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.
The name was changed to the Animal Science Department in 1963, at which time a curriculum in Range Management was offered. In 1967, the Poultry Department was combined with the Department of Animal Science. In 1982, the name was changed to the Department of Animal and Range Sciences. In 2011 the name reverted to the Department of Animal Science, due to the transfer of the Range Science staff and curriculum to the newly-formed Natural Resource Management Department.
The Animal Science Complex currently houses a majority of the Animal Science staff. The building was dedicated in May of 1977.