Fall Deadline August 1
Spring Deadline December 1
Summer Deadline May 1
GRE (Graduate Record Examinations) Required.
English Proficiency Test Every applicant whose native language is not English or whose undergraduate instruction was not in English must provide an English proficiency test score and meet the Graduate School minimum requirements (
Other Test(s) (e.g., GMAT, MCAT) n/a
Letters of Recommendation Required 3

Students with satisfactory undergraduate training in any biological science including emphasis on basic science courses will have suitable backgrounds for graduate studies in Animal Sciences. Typically students admitted to the program have GPAs of 3.2 or higher; candidates with a lower GPA may be considered for admission under special circumstances. Admission decisions are based on academic record, GRE scores, three letters of recommendation, and Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS), if applicable.

Students are admitted to the program if a faculty member agrees to accept the candidate into his or her research group and to provide laboratory/desk space and research support, and upon the approval of the Animal Sciences Graduate Admissions Committee and the Graduate School. The faculty member also makes the decision of whether or not to offer a research assistantship to the candidate. International candidates in the Master of Science program rarely receive financial support.

Graduate School Resources

Resources to help you afford graduate study might include assistantships, fellowships, traineeships, and financial aid. Further funding information is available from the Graduate School. Be sure to check with your program for individual policies and restrictions related to funding.

Program Resources

Financial assistance may be available to qualified individuals in the form of research assistantships, teaching assistantships, or fellowships. Funding does not come from the department, but from the faculty member agreeing to advise the new student; therefore students join labs directly instead of doing rotations. Funding is awarded on a competitive basis and may be renewed annually pending satisfactory progress. Terms of these appointments are initially defined in the letter of offer to the student.

Minimum Graduate School Requirements

Review the Graduate School minimum academic progress and degree requirements, in addition to the program requirements listed below.

Major Requirements


Face to Face Evening/Weekend Online Hybrid Accelerated
Yes No No No No

Mode of Instruction Definitions


Minimum Credit Requirement 51 credits
Minimum Residence Credit Requirement 32 credits
Minimum Graduate Coursework Requirement Half of degree coursework (26 credits out of 51 total credits) must be completed graduate-level coursework; courses with the Graduate Level Coursework attribute are identified and searchable in the university's Course Guide (
Overall Graduate GPA Requirement 3.00 GPA required.
Other Grade Requirements The Graduate School requires an average grade of B or better in all coursework (300 or above, not including research credits) taken as a graduate student unless conditions for probationary status require higher grades. Grades of Incomplete are considered to be unsatisfactory if they are not removed during the next enrolled semester.
Assessments and Examinations The original research conducted by the candidate must be summarized in a thesis. A final examination will be given after the completion of the thesis. The thesis must be submitted to the examining committee two weeks before the examination. The candidate is required to present an exit seminar on their dissertation research and to subsequently defend the thesis orally. The thesis must be acceptable from both scientific and literary standpoints. The mentoring committee administers the thesis defense. Deposit of the doctoral dissertation in the Graduate School is required.
Language Requirements Language requirements are determined on an individual basis with the major professor and will depend on the area of concentration within the department.
Doctoral Minor/Breadth Requirements The Animal Sciences program requires Ph.D. students to complete a minor.

Required COURSES

All Animal Sciences Ph.D. students must meet with their research committee during their first year to complete their Certification Form. Once the committee has approved the certification paperwork the student must turn in the signed copy to the Graduate Coordinator so that it may be reviewed and approved by the graduate chair. The certification paperwork must be approved before a student can request their prelim warrant.  Students should meet with their committee once per year. Any changes to the certification paperwork must be communicated to the graduate coordinator and approved by the graduate chair.

Students graduating with a Ph.D. in Animal Sciences are expected to have core education in the following areas:

  • Physiology/endocrinology/reproduction
  • Biochemistry/nutrition
  • Genetics/breeding
  • Food science/meat science/ food safety/microbiology
  • STAT/​F&W ECOL/​HORT  571 Statistical Methods for Bioscience I, STAT/​F&W ECOL/​HORT  572 Statistical Methods for Bioscience II, or equivalent
  • A course in ethics
  • Teaching practicum with Delta or MIU Workshop training.

