Animal Science Major Requirements: Info for Prospective Students
While veterinary science discusses the provision of medical care to animals, animal science is a subject typically devoted to the research of fauna for food production purposes. The most common degree in this field is a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science. Most of these programs are offered at schools located in the southern, midwestern and western regions of the United States.
Bachelor of Science in Animal Science
A 4-year bachelor's degree program in animal science covers the fundamental theories and technologies behind livestock and animal production. Students learn about the basics of animal husbandry and animal technology, as well as how to breed and house animals meant for production, provide them with medical care and treat them in a humane manner.
Many animal science programs also provide a background in the business end of the agribusiness industry. Subject majors learn how to run ranches, manage crews of employees, oversee livestock facilities, generate contracts and market meat products. They must also study various breed associations and national guidelines and codes governing the agribusiness industry. Some animal science courses specifically touch upon green technology, sustainable grazing systems and wildlife ecosystem management.
Prospective animal science majors typically must have completed a high school diploma program before they can enter an undergraduate university program. They should also have a strong interest in animal husbandry and working outdoors, since most of the careers in the industry that don't revolve around research and marketing do involve a great deal of hands-on, manual labor.
Lessons focus on several areas related to science, business and animal studies. Some examples of core courses found in an animal science bachelor's degree program are:
- Elements of livestock production
- Animal nutrition
- Statistical methods
- Animal genetics
- Range livestock reproduction
- Animal physiology
- Diseases of domestic animals
- Equine production
- Beef cattle management
- Agro bio-terrorism
Popular Career Options
There are several entry-level careers in the agribusiness industry that might be available to graduates of an animal science bachelor's degree program. They include:
- Livestock operations manager
- Ranch hand
- Livestock veterinarian
- Meat marketing consultant
- Meat scientist
- Animal production systems manager
- Meat sales manager
Continuing Education Options
There are some advanced degree programs available for those with a bachelor's degree in animal science. A Master of Science in Animal Science program emphasizes research and typically allows students to choose a particular specialization in the field, such as animal health, animal welfare, animal reproduction, toxicology, microbiology or meat science. A Ph.D. in Animal Science is designed for individuals who are interested in entering academia and becoming professors of meat science, meat production, agribusiness or agriculture.
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