Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

Due to the upcoming end of the partnership with the Oregon Zoo next year, the Biology and Management of Zoo Animals degree program at Portland Community College has been officially suspended. We will continue to offer the classes needed to complete degrees for our currently enrolled students through June of 2017. Please contact Joyce Kaplan or Laura Harris for recommended regional educational options in the field of animal management.

Program Overview

woman working with penguins at the zoo

Headquartered at our beautiful Rock Creek Campus, PCC's Biology and Management of Zoo Animals program is a two year course of study that offers an Associate of Applied Science degree. Our program is offered in partnership with the Oregon Zoo, and the cooperative education courses as well as portions of several lab courses are on the grounds of this facility.  Other area partners provide additional specialized experiences to increase the knowledge base of our students in their chosen field.


This is a popular program with competitive admissions, which is limited to a maximum of 24 students per year. Prospective students must apply for admission to the program. Applicants should attempt to maximize their animal experience, successful math and science college coursework, and be prepared to provide a good letter of recommendation from an animal care manager to increase their chance of acceptance. There will be an interview process for qualified candidates.

Our program is challenging and includes 15 hours per week of internship during most quarters of the program, including the summer, in addition to a large number of other required courses. We recommend that students do not work in order to leave time for studying and homework.

Before entry into the program, students must:
  • Have completed program prerequisites (see Catalog).
  • Apply and be accepted into the program (see Admission).
While in the program, students must:
  • Maintain a minimum "C" letter grade in all required coursework.
  • Have transportation to and from the Rock Creek campus and the various zoological partner facilities.
  • Meet all dress code, physical, and immunization requirements and follow all rules, regulations, and safety requirements of zoological partner facilities.

University Transfer

Most careers in this field recommend a Bachelor's degree for larger facilities or for advancement. Please refer to the PCC University Transfer program or contact an Academic Advisor. If you are considering transfer to Portland State University, please see the worksheet in our Advising Guide for BMZA prerequisite planning.

Program Costs

Item Cost
Tuition, Lab, and Fees See Tuition and Fees (Use the college cost calculator to determine costs per term.)
Books and Notes $1700 estimate for program
Supplies $500 estimate for program

Additional costs include: food, housing, child care, transportation (including campus parking permits and zoo parking fees), health insurance, immunizations, and professional memberships.  Students are advised to seek financial aid and explore scholarship opportunities while enrolled in the BMZA program in order to limit their need for employment.