Careers and Graduate Profiles - Bachelor of Animal and Veterinary Bioscience
This degree provides an excellent pathway if you are seeking a professional career working with animals. Animal and Veterinary Bioscience graduates have been proven to be highly employable across a wide range of industries, in agribusiness, government, research, biomedical science, development, management and teaching.
Animal scientists can work with a wide range of animals from production animals, both in Australia and overseas, to domestic animals and wildlife. The following graduate profiles illustrate a small proportion of the available career paths.
Kiri Broad BAnVetBioSc (2009)
BEEF EXTENSION OFFICER, GOVERNMENT
I originate from the South Coast of NSW and throughout high school I showed beef cattle and worked on a dairy farm in the later years. I loved this sort of work and knew I wanted to work with production animals in the future but was unsure which direction I wanted to take. I enrolled in AVB as I felt the subjects offered in the degree would give me a broad knowledge of animal function and production systems. I tailored my program to specialise in livestock production.
Throughout the degree I participated in industry excursions to various parts of the state and visited farms and businesses for work experience both within NSW and interstate. I was lucky enough to take part in the exchange program in 3rd year, where I travelled to Cornell University in New York State to study for a semester. This gave me the opportunity to travel the world, make new friends and study a varied range of subjects that weren’t available in Australia.
In fourth year I moved to Camden and studied animal production, choosing as many practical subjects as possible. My research project looked at constraints to beef production in Australia and gave me an in-depth understanding of the topic. I have used this knowledge regularly in my employment.
After graduating I took a position as an agribusiness graduate and this year I have taken on the role of Beef Extension Officer for Agri-Science Queensland. This job allows me to use skills and information learned in the degree. I work with beef producers in North Queensland to maximise their profits, through natural resource management and improving herd management, within the limitations of the production system. I frequently go on-farm to speak with producers about production constraints and help to identify actions to improve their productivity and profitability and create a sustainable beef industry in Queensland.
Studying Animal and Veterinary Bioscience allowed me to follow my passion for livestock while gaining a broad knowledge of other animal industries and giving me the tools to continue to develop my skills and education in my career.
Luke York BAnVetBioSc (2009)
Growing up on a small cattle property in North Western NSW, I had always been very passionate about animals and from a young age wanted to become a vet. However, during high school I undertook work experience at a local vet clinic and realised that a day-in-the-life of a vet primarily consists of de-sexing dogs and cats. Knowing that I still wanted to work with animals, but unsure of what specific area, the broad-ranging curriculum offered by this degree was the perfect alternative. By the end of second year I knew that I would like to work in international agricultural development. My honours project provided me the opportunity to work in this field much sooner than expected. My project, funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, allowed me to travel to Cambodia and Laos to assess the current constraints to cattle production.
Upon graduation, I was selected as an Australian Youth Ambassador for Development. I will travel to Vanuatu to work with the Department of Livestock and Quarantine as a Livestock Officer for 12 months to help improve livestock production as a means of poverty alleviation. After completion of this assignment, I hope to continue work in the international agricultural development sector with aspirations of working for the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations.
The opportunities provided to me by this degree are far beyond what I initially expected and I would strongly recommend this degree to those who have a desire to work with animals but are unsure of what specific sector they are passionate about.
Zita Ritchie BAnVetBioSc (2009)
Enrolling in BAnVetBioSc was the best decision I ever made, despite initially wanting to enter into Veterinary Science. I firmly believe this degree offers much in the way of career opportunities for those interested in animals, agriculture, research and the environment. The scope of electives and the ability to direct your study to areas that interest you are definite drawcards of the degree.
In third year I was fortunate to participate in a student exchange program for one semester at the University of Guelph in Canada. Studying overseas was an opportunity I couldn’t resist and I would strongly recommend this to anyone in the degree wanting to travel the world. It was the most fantastic experience, where I was able to choose from an extensive range of electives while developing a new network of colleagues and friends in another country.
