Rock Creek Campus
Building 7, Room 202
971-722-7688 or 971-722-7500
Career and Program Description
The Zoo Animal Management professional is knowledgeable and skilled in providing high quality daily care of captive populations of exotic animals, managing sustainable populations, maintaining animal enclosures and exhibits, providing effective interpretive programming to visitors, and participating in conservation programs. Graduates are prepared to serve the zoological community in a variety of capacities including zookeeper or aquarist, animal trainer, zoo educator, animal presenter, wildlife rehabilitator, registrar and laboratory animal technician. In order to develop these skills, students in this program complete a wide variety of classroom, lab, and field coursework in animal and zoo management related areas, as well as participating in 1 year of student keeper training at the Oregon Zoo and 5 weeks of full-time experience at one of our local, national, or international partner zoological facilities.
This is a seven term, full time program. All Biology and Management of Zoo Animal courses must be taken in sequential order in the course of study below and each course must be completed with a C or better in order to qualify for continuation in the program. The program is a Learning Partner of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) and some courses may be eligible for credit towards AZA Professional Development Certificates.
Degrees and Certificates Offered
Associate of Applied Science Degree
Biology and Management of Zoo Animals
Prerequisites and Requirements
College placement tests are administered through assessment centers.
- High school diploma, GED certificate, or equivalent required.
- Completion of WR 121 or higher with a C grade or better or previous degree.
- Completing MTH 65, or MTH 63 with a C or better, or passing a math class with a C or better for which MTH 65 or higher level math skills are a prerequisite, or passing the PCC competency exam for MTH 65.
- Completion of BI 112 or BI 211 and BI 212 or equivalent major's biology coursework (including molecular /cellular/genetics components).
- Completion of CH 151 or CH 104 or equivalent general chemistry course with laboratory.
- Completion of a minimum of one additional course from the General Education/Discipline Studies list
- Documentation of computer literacy through CAS 133, equivalent coursework or experience.
- A minimum of 20 documented hours of direct animal husbandry experience.
All prerequisite coursework and experience must be complete by the end of winter term prior to the early spring application deadline. Courses planned for spring term will not be considered. Pass/No Pass evaluation is not acceptable in the prerequisite courses.
The Biology and Management of Zoo Animals Program is a limited entry program with restricted enrollment. The admissions process is competitive and based on a point system including an interview process for those with initial high scores. Applicants with the highest final point totals will be accepted. Completing admission requirements and applying to the program does not guarantee admission. For our current advising guide and applications, when available, please visit the Biology of Management of Zoo Animals website.
Candidates will be notified of their admissions status by the beginning of June. Only students who have been officially accepted into the program or those who have prior department approval may enroll in classes.
Admitted students will be required to provide proof of recent negative TB testing and tetanus vaccination and are required to pass a criminal background check, as well as meet all dress code and physical requirements, and follow all rules, regulations, and safety requirements of clinical sites for working in an animal husbandry environment at a public facility. Students who have a health, physical or psychological problem which may be affected by these requirements should contact the department prior to entering the program.
Student Disability Information
Zoo Animal Management is a physically and mentally challenging occupation. Education related to this field is designed to prepare zoo professionals for these challenges. Students in this program must be able to meet all established essential academic and cooperative education requirements to successfully complete the program. Persons with questions concerning qualifications are encouraged to contact the department for individual consultation prior to formal application.
Applicants with disabilities are encouraged to contact Disability Services 971-722-4341. To be eligible for a reasonable accommodation, applicants must provide clear documentation of their disability. Disability Services is responsible for determining if reasonable accommodations can be identified and ensuring that accommodations are provided to PCC students. Disability Services are confidential and are separate from the Biology and Management of Zoo Animals and college application processes. Early contact with Disability Services will ensure that accommodations can be made available when students begin the program.
Biology and Management of Zoo Animals AAS Degree
Minimum 103 credits. Students must also meet Associate Degree Comprehensive Requirements and Associate of Applied Science Requirements. Students must complete a total of sixteen credits of General Education. Some courses specified within the program may be used as General Education. In addition to required courses in the program of study, students must satisfy MTH 58/65 competency. Students should consult with program advisors for course planning.
