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Schools for Aspiring Animal Nutritionists: How to Choose

Animal nutrition is a branch of animal science that can be applied toward research and practical services. Undergraduate and graduate programs offer concentrations or elective courses in the discipline.

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While programs in animal nutrition are available at a few colleges, students can also look for schools that offer animal science degrees, which are more common. Both types of programs are typically found at 4-year colleges and universities.

10 Schools with Animal Science or Animal Nutrition Programs

The following tables lists several public schools that offer undergraduate and graduate degrees in animal science or animal nutrition.

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Undergraduate Tuition (2015-2016)*
Iowa State University Ames, IA Public, 4-Year Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral In-state $7,736; Out-of-state $20,856
New Mexico State University Las Cruces, NM Public, 4-Year Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral In-state $6,094; Out-of-state $19,652
North Carolina State University at Raleigh Raleigh, NC Public, 4-Year Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral In-state $8,581; Out-of-state $24,932
Oklahoma State University Stillwater, OK Public, 4-Year Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral In-state $7,778; Out-of-state $20,978
Oregon State University Bend, OR Public, 4-Year Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral In-state $10,107; Out-of-state $28,767
Purdue University West Lafayette, IN Public, 4-Year Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral In-state $10,002; Out-of-state $28,804
Southern Illinois University Carbondale, IL Public, 4-Year Bachelor's, Master's In-state $13,137; Out-of-state $26,390
Texas A&M University - College Station College Station, TX Public, 4-Year Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral In-state $10,176; Out-of-state $28,768
University of Florida Gainesville, FL Public, 4-Year Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral In-state $6,381; Out-of-state $28,659
University of Wisconsin - Madison Madison, WI Public, 4-Year Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral In-state $10,415; Out-of-state $29,665

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)

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School Selection Criteria

Students interested in pursuing animal nutrition programs have several important considerations to keep in mind.

  • Undergraduate degree programs in animal science may offer specialized courses or concentrations in animal nutrition, such as industry, production or pre-veterinary tracks or focuses on certain animal types, such as equine, livestock or marine animals.
  • Hands-on learning opportunities at on-campus and affiliated research facilities (such as farms, parks and laboratories) can be very beneficial to students looking to gain practical experience and narrow down a specific field of interest.
  • Individuals interested in research and development of animal nutrition products, foods and pharmaceuticals could find schools with related faculty-led research programs in areas such as animal metabolism, ruminant nutrition and immunology.
  • Many schools offer programs at undergraduate and graduate levels, but not all schools offer doctoral degrees. Those interested in pursuing graduate studies may wish to select a school that has all the degree levels they're interested in pursuing.

Bachelor's Degrees in Animal Science

A bachelor's degree program in animal science offers coursework in both chemical and physical sciences. Students may have opportunities to participate in research or internships. Industry specializations often require courses in macroeconomics, agribusiness and economics. Production concentrations might require students to select a particular animal, such as sheep or cattle, and focus on animal production and food processing specific to the species. Graduates could qualify to become veterinary technologists, animal care workers, nutrition specialists or animal food scientists. Additionally, they could choose to pursue a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree to become a veterinarian, specializing in animal nutrition.

Master's Degrees in Animal Nutrition or Animal Science

Master's degree programs typically allow students to choose their area of concentration. Students focusing on nutritional studies learn how to break down and assess nutritional content of animal foods to improve the quality for individual species or breeds. Students study digestive systems, disease susceptibility and productivity of different animals. Thesis and non-thesis options may be available.

Doctoral Degrees in Animal Nutrition or Animal Science

Students interested in performing independent research or teaching at the university level should consider earning a doctoral degree. In addition to courses selected through the assistance of their doctoral committee, students in this program are often required to complete intense research projects that culminate in a dissertation. Many schools include a teaching requirement that allows doctoral candidates to gain experience teaching animal nutrition or science courses.

Only a handful of schools offer a degree specifically in animal nutrition; many who are interested in the field of animal nutrition pursue studies in animal sciences at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

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