In Year 4 I moved to Camden to major in animal production and all the electives I chose were really practical. My honours project was in fish immunology and disease, but I also developed a new interest in dairy after choosing Dairy Production and Technology in second semester. I pursued this interest and at the end of 4th year I was offered a graduate position as a Dairy Extension Officer in Climate Change with the Department of Primary Industries (DPI) in Victoria. My job involves delivering technical information to dairy farmers to help them improve production and adapt to farming in a changing climate, to help minimise risk on farm. The role is so diverse and I am involved in a variety of different activities in the Dairy Extension Team. During the program I will move around to different DPI offices in Victoria and I will also work for a period of time in Climate Change Policy in Melbourne. As a new graduate, the DPI has provided so much training and support which has allowed me to learn on the job as well as apply the principles I learnt at university.
Studying Animal and Veterinary Bioscience allowed me to pursue my interest in animal science, agriculture and the environment and I would not hesitate to recommend this degree to anyone.
Erin Dunkley BAnVetBioSc (2006)
ASSISTED REPRODUCTIVE TECHNOLOGY
After finishing school I saw a BAnVetBioSc as the perfect choice for me. Having grown up on a farm in Central Western NSW I had a great interest in agriculture, science and animal production. When I started I really didn’t know what direction I wanted to take. I have always been a country girl and seemed certain that I would stick with something in agriculture, but I got hooked on animal reproduction. I pursued this interest by completing my fourth year thesis in sheep reproduction where we tried to improve the efficiency of use of sex sorted sperm using embryo bisection and transfer. This gave me a range of research and laboratory experience that furthered my interest and ultimately led to my current career.
Since graduating I have started working as an embryologist in a human IVF laboratory for IVFAustralia. Many people are surprised that animal science provides graduates with the ability to work in human reproduction. I explain that animals provide a convenient model for humans. A number of my colleagues have graduated from the same degree and have enjoyed long and fruitful careers working in human IVF. I love my work. I use many of the skills I developed at university. It provides daily challenges and immense rewards. It is an area of science that is undergoing constant change and development.
The Faculty of Veterinary Science is a very social and supportive community. Students come from a range of backgrounds and experiences. Small class sizes mean you get to know everyone and by the end of fourth year you are guaranteed to have friends, study partners, and contacts for life.
Matthew Dwyer BScAgr (2006)
Choosing to study animal production with the Veterinary Science Faculty through a BScAgr degree was a great starting point for my career in the agricultural industry. I chose this degree as I felt it provided a broad range of subjects with sound scientific principles. I chose to study animal production in final year, as I believed it would give me a strong foundation for working in the livestock industry. I chose to focus on reproduction and genetics, which led me on the path to my current employment.
Upon completing my degree I managed an artificial breeding centre at Jerilderie in the Riverina of NSW. This experience prepared me for my current position as LAMBPLAN Project Officer with Sheep Genetics Australia, a partnership between Meat and Livestock Australia and Australian Wool Innovation, where I currently use genetic principles to provide Australian Sheep Breeding Values to breeders and producers to improve production within the industry.
I would recommend undertaking a BAnVetBioSc as it provides an environment where skills and knowledge for working in the agricultural and animal industries can be obtained. My advice while studying your degree would be to choose electives you enjoy, as this is when you will perform to your full potential. Most importantly enjoy the experience!
Jessica King BAnVetBioSc (2006) PhD Student
ANIMAL HEALTH AND DISEASE
For as long as I remember, I have always wanted to do something involved with animals, so when the Animal Science degree opened up in 2002 (BAnVetBioSc) combining my interests in agriculture, animals and wildlife, I realised it was perfect for me and I have had no regrets ever since. The degree provided a wide diversity of learning opportunities which were all relevant to the production, health and genetics of animals. One of the highlights of the degree was the large focus on professional and practical experience. This aspect aided greatly in applying knowledge learnt in lectures to the real world, and helped in the search for jobs. The hands on experience also made learning much more enjoyable.
After saying I would never go on to do a PhD, a project came up involving my two areas of interest, cattle and wildlife, and a large amount of field work. I am now doing a PhD in a disease called Neospora which causes abortion in cattle. I am testing the idea that wild canids including dingoes, domestic dog/dingo hybrids, foxes and possibly other wildlife could be transmitters of this disease. Through this project, I get to travel to beautiful areas of NSW and have met such a large diversity of people, forming networks that will help with my present project as well as possible future work for life after my PhD.
