Equine Science Diploma
Level 3 / Quality Licence Scheme / ODL65
over 12 months and £ deposit
over 12 months and £ deposit
12 months access to course
24 hour access
Endorsed by the
Quality Licence Scheme
People with an interest in equine life will also find this course very appealing. This Level 3 Diploma course is aimed at improving the knowledge base of owners, breeders/exhibitors and those involved with horses professionally. The Diploma in Equine Science will be awarded to those students who satisfactorily complete all 10 Units of this course and a final online examination. Materials can be studied online or there is also the option to have the printed materials delivered for an additional charge of £65.
No previous knowledge or experience is essential to study this course.
Final online multiple choice examination counts for 100% of the final grade. Throughout the course there are ten SAPs (coursework) and a thesis. The course clearly states that this is not mandatory to complete as it has no bearing on the final grade. We do suggest that students complete these as this will not only assist them in examination preparation but also will give the student the skill set should they wish to continue their studies (continuous professional development) at a higher level.
At the end of this course successful learners will receive a Certificate of Achievement from Quality Licence Scheme and a Learner Unit Summary (which lists the components the learner has completed as part of the course).
The course has been endorsed under the Quality Licence Scheme.The Provider has undergone an external quality check to ensure that the organisation and the courses it offers, meet defined quality criteria. The completion of this course alone does not lead to a regulated qualification* but may be used as evidence of knowledge and skills gained.
The Learner Unit Summary may be used as evidence towards Recognition of Prior Learning if you wish to progress your studies in this subject. To this end the learning outcomes of the course have been benchmarked at QLS Level 3 against level descriptors published by Ofqual, to indicate the depth of study and level of demand/complexity involved in successful completion by the learner.
The Quality Licence Scheme is part of the Skills and Education Group, a charitable organisation that unites education and skills-orientated organisations that share similar values and objectives. With more than 100 years of collective experience, the Skills and Education Group’s strategic partnerships create opportunities to inform, influence and represent the wider education and skills sector.
The Skills and Education Group’s knowledge and experience of working within the awarding sector enables them to work with training providers, through the Quality Licence Scheme, to help them develop high-quality courses and/or training programmes for the non-regulated market.
*Regulated qualification refers to those qualifications that are regulated by Ofqual / CCEA / Qualification Wales.
Module 1: General Principles in Science
This unit provides a foundation for the rest of the course. It introduces the branches of science and covers the following:
- What is Science?
- Taxonomy - how organisms are classified
- Cells and how they reproduce
- Biochemistry of cells
- The general biology of mammals
- The systems that all mammals have in common
- How organisms fit into their environment
- Chemistry of the equine environment
Module 2: Equine Anatomy and Physiology
This unit follows on from the first 1 which looked at some of the physiological systems that are common to all mammals. This unit is equine specific and covers the anatomy of the horse, which is the structure of the body, and physiology, which is the study of how these structures function. It covers the points of the horse and the correct terminology for describing organs and regions of the body.
It covers the following systems:
- Skeletal system - the structure of the horse's skeleton and the composition of bone
- Muscular system - the composition of muscles, and how and why muscles contract
- The nervous system and the sensory organs - how the horse receives information from its environment and then acts on it
- The endocrine system - hormones and their function
- The circulatory system - the heart and blood
- The respiratory system
- The immune system - how the horse defends itself from invasion by pathogens
The digestive and reproductive systems are not covered in this module as they are covered in detail in later modules.
Module 3: Genetics
An understanding of genetics is necessary for anyone thinking of breeding horses. This module covers genetics from a scientific viewpoint, and it looks at genetics from a species level and an individual level as well. It covers the following topics:
- The terminology used by geneticists
- Evolution of the horse - a history of how horses developed
- Early theories of inheritance
- Theories of evolution, such as natural selection and sexual selection
- Current knowledge of the basic principles of heredity - how inheritable traits are passed from parent to offspring
- The reproduction of genetic information - the replication of DNA
- Mutations that arise during replication, and how these alter the genetic instructions
- Genetic disorders in the horse, and how these can be predicted using knowledge of how genes are passed on
- How horses differ genetically from other equines such as zebras and donkeys, and why these species cannot interbreed or why their offspring are sterile
- The technology that can help identify carriers of genetic disorders, DNA testing
Module 4: Reproduction
Covers some of the background knowledge that module 4 builds upon. In the previous unit we looked at the genetics of the horse and how this knowledge can be put to use when choosing suitable stallions and mares for breeding. This unit covers the physiology of reproduction and the care of the newborn foal. The following topics are covered:
- The reproductive anatomy of the mare
- The reproductive anatomy of the stallion
- The oestrus cycle of the mare
- Conception and early development of the pregnancy
- The different methods of insemination, including natural and artificial methods
- The procedure of embryo transfer and why this might be used
- The development of the unborn foal
- The process of foaling, the stages of birth and the neonatal period, including the importance of the colostrum the foal receives from its mother
- Problems that mare be associated with pregnancy
- Problems associated with delivery of the foal
-Problems associated with the development of the newborn foal
Module 5: Equine Nutrition
Nutrition is more than simply consuming food, but is the science of food and of the nourishing the body. Equines have very particular nutritional requirements, and delicate digestive systems. In many cases horses are also used as performance animals, and so the science of correct nutrition is particularly important to maximise their performance. In order to remain healthy, horses must be fed correctly, and this unit covers the principles of good nutrition and its effect on maintaining physiological function.