Course of Study
The coursework listed below is required. The following is an example of a term-by-term breakdown.
|General Education (To be completed prior to taking any BMZA courses)||8|
|BMZA 100||Introduction to Zoo Science||2|
|BMZA 101||Introduction to the Biology and Management of Zoo Animals||4|
|BMZA 110||Animal Nutrition||4|
|COMM 111*||Public Speaking||4|
|PE 181D||Circuit Interval Training 1||1|
|BMZA 150||Captive Population Management||4|
|BMZA 201||Zoo Biology & Management II - Amphibians and Reptiles||4|
|BMZA 280A||Cooperative Education in Zoos||5|
|BMZA 105||Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy and Physiology I||4|
|BMZA 202||Zoo Biology & Management II - Birds||4|
|BMZA 280A||Cooperative Education in Zoos||5|
|BMZA 106||Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy and Physiology II||4|
|BMZA 107||Zoo Horticulture||4|
|BMZA 280A||Cooperative Education in Zoos||4|
|BMZA 203||Zoo Biology & Management IV - Mammals||4|
|BMZA 231||Introduction to Animal Behavior||4|
|BMZA 240||Zoo Water Quality Management||2|
|BMZA 280A||Cooperative Education in Zoos||4|
|BMZA 220||Veterinary Procedures and Treatments for Zoo Keepers||4|
|BMZA 232||Zoo Animal Behavior Management||2|
|BMZA 250||Conservation Biology||4|
|BMZA 265||Exhibit Construction, Maintenance, and Repair||2|
|BMZA 255||Wildlife Education Management||4|
|BMZA 260||Exhibit Design||2|
|BMZA 270||Zoological Professional Development Seminar||2|
|BMZA 280B||Cooperative Education: Zoological Specialty||4|
Could be used as General Education
BMZA 100. Introduction to Zoo Science. 2 Credits.
Examines the history and mission of zoos, their roles in conservation, zoo structure and governance, and career opportunities. Introduces the taxonomy and general characteristics of animals with a focus on taxa commonly encountered in zoos. Prerequisite: WR 121. Department permission required. Audit available.
BMZA 101. Introduction to the Biology and Management of Zoo Animals. 4 Credits.
Examines the fundamental concepts of animal management including health and safety, feeding and handling, enclosure management, behavior and population management, plus maintenance of records and permits. Prerequisites: WR 121 and MTH 65. Department permission required. Audit available.
BMZA 105. Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy and Physiology I. 4 Credits.
Presents a comparative approach to structure, function, and evolution of the vertebrate classes. Examines histology and organ systems with emphasis on integumentary, skeletal, muscular, and nervous systems. Includes laboratory dissections of representative vertebrate specimens. Prerequisites: BI 112 or (BI 211 and BI 212) and (CH 151 or CH 104 or above). Department permission required. Audit available.
BMZA 106. Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy and Physiology II. 4 Credits.
Presents a comparative approach to structure, function, and evolution of vertebrate organ systems with emphasis on special senses, circulatory, respiratory, digestive, urinary, reproductive, and endocrine systems. Includes laboratory dissections of representative vertebrate specimens. Prerequisites: BMZA 105. Department permission required. Audit available.
BMZA 107. Zoo Horticulture. 4 Credits.
Explores the practical importance of plants in a zoo environment. Covers plant identification and selection for landscape and exhibit design, hands-on skills in gardening and water management, identification of browseable and toxic plants, plant conservation, and integrated pest management. Department permission required. Prerequisite: BMZA 110. Audit available.
BMZA 110. Animal Nutrition. 4 Credits.
Introduces various types of nutrients, the basic principles of nutrition as applied to exotic animals, principles of diet formulation, and important nutritionally caused diseases. Explores nutritional needs of orphaned animals, geriatric animals and nutrient requirements across taxa. Prerequisites: MTH 65 and (CH 151 or CH 104 or higher). Department permission required. Audit available.
BMZA 150. Captive Population Management. 4 Credits.
Introduces basic principles of captive population management including reproductive and genetic management, animal relocations, and collection and regional planning with the use of studbooks and various cooperative groups. Prerequisites: BMZA 101. Department permission required. Audit available.
