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Meat Science

Degree: BS

Campus: Columbus

College: Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

Meat science is a field of study that combines the basic principles of science (genetics, nutrition, physiology, microbiology, biochemistry, economics and marketing) and senses (taste, smell, sight, touch and sound). Meat science combines animal science and food science in the evaluation of the impact of genetic selection and nutritional regimens coupled with various management strategies on the growth and development of animal tissues (muscle, adipose and bone). The field further investigates the postmortem conversion of muscle to meat followed by further processing and product development to ultimately provide consumers with muscle food products that deliver a wholesome, nutritious and desirable eating experience. 

In addition to learning the basic principles of science, students in the major also acquire a broad understanding of the factors that affect livestock operations and resulting fresh meat quality, as well as a basic understanding of processing plant operations (food safety and quality assurance) and marketing. 

Students admitted to the university may enroll in the meat science major within the College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. 

Through their study in the meat science program, students will have the opportunity to combine the underlying fundamentals of animal husbandry and welfare, animal physiology, economics (including finance and business), and food processing and engineering with both domestic and international supply chains and marketing. 

Students in the major take core courses and a minimum of 37 credit hours. The required courses include the following: 

  • Introductory Animal Growth and Development
  • Introduction to Food Processing
  • Bar-B-Q Science
  • Introduction to Meat Science
  • Nutrition
  • Meat Animal and Carcass Evaluation
  • Food Quality Assurance
  • Food Safety and Public Health
  • Processed Meats
  • Advanced Meat Science
  • Branded Meat Topics, a capstone course

Students will also select an additional 15 credit hours from food processing courses and business and management courses to fulfill their minor requirement. 

More than 70 percent of our students participate in the departmental study abroad experiences to Ireland, New Zealand, Spain, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Italy and South Africa.

Students must complete an internship of at least 200 work hours in either a research or food production facility. 

Students 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.

Meat science 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 & Sirloin, Shades of Animal Sciences, and the Animal Science Community Alliance, the department's student leadership team.

Students are prepared for a variety of careers in science, business and production agriculture. For example, graduates find employment in meat science/food processing organizations, government agencies (USDA FSIS, food safety and inspection; USDA AMS, meat grading and certification), research laboratories, biotechnical industries, chemical/pharmaceutical companies, genetics and nutrition companies, and allied industry associations. 

Beginning annual salaries for recent graduates with a bachelor’s degree generally start at $40,000 and at $55,000 with a master’s degree.

Mariette Benage, Director of Student Recruitment and Development
Department of Animal Sciences
116 Animal Science Building
2027 Coffey Road
Columbus, OH 43210

Students have the opportunity to apply their knowledge and develop their skills from harvest to fully-cooked value-added products in the Meat Science Laboratory — a fully equipped federally inspected processing facility within the Animal Sciences Building.

Interested in a career in the STEM fields?

Check out the STEM Pathway to discover the many majors Ohio State offers that can lead to a career in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.