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Equine Science and Thoroughbred Management (BSc Hons)

BSc (Hons) - single

Department of Biological and Medical Sciences

This four-year course is the only dedicated degree of its kind in the UK. It is in partnership with Oxford Brookes and Abingdon and Witney College, with teaching mainly at Oxford Brookes, but also some sessions at Witney Campus and the college's stud farm. Since the farm runs as a racehorse stud producing youngstock for the thoroughbred sales, you have the opportunity to gain real-life commercial experience and to benefit from its facilities. Considerable input from external practitioners and a third-year work placement year make this a highly vocational course.

Typical offers

UCAS Tariff points: 112 - preferred subjects include Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics and Physical Education

Available start dates

September 2019 / September 2020

Teaching location

Headington Campus / Abingdon and Witney College

Course length

  • Full time: 4 years, including a 1-year industry placement
  • Part time: part-time study is possible

UCAS code


For full application details, please see the 'How to apply / Entry requirements' section.

  • Mentor Panel of industry experts to give you advice and guidance regarding careers, module choice and other questions relating to industry experience
  • Partnership with Abingdon and Witney College and the Common Leys campus thoroughbred stud enabling students to put theory into practice
  • Opportunities to publish own research and attend related conferences
  • Trips, visits and guest speakers to enhance your understanding of the industry and to gain valuable knowledge
  • Choice of modules alongside compulsory subjects to tailor the degree to your specification

To find out more about what it is like to study at an Oxford Brookes partner college, visit our partnership course pages.

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, 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.

Study modules

As courses are reviewed regularly, the module list you choose from may vary from that shown below.

Year 1

  • 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
  • Microbiology
  • Research Methods for Sport and Health Sciences
  • Training and Developing the Racehorse

Work placements

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.

Field trips

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.

Study abroad

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.

Additional costs

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.

Programme changes

On rare occasions we may need to make changes to our course programmes after they have been published on the website. For more information, please visit our Changes to programmes page.

Teaching and learning

The majority of teaching takes place at Oxford Brookes. In the first year, you will spend one day per week at the college's stud farm. Since the farm runs as a commercial enterprise, you will gain real-life experience, and benefit from its facilities. Other facilities include modern dissection laboratories for teaching Anatomy and Physiology modules.

To keep you abreast of current research, we organise external visits and invite guest lecturers in. You will also have opportunities to participate in research or commercial projects. Other teaching methods include lectures, seminars, group projects and independent research.

Time spent in different learning activities

Year Lectures, seminars or similar Independent study Placement
1 31%69%0%
2 30%70%0%
3 (sandwich year)0%0%100%
4 18%83%0%

Approach to assessment

Throughout the course, emphasis is placed on transferable skills, which often form part of the assessment of individual modules. Assessment methods vary according to the range of knowledge and skills covered. At least 50% of the assessment in all modules is coursework-based, and project work is assessed entirely by coursework.

Breakdown of assessment methods used on this course

Year Written exams Practical exams Coursework
1 26%10%64%
2 44%13%44%
3 (sandwich year)0%0%0%
4 33%9%59%

Tuition fees

Home/EU - full time fee: 2018/19: £9,250. 2019/20: £9,250.

Home/EU - part time fee: 2018/19: £750 per single module. 2019/20: £750 per single module.

Home/EU - sandwich placement fee: 2018/19: £1,380. 2019/20: £1,380.

International - full time: 2018/19: £14,000

International - sandwich placement fee: 2018/19: £3,920

*Please note tuition fees for Home/EU students may increase in subsequent years both for new and continuing students in line with an inflationary amount determined by government. Tuition fees for International students may increase in subsequent years both for new and continuing students.

Oxford Brookes University intends to maintain its fees for new and returning home and EU students at the maximum permitted level.

Please be aware that some courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees. Specific additional costs for this course, if any, are detailed in the 'This course in detail' window above.

Questions about fees?
Contact Student Finance on:
+44 (0)1865 483088

Funding and scholarships

For general sources of financial support, see:

Typical offers

UCAS Tariff points: 112 - preferred subjects include Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics and Physical Education

A-Level: BBC - preferred subjects include Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics and Physical Education.