BMZA 201. Zoo Biology & Management II - Amphibians and Reptiles. 4 Credits.
Examines the diversity of taxa within amphibians and reptiles and how this relates to their captive husbandry and management needs and conservation issues. Prerequisite: BMZA 101. Department permission required. Audit available.
BMZA 202. Zoo Biology & Management II - Birds. 4 Credits.
Examines the diversity of avian taxa and how this relates to their captive husbandry and management needs and conservation issues. Prerequisite: BMZA 101. Department permission required. Audit available.
BMZA 203. Zoo Biology & Management IV - Mammals. 4 Credits.
Examines the diversity of mammalian taxa and how this relates to their captive husbandry and management needs and conservation issues. Prerequisite: BMZA 101. Department permission required. Audit available.
BMZA 220. Veterinary Procedures and Treatments for Zoo Keepers. 4 Credits.
Examines the critical importance of observation plus veterinary treatment techniques for zoo animals. Includes preventative health care and identification of health problems, restraint, immobilization, and transport, administration of prescribed medication, and care of geriatric and neonate animals. Prerequisites: BMZA 106. Department permission required. Audit available.
BMZA 231. Introduction to Animal Behavior. 4 Credits.
Introduces the concepts of animal behavior with particular emphasis on species exhibited within zoos. Prerequisite: BMZA 101. Department permission required. Audit available.
BMZA 232. Zoo Animal Behavior Management. 2 Credits.
Promotes the use of environmental enrichment, operant conditioning and training, and other behavioral management techniques to enhance the physical and psychological well-being of captive animals and to effectively carry out the missions of the facility. Prerequisite: BMZA 231. Department permission required. Audit available.
BMZA 240. Zoo Water Quality Management. 2 Credits.
Introduces the fundamental principles and application of water management techniques to water systems typically used in zoos. Prerequisites: MTH 65 and (CH 151 or CH 104 or higher). Department permission required. Audit available.
BMZA 250. Conservation Biology. 4 Credits.
Explores the challenges of declining biodiversity and examines the role of zoos in contributing to population and habitat conservation. Provides field experience with species conservation programs. Prerequisites: BMZA 101. 201, 202, 203. Department permission required. Audit available.
BMZA 255. Wildlife Education Management. 4 Credits.
Introduces public relations issues and environmental and wildlife interpretative techniques. Provides an opportunity for skill development in the areas of wildlife interpretation and development of educational materials and programming for specific target audiences. Prerequisite: COMM 111 or SP111. Department permission required.
BMZA 260. Exhibit Design. 2 Credits.
Explores the design process of zoo exhibits to ensure that the physical and psychological well-being of captive animals is considered as well as safety and aesthetic issues. Prerequisite: BMZA 101. Department permission required. Audit available.
BMZA 265. Exhibit Construction, Maintenance, and Repair. 2 Credits.
Provides an overview of the basic concepts used in animal exhibit construction, maintenance and repair. Emphasizes safety, identification, selection, usage and care of hand and power tools to complete projects in a team environment. Introduces the use of construction materials, concrete and related hardscapes, reading blueprints, and communication regarding mechanical, electrical, and plumbing services. Prerequisite: BMZA 101. Department permission required. Audit available.
BMZA 270. Zoological Professional Development Seminar. 2 Credits.
Provides advanced exploration and discussion of career options, pathways, and skills that are needed for identification and procurement of entry level positions, higher education, and training opportunities in the animal care field. Includes refinement of job search, resume writing and interview skills, and development of final portfolio projects. Corequisite: BMZA 280B. Department permission required. Audit available.
BMZA 280A. Cooperative Education in Zoos. 4-5 Credit.
Provides an opportunity to apply classroom learning through work experience in animal care and management at the Oregon Zoo, supervised by professionals on site and by program instructor(s). May be taken up to four times for credit. Prerequisites: BMZA 100 and BMZA 101. Department permission required.
BMZA 280B. Cooperative Education: Zoological Specialty. 4 Credits.
Provides an opportunity to apply classroom learning to hands-on specialty work experience matching specific learning objectives at a department-approved worksite related to animal management, supervised by professionals on site and by program instructor(s). Prerequisite: BMZA 280A. Department permission required.