Courses taken prior to entering the Animal Sciences program will be considered as a substitute. 

Seminar Requirement

The Animal Sciences Graduate seminar features outside speakers, UW faculty, and Animal Sciences graduate students presenting their research or defending their thesis. This course is held on Tuesday mornings during the fall semester from 11 a.m. to noon.  Attendance is required at this seminar series by all Animal Sciences graduate students. Ph.D. students are required to register for the AN SCI 875 Special Topics (Animal Science Seminar) for credit twice. Although attendance is required, registering for the seminar for credit is done the semester a student presents.

Teaching Requirement

All students in the Animal Sciences Ph.D. program are required to complete a Teaching Practicum, usually AN SCI 799 Practicum in Animal Sciences Teaching. Each student is expected to work with the faculty advisor to identify an opportunity within the department for the student to engage in teaching. This requirement is broadly defined, and could include assisting an Animal Sciences faculty member with classroom teaching or TA’ing in a course outside of the department.

Enrollment Requirement

The program requires all funded students to be enrolled full time. For M.S. students this means at least 8 credits in the fall and spring term and at least 2 credits in the summer term. Students funded by another program should check with the payroll and benefits coordinator of that department to learn their requirements for enrollment. Unfunded students should follow the Graduate School’s rules on enrollment.

The remainder of the course requirements for the Ph.D. in Animal Sciences will be selected to meet the student's specific needs and to ensure breadth and depth as determined through consultation with his/her major professor and members of their committee.

Animal Nutrition Track1,2

Recommended courses for the Ph.D. degree:
Ruminant Nutritional Physiology I
and Ruminant Nutritional Physiology II
Seminar in Animal Nutrition
Advanced Nutrition: Intermediary Metabolism of Macronutrients
Advanced Nutrition: Minerals
Advanced Nutrition: Vitamins
Veterinary Physiology B
Veterinary Physiology A

 Animal Breeding & Genetics Track1

Seminar in Animal Breeding (every semester)
Principles of Genetics
Statistical Methods for Bioscience I
and Statistical Methods for Bioscience II
PhD students with a quantitative bent are also required to complete:
Quantitative Genetics
Special Topics (Linear Models for Quantitative Genetics or Molecular Genetics for Animal Breeding)

Endocrinology & Reproductive Physiology Track1

Select one course from each section A, B and C:
Statistical Methods for Bioscience I
Special Topics (Endocrine Physiology)
Cellular Signal Transduction Mechanisms
General Biochemistry I
and General Biochemistry II
Human Biochemistry
D. Advanced Biochemistry
Seminar in Endocrinology-Reproductive Physiology
F. Technical Writing
G. Advanced Statistics
H. Advanced Endocrinology
I. Advanced Reproduction
J. Advanced Topic Course. Select one of the following:
Gamete and Embryo Biology
Reproductive Patterns
Selected Topics in Endocrinology-Reproductive Physiology
Pregnancy, Parturition, and Lactation

Meat Science & Muscle Biology Track1

Students should choose courses from the following list in consultation with their advisor:
Introduction to Meat Science and Technology 2
Poultry Products Technology 2
Commercial Meat Processing 2
Chemistry of the Food Lipids
Introduction to Biochemistry
General Biochemistry I
General Biochemistry II
Nutritional Biochemistry and Metabolism
Principles of Human Disease and Biotechnology
Protein and Enzyme Structure and Function
Eukaryotic Molecular Biology
Mechanisms of Enzyme Action
Cellular Signal Transduction Mechanisms
Biophysical Chemistry
Instrumental Analysis
Food Chemistry
Food Analysis
Principles of Food Preservation
Principles of Food Engineering
Integrated Food Functionality
Integrated Food Manufacturing
Fermented Foods and Beverages
Food Proteins
Food and Pharmaceutical Separations
Food Microbiology Laboratory
Food Microbiology
Physiology of Microorganisms
Advanced Laboratory Techniques in Microbiology
Advanced Microbial Genetics
Molecular Biology Techniques
Statistical Methods for Bioscience I 3
Statistical Methods for Bioscience II
Comparative Anatomy of Vertebrates
Introduction to Animal Development
Cell Biology
Comparative and Evolutionary Physiology
Comparative Physiology Laboratory

