Animal Behavior, Ecology, and Conservation

Discovering why animals behave the way they do makes the study of animal behavior an exciting field. Migration patterns, habitat use, and other animal behaviors affect our lives and our relationship with animals. In turn, animal welfare and wildlife conservation are more important than ever. Experts in animal behavior can find jobs in a variety of fields, from working with companion animals, to zoo animals or wildlife. If you want to turn your interest in animals into a career, look into the Animal Behavior, Ecology, and Conservation program. 

In this major you will engage in a rigorous course of study combining the behavioral biology of animals with issues pertaining to animal welfare and wildlife conservation. The required coursework provides strong scientific knowledge, accompanied by an emphasis on hands-on learning through lab and animal-focused field experiences.

The program also delves into moral and ethical considerations involving animals including legal, environmental and governmental perspectives. Faculty members include nationally recognized scholars to guide you inside the classroom and through experiential learning and field learning. You can get career experience through internships at institutions such as zoos, aquariums and wildlife refuges.

Highlighted Courses:

  • ABEC 220: Animal Learning
  • ABEC 335: Conservation Education
  • ABEC 341: Urban Ecology
  • ABEC 251: Zoo Animal Management
Student Research Opportunities
ABEC students have the opportunity to join a research team and contribute to on-going research projects. These projects often lead to student-led presentations both locally and nationally as well as publication in peer-reviewed journals. 
ABEC students have received internships from different organizations nationally and internationally, providing invaluable career experience.


Study in a program nationally recognized for its unique focus on animal behavior aligned with animal welfare and conservation education. The college was among the first academic institutions to formally tie the study of animals to ethical considerations and currently offers the largest program of its kind in the nation


Laurel Wreath
different zoos and sanctuaries currently employ graduates of the program
Laurel Wreath
pass rate on training certification exams by graduates