The thoroughbred industry is a billion-pound international concern. The economic impact of British racing alone is approximately £3.45 billion a year (Deloitte, 2012). It therefore requires highly qualified professionals with a broad range of skills. More than ever there is a demand for an understanding of sophisticated management techniques and scientific principles in the breeding and training of racehorses.
Owing to the diverse nature of the thoroughbred industry, our degree course is structured so that you study a range of compulsory modules in Years 1 and 2 to ensure a thorough grounding in all aspects of equine science and thoroughbred management.
The modules taken during Year 1 include Equine Breeding and Stud Practice, The International Thoroughbred Industry, and Equine Anatomy and Physiology. Our Skills for Life Scientists module will develop your data manipulation, statistics and IT skills. A feature of your first year are tutorials with your academic adviser (a member of the lecturing staff responsible for overseeing your academic progress). The tutorials are designed to help you adjust to academic life at university and establish good study habits.
Further in-depth study in these areas during Year 2, by selection of compulsory and optional modules, will extend your knowledge and help you make an informed choice of where to spend your third year in industry.
Year 3 will be spent on work placement at a thoroughbred institution of your choice, either in the UK or abroad. You are encouraged to use this time to explore the industry, and can elect to spend time in one or more locations. Many students also use this time to collect data for dissertations in their final year.
In your final year the choice of optional modules, including Equine Genetics, Applied Industry Project, Injury and Rehabilitation, Training and Developing the Racehorse, Equine Ethics and Welfare, International Stud Management, and Equestrian Land Management, together with your dissertation, will allow you to develop specialist knowledge.
As courses are reviewed regularly, the module list you choose from may vary from that shown below.
- Equine Anatomy and Physiology (double)
- Equine Breeding and Stud Practice
- Equine Business
- International Thoroughbred Industry
- Practical Horse Husbandry
- Skills for Life Scientists (double)
Year 2 and Final Year
- Applied Industry Project
- Dissertation or Final Project (double)
- Equestrian Event and Racecourse Management
- Equestrian Land Management
- Equine Behaviour
- Equine Ethics and Welfare
- Equine Genetics
- Equine Medicine and Veterinary Techniques (double)
- Equine Nutrition
- Equine Performance Science
- Equine Endocrine and Reproductive Physiology
- Evolution and Animal Development (double)
- Haematology and Immunology
- Independent Study in Life Sciences
- Infection, Immunity and Immunology
- Injury and Rehabilitation (double)
- International Business
- International Stud Management
- Introduction to People Management
- Research Methods for Sport and Health Sciences
- Training and Developing the Racehorse
Year 3 will be spent on work placement at a thoroughbred institution of your choice, either in the UK or abroad. Students have worked in thoroughbred marketing, at racecourses, equine rehabilitation centres and international thoroughbred studs, with bloodstock agents, and for well-recognised thoroughbred trainers.
Market research indicates that the thoroughbred industry places great value on work experience, providing you with a distinct advantage in the graduate job market. Any research undertaken, or data collected, during this time may be used to form the basis of your final-year dissertation project, subject to gaining permission from your employer.
Trips are arranged by module leaders to strengthen the learning experience and help link theory to practice. Visits in recent years have included a variety of studs, artificial insemination and embryo transfer specialist centres, UK and international conferences and Tattersalls sales, as well as racecourses, training establishments and seed specialists.
Field trip costs: your course tuition fee covers the cost of all mandatory field trips. The cost of an optional field trip is not included in your course tuition fee, and a separate fee will apply. Please contact our Enquiry Centre (see 'Contact us') if you would like more information about the field trip(s) on this course.
Many students undertake their work experience abroad and this enriches their final year of study. Students have worked in large veterinary hospitals and international thoroughbred breeding centres in Australia, the USA and Ireland.
To find out whether you can study abroad while on this course, how to organise it and likely associated costs, please email
Free language courses for students - the Open Module
Free language courses are available to full-time undergraduate and postgraduate students on many of our courses, and can be taken as a credit on some courses.
Please note that the free language courses are not available if you are:
- studying at a Brookes partner college
- studying on any of our teacher education courses or postgraduate education courses.
You will need to budget for public transport between Oxford Brookes and Abingdon and Witney College (Witney Campus) where a college minibus with take you to the Common Leys stud farm where practical sessions are held. This is mainly in semester 1.
There will also be additional costs for learning resources such as books, stationary and for the production of coursework.