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Advanced Animal Nutrition


Subject Area Agriculture & Food Science
Credits 10
Start Date 20 January 2025
Duration 12 weeks
Mode of Delivery Online 
Course Leader (opens in a new window)Dr. Stafford Vigors


  • 80% Learner Fee Subsidy
Application Deadline 06 January 2025

The provision of feed is by far the greatest cost of modern animal production. It is important, therefore, to be able to understand what nutrients are contained in a feedstuff, and how they are assimilated and metabolised by the animal affecting both growth and development. 

The rate of technological change in the feed industry over the last two decades has been impressive. Our understanding of the often complex interactions among feed and nutrient intakes, digestion, metabolism and growth and the effect of factors such as animal genotype, disease and the social and thermal environment, has increased. Also, the biotechnology industry has offered the animal and feed industries new opportunities, with the development of innovative products such as enzymes, pre-and pro-biotics, acidifiers, anti-oxidants, and novel feed ingredients. Feed processing technologies have also improved. Such advancement in knowledge and technology allows for a better formulation of diets to maximise productive efficiency and to minimise the loss of nutrients via excretion.

This micro-credential addresses growth mainly in ruminant and simple-stomached animals, aims to review the fundamental concepts relevant to animal nutrition and to provide an update on recent advances in the area.

Key Features

This micro-credential is relevant to professionals who want to develop their expertise in animal nutrition as applied to both ruminant and non-ruminant production systems and how novel feeding strategies are currently utilised and what new strategies will be required in the future to improve productivity, sustainability and health.

People working in all areas of animal nutrition and production could benefit from the topics including but not limited to veterinarians, those working in animal health or welfare, product developers, animal feed manufacturers/suppliers and those working in livestock animal agriculture.

On completion of this micro-credential you should be able to:

  • Fully understand the anatomical digestive characteristics of the main farm production species.
  • Understand how differences in digestive capacity impact the diets fed.
  • Evaluate key feed ingredients for ruminants and non-ruminants for nutritional quality and understand there use in diets.
  • Formulate diets for ruminants and non-ruminants through various life stages.
  • Evaluate the key interaction between host genetics, animal health and nutrient use and how this impacts diet formulation.
  • Critically evaluate the use of alternative/novel feeding strategies to improve the productivity and environmental sustainability of modern intensive animal production systems for both ruminants and non-ruminants.
  • Collaborate and communicate with peers and other stakeholders to engage and critically evaluate the latest developments in research and technology across the animal nutrition field.

Topics that you will cover include:

  • nutrient bioavailability
  • post-absorptive nutrient utilisation
  • principles of animal growth
  • practical aspects of feed processing
  • antinutritional factors
  • use of innovative products
  • prediction of bioavailable nutrient contents
  • principles of diet formulation

On completion of this micro-credential, the learner should understand how we feed animals in our ruminant and non-ruminant production systems and why altering diet specifications can improve animal performance.

The learner, by the end of the micro-credential, should have an understanding of how we formulate diets using feed formulation packages.

This micro-credential is delivered through the UCD online learning platform (Brightspace). Lectures will be uploaded weekly for you to work through the material when fits your schedule. You will need to meet the key assessment dates.

You will learn in a variety of ways, through a mixture of autonomous learning, live online tutorials, guest lectures and discussions with industry experts, and individual and group online presentations.

A repository of resources will be available to support your learning, and as a UCD student, you will have full access to the library.
This is a 10 ECTS micro-credential and involves approximately 200 hours of learner effort.

Applicants are required to hold an NFQ level 8 Honours degree (minimum 2nd Class Honours Lower) or equivalent in a related science discipline.

Applicants who do not meet this requirement may be admitted on the basis of considerable relevant experience.

Applicants whose first language is not English must demonstrate proof of English proficiency as per UCD's minimum English language requirements.

All applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Assessments will be scheduled at times that vary over the trimester and will be submitted remotely through Brightspace. This will include participation in live online class activities, written assignments, field reports and class presentations.

Individual feedback will be provided to you on written assignments. You will also receive feedback during the live online practical tutorials taken over the course of the trimester.

This micro-credential is also a module on the MSc Animal Health.

Please note: Learners can avail of only one form of funding per application. 

Micro-Credentials Learner Fee Subsidy-Human Capital Initiative Pillar 3

The HCI Pillar 3 Micro-credential Learner Fee Subsidy has been introduced to enable more learners to address critical skills gaps and engage with lifelong learning through micro-credentials. The HCI Pillar 3 Micro-credential Learner Fee Subsidy is funded by Higher Education Authority (HEA) and the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science. 

HCI Micro-credential Learner Fee Subsidies are available on identified micro-credentials only and in fixed numbers from March 2024 until October 2025.  

Please see Eligibility Criteria for further information.