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Animal Sciences, General

Program Description

Just the Facts

Animal Sciences, General. A general program that focuses on the scientific principles that underlie the breeding and husbandry of agricultural animals, and the production, processing, and distribution of agricultural animal products. Includes instruction in the animal sciences, animal husbandry and production, and agricultural and food products processing.

This program is available in these options:

  • Certificate / Diploma
  • Associate degree
  • Bachelor's degree
  • Graduate Certificate
  • Master's degree
  • Doctoral degree

High School Courses

See the high school courses recommended for programs in this career cluster:

See the high school courses recommended for programs in this pathway:

Additional Information

Animal science is a great major for people who want to get into agriculture or veterinary medicine. Students focus on how science can be applied to domestic and farm animals.

You can take a two-year associate's degree in this field at a junior or community college. Four-year programs at universities or colleges will often accept transfers from these two-year programs. Students can also apply directly to bachelor's programs.

William Graves is an animal science professor at the University of Georgia. He says that 80 percent of the students in his program plan to become veterinarians. But not everyone follows that route.

"We have quite a few people going into the biotech industry," he says. "That is primarily the result of having experience working with animals and being able to understand a lot of animal handling and biology."

Catherine Enright is a professor at an agricultural college. She says that animal science programs tend to be rigorous. Students should be highly motivated.

"They need to keep up to date with their assignments," she says. "They can't leave things until the last minute or they will run into time management problems."

Like many other agriculture and animal science programs, her program has a working farm. "Students can work with animals such as cattle, dairy cows, pigs and chickens and learn all the procedures necessary to work on an agricultural farm," she says.

Derek Anderson leads an animal science department at an agricultural college. He says that students get a lot of hands-on training.

"They take classes that are skill-oriented," he says. "For instance, they will get a good appreciation of milking cows. They get practical experience."

If you take a four-year rather than a two-year program, expect it to be more science-oriented. These longer programs may also include courses in areas such as business or economics.

Students earning a bachelor of science take such classes as calculus, chemistry, physics, food issues and sustainable systems in agriculture, says Anderson.

Students in four-year programs also choose a specialization within animal science and take a core of classes for that concentration. These courses are in areas like nutrition, animal health, genetics, breeding, statistics and physiology.

To prepare, high school students should develop a strong science background.

Anderson suggests that students might do well to join 4-H clubs. "This helps them gain an appreciation for agriculture," he says.

Besides tuition, other costs for animal science programs include textbooks and lab fees.


Occupational Handbook
Find more information related to this field of study

American Society of Animal Science
Devoted to animals, science and service

Name That Animal
You know what cats and dogs look like, but do you know what a chacoan peccary is?

The Agricultural and Food Policy Center
How government decisions impact farmers, consumers and agribusiness


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