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MSc Equine Science (e-learning) - Online

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  • Objectives
    * To provide scientific knowledge relating to aspects of equine science that include the following: - Management of health and welfare; - Reproduction; - Behaviour; - Nutrition - Exercise in the horse * To demonstrate how a scientific approach can be applied at a practical level with resultant benefits in equine performance and welfare. * We also aim to help students develop interpersonal and problem-solving skills, and instruction is given in communication and computing.
  • Entry requirements
    Entry Requirements Entrants for the MSc are required to have a degree in veterinary science or biological sciences with subject areas including zoology, animal/equine science or pharmacology/pharmacy.
  • Academic Title
    MSc Equine Science
  • Course description
    The programme provides scientific knowledge relating to equine science, such as management of health and welfare, reproduction, behaviour, nutrition and exercise in the horse. The programme will also demonstrate how a scientific approach can be applied at a practical level with resultant benefits in equine performance and welfare.

    Learning Outcomes

    Students will gain a detailed knowledge and understanding of equine science and an increased understanding and awareness of the application of scientific principles to the study of equine science. It is expected that students will gain sufficient understanding of equine science to undertake independent research or a PhD research programme in this field.

    How You Will Be Taught

    This programme is delivered by online distance learning by recognised experts in the various subject areas and will draw on the extensive staff expertise at the University of Edinburgh and at other institutions internationally. You will become part of an online community that will bring together students and tutors from all over the world.

    Programme courses
    Course 1: Systems Biology (20 credits)

    Course leader: Prof. Pettigrew

    Short description of course:

    This course provides a framework on which later courses can build. The course will comprise 5 topics:

        * Cardiovascular physiology
        * Respiratory physiology
        * Fluid homeostasis and the kidney
        * Inflammation
        * Immunology

    Within these subject areas, specific examples will be chosen to illustrate key areas of relevance to equine husbandry, performance and medicine.

    Learning outcomes:

       1. Understanding the principles of cardiovascular physiology.
       2. Understanding the principles of respiratory physiology.
       3. Be aware of the key issues in fluid homeostasis as applied to equine medicine.
       4. Be able to explain the causes and mechanisms of inflammation.
       5. Grasp the overall concept of immunology.
       6. Be able to critique the current research in these areas.

    Course 2: Scientific Methodology  (20 credits)

    Course leader: Dr Christine Moinard

    Short description of course:

    Scientific Methodology begins with a focus on foundation concepts, which must be understood and appreciated by professional scientists.  Emphasis is placed on the concept of scientific investigation including the importance of collecting data of the highest possible quality.  Once collected data must be analysed efficiently using appropriate statistical methods and the principles of statistical methods are presented.  Once analysed data must be written up and the skills and methods required for this are included in the course.   This foundation work is then built upon through a discussion of more complex statistical methods, including epidemiological concepts and the introduction of survey and interview techniques the module prepares participants for actual research work in the field.  An opportunity is given to ‘bring everything together’ in the presentation of project material and the evaluation of published papers.  At the end of the module participants should feel confident about undertaking their MSc projects.

    Learning outcomes:

       1. An understanding of scientific and statistical concepts.
       2. Ability to design, plan, analyse (using Minitab) and write-up simple experiments.
       3. Ability to apply scientific and statistical methods in actual research projects.
       4. Be able to discuss statistical issues with a statistician.

     Course 3: Equine Digestion and Nutrition (20 credits)

    Course leaders: Drs David Cottrell and Jo-Anne Murray

    Short description of course:

    This module is designed to provide an in depth knowledge of equine digestion and nutrition, allowing students to pursue careers in research, industry or academia. The anatomy and physiology of the equine alimentary canal will be studied to provide students with a detailed understanding of the equine digestive system.  The pathophysiology of selected equine alimentary diseases will also be studied.   Information will be given on the nutrient requirements of horses involved in all types of work.  Nutrient sources for horses will be discussed, with emphasis placed on the health and welfare issues surrounding the inclusion of various types of feedstuffs in horse diets.  Evaluation of the methodologies used to determine the nutritive value of feedstuffs for horses will also be undertaken and will include a review of the current research and ethical issues surrounding experimentation in the horse.  Students will also formulate diets for horses performing various activities and will be able to make recommendations on rations for all classes of horses.  