This unit covers the following:
- The structure and function of the equine digestive system and how it differs from some other mammals.
- The particular nutritional requirements of the horse, and how the various nutrients affect the functioning of various physiological systems.
- Nutritional supplements and why they may be necessary in some circumstances
- How to calculate how much to feed a horse according to the type of work it is doing.
- The factors that can affect the type and amount of feed a horse requires such as breeding, lactation, age.
- Monitoring the effectiveness of a diet and understand what is meant by condition scoring
- The health problems associated with incorrect feeding, and disorders that are linked to nutritional deficiencies or excess intake of nutrients
Module 6: Equine Diseases
This unit covers many of the common diseases associated with equines, together with reasons why they may occur. Every horse will experience illness at some point in its life, and it is necessary for anyone working with horses to have knowledge of the signs of health and the signs of a horse suffering from disease. Nutritional diseases were covered in module 5, and this module covers some of the other types of disease, including:
- The disease causing organisms such as bacteria, fungi and viruses, and the differences between them.
- The main internal and external parasites that affect the horse and how they can cause disease
- The clinical signs and modes of transmission of the main infectious diseases affecting the equine, and how the risks can be reduced
- The signs of some degenerative diseases, such as chronic lameness conditions
- The signs associated with some diseases where the exact cause is yet unknown, and details of current research being carried out into their likely causes
Although the unit also covers some of the ways that disease may be prevented or treated, it is not the main focus, as more will be covered on this topic in module 7.
Module 7: Veterinary Science
This unit follows on from module 6 on equine disease, and looks at the equine branch of veterinary science. It covers the following topics:
- The principles of veterinary medicine, and its aims, and a history of how veterinary medicine developed
- The preventive, diagnostic and curative veterinary medicine for various equine diseases
- Equine injuries and how these are treated
- Veterinary technology and how it is used in practice
Module 8: Equine Behavioural Science
Why do horses behave the way they do? This unit provides a fascinating look at the reasons behind many of the behaviours expressed by the horse. It covers ethology, the study of horses in their natural environment, and examines the science behind behaviour. You will learn about the following:
- The main learning theories
- The areas of the brain associated with various aspects of behaviour
- The reasons why horses do what they do in the natural environment
- Stereotypical behaviour, including box-walking, weaving and crib biting and the science behind why the horse might develop these problems
Module 9: Exercise Physiology
Horses that are used in the equestrian disciplines are athletes, and knowledge of the scientific aspects of exercise physiology is necessary if we are to understand how horses work and are to get the best performance from them. This unit covers the following:
- The main equestrian disciplines such as racing, endurance and eventing, and the effects on the horse's body
- The effects of exercise on the musculoskeletal system
- Thermoregulation - the way in which the horse keeps cool during exercise
- Biomechanics - how the horse moves during exercise
- The ways in which we can use knowledge of exercise physiology to improve performance
Module 10: Science and the Equine Industry
This final unit of the course examines the various sectors of the equine industry, including the use of horses for leisure and the use of horses for competition. It pulls together much of the knowledge gained in previous units, as it looks at the ways science is entwined within the equine industry as a whole. You will look at how research into science and technology is having an effect on the way we manage horses in the present day, and the likely developments for the future. It examines the new products that may become available, for example nutritional products, new veterinary drugs that may be used in the future, and the development of tack or equipment to improve the life of the horse or its performance. It will also look at some of the products available for the rider, and show how science is implicated in the development of these products.
12 Months Tutor Support. Tutors are available to answer student questions relating to course materials and to comment on the assignments that are sent in to state how well students have understood the unit content.
Distance learning is the most flexible and convenient approach to studying. There is no need for you to attend college and, therefore, you can study anytime, any place, anywhere that fits in with your lifestyle. Distance learning programmes are ideal for people who may have a full-time job, or other commitments, that won’t allow them time off to study.
You'll need to be able to commit the required time to your studies. We recommend that you choose a course you think will interest you, and help you to achieve your ambitions. If you would like some advice, or further information, please call our helpline free on 0333 3445 690.
To purchase a course, simply click on the ‘Buy now’ button against your chosen course and follow the on screen instructions. Alternatively if you would prefer to purchase the course over the phone, call 0333 3445 690 and speak to one of our expert course advisors.
