Animal Sciences - MS, MAg, PhD

Degree Programs:

Graduate study in animal sciences is directed toward the master’s and doctoral degrees. The Master of Agriculture (MAg) is offered as a non-thesis degree and prepares students for careers in secondary education, Cooperative Extension and agribusiness. Graduate programs leading to the Master of Science (MS) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degrees provide advanced education and technical training in preparation for careers in public and private sectors related to animal science and technology, food science and technology, animal biotechnology, agribusiness and university-level research and education. Areas of specialization include animal nutrition, biochemistry and molecular biology, microbiology, behavior, growth biology, meat science and muscle biology, quantitative genetics and reproductive biology. Interdepartmental minor programs in cell and molecular biosciences, ecology and environmental sciences are also available.

Prospective graduate students are evaluated for admission to the graduate program by a departmental graduate-program committee. The committee makes a recommendation to the department head based on its review of academic transcripts, three letters of recommendation, a written statement of intent from the applicant, and Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test score; in the case of an international student, the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is also required. Prior to making formal application, prospective students are expected to first contact a prospective faculty advisor in the Department whose area of specialization is compatible with the prospective student’s interest, and inquire about openings in his/her program. The departmental graduate-program committee will not review an application from a prospective graduate student unless requested to do so by a prospective faculty advisor, nor will it recommend that a student be admitted unless a prospective faculty advisor agrees to sponsor the applicant’s graduate program.

Admission to the MAg degree program requires that the student has the bachelor’s degree or evidence of satisfactory progress toward attainment of the bachelor’s degree in animal sciences or a related area in the biological sciences. Admission is based primarily on consideration of Grade Point Average (GPA), GRE scores and, in the case of an international student, TOEFL test scores. Applicants lacking suitable preparatory course work in the basic sciences will be required to correct deficiencies by satisfactorily completing additional courses. The MAg degree requires successful completion of a minimum of 30 credit hours, 21 of which must be in the agricultural or related sciences. Additional courses may be required for individual students. Although MAg students do not write a thesis, they are required to take a comprehensive examination and present a report on their comprehensive scholarly project completed under ANSC 7960 (Special Problems). In addition, MAg students are required to present one academic seminar (ANSC 7950) during their program.

Admission to the MS degree program requires that student have the bachelor’s degree or evidence of satisfactory progress toward attainment of the bachelor’s degree in animal sciences or a related area in the biological sciences. Admission is based primarily on consideration of GPA, GRE scores and, in the case of an international student, TOEFL test scores. Applicants lacking suitable preparatory course work in the basic sciences will be required to correct deficiencies by satisfactorily completing additional courses. The MS degree requires a minimum of 30 credit hours of graduate work, including at least 21 credit hours in the major field of study. The remainder may be in a minor area selected by the student and upon approval by the advisory committee. In addition to the required course work, the student must complete research, a written thesis and a thesis defense examination as defined by the student’s advisory committee. Students are required to present two academic seminars (ANSC 7950) during their program.

Admission to the PhD degree program usually requires that the student have a master’s degree from a recognized graduate program. However, evidence of exemplary potential may be considered as a criterion for admission with a bachelor’s degree. The doctoral program emphasizes original, scholarly research and includes significant advanced course work. Admission is based primarily on a consideration of GPA, GRE scores and, in the case of an international student, TOEFL test scores. Following completion of all or most course work, doctoral students are required to successfully complete a comprehensive written examination in their area of specialization before taking the oral General Examination, successful performance in which is required for advancement to candidacy. The PhD degree requires a minimum of 60 credit hours beyond the bachelor’s degree and a dissertation describing original research. After completion of the dissertation, the student must pass a final oral examination defending the dissertation. There is no foreign language requirement, but knowledge of a foreign language may be recommended by the student’s advisory committee. Doctoral students are required to present three academic seminars (ANSC 7950) during their program.

All graduate students receiving departmental assistantships are expected to be engaged in service to the department’s research and education programs as deemed appropriate by the academic advisor and department head. All MS and PhD students must register for at least one credit hour of thesis (ANSC 7990) or dissertation (ANSC 8990) research each term. Classified (FLSA-exempt) research associates holding full admission status in the Graduate School for work toward a graduate degree are exempt from this requirement, but must complete 10 hours of thesis research in a MS program or 20 hours of dissertation research in a PhD program following completion of a master’s degree. A PhD degree program undertaken by classified (FLSA-exempt) research associates but not preceded by a master’s degree must include 30 hours of dissertation research credit.