Graduate School Policies

The Graduate School’s Academic Policies and Procedures provide essential information regarding general university policies. Program authority to set degree policies beyond the minimum required by the Graduate School lies with the degree program faculty. Policies set by the academic degree program can be found below.

Major-Specific Policies

Prior Coursework

Graduate Work from Other Institutions

For well-prepared advanced students, the program may accept prior graduate coursework from other institutions toward the minimum graduate degree credit and minimum graduate coursework (50%) requirement. The minimum graduate residence credit requirement can be satisfied only with courses taken as a graduate student at UW–Madison.

UW–Madison Undergraduate

For well-prepared advanced students, the program may decide to accept up to 7 credits numbered 300 or above completed at UW–Madison toward fulfillment of minimum degree and minor credit requirements. This work would not be allowed to count toward the 50% graduate coursework minimum unless taken at the 700 level or above.

UW–Madison University Special

The program may decide to accept up to 15 University Special student credits as fulfillment of the minimum graduate residence, graduate degree, or minor credit requirements on occasion as an exception (on a case-by-case basis).

UW–Madison coursework taken as a University Special student would not be allowed to count toward the 50% graduate coursework minimum unless taken at the 700 level or above.


The Graduate School regularly reviews the record of any student who earned grades of BC, C, D, F, or Incomplete in a graduate course (300 or above), or grade of U in research credits. This review could result in academic probation with a hold on future enrollment or in being suspended from the Graduate School.


Every graduate student is required to have an advisor. To ensure that students are making satisfactory progress toward a degree, the Graduate School expects them to meet with their committee on a yearly basis. 

Your committee members advise and evaluate satisfactory progress, administer your final oral examination, evaluate your thesis, and sign your degree warrant. Your advisor chairs the committee. Ph.D. thesis committees must have at least five members representing more than one graduate program. Your committee must include three faculty members from the Animal Sciences program, and no more than four, and at least one faculty member outside the department at arm's length to the project.


15 credits

Time Constraints

Doctoral degree students who have been absent for ten or more consecutive years lose all credits that they have earned before their absence. Individual programs may count the coursework students completed prior to their absence for meeting program requirements; that coursework may not count toward Graduate School credit requirements.

A candidate for a doctoral degree who fails to take the final oral examination and deposit the dissertation within five years after passing the preliminary examination may by require to take another preliminary examination and to be admitted to candidacy a second time.

Grievances and Appeals

These resources may be helpful in addressing your concerns:

College of Agricultural and Life Sciences: Grievance Policy

In the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS), any student who feels unfairly treated by a member of the CALS faculty or staff has the right to complain about the treatment and to receive a prompt hearing. Some complaints may arise from misunderstandings or communication breakdowns and be easily resolved; others may require formal action. Complaints may concern any matter of perceived unfairness.

To ensure a prompt and fair hearing of any complaint, and to protect the rights of both the person complaining and the person at whom the complaint is directed, the following procedures are used in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. Any student, undergraduate or graduate, may use these procedures, except employees whose complaints are covered under other campus policies.

