What is Animal Science

Throughout history, domestic livestock (cattle, sheep, goats, swine, poultry and horses) have provided humans with a major source of food, fiber, pleasure and companionship. Over the last century, advances in animal feeding, breeding, reproduction and management techniques occurred simultaneously with improvement in other agricultural practices.

The rate of technological innovations in animal agriculture has accelerated in the last 20 years. Computers are revolutionizing animal production, research and marketing capabilities. Alternate feed sources have been identified; estrus synchronizing agents have been discovered; embryo transfer techniques have been developed; and new growth promoting compounds are being tested. Molecular geneticists are beginning to unravel the complexities of mammalian genes and the field of biotechnology has been born. Immunology and studies of animal behavior offer new insight into ways of enhancing animal efficiency.

Animal Science is an exciting field that has application from production through agribusiness and processing as well as in research and other scientific endeavors. We hope that the program in Animal Science at Michigan State University will fulfill your needs and expectations.

Special Services Requests

Persons with disabilities may request accommodations for Animal Science classes by contacting the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities. The office works with students one-on-one to understand concerns, challenges, and opportunities. The confidential process connects students with a Disability Specialist who works to build a collaborative working relationship through an individualized needs assessment. Upon conclusion of the needs assessment, students receive a Verified Individualized Services and Accommodations (VISA) form that describes needs and facilitates communication with faculty and other campus programs.

Degree Requirements

To be recommended for a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science, a student must:

  1. Complete one year’s work, normally the year of graduation, earning at least 30 credits in courses given by Michigan State University. A senior who has earned sufficient credits from this university and met the minimum requirements as stated below, through prior arrangement with the assistant dean of the college and the registrar, may be permitted to transfer, not to exceed 10 of the last 30 credits from an accredited 4-year college or university.
  2. Earn at least 27 credits on the East Lansing campus after reaching junior standing.
  3. Complete at least 20 credits at Michigan State University while enrolled in the major in the college in which the degree is to be earned.
  4. Remove any deficiencies identified by MSU placement test scores, as described in the Academic Placement Tests and Remedial-Development-Preparatory courses sections of theMSU Academic Programs Announcement.
  5. Complete the University requirement of 30 credits in courses approved for integrative studies or in approved substitutes, a s described in the Integrative Studies section of the MSU Academic Programs Announcement.
  6. Complete satisfactorily an approved program of study in a college.
  7. Complete a minimum of 120 credits with at least a 2.0 grade point average.

Course Work

The 120 credits required for graduation are composed of both required courses and electives. A student must complete the specific required courses as listed in the Undergraduate Handbook, including required coursework in either the animal industry, animal biology and pre-veterinary medicine, companion and exotic animal biology, or production animal scholars concentrations. It is recommended although not required that students research the opportunity to complete either the Agribusiness Management or the Agricultural and Natural Resources Biotechnology Specializations in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.


Career Opportunities

The livestock industry and related fields are a major component of the United States economy and career opportunities are excellent for both men and women trained in animal science.

Livestock producers are concerned with production of cattle, sheep, goats, horses, swine and poultry. These individuals and the people they employ are the cornerstone of the animal industry. They must be superb business people and be knowledgeable in meats, nutrition, genetics, behavior and physiology. In addition, they must know how to manage livestock and have marketing expertise. Salaries are expected to range from $25,000 - $65,000, and additional benefits including health and life insurance, retirement investments, housing, utilities, vehicle, and meat or milk allowance.

Representative careers in animal production systems management:

Animal Shelter Manager

Manage Ranches/Farms/Feedlots

Animal Waste Management

Manage Research Farms and Facilities

Breeding/Farrowing Manager

Manage Training/Boarding Facilities

Broiler Manager

Managers of Stud Farms/Livestock/Poultry Operations

Broodmare Assistant Manager

Parlor Manager

Broodmare Manager

Pet Store Assistant Manager

Cattle Feedlot Processor

Poultry Hatchery Manager

Companion Animal Dept. Manager

Ranch Foreman

Dairy Plant Manager

Ranch Manager

Dairy Young Stock Manager

Safety Manager

Diagnostic Laboratory Manager

Stallion Assistant Manager

Dog Bakery Manager

Stallion Manager

Doggy Day Care Manager

Supply Chain Manager

Elephant Program Manager

Swine Section Manager

Equine Boarding Stable Manager

Thoroughbred Barn Foreman

Farm General Manager

Veterinary Practice Manager

Herdsperson/Artificial Insemination/Embryo Transfer

Wean-Market Operations Director

Individual Proprietor

Yearling Assistant Manager

Laboratory Animal Management

Yearling Manager

Livestock Ranch Manager

Zoo Animal Care Manager

Mammal Conservation Manager

Zoo Assistant Manager

Manage Livestock Sales/Distribution/Marketing Systems



The food processing industry is a major employer of animal science graduates. This segment of the industry not only is concerned with marketing meat, milk and eggs in the usual sense. It is also involved in fabrication of new products, production of specialty food items and development of products that will appeal to a health-conscious public. This progressive component of animal agriculture hires animal science graduates as livestock buyers, quality control specialists, plant managers and sales personnel. Salaries are expected to range from $35,000 - $105,000, and additional benefits including health and life insurance, and retirement investments.

