Graduate Studies

Graduate Studies

An advanced degree in Animal and Dairy Sciences can afford you numerous career opportunities. Many companies involved in animal agriculture are seeking individuals who bring the experience of advanced coursework and the ability to conduct and interpret research to their businesses.

In addition to jobs in the animal feeding, breeding, production, and health management industries, an advanced degree in Animal and Dairy Sciences can also give you an advantage in the basic and molecular sciences.

Graduate students in Animal and Dairy Sciences can choose to obtain a Master of Science degree, a Master of Agriculture degree, or a Doctor of Philosophy degree. In all options, students will work closely with a major professor in their field of interest, gaining knowledge and experience.

Master of Science in Agriculture with a concentration in Animal Science

The Master of Science in Agriculture with a concentration in Animal and Dairy Science curriculum is based on a total of 30 credit hours. This option requires a thesis. The student must have completed or will be required to complete in addition to the graduate coursework, 9 credit hours (4000 or above) of animal/dairy sciences courses. These 9 credit hours must include at least one course in breeding, nutrition, or reproduction and at least one course in a species-specific production system. All students are expected to demonstrate a working knowledge of the Animal and Dairy Sciences field. Opportunities to meet this expectation include: audit additional animal sciences courses (below 4000 level), serve as a teaching assistant for Introduction to Animal Science, or attend departmental journal clubs. Students not holding a degree in animal or dairy sciences (or related field) will be required to do at least one of the above, as directed by the major advisor. Any undergraduate courses would not be included in the program of study.

Master of Agriculture in Agriculture with a concentration in Animal and Dairy Science

The Master of Agriculture in Agriculture with a concentration in Animal and Dairy Sciences is a non-thesis option offered both on-campus and on-line. Student are required to complete 30 hours of coursework as approved by his/her graduate committee. Students will also have to complete a scholarly activity, participate in research projects, and develop a scholarly document focused on the subject area.

Doctor of Philosophy in Agriculture with a concentration in Animal and Dairy Science

The Doctor of Philosophy in Agriculture with a concentration in Animal and Dairy Science program of study is developed by the student and his/her major professor with approval by the student's graduate committee in accordance with Graduate School policy and must include core courses as specified in the Graduate Catalog. In addition to the Graduate School requirements for a Ph.D.'s graduate committee, the department requires that at least two committee members be from the Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences.

Admission Criteria

A minimum GPA of 3.00 and GRE scores are required for admission. Prospective students are encouraged to contact a faculty member in their area of interest about additional requirements and available opportunities before applying.

Research Ideas


Research is conducted in both quantitative and qualitative genetics at the cellular and whole animal level with the goal of improving livestock production.


Research is conducted in the areas of reproductive, stress, growth, lactation, and exercise physiology. Students work to understand how managing physiology can impact animal production and efficiency.


Research is conducted to gain knowledge in food safety, meat quality, and muscle biology, all to increase the production of safe, quality, wholesome muscle food products.


Research is conducted to understand how feedstuffs affect growth and performance, how increased management of forages can improve profitability and how by-product feeds can be incorporated into animal diets.


Companion Animal Management Certificate

The online Companion Animal Management Certificate is designed for undergraduate and graduate students who wish to delve deeper into concepts related to companion animals. The certificate meets the demands of many exciting opportunities in veterinary medicine and the animal science industry. Visit Mississippi State University online for more information.

Meat Science Certificate

The Department of Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion and the Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences offer a Meat Science Certificate for students who wish to specialize in the meat processing industry. The 24 credit hour curriculum equips students to be career-ready professionals with a comprehensive understanding of the industry and a skill-set designed for them to make an immediate impact in meat science government, academic, or industry positions upon graduation. More information