Poultry science is an area of study focusing on the products and physical makeup of poultry, which are domesticated birds that include chicken, quail, and turkey. Many institutions offer master's and doctoral degree programs in the field, which can prepare students for research positions in various settings, such as colleges, universities and government agencies.
Master's degree programs require applicants to have a bachelor's degree, where Ph.D. programs require a relevant master's degree. Applicants for both programs must submit Graduate Records Examination (GRE) scores, letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, undergraduate records and a resume or curriculum vitae.
Central curriculum topics include research methods, the genetics and physiology of domesticated birds, nutrition, diseases and agribusiness principles. Specializations in the master's degree program include minors in physiology and microbiology. In some cases, a thesis must be completed for a master's degree, and a dissertation is required for Ph.D. programs. A defense of a dissertation and the passing of oral and written examinations are necessary for graduation from a Ph.D. program.
Master's Degree in Poultry Science
Master's degree programs focus on research skills in poultry science. Enrollees can choose a thesis or non-thesis path as well as single or split minors and concentrations in scientific disciplines, like physiology and microbiology. Coursework typically includes a minimum of 30 credit hours.
Curriculum in these programs is interdisciplinary, covering such areas as science, live production, safety and processing. Some other common classes are:
- Poultry waste management
- Vitamin metabolism and nutrition
- Poultry diseases
- Feed manufacturing and formulation
- Poultry immunology
Ph.D. in Poultry Science
A doctoral poultry science curriculum covers teaching and research topics, similar to the master's degree program. You'll also learn about equipment used in the industry in experimental laboratories and facilities. Courses in a poultry science Ph.D. program include:
- Poultry management systems
- Breeding of poultry
- Poultry endocrine physiology
- Food safety principles
- Poultry molecular biology and analysis
As a poultry science graduate degree student, you'll be prepared for a variety of positions in the industry. Sample job titles include:
- Poultry corporate executive
- Poultry research scientist
- Nutrition and production poultry specialist
- Poultry quality inspector
- University professor
The BLS states that a master's degree or Ph.D. is typically required for research positions in agricultural and food science, including poultry. The BLS also states that employment of agricultural and food scientists is expected to grow by 5% from 2014-2024. The median annual wage for animal scientists as reported by the BLS in 2015 was $62,470. The top employers at that time were colleges, universities and professional schools, followed by scientific research and development services.
Individuals who would like to pursue a career, research position or further their education in the field of poultry science can choose from a master's or doctoral degree program.