Animal science students focus on the biology of domesticated animals, including cattle, goats, horses, poultry, sheep, swine, as well as meat derived from the traditional meat animal species. Some attention is directed toward the companion animal species, including dogs and cats. The major emphasizes integration of biological principles from the gene to the organ to the herd or flock. Core courses in the major include animal breeding, veterinary genetics, animal physiology, reproductive physiology, comparative animal nutrition, animal health, and meat science. Additional courses include career orientation, animal handling, assessing animal welfare, biology of companion animals, composition of meat animals, human/animal symbiosis, ruminant nutrition, monogastric nutrition, sheep production, beef cattle production, swine production, equine business, livestock production in agricultural development, and laboratory techniques in mammalian gamete and embryo biology.

The major offers a science track which includes math, physics, organic chemistry and biochemistry for students with interests in postgraduate work in veterinary medicine, medicine, animal science or other graduate programs. The major also offers a business emphasis which includes economics, accounting, marketing, farm management, commodity markets, agricultural finance, and other courses from the School of Business.

Career opportunities exist in the meat, artificial insemination, feed, agri-business, agri-marketing and biotechnology industries. Occasionally, students have found positions within zoos. All students receive individualized attention from their academic advisor. The Department has several livestock- and meat-related scholarships. Internships and research experience are encouraged. Numerous graduates have completed double majors with Life Science Communication, Poultry Science, Genetics, and departments outside of CALS such as Spanish, according to the interests and aspirations of the student.

A student majoring in animal sciences is placed in the bachelor of science degree program.  Completion of the degree program in four years is the norm.

To declare this major, students must be admitted to UW–Madison and the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS). For information about becoming a CALS first-year or transfer student, see Entering the College.

Students who attend Student Orientation, Advising, and Registration (SOAR) with the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences have the option to declare this major at SOAR.  Students may otherwise declare after they have begun their undergraduate studies. For more information, contact the advisor listed under the Advising and Careers tab.

University General Education Requirements

All undergraduate students at the University of Wisconsin–Madison are required to fulfill a minimum set of common university general education requirements to ensure that every graduate acquires the essential core of an undergraduate education. This core establishes a foundation for living a productive life, being a citizen of the world, appreciating aesthetic values, and engaging in lifelong learning in a continually changing world. Various schools and colleges will have requirements in addition to the requirements listed below. Consult your advisor for assistance, as needed. For additional information, see the university Undergraduate General Education Requirements section of the Guide.

General Education
  • Breadth—Humanities/Literature/Arts: 6 credits
  • Breadth—Natural Science: 4 to 6 credits, consisting of one 4- or 5-credit course with a laboratory component; or two courses providing a total of 6 credits
  • Breadth—Social Studies: 3 credits
  • Communication Part A & Part B *
  • Ethnic Studies *
  • Quantitative Reasoning Part A & Part B *

* The mortarboard symbol appears before the title of any course that fulfills one of the Communication Part A or Part B, Ethnic Studies, or Quantitative Reasoning Part A or Part B requirements.

College of Agricultural and Life Sciences Requirements

In addition to the University General Education Requirements, all undergraduate students in CALS must satisfy a set of college and major requirements. Specific requirements for all majors in the college and other information on academic matters can be obtained from the Office of Academic Affairs, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, 116 Agricultural Hall, 1450 Linden Drive, Madison, WI 53706; 608-262-3003. Academic departments and advisors also have information on requirements. Courses may not double count within university requirements (General Education and Breadth) or within college requirements (First-Year Seminar, International Studies and Science), but courses counted toward university requirements may also be used to satisfy a college and/or a major requirement; similarly, courses counted toward college requirements may also be used to satisfy a university and/or a major requirement.

College Requirements for all CALS B.S. Degree Programs

Quality of Work: Students must maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.000 to remain in good standing and be eligible for graduation.
Residency: Students must complete 30 degree credits in residence at UW–Madison after earning 86 credits toward their undergraduate degree.
First Year Seminar1
International Studies3
Physical Science Fundamentals4-5
General Chemistry I
Chemistry in Our World
Advanced General Chemistry
Biological Science5
Additional Science (Biological, Physical, or Natural)3
Science Breadth (Biological, Physical, Natural, or Social)3
CALS Capstone Learning Experience: included in the requirements for each CALS major (see "Major Requirements")

Major Requirements

Courses may not double count within the major (unless specifically noted otherwise), but courses counted toward the major requirements may also be used to satisfy a university requirement and/or a college requirement. A minimum of 15 credits must be completed in the major that are not used elsewhere.

