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Study Animal health and welfare today

School of Environmental and Animal Sciences

Looking for a career working with animals or protecting the world’s natural environment? Unitec’s School of Environmental and Animal Sciences is a team made up of staff with a passion for everything relating to animals or the environment. Whether you’re interested in studying an animal care programme, a conservation qualification, or becoming a veterinary nurse, we’ve got a place for you. 

School overview

Unitec’s Environmental and Animal Sciences programmes will prepare students for an exciting and rewarding career caring for animals, protecting our natural environment or helping to solve environmental issues. Our staff are experts in animal care, animal behaviour and welfare, biosecurity, canine behaviour and training, conservation, biodiversity management, veterinary nursing and zoo-keeping.  

We provide a friendly and supportive learning environment where we’re all focused on finding better ways to protect Aotearoa's unique flora and fauna and the companion animals that we love. We have industry connections with Zoos and wildlife parks, the Department of Conservation, MPI Biosecurity and Auckland SPCA. 

Animal Health and Welfare 

Animal health and welfare students will learn hands-on, developing the industry-specific skills they need to handle and care for animals in a range of different settings. Whether it's animal advocacy, health and welfare, behaviour, captive animal management, or veterinary nursing, our animal care courses are in-depth and always relevant. 

Conservation and Biodiversity Management 

Conservation and Biodiversity Management students will explore how ecosystems work and find out how to implement strategies to support biological diversity and address biosecurity. One of our biggest strengths is plant identification, a skill highly sought after in the conservation industry. Students will develop knowledge and skill with plant identification, and they’ll find out how social, cultural and policy decisions impact our natural environment and the ways biodiversity managers can respond to this. 

Veterinary Nursing

Veterinary Nursing students have two ways in which to pathway through our exciting vet nursing programmes; you can start with our Certificate, then move into our Diploma where you are eligible for registration as a vet nurse, then move into the third year of our Bachelor programme. Alternatively, you can go straight into first year of the Bachelor of Veterinary Nursing. 

Explore your options

Programmes and study path

Start with a programme that suits your qualifications and/or experience, then progress to a level that achieves your goals.
New Zealand Certificate in Animal Care (Companion Animal) 3 Full-time for 16 weeks. Part-time over one year. Distance learning for six months. Animal minder in a range of animal facilities, Boarding kennel or cattery attendant, Pet shop assistant, Wildlife rehabilitation aide, Facility assistant for SPCA, Pet supply sales representative, Entry into further study at certificate or diploma level.
New Zealand Certificate in Animal Management (Canine Behaviour and Training) 4 Full-time for one year Dog support services, Kennels/doggy daycare, Animal welfare organisations (canine), Pet Dog Trainer
New Zealand Certificate in Animal Management (Captive Wild Animals) 4 Full-time distance learning for one year (including work experience and three compulsory block courses) Animal carer in a wildlife park or animal sanctuary, Zookeeper
New Zealand Certificate in Animal Management (Companion Animals) 4 Full-time for one year Animal control, Kennel/cattery, Pet stores, Doggy daycare, Pet product sales representative
New Zealand Certificate in Animal Technology (Veterinary Nursing Assistant) 5 Full-time for one year or distance learning options available. Veterinary nurse assistant (NZ or overseas veterinary clinics), Animal shelter/rescue centre employee, Kennel/cattery employee, Pet product industry representative, Laboratory animal assistant, Own business options such as pet minding, product retail, etc
New Zealand Certificate in Animal Welfare Investigations 5 Full-time distance learning for one year (including three six-day compulsory block courses, and compulsory work experience) Animal welfare inspector, Animal welfare agency worker, Animal control
New Zealand Diploma in Veterinary Nursing 6 Full-time for one year, part-time for two years or distance learning options available Qualified veterinary nurse (with opportunities to advance to senior levels), Veterinary clinic practice manager, Pet food company representative, Veterinary supply company representative, Pharmaceutical company representative, Laboratory animal manager, Laboratory animal technician, Breeding centre manager
Bachelor of Applied Science (Animal Management and Welfare) 7 Full-time for three years or part-time options available Animal welfare scientific officer, Animal behaviour and/or welfare consultant, Welfare education officer, Animal welfare inspector, Animal handler
Bachelor of Applied Science (Biodiversity Management) 7 Full-time for three years or part-time options available Biosecurity officer, Conservation manager, Ecology consultant, Environmental officer, Geographic information systems (GIS) analyst, MPI quarantine officer, Regional parks manager
Bachelor of Veterinary Nursing 7 3 years full time, part-time options available in Year 2 and 3 Qualified veterinary nurse (with opportunities to advance to senior levels), Veterinary clinic practice manager, Breeding centre manager, Laboratory animal manager