Paul Sou BAnVetBioSc (2007)
MOLECULAR GENETICS AND MEDICAL RESEARCH
When I finished year 12, I wanted to do something that I liked, and I quite liked science, but I didn’t want to do just a science degree. I had also always had an interest in animals. At the time, researchers had also just cloned “Dolly” the sheep and I found this fascinating, but I didn’t want to limit myself to molecular biology alone. The Animal and Veterinary Bioscience degree allowed me to pursue my interest in molecular biology but at the same time allowed me to learn about other interests that I had which included animal conservation, animal breeding and animal nutrition. During the degree, I also began to develop a passion for other subjects such as animal structure and function.
For my honours year, my project looked at the effects of UV radiation on mice and this allowed me to get a feel for life as a researcher. As a result, I am now conducting medical research, investigating the roles of different genes which may be involved in skin cancer.
David McGill BScAgr (2006)
OVERSEAS AID PROJECT MANAGMENT
After finishing school I always wanted to work with animals and the environment and felt studying veterinary science was the only way to go. However, after failing to qualify for a veterinary degree and trying a year of environmental science I found myself majoring in animal science at the University of Sydney.
Although not being my first preference, this decision was ideal for me. The degree is a vast mix of subjects incorporating the environment and animals. This challenging degree helps students learn and develop skills that can be easily applied to any workplace situation. I found the professional work experience and excursions were some of the most fascinating, educational and fun parts of the course.
During the first three years you learn and develop strengths and interests and begin to see where the degree can take you. The fourth year, based at the Camden Campus, was easily the best year of my life so far. Although being a challenging year, completing a thesis and coursework, we always managed to find time to socialise. Throughout the year we regularly attended local trivia nights, barbeques, football competitions and various other events.
From the degree I have gained valuable knowledge and contacts which have taken me places I would never have dreamed of going. On graduation I worked for the NSW Department of Primary Industries in Tamworth for 6 months before returning to Sydney University to work in sheep research, both in the field and data analysis. I am now managing an Australian government aid project to improve dairy production in buffalo and cattle. This gives me the fantastic opportunity to live and work in Pakistan. The work is both very challenging and rewarding and will hopefully lead to similar work in other countries.
I would recommend the Animal and Veterinary Bioscience degree to anyone with an interest in animals and the environment. It is a fantastic course which teaches a holistic approach to animal production systems that can be applied to any animal science career.
Sally Isberg BScAgr (2000) PhD
"My favourite subject in High School was Agriculture. I really enjoyed learning about the biological aspects of production agriculture and decided that this should be my career path. The BScAgr degree was great, especially the last two years when I was able to specialise in Animal Science. The theoretical and practical aspects of the course were well balanced, and the lecturers were interesting and provided encouragement to their students.
Initially, I thought I wanted to work in the beef cattle industry. However, at the end of second year I completed professional experience with Professor Grahame Webb's research staff at his Darwin facility "Crocodylus Park" and I discovered crocodile production was where my real interest and future lay.
"In Third Year I completed a Biometry project which involved evaluating the differences in juvenile crocodile growth rates between parents. My Biometry project expanded into a Fourth Year thesis evaluating the same characteristic (juvenile growth rates to one year old) but using multiple years of data to create the beginnings of a selection index. The project has since developed into a PhD thesis to include evaluating reproductive characteristics of the parents and to create a progeny test to improve the efficiency of the farm in both the breeding and production sides.
I have recently submitted my PhD thesis. My project successfully achieved its desired outcome and a practical genetic improvement program can now be implemented on Australian crocodile farms. In addition, I was able to develop a parentage determination kit. This molecular genetic research has continued with a current Fourth Year student working on the first linkage map in crocodiles.
"What is 'not' fascinating about an animal that has remained virtually unchanged, evolutionarily speaking, for the last 250 million years? Crocodiles are just so uniquely adapted to their environment. It really is like working at "Jurassic Park" - the living version."