Mathematics and Statistics
Select one of the following (or may be satisfied by placement exam): 15-6
and Trigonometry
Algebra and Trigonometry
Select one of the following:3-4
Introduction to Statistical Methods
Introductory Applied Statistics for the Life Sciences
Statistical Methods for Bioscience I
Select one of the following:5-10
General Chemistry I
and General Chemistry II
Advanced General Chemistry
Chemical Principles I
and Chemical Principles II
Select one of the following:13
Option 1:
Introductory Biology
Introductory Biology
Option 2:
Animal Biology
Animal Biology Laboratory
General Botany
Option 3:
Evolution, Ecology, and Genetics
Evolution, Ecology, and Genetics Laboratory
Cellular Biology
Cellular Biology Laboratory
GENETICS 466 Principles of Genetics3
Animal Sciences Core 2
AN SCI/DY SCI 101 Introduction to Animal Sciences4
AN SCI/FOOD SCI 305 Introduction to Meat Science and Technology4
AN SCI/DY SCI/NUTR SCI 311 Comparative Animal Nutrition3
AN SCI/​DY SCI  320 Animal Health and Disease Management3
AN SCI/DY SCI 361 Introduction to Animal and Veterinary Genetics2
Select one of the following:2
Veterinary Genetics
Principles of Animal Breeding
Select one of the following:3
Animal Physiology
Reproductive Physiology
Animal Science Depth
Select 12 credits from animal science depth courses 212
Select an emphasis24-25
AN SCI 435 Animal Sciences Proseminar2
Total Credits88-96

Science Emphasis students may choose to complete MATH 171 Calculus with Algebra and Trigonometry I and MATH 217 Calculus with Algebra and Trigonometry II in place of MATH 114 Algebra and Trigonometry and MATH 221 Calculus and Analytic Geometry 1.


A course cannot be used for credit in both the Core and Depth within Major sections.

Depth Courses

Select 12 credits from the following:
AN SCI 220 Growth, Composition and Evaluation of Meat Animals4
AN SCI/DY SCI 313 Animal Feeds and Diet Formulation1
AN SCI/DY SCI 370 Livestock Production and Health in Agricultural Development 13
AN SCI/DY SCI 362 Veterinary Genetics2
or AN SCI/DY SCI 363 Principles of Animal Breeding
Select one of the following:3
Animal Physiology 2
Reproductive Physiology
Laboratory Techniques in Mammalian Gamete and Embryo Biology
AN SCI/DY SCI 414 Ruminant Nutrition2
AN SCI 415 Application of Monogastric Nutrition Principles2
AN SCI 430 Sheep Production3
AN SCI 431 Beef Cattle Production3
AN SCI 432 Swine Production3
AN SCI 433 Equine Business & Management3
AN SCI/FOOD SCI 515 Commercial Meat Processing2
Up to 3 credits from courses listed below can go toward the required 12 credits of depth:3
Coordinative Internship/Cooperative Education
Senior Honor Thesis
Senior Honors Thesis
Special Problems

Meets CALS International Studies requirement.


PHYSIOL 335 Physiology can substitute for AN SCI/​DY SCI  373 Animal Physiology in the An Sci Depth section only.

Emphasis Courses

Science Emphasis

MATH 221 Calculus and Analytic Geometry 15
or MATH 217 Calculus with Algebra and Trigonometry II
PHYSICS 103 General Physics4
CHEM 343 Introductory Organic Chemistry3
BIOCHEM 501 Introduction to Biochemistry3
or BMOLCHEM 503 Human Biochemistry
Select 9 credits from the following:9
Introductory Organic Chemistry Laboratory
Intermediate Organic Chemistry
Biology of Microorganisms
Biology of Microorganisms Laboratory
General Physics
Animal Behavior
Total Credits24

Business Emphasis

Up to two courses may be applied to Certificate in Business Mgmt. for Ag. & Life Sciences.

A A E 215 Introduction to Agricultural and Applied Economics 13
or ECON 101 Principles of Microeconomics
Select one of the following:3
Human Resource Management
Fundamentals of Accounting and Finance for Non-Business Majors
Fundamentals of Management and Marketing for Non-Business Majors
Select one of the following:3
Introduction to Human Biochemistry
Elementary Organic Chemistry
Introduction to Biochemistry
A A E 320 Farming Systems Management3
A A E 322 Commodity Markets3
Select 9 credits from the following:9
Agricultural Finance
Introductory Financial Accounting
Accounting Principles
Plant Nutrition Management
Introduction to Finance
Managing Organizations
Marketing Management
Calculus with Algebra and Trigonometry II
Calculus and Analytic Geometry 1
Biology of Microorganisms
Biology of Microorganisms Laboratory
General Physics
General Soil Science
Total Credits24

A A E 215 Introduction to Agricultural and Applied Economics not accepted as a prerequisite for some advanced Business courses. A A E 215 carries only QR-B credit if taken fall 2011 or later.

Honors in the Major

To earn Honors in the Major, students are required to take at least 20 honors credits. In addition, students must take AN SCI 681 Senior Honor Thesis and AN SCI 682 Senior Honors Thesis when completing their thesis project; please see the Honors in Major Checklist for more information.

