Skip to main content
Close Search
Close Search

Animal Science academics

Feeding the world

Feeding the world. It is a big responsibility to which Animal Science graduates will contribute in many ways. The increasing global demand for high quality protein puts those that produce animals and food animal products in a powerful position. Whether you choose direct involvement with animals through managing a ranch, feedlot or swine operation, working with reproductive technologies or nutrition, or assuring the safety and quality of meat animal products, there is a certain gratification in knowing you are helping feed the world.

Not your typical classroom

New, premier beef and swine production facilities offer exciting opportunities! Design a unique plan from more than 50 courses, including capstone classes on cow-calf and feedlot management, horse, sheep and swine production, and value-added meats. Choose specialty courses in horse training, beef seedstock merchandising and livestock selection. Minor in Equine Studies or Meat Science. Experience hands-on learning by doing research in an actual cattle production environment. Work alongside scientists. Explore Australia or China. Visit producers of elite livestock. Bring your skills and ideas to life, creating a customized experience that is right for you!

Not your average first job

Strong demand for SDSU graduates in careers at Certified Angus Beef, Cenex/Harvest States, Tyson Foods, Zoetis, and Christensen Farms allow graduates to travel the country, or stay close to home. Faculty assist you in obtaining internships that often lead to these exciting careers. The United States Department of Agriculture estimates an annual shortage of 4,000 students with degrees in agriculture for some 45,000 ag-related positions, so there will be plenty of opportunities for you!

Fast Facts:

Undergraduate Students: 448
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 22:1
Student Organizations: 7
Scholarship Recipients: 130
Average Starting Salary: $40,000

Where can a degree in Animal Science take me?

Industry Specialization
Run a ranch, farm or agricultural company

Many electives allow you to concentrate your studies where you want to – for example, concentrating in economics/business courses prepares you for a career in livestock management, livestock agribusiness and marketing, credit or service industries.

Science Specialization
Improve techniques in animal care and production

Adding greater depth in math, chemistry and physical sciences to the animal science core sets you on a course for advanced work in graduate study, biotechnology, or other scientific/technical careers.

Science Specialization, Pre-Veterinary Medicine Focus
Stand out in health care for animals

Fulfilling veterinary medical school requirements by majoring in animal science gives you an extra edge in developing your nutrition and management skills with animals.

Equine Studies Minor
Gain specialized training in the horse industry

Providing instruction in equine health, nutrition, and training, along with stable management, this minor gives you an edge in equine careers.

Meat Science Minor
Develop a new, value-added meat products

Developing new products, creating a food safety plan, practicing quality assurance, and learning what affects the eating quality of meat products are just some of the things you’ll do in completing this minor.

Meet an Animal Science Professor

Cody Wright profile picture

Cody Wright
Position Title: Professor
Department: Animal Science
Area of Research:

  • Beef Cattle
  • Nutrition, Cow-Calf Management

Why did you choose a career at SDSU?

I am a born and bred Jackrabbit! Most of my family members are graduates …Six from the Department of Animal Science! As I was finishing my graduate work, a position opened at SDSU…a dream come true. Our program is unique because both teaching and research are heavily focused on production agriculture. The emphasis on students and stakeholders is what makes SDSU such a great place to work.

What have been some of your greatest accomplishments while at State?

I began as an Extension Beef Specialist where I was fortunate to help producers through programs on drought mitigation, ethanol co-products, and water quality. Later I truly found my passion in undergraduate teaching. Having been honored twice by the students in the College of Agriculture and Biological Sciences as Teacher of the Year is very special to me.

What do you enjoy most about SDSU?

Working with the students! Building relationships and trying to have a positive impact on students’ lives, be that inside or outside the classroom, is what I love about this job. They keep me young!

What piece of advice would you give new students?

Find your balance! College is a wonderful place to spread your wings and learn a lot about the world and about yourself. Take advantage of the opportunities to get involved in various activities and organizations, travel, meet new people, and enjoy the time you spend here, but don’t forget about why you are here…to get an education.

Meet more of our faculty!

Animal Science handout.




Last updated 12/27/16

Course catalog

For a full listing of program requirements and course offerings see the course catalog: 

Animal Science Undergraduate programs

The Department offers the baccalaureate degree with a major in Animal Science. Animal Science students have a choice of Industry or Science emphases. The Department has 16 full-time faculty members involved in the teaching program. There are more than 300 undergraduates enrolled, and over 1,500 students are served yearly in the 27 undergraduate courses offered by the department.

For more information

Minor & Certificate offerings

The Department of Animal Science offers several minors and a certificate:

For a full list of minors and certificates available at SDSU please see the course catalog.

Animal Science Graduate programs

The Department of Animal Science offers graduate programs leading to the Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in Animal Science, or the Doctor of Philosophy degree in Biological Sciences. Faculty and graduate students are actively involved in basic and/or applied research in the fields of nutrition, reproductive physiology, muscle biology, animal breeding, meat science, and animal production.

For more information

Animal Science Scholarships

Over $100,000 in scholarships are awarded by the Department to Animal Science majors each year! Scholarships are awarded to Jackrabbit Guarantee recipients, judging team members, and many other top students. Scholarships are an integral part of SDSU Animal Science. The Department appreciates the generosity of the organizations and individuals, as well as their families and friends that make scholarships available.

For more information

Animal Science Internships

Although not required for Animal Science majors, internships are required for the Equine Studies and Meat Science minors. Many students complete summer learning and work experiences in industry that are not for University credit. Students that complete internships for credit participate in an annual poster event where they share their experiences.

For more information

Summer training program in precision livestock production

This unique, competitive, two-year program is only available to Freshmen and Sophomore students pursuing a Bachelor’s degree who 1) are members of an ethnic minority group, and/or 2) qualify for Pell Grant Funding (i.e., economically disadvantaged students). In the first year of the program, trainees will live in Brookings, South Dakota for 10 weeks (May 29th to August 4th) and work with two faculty members on active research and extension projects involving farm animals. Trainees will learn cutting-edge research skills, develop scientific communication skills, and prepare themselves for pursuing graduate studies and/or a career that will help feed a growing worldwide population in an environmentally sustainable manner.

For more information

Study abroad courses

Follow our students' adventures

SDSU 2017 China Travel
This blog chronicles our class trip to China May 8th - 21st, 2017.

SDSU 2017 New Zealand Travel
This blog chronicles our class trip to New Zealand May 7th - May 23rd, 2017.

SDSU 2017 South Africa Travel
This blog chronicles our class trip to South Africa from March 3rd until March 12th, 2017.

More past blogs