How is Zoo Science Different from Zoology?

Differences between Zoo Science and Zoology

When people think of animals and education programs at the college level, they probably think of zoology.  Is Zoo Science the same thing?  Not really.  It is worth taking a moment to understand the difference.

Start your future in Zoo Science.

The word zoology simply means the study of animals.  When it comes to traditional undergraduate college programs, very few places offer a degree called zoology.  That is because zoology is really a specialization of biology, the study of living things.  So, colleges and universities today tend to provide majors in biology while offering only a few courses in zoology. To become a Zoologist, a student would need to complete the biology degree first and then go to graduate school to really specialize in studying animals.  There are quite a few graduate programs in zoology.

Zoo science is a program focused on using zoological knowledge to manage wild animals in a zoo or aquarium setting.  In other words, the focus is less on the acquisition of zoological information through long-term studies, and more on the application of that information in real-world use.  Zoo science students need to know about animal health, animal behavior, and animal breeding – all of which are subjects that a zoologist might study, but a zoo science professional needs to apply.

That doesn’t mean that students involved in a zoo science program aren’t doing some zoology, or vice-versa.  And some of the students enrolled in zoo science at Friends University choose to pursue a minor or double-major in either biology or conservation science, which brings in more of that knowledge-acquisition focus, so that a student may be doing both zoology and zoo science simultaneously.

A person pursuing a zoo science degree is likely to become a zookeeper, an animal curator, a zoo education specialist, or even a zoo administrator.  A person getting a degree in zoology is likely to complete a graduate degree (master or PhD) before getting a job and will study animals in an academic setting like a large university or within a conservation organization.

What can I do with a Zoo Science degree from Friends University?

Representative job titles and areas of specialization:

  • Animal Nutritionist
  • Animal Trainer & Coordinator
  • Aquarist
  • Aviculturist
  • Carnivore Keeper
  • Conservation Coordinator
  • Education Coordinator
  • Enrichment Specialist
  • Herpetologist
  • Large Mammal Keeper
  • Marine Mammal Keeper
  • Research Biologist
  • Volunteer Coordinator
  • Wildlife Rehabilitation Specialist
  • Zoo Educator
  • Zookeeper

Start your future in Zoo Science.

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