European Master in Animal Breeding and Genetics

MSc programme

The overall vision of the programme is to deliver graduates who are experts in animal breeding and genetics, with different specialisations depending on their chosen study track. This will make them suitable in areas such as managing breeding programmes in low-income countries, conducting breeding value estimations as required by industry, responding to societal needs to combat climate change, or improving animal welfare through breeding. The ultimate goal is to train a new generation of graduates that is fit to respond to current and future needs of the animal breeding sector in a global context.

The EMABG is a joint master programme that fulfils a real need for the industry sector and for society as a whole. It is designed to answer the scientific, practical, and societal challenges of animal breeding and genetics. These challenges can be summarised for both developed and low-income countries as follows:

  • meeting the greater demand for animal and fish products, while preserving or improving the quality of products, the welfare of animals, and minimising the environmental impact;
  • preserving natural resources, with special attention to biodiversity;
  • making efficient use of novel tools and technologies to reach these goals while maintaining societal acceptance of animal breeding;
  • developing sustainable animal breeding programmes that contribute to improved livelihood of farmers and efficient food chains;
  • developing sustainable breeding programmes that contribute to the improved health and welfare of animals, including populations in zoos and nature reserves.

It is a common vision of EMABG partners to meet these challenges by intensive cooperation in the education and training of students, further enhanced by the relationship between participating universities. Thus, the EMABG was set up to:

  • offer high quality education with a European perspective in the field of animal breeding and genetics, which is attractive to programme and partner-country nationals;
  • enhance the quality of training in animal breeding and genetics and to strengthen attractiveness of the European Higher Education Area;
  • contribute to the needs of societies by developing the qualifications of students, so that they possess the appropriate skills, and are open-minded and internationally experienced.

After completion of the EMABG curriculum (4 semesters), you will be able to:

  1. Describe the current world context of animal breeding, and reflect on its social and ethical aspects.
  2. Show knowledge of biostatistics, quantitative and molecular genetics, and use correct scientific vocabulary.
  3. Identify and critically analyse key factors and forces behind animal breeding problems and relate the discipline to a multidisciplinary framework.
  4. Create a solution for a given problem by applying appropriate research methods, instruments and tools, and organise, monitor, and evaluate results within their specialisation, while

    • collecting relevant information and literature,
    • understanding and applying required methods to conduct research,
    • reflecting critically on your own and literature research work, and adjusting and suggesting improvement of the analysis.
    • concluding and pointing out practical recommendations based on the analysis of results.

  5. Present an oral and written report of study and research activities, while taking into account the nature of the audience.
  6. Adapt and apply your knowledge to different working and cultural environments.
  7. Demonstrate learning and organisational skills to continue to study in a manner that may be largely self-directed or autonomous.
  8. Operate in an international context in both content and social-cultural aspects, both independently and in a team.

There are no comparable academic offers from other institutions which are similar to the EMABG concept, and the novel and innovative aspects of our programme are:

  • well-designed targeted study tracks that reflect the needs of the industry and society with respect to the ability of the next generation of animal breeding scientists;
  • integrating awareness of and sensitivity towards societal concerns regarding collateral effects of genetic improvement into the study programme;
  • a wide scope of qualifications, making EMABG graduates fit for a high diversity of potential fields of applications, from participatory breeding work in low-income countries to high-tech breeding technologies in an industry context;
  • creating a link to the neighbouring field of plant breeding by including UGOE, with its course programme at the intersection of animal and plant breeding as a full partner, and thus further improving the employability of EMABG graduates;
  • elements that enable EMABG students to get in contact with the industry and to face the challenges of real-world problems in animal breeding;
  • including unique opportunities, such as the breeding lab and teachers’ lab, to ensure collaboration among students and to apply and spread innovative teaching concepts among the EMABG lecturers;
  • making use of an extensive network of European industry partners, including many world-leading companies in animal breeding, and leading global academic partners as associate partners;



EMABG offers a well-structured study programme that is unique in the possibilities of specialisation. The specialisations correspond with the strengths of the respective universities both in teaching and research. Those specialisations focus on the main areas of modern breeding research and will provide students with excellent knowledge and relevant skills for successfully targeting the cutting edge questions of breeding research as young scientists. Those young scientists will graduate as specialised experts with a broad, interdisciplinary and international background. Graduates with those properties will become the elite breeding experts and scientists of tomorrow who will be able to take advantage of the network of EMABG universities. Thus, the strong existing relationship between EMABG universities will be sustained, advanced and improved by the next generation.

The already highly competitive field of animal breeding will profit from these young professionals who will be thoroughly trained in the many specialised fields that are open for breeders. Thanks to the structure of EMABG, the focus and contents of its specialised education offer clear profiles to both students and possible employers. This kind of profile is new in European breeding higher education. Also, the interdisciplinary methodological contributions will produce alumni of an as yet highly uncommon combination of knowledge and skills in graduates, which will contribute to their employability, and in the future will help raise synergies between animal and plant breeding. The training of master's students, who are highly specialised in animal breeding and genetics, meets an existing demand for such experts in the breeding industry.

The EMABG provides students ready to work for breeding organisations and research. The course structure is adapted to a European perspective of the demands of society. This means that students will be ready to work for European animal breeding organisations, which are the world leaders with global market shares of up to 90%. Furthermore, EMABG teaches students about the development of sustainable farm animal breeding. Graduates generally find positions in and outside Europe, in training, research or development in a wide range of organisations related to animal breeding and genetics.


Check out the EMABG graduates or current students telling their stories!