Animal Science student working on laptop sitting on a tractor.

Graduate Programs

Advanced degrees, advanced opportunities

Preparing Problem-Solvers

We train scientists who are driven to improve animal management and well-being.

Graduate students in our department can pursue an interdisciplinary program rooted in research areas such as genetics, nutrition or physiology while exploring both basic and applied scientific approaches in a variety of animal species.

Learn more about our flexible options for students to dual major and gain advanced training through independent research.

Master's Degrees

Master of Science

The Master of Science (MS) program provides intensive research training and experience and familiarizes students with the methods, ideas, and goals of independent investigation. This is the Master’s program for students interested in conducting research.

Students must complete a minimum of 30 credit hours, and complete and defend a thesis based on their research.

  • A minimum of one (1) full academic year or its equivalent in residence as a graduate student at the university
  • A minimum of 30 semester hours of graduate work in the degree program, unless the specific program requires more hours, including a minimum of 18 hours of 500-700 level coursework
  • No more than six (6) hours of 400-level courses can be counted toward the minimum 30-hour requirement, and they may not come from the major field
  • No more than three (3) credit hours of Masters SupervisedTeaching (ANS 685) can be included in the minimum 30-credit program
  • No more than six hours of Thesis Research (ANS 695/693) in the minimum 30-hour program
  • No more than two (2) credit hours of seminar (S/U graded) may be included in the minimum 30-credit hour program
  • Masters Thesis Preparation (ANS 699) credits may not be used to satisfy the 30-credit hour requirement
  • A thesis
  • A departmental defense seminar
  • A comprehensive oral examination

Master of Animal Science

The Master of Animal Science program (MR) gives students a deeper academic background in sub-disciplines associated with animal science, including nutrition, physiology, genetics, biotechnology and animal management. This is a coursework only program.

This program is offered on campus and through Distance Education.

  • 19 Credits of core courses
  • 17 Credits of elective courses
  • No more than two (2) credit hours of a seminar to be included in the 36 credit hour total
  • A minimum of one full academic year or its equivalent in residence as a graduate student at the university
  • The non-thesis Master of Animal Science degree requires a minimum of 36 credit hours, of which a minimum of 9 credits are in Animal Science courses at the 500 or above level
  • Non-thesis programs may include no more than three (3) hours of independent student study credits of special topics project (ANS 610) in the minimum 36-credit program
  • Research credit is not permitted in non-thesis programs, except upon approval by an associate dean of the Graduate School in cases where the student was initially enrolled in a thesis program but later transferred to a non-thesis program
  • 400-level ANS courses are not permitted in a graduate plan of work
  • No more than six (6) hours of 400-level courses from outside departments may be counted toward the 36-credit hour requirement
  • Non-Thesis Masters Examination (ANS 690) credits may not be used to satisfy the 36-credit hour requirement
  • Non-Thesis Masters Continuous Registration (ANS 688 and ANS 689) credits may NOT be sure to satisfy the 36-credit hour requirement
  • No more than three (3) credit hours of Masters supervised teaching (ANS 685) may be included in the minimum 36-credit hour program
  • A graduate mentor (advisor) is required
  • Mentor certification of a graduate plan of work and program completion
  • Meet with the graduate mentor at last once per semester
  • Complete the annual graduate student progress report
  • Committee not required, oral examination not required
  • The director of graduate programs and the Graduate School must approve the graduate plan of work

Animal Science grad student Jordan Wood.

What Should Elephants Eat?

Every six weeks, animal science graduate student Jordan Wood’s research requires a trip to the zoo. The project: understand how native tree species could be used to supplement the diet of the North Carolina Zoo’s African elephants.

Read Jordan's Story

Ph.D. in Animal Science

A Ph.D. in Animal Science symbolizes a student’s ability to conduct high-level original research and scholarly work without supervision. The degree is granted upon the student’s demonstration of a comprehensive knowledge and scholarship in a specialized field of study. The student is required to write a dissertation reporting the results of an original investigation, pass a series of preliminary comprehensive examinations in the field of specialization and related areas of knowledge, and successfully defend the dissertation.

  • At least two residence credit points secured in continuous semesters’ residence as a graduate student at the university
  • Doctoral degrees at NC State require a minimum of 72 graduate credit hours beyond the Bachelor’s degree
  • For a student who already holds a master’s degree upon initial admission to the doctoral program of study, a maximum of 18 hours of relevant graduate credit from the master’s degree may be applied toward this minimum upon the recommendation of the student’s graduate advisory committee. Therefore, the minimum credit-hour requirement, in this case, is 54 credit hours
  • If a student completes a master’s degree at NC State and chooses to continue on for a doctoral degree thereby maintaining a continuous registration status, up to 36 credit hours taken while in masters status may be used to meet minimum requirements for the doctoral degree
  • Students cannot take 400-level courses or lower as part of the credit-hour requirement for the doctoral program of study
    Students cannot transfer courses into a Ph.D. program (including those taken in PBS status)
  • A successful preliminary comprehensive examination which includes both written and oral components
  • A dissertation
  • Departmental defense seminar
  • A final comprehensive oral examination

Contact Us

Have Questions? We Have Answers.

For all graduate programs inquiries, email Whitney Wilson-Botts, graduate services coordinator:

Dr. Joan Eisemann
Director of Graduate Programs

Dr. M. Todd See
Department Head