Have you ever wondered what makes positive reinforcement such an effective tool for training anything from betta fish to dogs to killer whales? Or why African lions are the only members of the cat family to live in strong social groups? Or how a canary’s brain can increase in size every spring when it begins singing to attract a mate? Carroll University’s Animal Behavior Program is one of the few undergraduate programs of its kind in the nation. You’ll explore how animals think, learn, perceive their surroundings, and process information, and how they adapt their behaviors to the environment in which they live.
Why Study Animal Behavior? Put Your Compassion to Work
Earning your degree in animal behavior prepares you for a variety of careers, such as a wildlife biologist, researcher, zookeeper, animal trainer, wildlife rehabilitator, or laboratory manager. It can also be a launching point for your master’s or doctoral degree or a professional program such as veterinary sciences. You may dream of enriching the lives of animals in a zoo setting, helping people with disabilities through animal-assisted therapy, protecting endangered species, or ensuring the health and welfare of companion animals surrendered to shelters and rescue organizations. This degree can help those dreams come true.
In addition to the major, Carroll offers a minor in animal behavior that complements many areas of study:
Animal Behavior Minor
A Foundation in Science—a Focus on Real-World Experience
Carroll University’s animal behavior major introduces you to the scientific methods with which people study the behavior of animals–from how the brain and nervous system to influence behavior, to how animals learn new behaviors and solve problems, to why particular types of behavior evolve in the wild.
All animal behavior students are required to develop valuable hands-on skills by completing an internship at locations such as the Racine Zoo, the Wildlife in Need Center, or the behavior services department of the Humane Society. Students also participate in research both within and outside of class. Some of our students design their own research projects and even publish their work in professional journals. These experiences give students a real advantage in choosing a career or applying to graduate school.
Your studies are not restricted to Carroll’s classrooms. You’ll have opportunities to study at our 75-acre outdoor classroom and laboratory, the Greene Field Station, and Prairie Springs Environmental Education Center. Classes sometimes meet at the Humane Animal Welfare Society to give students hands-on experience in animal training. Carroll’s long-standing partnership with the Milwaukee County Zoo sets our program apart by giving you access to a nationally-recognized research training site just minutes from campus. Our senior-level classes design and carry out research projects there, selecting from more than 2,000 mammals, birds, fish, amphibians, and reptiles to observe.
A Foundation in Science—a Focus on Real World Experience.
Learn from experts in the field. Our program puts you directly in contact with professionals who work with animals for their careers in a variety of settings.
Master methods of animal training. Students learn how laboratory experiments have uncovered basic principles that allow trainers to predict and control behavior. Then, students put principles-into-practice training live animals in classroom and shelter settings.
Explore the wild. Our 20+ year partnership with the Milwaukee County Zoo gives students access to research opportunities to observe animals from around the world. Other off-campus course settings include the Humane Animal Welfare Society and Osprey Wilds (formerly the Audubon Center of the North Woods).
CU in 60: Carroll's Animal Behavior Program