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Dairy Science Schools and Colleges in the U.S.

Dairy science is the study of the health, reproduction, milk production, management and genetics of dairy cattle. Read on to learn more about education in this field.

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Programs in dairy science and closely related subjects are available at the undergraduate and graduate degree levels. These programs can be found at both public and private universities.

Schools with Dairy Science

The following schools offer programs in dairy science. Tuition figures are based on the 2015-2016 academic year.

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Undergraduate Tuition and Fees 2015-2016*
Ohio State University Columbus,OH 4-year, Public Certificate $10,037 in-state, $27,365 out-of-state
Michigan State University East Lansing, MI 4-year, Public Certificate, Bachelor's** $13,560 in-state, $36,360 out-of-state
University of Wisconsin - Madison Madison, WI 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral $10,415 in-state, $29,665 out-of-state
University of Georgia Athens, GA 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's** $11,622 in-state, $29,832 out-of-state
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Blacksburg, VA 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's $12,485 in-state, $29,129 out-of-state
Iowa State University Ames, IA 4-year, Public Bachelor's $7,736 in-state, $20,856 out-of-state
University of Wisconsin - River Falls River Falls, WI 4-year, Public Bachelor's $7,937 in-state, $15,510 out-of-state
University of New Hampshire - Main Campus Durham, NH 4-year, Public Bachelor's $16,986 in-state, $30,256 out-of-state
South Dakota State University Brookings, SD 4-year, Public Bachelor's $8,172 in-state, $11,053 out-of-state

Sources: *National Center for Education Statistics, **School website

School and College Selection Criteria

Students should keep these considerations in mind when choosing a school:

  • In programs that require internships, it is important for students to find out where they are offered, such as at dairy farms or agribusinesses, in order to ensure that they will gain experience in the setting where they want to pursue a career.
  • Students may want to find out if the school participates in American Dairy Science Association (ADSA) conferences, which can provide valuable supplemental education and networking opportunities.
  • Prospective graduate students who are considering research-based programs should makes sure that there are faculty members at the school with whom they share research interests, as they may act as thesis or dissertation advisors.
  • Students may want to find out about the school's training facilities in order to ensure that they will get hands-on experience with industry-standard production equipment and top-notch research technologies.

Associate's Degree Programs

Associate's degree programs in dairy science provide an introduction to the animal management and business-related aspects of the field. Alongside general education courses, students learn about milk production, calf care and marketing. They may also be required to complete one or more internships in the field. These programs take two years of full-time study to complete.

Bachelor's Degree Programs

Bachelor of Science (BS) in Dairy Science programs contain much of the same introductory coursework as associate's degree programs, but they go beyond the lower-level curriculum with more advanced course offerings. Students may learn about different types of dairy products, such as frozen foods, cheese, fermented products and butter. They may also study high-level animal management-related topics like artificial insemination and husbandry, as well as manufacturing-focused topics like milk processing and quality assurance. Prior to graduation, students must complete internships in the industry, and they may be required to submit a senior project.

Master's Degree Programs

Students who are interested in dairy science have several options at the master's degree level. Master of Science (MS) programs provide advanced courses in agricultural science and enable students to conduct research in the field of dairy science, leading to a final thesis. Graduates may go into industry or continue on to PhD programs. Alternatively, graduate students who know they want to go into industry can enroll in a professional master's degree program that focuses specifically on the technical aspects of dairy manufacturing. Students in these programs must complete an internship in the field.

Doctoral Degree Programs

At the doctoral level, students can earn a PhD in Dairy Science of in Food Science with a concentration in dairy science. In these flexible programs, students can design a program of study focusing on a particular area of interest within the field, such as the chemistry, microbiology, or engineering aspects of dairy production. They take advanced coursework and ultimately write and defend a dissertation based on faculty-supervised research.

Certificate Programs

Certificate programs in dairy science vary depending on the school. Some schools offer certificate programs that cover the basics of the field, much like associate's degree programs but without the general education coursework. There are also schools that allow undergraduates to specialize their studies by earning certificate alongside a bachelor's degree.

Prospective dairy science students can find associate's, bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in the field, as well as a few certificate programs. It is important to consider internship opportunities and school facilities when choosing between programs.

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