Representative careers in food processing:

Analytical Microbiology Testing

Processing Plant Supervisor

Consumer Safety Inspector

Product Development Manager

Corporate Chef

Product Development Specialist

Culinary Support Specialist

Product Terminal Manager

Distribution/Warehouse Manager

Production Supervisor

Food Compliance Officer

Quality Assurance Assistant Director

Food Pathogen Detector

Quality Assurance Chemist

Instrumentation Specialist

Quality Assurance Director

Meat Process Operation Manager

Quality Assurance Inspector

Meats District Sales Manager

Quality Assurance Supervisor

Meats Project Specialist

Raw Material Coordinator

Meats Team Leader

Research & Design Chemist

Operations Manager

Safety/Processing Manager

Packaging Supervisor

Sensory Testing Specialist

Plant Maintenance Supervisor

Tech. Meat Application Specialist

Plant Quality Manager

Technical Service Manager

Plant Safety Supervisor

Value-Added Specialist

Pharmaceutical organizations, livestock product companies and feed companies are constantly seeking bright, energetic young people to enter research groups, sales forces and consulting agencies dealing with both commercial livestock production and companion animals. Animal science students may also become veterinarians and be involved in primary health care.

Breed associations, livestock commodity groups, artificial insemination services and government agencies employ animal science students as representatives of their organizations. Likewise, livestock publications, newspapers, television stations, advertising agencies and public relations firms need talented people who can communicated about agriculture. Communication skills are a necessity in all fields, and animal science students can turn these skills into satisfying careers. Other service organizations such as banks, insurance companies, real estate agencies and power companies employ agricultural representatives in positions which require a background in animal agriculture.

Research designed to improve efficiency and quality of domestic animals and to solve livestock-related problems is conducted by a number of agencies including the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), universities and private companies. Therefore, individuals with bachelors, masters and doctorate degrees in animal science have an opportunity for rewarding careers in research. With recent advances in computer science and biotechnology, persons trained in these areas will become even more competitive.

A student majoring in animal science may qualify to teach vocational agriculture in high school under a program of study cooperatively developed by the Department of Agricultural and Extension Education. Animal science majors may also find employment with the Cooperative Extension Service working as a county agent. People with advanced degrees in animal science are needed to teach in colleges and universities. All of these teaching fields will require animal science graduates to meet the needs of the future.

Animal agriculture is a huge component in the American economy. It not only involves livestock production, but also encompasses marketing, public affairs, transportation, processing, research, companion animal management and a myriad of allied specialties. Animal science is a challenging field with many employment opportunities.


Internship Program


The Michigan State University Animal Science Internship Program is designed for students who wish to gain industry experience in animal agriculture. The program allows for emphasis in beef, dairy, equine, poultry, swine and other animal agriculture related areas. Individuals may pursue internships in any industry sector which includes but is not limited to biotechnology, communications, marketing and production.


Many internships are paid and also include a place to live. However, the wages and living accommodations vary. Many host companies will consider the intern as an employee and compensate for work services. However, it is important to know that some internships will not be paid. Generally, the internship contact at the host company will aid in locating living provisions. In fact, some companies will provide living accommodations for the intern. When establishing an internship opportunity with a company, please ask questions on wages and finding a place to live.


The primary goal of Animal Science faculty is to make your internship an educational and enjoyable experience. If a problem arises while interning, or if you have a question please contact the internship coordinator at your earliest convenience.


Create a professional resume. The resume should let us know about you, your work experiences, extra curricular activities, and references. Be sure to register at My Spartan Career to help facilitate your internship search. The faculty will make every effort to help you in locating the internship of your choice. However, the more you work on generating internship possibilities the higher the chance you will have of obtaining an internship.

For more information, please contact Dr. Gretchen Hill, Internship Coordinator. 517-355-9676 / .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


Academic Advising

Each freshman or transfer student will be assigned an academic advisor in ANS during the Academic Orientation program (AOP). In addition to an academic advisor, students are encouraged to select another ANS faculty member as a career mentor. This person can provide guidance on career paths and internships.

If you have question about academic advising or the undergraduate program, please contact Tracy Rich, Undergraduate Office Assistant at:

Tracy Rich
474 S. Shaw Lane Rm. 1250
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI  48824
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

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