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Zoology Major

Oregon’s only zoology program prepares you for a career in animal science

Zoology Major

Oregon’s only zoology program prepares you for a career in animal science

Karianna Crowder holding a white-cheeked gibbon in enclosure

"In six days, we treated 767 dogs, cats, pigs, cattle, and horses. I was given the freedom to do the physical exams myself, listening to heart and lung sounds and palpitating lymph nodes.”

Karianna Crowder ( Zoology '17) worked at a pet clinic in Nicaragua during one of several study abroad programs that she embarked on at OSU.

The BASICS: Zoology

Zoology is all about the study of animals. If you love animals and want to dedicate your career to diverse animal species, habitats and ecosystems, then this could be the right major for you! At Oregon State, you will gain a solid foundation in biological sciences while exploring the diversity, organismal biology, ecology and evolution of animals to match your specific interests in animal science. Our zoology majors actively engage in lab and field research, working alongside faculty in a variety of projects.

The zoology program will prepare you well for jobs in a variety of fields, such as animal care and husbandry, curatorial and museum management, laboratory animal research, field biology and conservation, and environmental management and policy, as well as graduate programs related to the biology of animals.

Did you know: The OSU zoology major, housed in the nationally ranked Department of Integrative Biology in the School of Life Sciences, is the only zoology degree program in the state of Oregon!

Whether it's understanding animal behaviors, preserving endangered species or exploring the genetic makeup of different creatures, zoologists contribute valuable knowledge that helps us appreciate and protect the incredible diversity of life on Earth. They research and study the smallest insects to the largest mammals, with a focus on behavior, habitat and ecological interactions. Zoologists' research contributes valuable insights into conservation efforts, species preservation and our broader understanding of the intricate web of life on our planet.

Curious what zoology research can look like? Explore the research being done right here at OSU, where our Department of Integrative Biology is busy doing impactful work in the realms of:

  • biodiversity
  • ecology
  • evolutionary biology
  • organismal biology
Check out our department's research
frog sitting in creek

The PROGRAM: Studying zoology at Oregon State

The zoology major offers scientific training in the diversity, organismal biology, ecology and evolution of animals. Your core curriculum provides a solid foundation in the biological sciences, while a wide range of electives allows you to explore a variety of topics in animal biology, including a diversity of vertebrate and invertebrate animals from marine, freshwater and terrestrial environments.

Many zoology students on campus are also engaged in laboratory and field research, working alongside faculty in a variety of projects, from the disease ecology of African ungulates to the discoveries of new beetle species in Oregon.

Learn more about your zoology curriculum

Wondering what kind of classes you'll take? Your zoology major includes in-depth curriculum, including courses like:

  • Animal Behavior
  • Monster Biology
  • Evolution
Zoology courses
  • [under the "On this page" menu, click "Zoology (Z)"]

Want to know more about coursework requirements? Use the OSU Catalog to learn more about:

  • your typical sequence of courses
  • what pre-requisite courses you'll need
  • your major's core curriculum
Zoology course requirements

What does your four-year course load look like as a zoology major? Check out this sample plan for one example of how to map out your academic journey.

Zoology: sample plan

Get your zoology degree online

Did you know: We're home to the country's first online zoology degree, taught by nationally renowned biologists at Oregon State’s Department of Integrative Biology! The program features a wide range of courses on the biology of animals and opens opportunities to jobs in conservation, animal research and more. Online students receive the same OSU diploma and transcripts as OSU's on-campus students.

Get your zoology degree through OSU’s Ecampus

WATCH: Meet a zoology major

Meet Danielle, a zoology major here at Oregon State. Danielle shares the unique factors that helped her choose OSU for her major, the connections she's developed that have led to incredible research opportunities and tips for success as a Team Science student. Danielle's experiences have helped open many doors as she prepares for a future in animal science.

The EXPERIENCE: Hands-on opportunities

What makes a zoology degree from Oregon State better? One big reason: our hands-on learning experiences! Science is often a competitive career field — these experiences give you the real-world skills to support your future goals.