The course operates through a study pack and access to your own personal tutor. Once you have chosen your course we will send you your study pack, which you will be required to work through before completing the course.
Depending on the course you have chosen, you will either be required to complete assignments and submit these for marking as the course progresses and/or be required to sit an end exam. The end exam could be in the form of multiple choice questions, or be an invigilated exam at a registered test centre.
Your completed assignments will need to be sent to your tutor for marking/assessment, you will then receive written feedback and guidance. It may be possible to submit your assignments by email, however you will need to check this with your tutor. Please be aware that your assignments will be maintained by NCCHL for moderation and audit purposes.
These requirements will always be listed on the course description page, so please refer to this for details of what is required for each individual course.
Depending on the course you have chosen, and the amount of time you can commit, it could take from 6 weeks to 12 months to complete your course.
The duration of the course is largely down to you though. The beauty of home learning is that it allows you complete flexibility to fit your studies around your lifestyle and other commitments. You can dedicate as much, or as little, time as you want to your studies - no one will be chasing you for your work or asking why you haven’t submitted an assignment.
We do strongly recommend, though, that before you purchase a course you assess your ability to commit the necessary time to completing the course in a timeframe that will not leave you losing your motivation.
We guarantee that you will receive your course materials within 5 days of purchase, but for many courses we would anticipate that you will have to wait no more than 48 hours.
The course materials are always sent to you via a tracked courier service, to ensure that you receive your study pack within our stated period.
The cost is largely dependent on the type of the course. The longer the course is the higher the cost will be, due to the size of the study pack and the nature of the qualification.
All prices are clearly stated on the course description page and will always be displayed prior to you committing to purchase a course.
Please note that there may be additional fees required should your course have an external assessment, such as A Levels, ICB qualifications etc. To clarify, please speak to a course advisor.
You will be allocated your own personal tutor who can be contacted via e-mail, telephone, fax or post for help and advice on any aspect of the course.
Many courses require that you submit work to your tutor during the period of study and your tutor will assess your work and pass comments back to you. Your tutor is available to you as much as you need them.
Please be aware that officially the tutor support provided with the course is for a period of 12 months, although if you need longer let us know and we’ll endeavour to extend that.
All of our courses are accredited, so you need to show that you have acquired the knowledge to pass the course – this may involve sitting an examination, but it depends on the course you have chosen.
Some courses require you to be continually assessed throughout the course, while others may require an end of course exam or assignment (which may be completed at home) to be submitted to your tutor.
Certain types of qualifications, A-levels and GCSEs for example, do require you to sit an invigilated exams at a registered test centre. You will need to organise and pay for the examinations yourself, however full details of what you need to do will be available from the centre who are delivering the qualification.
If in doubt, please email ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’, NCC can then discuss or put you in touch directly with the course provider.
Yes, there are no geographical limits to where you can study.
You just need to be aware that all tutors are based in the UK and work may need to be submitted to them via post, although in most cases e-mail can be used.
Where the course requires that you sit an invigilated exam at a test centre, there are many exam centres outside of the UK. However, we would advise that you check with us before purchasing one of these courses if you want to study from abroad.
All of our courses are accredited and you will receive a certificate upon successful completion of the course.
For more information about this please see the section of the website that details how awarding bodies work and what the different types of qualifications are.
Yes, you can take as many courses as your time allows. But we would recommend that you clearly evaluate how much time you can commit to your courses of study.
The good news is though that if your circumstances change you can always take a break and come back to your studies.
Additionally, discounts are available if you buy more than one course at the same time.
Your work will be marked and feedback returned to you within 12 working days after submission. This is because our tutors are required to provide detailed, considered feedback to our learners that may take a while to formulate. We find that by working this way, our learners actually complete their course in less time, as they rarely need to submit an assignment more than twice.
Whilst it is possible to submit multiple assignments at the same time, we advise that our learners submit only one at a time. We want our learners to develop as they progress through their course, and find this is best achieved when a student embarks on a new module having taken into account tutor feedback from the previous submission.
No, we provide everything you need to pass your course.
Once you have chosen your course, you can either purchase the course online which will enrol you, or you can call our helpline on 0333 3445 690 who will sign you up for the course and arrange to have all your learning materials sent to you.
If, after receiving the course, you decide it isn’t the right course for you, you can simply return the goods within 14 days and we will send your money back in full for the majority of courses (excluding postage and packaging) or you can choose another course that you feel would suit your needs and ambitions better.
Our online courses are completed through our online learning system after receiving login and access instructions. You will not receive any course materials through the post. The paper based version is posted out in a binder to your home or place of work and requires completion of a portfolio of work that is submitted to your tutor for marking.
All NCC policies and procedures can be provided on request from NCC directly by emailing email@example.com or calling 0333 3445 690.
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