Equine Science and Management - September 2014 entry

Foundation Degree Fd(Sc)

This course is run by the Department of Biological and Medical Sciences

The equine industry is worth in excess of £4 billion annually (BETA National Equestrian Survey 2006). According to employers, there is a shortage of highly qualified professionals with the broad range of management and science skills required to work with horses.

To meet this need, this two-year foundation degree has been developed as a partnership between Oxford Brookes, Abingdon and Witney College and local employers. It provides a flexible course that will enable students to apply theoretical knowledge to their work within the equine industry.

Why choose this course

  • You access the expertise and resources of both Oxford Brookes University, which accredits the degrees, and Abingdon and Witney College, where the teaching takes place.
  • You gain vital industry experience through a compulsory 30-day work placement, which will enhance your career opportunities.
  • The Common Leys campus near Witney offers excellent facilities such as a commercially run thoroughbred stud where you can apply your classroom learning.
  • You will have the opportunity to go on field trips to studs and attend guest lectures from industry professionals, enabling you to see how the industry works and preparing you for future employment.
  • The foundation degree will equip you for a successful career or progression to our honours degrees in Equine Science or Equine Science and Thoroughbred Management.
To find out more about what it is like to study at an Oxford Brookes partner college, visit our partnership course pages

This course in detail

Year 1 modules provide a thorough grounding in equine science and management techniques. You'll also complete a minimum of 30 days' work-based learning at your chosen workplace.

You will broaden your knowledge and enhance your skills in Year 2 and have the opportunity to develop specialist knowledge in a chosen area. It is advised that you work within the equine industry as this will greatly complement your final project, which is based on a working equine environment. This project enables you to apply the skills developed throughout the course and produce a project relevant to the workplace.

Throughout the course we integrate transferable skills such as self-management, communication, teamwork, problem solving and IT. Combined with your subject knowledge, this will equip you for a successful career or progression to our honours degrees in Equine Science or Equine Science and Thoroughbred Management.

Study modules

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

Year 1

  • Animal Welfare
  • Equine Anatomy and Physiology
  • Equine Nutrition
  • Groundwork Skills and Riding
  • Introduction to Business
  • Introductory Biology
  • Learning and Professional Skills
  • Practical Husbandry Management

Year 2

  • Advanced Husbandry Management
  • Animal Behaviour
  • Breeding and Stud Management
  • Equine Fittening and Training
  • Equine Health Management
  • Equine Sports Injury and Therapy
  • Industry-Based Project
  • Sustainability in the Equine Industry

Work placements

A key feature of all foundation degrees is that the theoretical knowledge acquired in the formally taught part of the course is applied to real-life situations in the workplace.

During Year 1, you complete a minimum of 30 days' work-based learning at your chosen workplace. A placement at Common Leys Farm (equine unit or stud) is available if you have a specific interest in working there or have difficulty finding an alternative. If you are in full-time employment in the equine industry will need to be assessed before being granted APL (accreditation for prior learning).  You will also need employer support to complete the required work-based learning outside the stud.

During Year 2, we recommend that you continue to work within the equine industry as this will greatly complement your final project, which is based on a working equine environment. You will be assisted in searching for a suitable work placement.

An additional 'duty day' is also available at Common Leys outside of the normal timetabled days. If you are not currently employed within a practical equine setting, we strongly advise you to take advantage of this extra day.

Teaching, learning and assessment

Teaching and learning

Teaching methods vary from module to module. Usually they include lectures, laboratory-based practical activities, sessions at Common Leys Farm, IT workshops, problem-solving classes, online resources and tutorial support.

All teaching takes place at the Common Leys and Witney campuses of Abingdon and Witney College, although you also have access to many facilities at Oxford Brookes. As Common Leys Farm runs as an enterprise, you gain real-life commercial experience and practical skills. To keep students abreast of current research, we also organise external visits and invite guest lecturers in.

Approach to assessment

At least 50% of assessment is coursework-based, and project work is assessed entirely by coursework. Transferable skills such as IT and report writing often form part of the assessment of individual modules.

Learning outcomes

Upon successfully completing this course, students will be able to demonstrate:

  • knowledge in a range of scientific, business and equine disciplines
  • the ability to apply that knowledge in developing appropriate solutions to work-related problems in the equine industry
  • the ability and discipline to complete a major body of work to a required standard and to deadlines
  • the motivation to develop their skills, thereby enhancing their value to industry.

Key facts


Department of Biological and Medical Sciences

Course length

Full-time: 2 years (2 days per week). Individual modules may be available.

Teaching location

Abingdon and Witney College - Campus Code A

Start date

September 2014

UCAS code and Key Information Sets

D426 FdSc/AB18

How to apply / Entry requirements

Typical offers

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

  • 2 years' post-GCSE education (eg A-level, National Diploma/Certificate, Advanced Diploma), equivalent to 80 UCAS points
  • 1 year's post-GCSE education (eg AS-level, National Certificate), equivalent to 80 UCAS points, and 1 year's work experience in a relevant industry (a supporting reference will be required).

Applicants with non-standard entry qualifications may be admitted with APL (accreditation for prior learning) or APEL (accreditation for prior experiential learning) in accordance with University regulations.

Specific entry requirements

Students must be at least 17½ years of age.

Please also see the University's general entry requirements.

English language requirements

Please see the University's standard English language requirements

International and EU applications

Preparation courses for EU students

We offer a range of courses to help students meet the academic and English language entry requirements for their courses and also familiarise them with university life.

Find out more about the international foundation pathways we offer and our pre-sessional English language courses.

Country specific entry requirements

If you are studying outside the UK, for more details about your specific country entry requirements, translated information and local representatives who can help you to apply, please have a look at our country specific information pages.

English requirements for visas

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

How to apply

Full-time students should apply for this course through UCAS.

Conditions of acceptance

When you accept our offer, you agree to the conditions of acceptance. You should therefore read those conditions before accepting the offer.

Student experience

Support for students studying Equine Science and Management

We understand that going into full-time or part-time education can have a big effect on people's lives. There may be a lot of questions you want to ask before you start on a course, and there may be times during your studies when you will want to seek information and advice from a reliable source.

Abingdon and Witney College has a dedicated independent team of advice and guidance staff for the benefit of both students and would-be students. Available throughout the year, they provide information, advice and confidential support services for all students. They are there to enable you to make informed decisions about your studies, and to help you deal with any difficulties which may arise.

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.

While most of the theory elements of the programme are taught at the Witney campus, students are able to gain extensive practical experience at the stud farm. In addition to the new land-based facilities, more stabling and additional practical teaching areas have been created to enhance the pre-training and equitation provision.

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.

After graduation

Professional accreditation

Several modules on the course are closely linked to professional qualification syllabuses, such as the British Horse Society (BHS) qualifications. While specific training for these professional exams is not within the remit of the foundation degree course, the syllabus is such that the content reflects BHS Horse Care and Knowledge beyond that required for Stage 4.

Staff will advise students on their progression towards the qualification standards required and help with identifying the skills covered in the degree course that are needed to achieve BHS qualifications.

Career prospects

Employment in the equine industry is multifaceted. There are many related areas which centre on the horse and require skilled personnel. Specialisation in the second year will help to determine your professional area. Career roles such as equine scientist, yard manager, nutritionist, journalist, lecturer, facility manager and equine business adviser are all potential destinations for graduates of this course.

Further study

Some students choose to progress to our honours degrees in Equine Science or Equine Science and Thoroughbred Management.