Animal Science PhD Program Information

Animal science is the study of domesticated animals like horses, swine, sheep and cattle. These Ph.D. programs allow students to focus on a particular area of animal science and prepare for careers in that area of interest.

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Essential Information

An animal science doctorate degree program is the most advanced degree in the field and requires several years of study and research. Most Ph.D. programs allow students to focus on a particular animal science niche, such as equine management, reproductive physiology or animal nutrition. Students are required to complete a doctoral dissertation presenting new research in animal science. Doctorate programs require students to have any bachelor's degree and a master's degree in animal science or a related field.

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  • Animal Health Sciences
  • Animal Nutrition
  • Dairy Science
  • Farm Animal Breeding
  • Livestock Management
  • Poultry Science

Ph.D. in Animal Science

Animal science Ph.D. programs offer research-intensive courses that focus on biological and physical aspects of animal science. Most programs require students to conduct independent research outside of traditional classrooms, and many courses allow for hands-on experience with animals and agricultural settings. Common courses include:

  • Animal reproduction
  • Principles of animal welfare
  • Equine genetics and reproduction
  • Agricultural ecology
  • Animal genomics and bioinformatics
  • Animal nutrition

Employment Outlook and Career Information

Animal scientists represent a small percentage of all agricultural scientists. Of approximately 36,100 agricultural scientists in 2014, only 2,900 were animal scientists, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics ( The BLS projected 7% job growth for animal scientists from 2014-2024, about as fast as the average for all careers. As of May 2015, the average annual salary for animal scientists was $71,830.

Animal scientists are employed by federal and government agencies, agricultural companies and health and safety organizations. Some animal scientists are also consultants for agricultural companies. With a doctorate degree, professionals can also seek postsecondary teaching positions within colleges and universities.

Students interested in working as animal scientists, researchers, or educators can pursue a Ph.D. in Animal Science. These programs cover a wide range of animal science topics through research and hands-on experience.

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