    Learning outcomes:


          Sound knowledge of the anatomy of the equine gastrointestinal tract.

          Detailed understanding of digestive physiology in the horse.

          Understand the nutrient requirements of horses in various types of work.

          Recognise and appraise nutrient sources for all types of horses.

          Assess the methods used to evaluate the nutritive value of feedstuffs for horses.

          Provide recommendations on rations for horses at all levels of work.

    Course 4:  Equine Reproduction (20 credits)

    Course leader: Mr Matt Hanks

    Short description of course:

    In this course the students will learn about the anatomy of the reproductive tract in the mare and stallion in relation to natural breeding and assisted reproductive technologies.  Anatomical problems will be discussed in relation to fertility problems.  Reproductive endocrinology in the mare and stallion will be covered in the subfertile/infertile animal, and in relation to abnormal sexual behaviour.  Fertility problems, foaling difficulties and how to investigate and correct them will be discussed in detail.  The students will be taught the theory and practice behind ultrasonography, artificial insemination, semen collection and evaluation, and embryo transfer.  Stud farm management will be discussed in conjunction with a farm visit.  The course will also include problem solving with real case scenarios.

    Learning outcomes:

       1. Understand the anatomy and physiology of fertile and subfertile horses.
       2. Be competent in breeding management to ensure optimum pregnancy rates.
       3. Understand the procedures involved with the collecting and evaluating semen, and inseminating mares.
       4. Recognise the principles, merits and limitations of various stud farm management systems.
       5. Understand normal and abnormal foalings.
       6. Knowledge of the various reproductive technologies utilised in equine reproduction.

    Course 5: Equine Orthopaedics (20 credits)

    Course leader: Dr Martin Weaver

    Short description of course:

    This course will present an in-depth analysis of selected topics that affect the British sports horse industry.  The anatomy, physiology and athletic adaptation of the equine musculoskeletal system will be considered with emphasis on the possible applications of recent research into disease, injury management and prevention.  A critical aspect will be that students learn how to logically evaluate presented data and assess its value, mainly in the form of reviewing set publications on these topics.  The lectures and presentations will be augmented by discussion sessions.

    Learning outcomes:


          Understanding of the structure and physiology of the equine musculoskeletal system and its adaptations to athletic activity.

           Understanding of the potential deleterious effects of exercise on musculoskeletal tissues.

          Appreciation of the pathology of the equine musculoskeletal system and its implication for the British sports horse industry.

          Ability to review and critically analyse evidence presented in the form of scientific publications and be able to define a scientific approach to problem-solving.

          Ability to participate in group discussions by presenting information in a coherent and logical fashion and by asking relevant questions that convey an understanding of the issues being discussed.

    Course 6: Equine  Behaviour and Welfare (10 credits)

    Course leader: Dr Anne Pearson

    Short description of Course:

    This course is designed to introduce equine behaviour and to show how the environment in which the horse is kept can affect its behaviour.  This course will also demonstrate how the study of behaviour is applied to equine welfare and to the solution of practical problems and problem behaviour in equids.

    Learning outcomes:

       1. Understand the natural behaviour of equines.
       2. Recognise the different behaviours of equids in various working environments.
       3. Discuss the methods used to assess the welfare of equids.
       4. Appreciate the specific welfare issues associated with working equids.
       5. Evaluate the current research in equine behaviour and welfare.

    Course 7:  Equine Exercise Physiology (10 credits)

    Course leader: Mr John Keen

    Short description of course:

    This course will provide students will a detailed understanding of exercise physiology and the adaptations that occur in response to athletic function.  It will also focus on the design and suitability of various training regimes for all classes of the equine athlete and methods of assessing and monitoring fitness in the horse.  Consideration will also be given to the health and welfare of the performance horse and the evaluation of the current research in this area of equine science.

    Learning outcomes:

       1. Describe the physiological and biochemical responses to athletic function.
       2. Understand and evaluate the suitability of various training regimes for all classes of equine athletes.
       3. Discuss methods of assessing and monitoring fitness in the horse.
       4. Consider the health and welfare of the performance horse.
       5. Have an awareness of the major causes of poor performance in the equine athlete how they are diagnosed and how they may be potentially treated or managed.

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