Poultry science students focus on the biology of domestic birds, including chickens, turkeys, ducks and geese. Courses cover physiology, nutrition, and health, as well as husbandry and business management related to poultry. Processing of meat and eggs and their role as healthy foods are important aspects included in the major. The poultry science curriculum is useful for any student who wants to learn the basics of bird biology and/or poultry production.

Career opportunities for poultry science graduates exceed the number of graduates and may be found in production, marketing, sales, and technical services for the live bird industry or its food products (meat or eggs). The Department of Animal Sciences may be consulted for specific career information and information about courses required for the Bachelor of Science degree program.

Many courses for the poultry science major are offered only during summer, when students from around the Midwest travel to UW–Madison to take poultry science courses unavailable at their home schools. The course offerings reflect the role of the UW poultry science program and its collaboration with the Midwest Poultry Consortium. Faculty from many midwestern universities assist in teaching the summer courses.

The department has numerous poultry-related scholarships available, and internships with poultry companies are strongly suggested.

A student majoring in poultry science is placed in the bachelor of science degree program. This program is flexible enough to meet the individual needs and interests of the student.

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
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 options: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
Poultry Science Core
AN SCI/DY SCI 101 Introduction to Animal Sciences4
AN SCI 314 Poultry Nutrition 23
AN SCI 315 Poultry Enterprise Management 23
AN SCI 503 Avian Physiology 23
AN SCI 508 Poultry Products Technology 23
AN SCI 511 Breeder Flock and Hatchery Management 23
AN SCI 512 Management for Avian Health 23
Poultry Science Depth
Select 12 credits from poultry science depth courses12
Select one emphasis area24-25
AN SCI 435 Animal Sciences Proseminar2
Total Credits89-96

Depth Courses

Select 12 credits from the following:12
AN SCI 220 Growth, Composition and Evaluation of Meat Animals4
AN SCI/​DY SCI/​NUTR SCI  311 Comparative Animal Nutrition3
AN SCI/​DY SCI  313 Animal Feeds and Diet Formulation1
AN SCI/​FOOD SCI  321 Food Laws and Regulations1
AN SCI/​DY SCI  361 Introduction to Animal and Veterinary Genetics2
AN SCI/​DY SCI  362 Veterinary Genetics2
or AN SCI/​DY SCI  363 Principles of Animal Breeding
AN SCI/​DY SCI  370 Livestock Production and Health in Agricultural Development 13
AN SCI/​DY SCI  373 Animal Physiology 23
or AN SCI/​DY SCI  434 Reproductive Physiology
AN SCI 415 Application of Monogastric Nutrition Principles2
AN SCI/​FOOD SCI  515 Commercial Meat Processing2
AN SCI/​F&W ECOL/​ZOOLOGY  520 Ornithology3
AN SCI/​F&W ECOL/​ZOOLOGY  521 Birds of Southern Wisconsin3
FOOD SCI 512 Principles of Food Chemistry-Lab2
M M & I/​MICROBIO/​PATH-BIO  528 Immunology3
MICROBIO 303 Biology of Microorganisms3
MICROBIO 304 Biology of Microorganisms Laboratory2
ZOOLOGY/​ENTOM/​M M & I/​PATH-BIO  350 Parasitology3
Up to 3 credits from courses listed below can go toward the 12 credits required:
Coordinative Internship/Cooperative Education
Senior Honor Thesis
Senior Honors Thesis
Special Problems

Emphasis Courses

Science Emphasis

BIOCHEM 501 Introduction to Biochemistry3
CHEM 343 Introductory Organic Chemistry3
MATH 221 Calculus and Analytic Geometry 15
PHYSICS 103 General Physics4
Select 9 credits from the following:9
Introductory Organic Chemistry Laboratory
Intermediate Organic Chemistry
Food Chemistry
Biology of Microorganisms
Biology of Microorganisms Laboratory
General Physics
Total Credits24

Business Emphasis

A A E 215 Introduction to Agricultural and Applied Economics 13
or ECON 101 Principles of Microeconomics
A A E 320 Farming Systems Management3
A A E 322 Commodity Markets3
M H R 305 Human Resource Management3
BMOLCHEM 314 Introduction to Human Biochemistry3
Select 9 credits from the following:9
Agricultural Finance
Accounting Principles
Plant Nutrition Management
Introduction to Finance
Marketing Management
Calculus and Analytic Geometry 1
Managing Organizations
Biology of Microorganisms
Biology of Microorganisms Laboratory
General Physics
General Soil Science
Total Credits24

Honors in the Major

Admission to the Honors Program is not competitive provided students meet the required admission criteria.

