - Integral Calculus with Applications to Life Sciences
  • PHYS 119 - Experimental Physics Lab
  • PHYS 118 (or equivalent) - Electricity, Light and Radiation
  • CLST 301 - The Technical Terms of Medicine and Biological Science
  • CPSC 110 - Computation, Programs, and Programming
  • CPSC 301 - Computing in the Life Sciences
  • FRST 430 - Advanced Biometrics
  • LFS 496B - Career development internship

Genetics and Genomics

  • BIOL 234 - Fundamentals of Genetics
  • BIOL 335 - Molecular genetics
  • BIOL 336 - Fundamentals of Evolutionary Biology
  • BIOL 338 - Introduction to Genomics
  • BIOL 450 - Molecular Adaptation of Animals to the Environment
  • BIOL 463 - Gene Regulation in Development
  • BIOL 464 - Animal Developmental Genetics
  • FRST 302 - Forest Genetics


Please note that several first and second year BIOL, CAPS and KIN courses overlap and are credit excluded. Students may select only courses that are not credit excluded. Please consult the calendar (,215,410,414).

Up to six credits of introductory physiology courses, for example BIOL 153, BIOL 155, KIN 151, KIN 131, KIN 132, CAPS 301 (consult calendar and prerequisites for future courses). Discuss with a program or academic advisor.

  • APBI 311 - Comparative Cardiovascular, Respiratory and Osmoregulatory Physiology
  • BIOL 260 - Fundamentals of Physiology
  • BIOL 325 - Introduction to animal mechanics and locomotion
  • BIOL 361 - Neural and Muscular Physiology (replaced by BIOL 371)
  • BIOL 362 - Cellular Physiology
  • BIOL 371 - Principles of Neurobiology I
  • BIOL 372 - Principles of Neurobiology II
  • BIOL 425 - Biomechanics
  • BIOL 454 - Comparative Animal Physiology
  • BIOL 457 - Comparative Environmental Physiology
  • CAPS 390 - Introduction to Microscopic Human Anatomy
  • CAPS 391 - Introduction to Gross Human Anatomy
  • MRNE 415 - Structure and Function in Marine Animals



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 BCSPCA 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 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, Lesley Dampier.

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