Studying the biology of domesticated animals helps us better understand their health. The major addresses important issues related to animal health and welfare, biomedical advancements, food safety, precision livestock farming, and land and water stewardship.
Students in the Animal and Veterinary Biosciences major learn about cattle, swine, sheep, horses, poultry, and goats, as well as companion animals such as cats and dogs. They also examine recent discoveries connecting human and animal health.
The Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences is home to the undergraduate program in Animal and Veterinary Biosciences. The department produces skilled leaders in animal agriculture and sustainable food systems while embracing innovation and technology. A 10:1 student-faculty ratio and small classes allow for meaningful connections among students and instructors.
Students can take courses on an assortment of topics including animal breeding, veterinary genetics, animal health and welfare, physiology, and animal nutrition utilizing various animals as a vehicle for learning. The major offers a science-focused path for students interested in veterinary medicine, animal science, bioscience, or other graduate programs.
Learn through hands-on, real world experiences
The program emphasizes hands-on learning, and students choose from more than a dozen lab courses covering animal handling, reproductive biology, veterinary genetics, animal welfare, meat science and biologics, and more. Field courses look at international agriculture and sustainability. The department encourages Animal and Veterinary Biosciences majors to get involved with internships and research with faculty and staff.
Build community and networks
Animal and Veterinary Biosciences majors find a welcoming community where professors know their students and can provide guidance based on their specific goals. Outside of the classroom, students can join several student organizations including the Pre-Veterinary Association, Saddle and Sirloin Club, Poultry Club, Badger Dairy Club, and Badger Meat Science Club.
Customize a path of study
Students can choose from a variety of breadth and depth courses to explore their interests within the major, customizing their coursework to fit their career goals. Course flexibility allows students to complete several pre-veterinary requirements, a certificate, or double major within the curriculum. Students can elect to complete Honors in Animal and Veterinary Biosciences.
Make a strong start
The department offers an introductory seminar course that helps students maximize their education, develop professional skills, and make informed decisions about their classes, internships, and career path. Multiple Animal Sciences courses are open to first-year students offering additional opportunities to establish connections to the major.
Gain global perspective
Students are encouraged to study abroad; the department offers globally focused courses that look at livestock production, health, animal agriculture, and sustainable development. Students can explore studying abroad as an Animal and Veterinary Biosciences major utilizing the Animal and Veterinary Biosciences Major Advising Page. Students work with their advisor and the CALS study abroad office to identify appropriate programs.
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 in the Contact Box for the major.
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|| |
* 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. Courses may not double count within university requirements (General Education and Breadth) or within college requirements (First-Year Seminar, International Studies, Science, and Capstone), 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 Seminar||1|
|Physical Science Fundamentals||4-5|
|General Chemistry I|
or CHEM 108
|Chemistry in Our World|
or CHEM 109
|Advanced General Chemistry|
|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")|
Summary of Major Requirements
|Mathematics and Science Foundation||19-25|
|Animal & Veterinary Biosciences Core Requirements||37-38|
|Capstone in Major||2-3|
Animal & Veterinary Biosciences Major Requirements
|Complete one of the following (or may be satisfied by placement exam):||3-5|
|Algebra and Trigonometry|
|Complete one of the following:||3|
|Introduction to Statistical Methods|
|Introductory Applied Statistics for the Life Sciences|
|Complete one of the following:||5-9|
| General Chemistry I|
and General Chemistry II
|Advanced General Chemistry|
|Complete one of the following:||5|
| Animal Biology|
and Animal Biology Laboratory
|Complete one of the following:||3|
|Survey of Biochemistry|
|Introduction to Biochemistry|
|Introduction to the Major|
|Complete the following:||4|
|Introduction to Animal Sciences|
|Introduction to Animal Sciences Laboratory|
|Animal Science Core|
|Complete four courses from the following: 1||11-12|
|Comparative Animal Nutrition|
|Animal Health and Disease|
|Introduction to Animal and Veterinary Genetics|
|Animal Biology Depth|
|Complete at least 10 credits from the following:||10|
|Animal Welfare 1|
|Introduction to Meat Science and Technology|
|Comparative Animal Nutrition 1|
|Animal Health and Disease 1|
|Animal Growth and Development|
|Introduction to Animal and Veterinary Genetics 1|
|Principles of Animal Breeding|
|Concepts in Genomics|
|Animal Physiology 1|
|Ruminant Nutrition & Metabolism|
|Application of Monogastric Nutrition Principles|
|Microbiomes of Animal Systems|
|Complete at least 12 credits from the following:||12|
|The Biology and Appreciation of Companion Animals|
|Dairy Herd Management I|
|Dairy Herd Management II|
|Digital Technologies for Animal Monitoring|
|Coordinative Internship/Cooperative Education (Footnote 2 applies to both AN SCI 399 and 699) 2|
or AN SCI 699
|Food Systems and Supply Chains|
|Beef Cattle Production|
|Commercial Meat Processing|
|Reproductive Management of Dairy Cattle|
|Organic Chemistry I|
|Biology of Microorganisms|
|Capstone in Major|
|Complete one of the following:||2-3|
|Animal Sciences Proseminar|
|Dairy Farm Management Practicum|
Courses cannot count for both Animal Science Core and Depth.
Maximum of 3 credits.
Honors In the Major
Students admitted to the university and to the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences are invited to apply to be considered for admission to the CALS Honors Program.
