A-Z Index

Animal Science

Why Major in Animal Science?

Animal Science is the study of the production with livestock. Coursework focuses on three core areas: science, research and experiential learning. Science refers to students learning the anatomy, physiology, hormones and appropriate nutrition for livestock; research teaches students how to conduct research; and experiential learning provides student with opportunities for experience at the R.T. Wright Farm including annual procedures such as pregnancy tests on cows, castration and vaccination.

If students are interested in becoming a veterinarian, the Animal Science (Pre-Vet) program is an option. This is a rigorous program that emphasizes in anatomy, physiology, chemistry, organic chemistry, physics and histology. 

Minor in Animal Science

A minor in animal science teaches students the fundamentals of the study of animal science, the fundamentals of livestock evaluation and meat science, and the principles of animal nutrition and breeding. After taking the required courses, students can customize their minor from a list of approved electives. For a list of required courses, visit the academic catalog. This minor requires the completion of 22 credit hours.

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Career Opportunities

placement rate

Animal science has a variety of career options. The American Association of Animal Science stated that more than 500 job classification are associated with animal science degrees.

More than 95% of students who graduated with a degree in animal science obtained employment or continued their education within six months after graduation. 

The following is a listing of common positions for graduates with an animal science major:

  • Animal Health Researcher
  • Artificial Insemination Technician
  • Consumer Information Specialist
  • Farm Manager
  • Feedlot Manager
  • Husbandry Specialist
  • Lab Technician
  • Marketing/Sales

For a list of job placements by year, view the placement reports »

*Based on self-reported data in recent years.

Learning Resources


R.T. Wright University Laboratory Farm

R.T. Wright University Laboratory Farm is a 448-acre facility that provides profession-based learning experience with livestock and crops.

Agricultural Learning Center

New in 2021, the 29,000 square-foot Agricultural Learning Center (ALC) houses classrooms, laboratories, exposition and office spaces.

Profession-Based Learning Experiences

Study Abroad

Study Abroad is an opportunity for students to apply hands-on international experience to their own academic development. Faculty members supervise short-term study abroad programs that prepare students before, during and after the program. Two types of study abroad programs are available – faculty-led and traditional study abroad.

The traditional program may be a semester, summer or year-long program and is taught by Northwest’s international partner institutions. Students from the agriculture school have studied in Puerto Rico, Ireland and Germany.

For more information about study abroad opportunities »


Although internships are not required in the animal science major, they are highly encouraged to gain hands-on, real-world experience.

QuoteOver the past year, I have been researching the effects of age and time of day on standing behavior between commercially-housed ewes and their lambs. During this research period, I placed data loggers on the rear cannon bone of seven different ewes and their respective lambs. Out of these seven ewes, three of the ewes had single lambs and four of the ewes had twin lambs. I studied the differences of age, the litter size, and day from the beginning of the project. Studying the sheep gave us a baseline of what their normal behavior is, because behavior is directly correlated to animal welfare and production. If an animal is sick or distressed, their behavior will change and their production value will start to decrease, costing the producer money. There are not a lot of behavioral studies on sheep, and data logger usage has not been established on sheep. This research will be presented at an Animal Science conference to various researchers and graduate schools.Quote

Melanie Palmer
Griswold, Ia.

QuoteDr. Patterson of the University of Missouri shows me an ultra sound from one of the cows at the University Extension Thompson farm.Quote

Holly Wilson
Spickard, Mo. 

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Graduation Rate: 90th percentile

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