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Department of Animal Science

Building the educational foundation for future leaders in the animal industry

Tomorrow's animal and natural resources industries leaders gain the educational foundation they need in the Department of Animal Science. These future leaders study under a dynamic faculty who not only teach but also set the pace with important research and aggressive outreach via Extension.

Throughout our curriculum, a student-centered focus allows ample room for growth and success, including scholarship opportunities and several enterprising clubs.

With our multi-disciplinary approaches towards production efficiency, product enhancement, and natural resources management, both our undergraduate and our graduate students gain strong skill sets. Graduates of our program see career options unfold in a diverse and growing range of employment areas, from animal-related industries to natural resources management.

Many graduate students devise their own research, or partner with faculty in our many facilities and laboratories, to solve the challenges of 21st century animal agriculture and environmental stewardship.

News of the Department of Animal Science (NODAS)

Our Animal Science Department newsletter is archived by the library on OpenPRAIRIE.

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Animal Science academics

Animal Science is the study of animals and animal products. The Animal Science discipline includes education about the technology of breeding, feeding, producing, managing, evaluating, and marketing animals, as well as the processing and marketing of animal products.

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Animal Science FAQ

Have questions about Animal Science or majoring in Animal Science?

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Activities/Student Organizations/Clubs

Several student clubs and organizations are affiliated with the Department of Animal Science, and Department faculty serve as club advisors and are supportive of all club functions and events.

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Study abroad courses

Follow our students' adventures

SDSU 2016 China Ag Travel
This blog follows SDSU students on a study trip to China

SDSU 2016 Australia Ag Travel Class
This blog follows SDSU students on a  study trip to Australia.

More past blogs

Animal Science research

Research in the Department of Animal Science is under the auspices of the South Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station. Additionally, research funding to support this mission is obtained from grants through federal agencies, commodity organizations, and private industry. Many of our faculty publications have been archived on OpenPRAIRIE.

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SDSU Extension Animal Science

Animal agriculture is a major economic driver in South Dakota, and SDSU Extension personnel in the Department of Animal Science provide livestock producers, allied industry members, and general citizens the most current technical information available in order to help them be competitive in a global market.

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Animal Science facilities

Excellent facilities and large herds and flocks of livestock are available for Animal Science research and teaching at South Dakota State University.

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Animal Science Department history

Dakota Agricultural College was provided for by the Fourteenth Legislative Assembly of the Dakota Territory in 1881. In 1883, the Legislative Assembly provided for the erection of the first building and one year later (1884) the college was opened for students. In 1908, animal husbandry was given departmental status.

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2015 Ag Ambassador Award

Congratulations to Dr. Thaler, this year's Ag Ambassador Award recipient. Watch this video from South Dakota Public Broadcasting to learn more about Dr. Thaler. 

Dr. Thaler has been a professor and South Dakota State University (SDSU) Extension Swine Specialist for 26 years. He played a critical role in raising funds for the future SDSU swine research facility. He twice earned the “Dedicated and Distinguished Service Award” and was last year awarded the Pork All American from the South Dakota Pork Producers. He has served multiple terms on the National Pork Board’s Swine Educators Executive Committee. Dr. Thaler has also taught multiple classes at SDSU helping prepare future farmers and ranchers, and was recognized as the Ag-Bio College’s Teacher of the Year twice.