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Animal Sciences

Degree: BS

Campus: Columbus

College: Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

Animal science is the study of the basic principles of science and their application to the biological, economic and environmental aspects of livestock and poultry production, companion and recreational animals, and the processing of animal products. Students will receive a firm foundation in the basic science disciplines, which include population and molecular genetics, nutrition, physiology (lactational, reproductive and growth), biotechnology, behavior, management, and welfare. 

Admitted students who indicate animal sciences as a major on their applications are directly enrolled into the College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. 

Students in the animal sciences major must complete FAES 1100, 39 to 40 credit hours in the major, 12 to 15 credit hours in a minor (selected at the end of the sophomore year), two credits (200 hours) of internship experience and sufficient electives to make a total of 121 hours of credit for graduation.

Students in the major take core courses that include Animal Handling, Introduction to Animal Sciences (with subsequent laboratory), Reproductive Physiology, Animal Health, Applied Animal Bioscience Laboratory, nutrition, genetics, a production and management course, a second production course that could include study abroad and/or industry experience, and an internship. Beyond these required courses, students work with their advisors to select a series of elective courses (10 to 11 credits) that will best prepare them for their career goals.

Within the major, students have the opportunity to specialize in the following areas: animal biosciences (a pre-vet track), animal industries, veterinary technology and nutrition.

Nutrition Option

Students majoring in animal sciences who are interested in the absorption, metabolism and functions of nutrients may elect to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition, an interdisciplinary program involving the departments of animal sciences and human nutrition. This degree includes all courses required for students interested in applying to veterinary, medical, pharmacy, dental and optometry schools. Students will select from core courses including nutrition, Principles of Animal Systems Physiology, Applied Animal Research Methods Laboratory, Ruminant Nutrition, Nonruminant Nutrition, Nutritional Immunology, Comparative Nutrient Metabolism, and nine elective hours within advanced nutrition and metabolism between animal sciences and human nutrition.

Veterinary Technology Option

This option allows students to earn a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from The Ohio State University and an Associate of Applied Science degree in Veterinary Technology from Columbus State Community College (CSCC) in a four-year period of time.

Students can obtain the certification or licensure by the State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners as a veterinary technician. In addition to the typical careers available to animal sciences majors, students may also pursue careers in the field of veterinary medicine such as veterinary technician, animal behavior counselor, biomedical research technologist, laboratory animal manager, veterinary instructor, health technologist, specialty practice technician, and clinic or hospital team leaders and/or staff supervisors.

Students will complete their first year at Ohio State, and the second, third and fourth years are split between Ohio State and CSCC. Summer course work is required during the second year of the program. Students will complete four clinical experiences at private clinical practices, research centers, emergency/specialty hospitals, diagnostic laboratories or zoos. Interested students must attend a mandatory information session at Ohio State in October of their freshman year to be considered for the program.

More than 70 percent of students enrolled in the program participate in the departmental study abroad experiences to Ireland, New Zealand, Spain, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Italy and South Africa. Each trip is faculty-led with opportunities to receive academic credit. Students may also choose to participate in research internships with opportunities to present their research both locally and nationally.

The Department of Animal Sciences provides many opportunities for students to participate in hands-on learning through the use of our animals, field trips, laboratory and field research, and internships.

Animal science majors are encouraged to participate in research. Subject areas include advanced bioenergy and biobased products; environmental quality and sustainability; food security, protection and human health; and faculty animal concentration areas. More information can be found on our website.

Students can gain valuable critical thinking and communication skills through the Dairy Cattle, Equine, Livestock, Meat and/or Poultry Selection and Evaluation Teams, as well as the Animal Science Academic Quadrathlon.

Animal sciences students can also join Animal Welfare and Behavior Club, Buckeye Dairy Science Club, Horsemen's Association, Human and Animal Interactions Club, Meat Science Club, the Pre-Veterinary Medical Association, Poultry Science Club, Saddle and Sirloin, Shades of Animal Sciences, and the department's student leadership team.

Students may prepare themselves for a variety of careers in science, business, or even communications and education. Graduates find employment in research laboratories, biotechnical industries, chemical/pharmaceutical companies, genetics and nutrition companies, allied industry associations, government agencies, and in meat science/food processing organizations. 

Many students continue their education for a professional or graduate degree. Veterinary medicine and graduate studies in the animal sciences are the two most common pursuits for further education, but students can continue their study in law, human medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, physical therapy, nursing and optometry. 

Beginning annual salaries for recent graduates average $38,000 annually. However, most graduates will have the potential to earn $60,000 within five years of experience.