Admission Criteria for New Freshmen:

  • In the upper 10% of their high school graduating class
  • ACT score of 28 or higher
  • SAT score of at least 1240

Admission Criteria for Transfer and Continuing UW-Madison Students:

  • UW-Madison cumulative GPA of at least 3.25

Highly motivated students can apply for admission to the program in the absence of these requirements by including a letter with their application addressed to the Honors Dean in 116 Agricultural Hall explaining why they should be in the program.

How to Apply

Apply to the program online or pick up an application in the Office of Academic Affairs, 116 Agricultural Hall. Applications are accepted at any time.

New freshmen will automatically be enrolled in Honors in Research. It is possible to switch to Honors in the Major in the student’s first semester on campus after meeting with the advisor for that major by completing the application form and selecting Honors in the Major. Transfer and continuing students may apply directly to Honors in Research or Honors in the Major (after meeting with the major advisor).

How to Cancel Participation

Students who are no longer interested in pursuing Honors should complete the form to cancel their participation. Students may cancel their participation at any time, and this will not be noted on the student’s transcript.


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) 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. Demonstrate their knowledge through rigorous examination and demonstration through hands‐on instructional laboratory activities.

2. (Analytical processing) 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. 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 o f 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) 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) 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.

Four-Year Plan

Sample Poultry Science Four-Year Plan

AN SCI/​DY SCI  1014CHEM 104 (unless took 109)5 
CHEM 103 or 10914MATH 113 (unless took 114)3 
MATH 114 or 11215Humanities3 
First Year Seminar1Emphasis Course23-4 
 17 14-15 
Emphasis Course3Emphasis Course5AN SCI 51133
Ethnic or Int'l Studies3Social Science 3AN SCI 50833
Elective3Int'l or Ethnic Studies3 
 14 16 9
GENETICS 4663STAT 3713AN SCI 51233
Emphasis Courses6Emphasis Course4AN SCI 31433
Poultry Sci Depth Course42Poultry Sci Depth Course4-5AN SCI 31533
 14 14-15 9
AN SCI 4352  
Emphasis Course4  
Poultry Sci Depth Courses6  
AN SCI Independent Study1-3  
Total Credits 123-127

All students receive individualized advising from their academic advisors. Students are assigned a faculty advisor upon declaration of the major. Interested students should contact Kathy Monson (, 608-263-5225) with questions.

Career opportunities for poultry science graduates exceed the number of graduates and may be found in production, marketing, sales, and technical services for the live bird industry or its food products (meat or eggs). Internships and research experience are encouraged.

Recommended Animal Sciences Electives
Animal Handling
Career Orientation Animal/Poultry Sciences
The Biology and Appreciation of Companion Animals
Advanced Meat Animal Evaluation Lab
Horse Science and Management
Independent Study
Food Laws and Regulations
Special Topics
Study Abroad in Animal Sciences
Laboratory Techniques in Mammalian Gamete and Embryo Biology


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

Associate Professor

Sindelar (Extension)

Assistant Professor


Instructional Staff

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

Undergraduates majoring in poultry science at UW–Madison will find an inclusive, welcoming community where professors know their students and are able to provide guidance based on students’ specific academic and career goals. There are numerous opportunities to conduct research with faculty and to take part in the Wisconsin Idea, whereby faculty and students extend the knowledge developed at the university to stakeholders in Wisconsin and beyond for the betterment of society.

Students majoring in poultry science are involved in a wide variety of opportunities across campus. Students are highly encouraged to complement their coursework with out-of-classroom experiences such as clubs, research, volunteering, internships, and study abroad.

By joining one of the several clubs listed below, majors get to know their fellow students outside the classroom. The following opportunities can help students connect with other students interested in poultry science and other biological science majors, build relationships with faculty and staff, and contribute to out-of-classroom learning.

  • Pre Vet Club
  • Poultry Club
  • Badger Meat Science Club
  • Saddle and Sirloin Club
  • Hoofer Riding Club
  • Badger Dairy Club
  • Collegiate FFA
  • Association of Women in Agriculture
  • Meat Lab/Bucky’s Butchery: Interested in meat science? The meat-processing facilities within the poultry science department apply many food science principles and provide a unique opportunity for students to get hands-on experience with all aspects of meat production.
  • Study Abroad: Poultry science majors have the opportunity to go on experiential study abroad programs, where they can immerse themselves in research or global, animal field experiences. Students can review the International Academic Programs website and the CALS study abroad advising page for information on these and other programs, as well as requirements that can typically be fulfilled abroad and things to consider when fitting study abroad into an academic plan.
  • Research/Lab Experience: Students are encouraged to get involved in research, whether in the poultry science department or through other biology -elated departments. Research can be performed for either course credit or pay, depending on the opportunity. Research opportunities can be found primarily by contacting faculty members.

Students are also involved in prehealth organizations, volunteer and shadowing opportunities, publishing in an undergraduate science journal, biotechnology and agricultural internships, and other related experiences on and off campus.