  1. The student should first talk with the person at whom the complaint is directed. Most issues can be settled at this level. Others may be resolved by established departmental procedures.
  2. If the student is unsatisfied, and the complaint involves any unit outside CALS, the student should seek the advice of the dean or director of that unit to determine how to proceed.
    1. If the complaint involves an academic department in CALS the student should proceed in accordance with item 3 below.
    2. If the grievance involves a unit in CALS that is not an academic department, the student should proceed in accordance with item 4 below.
  3. The student should contact the department’s grievance advisor within 120 calendar days of the alleged unfair treatment. The departmental administrator can provide this person’s name. The grievance advisor will attempt to resolve the problem informally within 10 working days of receiving the complaint, in discussions with the student and the person at whom the complaint is directed.
    1. If informal mediation fails, the student can submit the grievance in writing to the grievance advisor within 10 working days of the date the student is informed of the failure of the mediation attempt by the grievance advisor. The grievance advisor will provide a copy to the person at whom the grievance is directed.
    2. The grievance advisor will refer the complaint to a department committee that will obtain a written response from the person at whom the complaint is directed, providing a copy to the student. Either party may request a hearing before the committee. The grievance advisor will provide both parties a written decision within 20 working days from the date of receipt of the written complaint.
    3. If the grievance involves the department chairperson, the grievance advisor or a member of the grievance committee, these persons may not participate in the review.
    4. If not satisfied with departmental action, either party has 10 working days from the date of notification of the departmental committee action to file a written appeal to the CALS Equity and Diversity Committee. A subcommittee of this committee will make a preliminary judgement as to whether the case merits further investigation and review. If the subcommittee unanimously determines that the case does not merit further investigation and review, its decision is final. If one or more members of the subcommittee determine that the case does merit further investigation and review, the subcommittee will investigate and seek to resolve the dispute through mediation. If this mediation attempt fails, the subcommittee will bring the case to the full committee. The committee may seek additional information from the parties or hold a hearing. The committee will present a written recommendation to the dean who will provide a final decision within 20 working days of receipt of the committee recommendation.
  4. If the alleged unfair treatment occurs in a CALS unit that is not an academic department, the student should, within 120 calendar days of the alleged incident, take his/her grievance directly to the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs. The dean will attempt to resolve the problem informally within 10 working days of receiving the complaint. If this mediation attempt does not succeed the student may file a written complaint with the dean who will refer it to the CALS Equity and Diversity Committee. The committee will seek a written response from the person at whom the complaint is directed, subsequently following other steps delineated in item 3d above.


RAs, the most common appointment in this department, are hired for 12 months with compensation set on a university-wide basis. The department has a few TAs who assist in instruction, preparing materials, directing labs, grading lab exercises and exams, etc. Special fellowships and scholarships are available for outstanding students. Application instructions may be obtained from the Graduate School website. A graduate student may be employed to assist professors not directly associated with their thesis.

Graduate School Resources

Take advantage of the Graduate School's professional development resources to build skills, thrive academically, and launch your career. 

Program Resources

The Animal Sciences graduate programs encourage students to develop Individual Development Plans in collaboration with their major advisor to facilitate professional development. Besides the extensive opportunities offered across the campus at large, students in the animal sciences program also benefit from activities and  programs provided by the Animal Science Graduate Student Association, a student-led organization for graduate students at UW–Madison who are interested in animal and dairy science.

  1. Articulates research problems, potentials, and limits with respect to theory, knowledge, or practice within the field of study.
  2. Formulates ideas, concepts, designs, and/or techniques beyond the current boundaries of knowledge within the field of study.
  3. Creates research, scholarship, or performance that makes a substantive contribution.
  4. Demonstrates breadth within their learning experiences.
  5. Advances contributions of the field of study to society.
  6. Communicates complex ideas in a clear and understandable manner.
  7. Fosters ethical and professional conduct.

Animal and Dairy Sciences Department


Weigel (Chair), Khatib (Associate Chair), Cabrera, Claus, Crenshaw, Fricke, Kirkpatrick, Parrish, Reed, Richards, Ricke, Rosa, Sindelar, Wattiaux, Wiltbank

Associate Professors

Hernandez, White

Assistant Professors

Adcock, Arriola Apelo, Dorea, Ferraretto, Guo, Laporta, Leone, Peñagaricano, Shanmuganayagam, Van Os


Halbach, Kean, O’Rourke, Ronk, Williams

Student Services Coordinator

Liv Sandberg

Graduate Coordinator

Megan Sippel