University Degree Requirements

Total Degree To receive a bachelor's degree from UW–Madison, students must earn a minimum of 120 degree credits. The requirements for some programs may exceed 120 degree credits. Students should consult with their college or department advisor for information on specific credit requirements.
Residency Degree candidates are required to earn a minimum of 30 credits in residence at UW–Madison. "In residence" means on the UW–Madison campus with an undergraduate degree classification. “In residence” credit also includes UW–Madison courses offered in distance or online formats and credits earned in UW–Madison Study Abroad/Study Away programs.
Quality of Work Undergraduate students must maintain the minimum grade point average specified by the school, college, or academic program to remain in good academic standing. Students whose academic performance drops below these minimum thresholds will be placed on academic probation.
  1. Knowledge and comprehension.  Our students develop the working vocabulary of an animal scientist, a working knowledge of the basic anatomy, biochemistry, physiology, and genetics of animal and meat biology, and the applied nutrition, breeding, product harvest and processing skills, necessary to manage animal production systems. Students demonstrate their knowledge through rigorous examination and demonstration through hands-on instructional laboratory activities.
  2. Analytical processing. Our students develop the ability to reduce complex datasets and scientific information into meaningful relationships and correlations, and using the scientific literature, they can develop hypotheses to test the cause of predicted relationships using the scientific method. Students demonstrate these skills through a senior capstone experience and through individualized research opportunities and instructional activities.
  3. Integration for application.  When faced with real world problems which they have never confronted, our students are able to apply their knowledge to develop solutions. In addition, our students are capable of identifying problems yet to be investigated and in need of advanced study. The student’s ability to integrate and apply their knowledge is demonstrated through our internship programs, animal related job experiences, club activities, and problems sets that students solve in exams and laboratory settings.
  4. Critical thinking.  Students find their sources of information using peer reviewed research articles. They learn not only to question popular press, but understand that even in the scientific literature there are contradictory findings. They have the capacity to synthesize scientific literature such that they can communicate a position backed with strong scientific support. These skills are demonstrated through the reading, writing and discussion of science-based papers in key courses during their educational process and through an oral presentation in their capstone course.
  5. Effective communication.  Students graduate from our department with the ability to communicate, both in writing and orally, the science behind the biology and management of domestically farmed animals. Their communications provide new insights into animal production, and are explained in a manner fitting with the audience. Our students’ ability to communicate is measured by their effectiveness in presenting research posters and presentations, their analysis of the literature in papers and presentations in class and during their senior capstone course.
AN SCI/​DY SCI  1014CHEM 1045
CHEM 1034Social Science3-4
MATH 114 or 11213-5AN SCI Elective1-3
COMM-A3MATH 113 (or Elective)3
First-Year Seminar1Humanities3
 15-17 15-18
ZOOLOGY/​BIOLOGY/​BOTANY  1515Emphasis Course3
Emphasis Course23Emphasis or Depth Course3
Ethnic/International Studies3AN SCI/​FOOD SCI  3054
Emphasis or Depth Course3-4ZOOLOGY/​BIOLOGY/​BOTANY  1525
 14-15 15
Emphasis Course3AN SCI/​DY SCI/​NUTR SCI  3113
STAT 3713An Sci Depth33
AN SCI/​DY SCI  4343AN SCI/​DY SCI  3203
GENETICS 4663Emphasis Course3
Emphasis Course3Select one of the following4
 15 16
AN SCI 4352An Sci Depth6
An Sci Depth3Independent Study41-3
Emphasis Course4Electives6
 15 13-15
Total Credits 118-126

If placed into MATH 112 Algebra, you must defer CHEM 103 General Chemistry I until Spring semester.


Choose Science or Business Emphasis; see Requirements tab for details.


12 credits required; see Requirements tab for options.


Select from AN SCI 289 Honors Independent Study, AN SCI 699 Special Problems, AN SCI 681 Senior Honor Thesis, AN SCI 682 Senior Honors Thesis, AN SCI 299 Independent Study, or AN SCI 399 Coordinative Internship/Cooperative Education.

All students receive individualized advising from their academic advisors. The department has several livestock and meat-related scholarships.  Internships and research experience are encouraged. Numerous graduates have completed double majors with Life Science Communication, Poultry Science, Genetics , and departments outside of CALS such as Spanish, according to the interests and aspirations of the student. Students are assigned a faculty advisor upon declaration of the major. Interested students should contact Kathy Monson (608-263-5225) with questions.

Career opportunities exist in the meat, artificial insemination, feed, agri-business, agri-marketing and biotechnology industries. Occasionally, students have found positions within zoos. Many students pursue graduate education in veterinary medicine, medicine, animal science, or other programs.


Albrecht, Claus, Cook, Crenshaw (chair), Gianola, Khatib, Kirkpatrick, Parrish, Reed, Richards, Rosa, Schaefer, Thomas

Associate Professor

Sindelar (Extension)

Assistant Professor


Instructional Staff

Barry, Kean, Monson, O'Rourke, Russell, Sandberg