Course overview

This course is designed to introduce you to the latest research and contemporary practices in animal science, and the challenges and opportunities that this field faces in making livestock production sustainable in the 21st century.

Through online lectures and discussions, delivered through the University of Reading’s Virtual Learning Environment, the course will provide you an overview of the key issues, including producing healthy and safe animal-based foods; using fewer resources; and minimising negative environmental and health impacts associated with livestock production, while maintaining or enhancing the welfare status of the animal. You will explore the ways that animal science offers solutions to each of these problems, and the practical tools that can be developed from advances in scientific research.

After completing the course, you will have developed a well-rounded knowledge of animal science, its latest advances, and the ways that these can be applied to current problems facing livestock production in the UK and beyond. This would be of obvious practical use to those working with livestock at any point in the supply chain, but would also be of benefit to any industry professionals looking to develop their understanding of animal science and its role in modern livestock production systems. 

Key facts file

Course Dates:

14 Jan 2019

Title: Contemporary Issues in Animal Science

8 Weeks online

Entry Requirements:

Graduate level or relevant experience

Credits: 10
Cost: £800.00
CQFW Level: 7
Course Provider: University Of Reading
Provider Reference Number:


Course Arrangements: Full joining instructions will be confirmed by the course provider.
Course Location: Online, University of Reading
Course Logistics:

Delivered entirely online through the University of Reading's Virtual Learning Environment over an eight week period, it is suggested that material is reviewed on a weekly basis, however, participants may vary their speed of learning to suit their own requirements.

The course is available to be completed for Continued Professional Development, or with the award of 10 academic credits where participants successfully complete the formative assessment requirements within four weeks of completing the online content.


Dr Rachel Neal

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course, participants will be able to:

  • Critically evaluate the key issues facing livestock production in the 21st century
  • Critically evaluate the challenges and opportunities facing applied animal science research in addressing these issues
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between fundamental and applied science
  • Use appropriate tools to identify reliable information and literature on a given topic
  • Communicate research findings clearly


Additional Course Information

Topics within this course will include:

  • Animal products and human health
  • Evaluation of animal product quality
  • Reducing the environmental footprint of livestock production
  • Addressing antimicrobial and anthelmintic resistance in livestock production
  • Precision livestock farming
  • Assessing ‘real welfare’
  • The role of the gut microbiome and the animal metabolome in livestock production and health.


The course will be assessed by written coursework and a screencast/ online presentation.  The report will review the contribution that different scientific interventions can make to improve the sustainability of livestock production.  This would comprise 70% of the overall course assessment.  An online presentation (screencast) will be prepared that will evaluate the challenges and opportunities associated with one such intervention.  This will be uploaded for viewing by peers and academic staff as part of an online conference/discussion.  The presentation and the contributions made to the online discussion will comprise the remaining 30% of the overall course mark.

My AFTP training course has given me greater confidence day-to-day and more insight into the impact of new techniques and technologies.
Andy Russell - Fresh Produce Technologist, Bakkavor

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