Fun fact: The Department of Integrative Biology is a campus leader in study abroad — our students make up a large portion of total OSU majors studying abroad. Participate in a wide variety of abroad experiences around the world in STEM or other areas of interest.

Undergraduate Research

This is your chance to see up close what it means to be a scientist. Don’t just study science in the classroom — get in a lab and contribute to it, working alongside world-class faculty!

Learn why undergraduate research is better here


Internships serve as your perfect transitional experience into a career field. Gain real-world career experience while exploring the career possibilities your degree opens up.

Learn about amazing internship opportunities

Study Abroad

Our students’ work spans the globe! Immerse yourself in another culture to gain a global perspective in your studies.

Take your science studies around the world


Here’s your chance to discover like-minded communities of peers who share your interests! Come together and engage in meaningful ways.

Connect with a club and more members of Team Science

The SUPPORT: Learning resources for science students

Team Science is here to help you thrive. Our student support is another reason we always say, "science is better at Oregon State." You'll have access to a huge array of support services and resources designed to thrive both in and out of the classroom. Here are some places to get started:

Student resources

At OSU, support comes in a LOT of forms — here's where to start. From our Science Success Center to health and wellness resources, connect with the support you need to thrive as a college student.

Check out our student resources page

Learning Assistant (LA) Program

Love learning in smaller, collaborative group settings? Our Learning Assistant Program combines small-school attention with big-school resources. Your LA group replaces traditional lecture formats with active learning strategies, maximizing the way you engage with your STEM courses.

Explore our Learning Assistant Program

Tutoring Centers

Our tutoring centers are welcoming, friendly spaces where peer and faculty mentors offer guidance and share study techniques to help you grasp course materials and improve your academic performance.

Learn more about our science-focused tutoring centers


The Department of Integrative Biology advising team is dedicated to supporting your academic journey. Their personalized attention helps you develop and implement a plan to achieve your educational, life and professional goals. From navigating degree requirements to connecting with campus opportunities, your advisor will help you make the very most of your OSU experience.

Visit the department's advising page

And of course, you can always reach out to our student Peer Advisors at with questions, as well! Our Peer Advisor team is friendly, helpful and can share their first-hand knowledge of the Oregon State experience.

The PAYOFF: Careers in Zoology

What can you do with a zoology degree?

OSU zoology graduates obtain jobs in varied fields that include animal care and husbandry, curatorial and museum management, laboratory animal research, field biology and conservation and environmental management and policy.

Here are just several examples of career pathways our zoology alumni have followed:

  • Zookeeper |Utah's Hogle Zoo
  • Wildlife Biologist | Catalina Island Conservancy
  • Operations Coordinator | Cascades Raptor Center
  • Nature center education specialist
  • Museum curator
  • Federal wildlife biologist
  • Non-governmental organization policy analyst
  • Environmental consultant
  • Laboratory technician
  • Wildlife rehabilitator
  • Biological illustrator

The PROOF: Successful students and alumni

Zoology senior merges cultural identity and scientific curiosity

A graduating senior in zoology at Oregon State University, Devonte Casey has been deeply inspired by the synergy between his academic pursuits and his identity as a Native American.

Presidential scholar and zoology major focuses on what many ignore

A Strawberry Princess who gets excited about roadkill. A valedictorian who doesn’t test well. A photographer who focuses on the unlovely. This is the stuff College of Science presidential scholars are made of.

A passion for wildlife conservation: Zoologist takes care of a little bit of Africa

Zoology graduate Molly Cordell ('16) trained and cared for African hooved animals for four years; now working toward career in wildlife conservation.

Researching intertidal communities ecosystems: Ecology fellowship supports student fieldwork

For Lily Miksell, the Alexei Lubchenco Menge Undergraduate Research Fellowship presented an exciting opportunity to pursue her interests in ecology and conservation.

Meet a Science Grad: Kaelie Spencer

Meet alumna Kaelie Spencer, 2016 Zoology major and aquarist at Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

Download Zoology brochure 2022 (PDF)