• March 8, 2021

The Degree you Need to Become an Ethologist

 The Degree you Need to Become an Ethologist

Ethology is the scientific and objective study of animal behavior, usually with a focus on behavior under natural conditions, and viewing behavior as an evolutionary adaptive trait. Ethology is considered a topic of biology, ethologists have been concerned particularly with the evolution of behavior and the understanding of behavior in terms of the theory of natural selection.

Educational Part of Ethology

The field of animal behavior is concerned with understanding the causes, functions, development, and evolution of behavior. The causes of behavior include all of the stimuli that affect behavior, whether external or internal. Ethologists usually are trained in departments of biology, zoology, entomology, wildlife, or other animal sciences, whereas most comparative psychologists are trained in psychology departments. Some jobs in animal behavior require only a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) or a Bachelor or Science (B.S.) degree. However, greater opportunities in animal behavior require advanced degrees, sometimes a Master of Arts or Science (M.A., M.S.) but usually a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) or Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M.). A typical Bachelor of Science in Animal Behavior program takes four years and offers courses such as:

  1. Biological theories of behavior
  2. Animal cognitive studies
  3. Primate social behavior
  4. Animal communication
  5. Social insect behavior
  6. Ecology
  7. Adaptive responses in mammals
  8. Neurobiology

Employment part of Ethology

  1. College Teaching and Research: Most animal behaviorists teach and/or do research at colleges and universities
  2. Zoos, Conservation Groups, Museums: Zoos and museums occasionally hire animal behaviorists as curators or researchers
  3. Applied Animal Behavior: Many are employed by academic departments such as animal science, wildlife, or entomology, for research aimed at areas such as improving livestock production, managing wildlife populations, studying endangered species, or controlling pests
  4. Zoo or Museum Assistants: Some zoos and museums hire research assistants or educator


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