Wherever possible we make our conditional offers using the UCAS Tariff. This combination of A-level grades would be just one way of achieving the UCAS Tariff points for this course.

IB Diploma: 30 points


We seek to admit students who have the potential to make good scientists and accept that qualifications are not the only indicator of future potential. Typical offers also include:

  • A-level grades BB plus 2 AS-levels at grade C (equivalent to 112 UCAS Tariff points for 2017 entry). Students studying more than one science subject may receive a lower offer
  • 1 12-unit vocational A-level at grade BB plus 1 A-level or 2 AS-levels at grade C
  • other recognised qualifications, eg BTEC Nationals or Scottish qualifications (equivalent to 112 UCAS Tariff points).

If your combination of qualifications doesn't match our typical offer, please contact our admissions tutor.

Specific entry requirements

GCSE: Mathematics, English Language and Double Integrated Science (or equivalent) at grade C minimum

You must have studied science post-16, either at A-level or equivalent. 

Please also see the University's general entry requirements.

English language requirements

Please see the University's standard English language requirements

Pathways courses for international and EU students

If you do not meet the entry requirements for this degree, or if you would like more preparation before you start, you can take an  international foundation course. Once you enrol, you will have a guaranteed pathway to this degree if you pass your foundation course with the required grades.

If you only need to meet the language requirements, you can take our  pre-sessional English course. You will develop key language and study skills for academic success and you will not need to take an external language test to progress to your degree.

English requirements for visas

If you need a student visa to enter the UK you will need to meet the UK Visas and Immigration minimum language requirements as well as the University's requirements. Find out more about English language requirements.

How to apply

International applicants

Terms and Conditions of Enrolment

When you accept our offer, you agree to the Terms and Conditions of Enrolment. You should therefore read those conditions before accepting the offer.

Credit transfer

Oxford Brookes operates the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). All undergraduate single modules are equivalent to 7.5 ECTS credits and double modules to 15 ECTS credits. More about ECTS credits.

Why Oxford is a great place to study this course

As a student in Oxford you'll be at the heart of the UK's most successful economic region and in a centre for leading industries, which will provide you with a host of work placement and other learning opportunities.

One of the world's great academic cities, Oxford is a key centre of debate, with conferences, seminars and forums taking place across education, science, the arts and many other subjects. It is a vibrant city with plenty of attractions for its large student population, from theatres and cinemas to museums, art galleries and music venues. A bustling and stunning cosmopolitan city, Oxford has excellent shopping, restaurants, cafes, pubs and clubs.

Situated in the heart of rural England and home to around 150,000 people, Oxford offers students a clean and safe environment less than an hour from London and international airports.

Specialist facilities

Abingdon and Witney College has been a leading provider of equine courses since 1971, and enjoys an international reputation for both its practical and managerial education and training. Witney Stud Farm, based at Common Leys, gives students a unique first-hand opportunity to become immersed in the day-to-day working routine of a thoroughbred stud and equestrian centre and to participate in real-life equine business enterprises.

General support services

Supporting your learning

From academic advisers and support co-ordinators to specialist subject librarians and other learning support staff, we want to ensure that you get the best out of your studies.

Personal support services

We want your time at Brookes to be as enjoyable and successful as possible. That's why we provide all the facilities you need to be relaxed, happy and healthy throughout your studies.

Career prospects

This course will equip you for a variety of roles in research, business and industry. Contacts made in the industry placement and specialisation in Years 3 and 4 will help to determine your career path. Recent graduates have secured roles at Coolmore Stud in Australia, Dalham Hall Stud in the UK, Newbury racecourse, the British Horseracing Authority and various non-thoroughbred enterprises.

Others have secured roles in owner services at Weatherbys, gained entry into veterinary colleges or continued in higher education with a Veterinary Physiotherapy MSc, for example, or other postgraduate options such as PhDs or MBAs. Other potential destinations include careers as equine scientists, yard managers, insurance agents, bloodstock agents, trainee accountants, nutritionists, journalists, facility managers and equine business advisers, and roles in nominations sales and pharmaceutical sales, as well as non-equine marketing and HR positions.

Related courses

  • Animal Biology and Conservation
  • Animal Behaviour and Welfare (FdSc)
  • Equine Science (BSc Hons)