Major: Animal Sciences

What colleges offer a Major in Animal Sciences?

Ever wonder how the shrink-wrapped steak at the supermarket made it to the shelf?

Students of animal sciences know where your food comes from. They learn how to make sure that the nation’s supply of cows, chickens, pigs, and other food animals is as healthy and productive as possible. Among the challenges of animal science: discovering which breeds of cow produce the best milk and coming up with new ways to protect against bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or Mad Cow Disease.

Animal sciences majors learn about the nutrition, breeding, behavior, and management of food animals. Topics covered include dairy science, poultry science, livestock production, and aquaculture (fish production).

“I take great [pride] in keeping the world’s food source growing.”Travis, sophomore, animal science (concentrations in agriculture biotechnology and pre-vet), University of Delaware

Are You Ready To...?

  • Work closely with ranchers and farmers
  • Work with animals larger than you
  • Take field trips to dairies and poultry farms
  • Keep up with new technologies

It Helps To Be...

Organized, self-motivated, interested in both animals and people, and respectful of the time-honored work of farming. You should also like math and science. The tough requirements in these subjects can be a challenge for many students. 

College Checklist

  • Does the department offer courses in your area of specialization? Is it influenced by the local agricultural economy?
  • Does the program meet the admission requirements of vet school or other graduate programs?
  • Will you have the chance to take part in faculty research?
  • Will you have access to well-equipped labs and animal facilities?
  • Does the department have an internship program so you can gain hands-on experience?

Did You Know?

New developments such as growth hormones, bioengineering, and even vacuum hoses for milking cows keep animal sciences in the news.

Course Spotlight

As an animal sciences major, you'll study the anatomy and physiology of healthy animals. One of the challenges of this course is mastering the medical language used to describe the parts and workings of the body. 

You'll probably spend most of your time listening to lectures and looking at diagrams. But beware: the course could include a lab where you'll dissect animals. Your grade will probably be based mostly on quizzes and exams.