Admission Criteria for New First-Year Students:
- Complete program application including essay questions
Admission Criteria for Transfer and Continuing UW-Madison Students:
- UW-Madison cumulative GPA of at least 3.25
- Complete program application including essay questions
How to Apply
The application is available on the CALS Honors Program website. Applications are accepted at any time.
New first-year students with accepted applications 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 receiving approval from the advisor for that major. Transfer and continuing students may apply directly to Honors in Research or Honors in the Major (after approval from the major advisor).
All CALS Honors programs have the following requirements:
- Earn at least a cumulative 3.25 GPA at UW-Madison (some programs have higher requirements)
- Complete the program-specific requirements listed below
- Submit completed thesis documentation to CALS Academic Affairs
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 Program page 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.|
- Define biological processes and explain their role in animal health and management
- Apply scientific concepts and critical thinking skills to identify and analyze real world problems in animal and veterinary biosciences
- Develop scientific competencies and communication skills needed for advanced careers in animal or veterinary biosciences
Below you will find three sample four-year plans. These plans represent a range of interest and career-based options for completing the Animal and Veterinary Biosciences major. Your individual plan will look different from these plans. You should customize your own program of study in consultation with your advisor.
Four-Year Plan - Veterinary interest1
|AN SCI/DY SCI 101||3||CHEM 103||4|
|AN SCI/DY SCI 102||1||Major Breadth||3|
|AN SCI 135 (CALS First-Year Seminar)||1||AN SCI 200 (Animal Science Breadth)||3|
|Humanities Breadth||3||General Education||3|
|MATH 112 or 114||3-5||Ethnic Studies||3|
|ZOOLOGY/BIOLOGY/BOTANY 151||5||ZOOLOGY/BIOLOGY/BOTANY 152 (Major Breadth)||5|
|STAT 301||3||CHEM 343 (Major Breadth)||3|
|CHEM 104||5||General Education||3|
|AN SCI 245||3||AN SCI/DY SCI 320 (Animal Science Core)||3|
|PHYSICS 103 (Major Breadth)||4||AN SCI/DY SCI/NUTR SCI 311||3|
|AN SCI/DY SCI 434 (Animal Biology Depth)2||3||AN SCI/DY SCI 361|
& AN SCI/DY SCI 362 (Animal Science Core and Animal Biology Depth)
|AN SCI 336 (Animal Biology Depth)||3||COMM B||3|
|CALS International Studies||3||Electives3||4|
|AN SCI 435 (Capstone)||2||AN SCI/DY SCI 373 (Animal Biology Depth)||3|
|Total Credits 118-123|
This four-year plan reflects the minimum required coursework for UW-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine as of 2022-2023. Course requirements may vary among schools of veterinary medicine. Consult with your institution of choice and your advisor to ensure that the courses you select meet specific requirements.
Pre-vet students with a focus on dairy could select an alternate set of dairy-focused courses to meet Animal Biology Depth and Capstone requirements (DY SCI 378, DY SCI/AN SCI 414, DY SCI 534, and DY SCI 535)
Animal Biology Depth courses can be moved to 4th year to allow for certificate coursework during the first three years.
Electives will include additional coursework for veterinary school preparation.
Four-year Plan - animal production interest
|AN SCI/DY SCI 101||3||ZOOLOGY/BIOLOGY 101||3|
|AN SCI/DY SCI 102||1||A A E 215 (Social Science Breadth)||4|
|AN SCI 135 (CALS First-Year Seminar)||1||COMM B||3|
|Humanities Breadth||3-5||Ethnic Studies||3|
|MATH 112 or 114||3|
|ZOOLOGY/BIOLOGY 102||2||CHEM 104||5|
|STAT 301 or 371||3||AN SCI/DY SCI 320 (Animal Science Core)||3|
|CHEM 103||4||AN SCI/BSE 344 (Animal Biology Depth)||3|
|AN SCI 245 (Animal Science Core)||3||Electives||3|
|AN SCI 336 (Animal Biology Depth)||3||BIOCHEM 301||3|
|AN SCI/DY SCI 434 (Animal Biology Depth)||3||AN SCI/DY SCI/NUTR SCI 311 (Animal Science Core)||3|
|CALS International Studies||3||AN SCI/DY SCI 361 (Animal Sciece Core)||2|
|General Education||3||AN SCI/DY SCI 363 (Animal Biology Depth)||2|
|Electives||3||A A E 422 (Major Breadth)||3|
|AN SCI 435 (Capstone)||2||AN SCI 432 (Major Breadth)||3|
|AN SCI 431 (Major Breadth)||3||Electives||11-12|
|AN SCI/DY SCI 414 (Animal Biology Depth)||3|
|Total Credits 117-120|
Four-Year Plan - General Animal and Veterinary bioSciences Interest
|AN SCI/DY SCI 101||3||CHEM 103||4|
|AN SCI/DY SCI 102||1||Animal Biology Depth||3|
|Humanities Breadth||3||Ethnic Studies||3|
|AN SCI 135 (CALS First-Year Seminar)||1||Elective||3|
|MATH 112 or 114||3-5||Social Science Breadth||3|
|BIOLOGY/BOTANY/ZOOLOGY 151||5||BIOLOGY/BOTANY/ZOOLOGY 152 (Major Breadth)||5|
|STAT 301 or 371||3||Major Breadth||3|
|CHEM 104||5||CALS International Studies||3|
|Animal Science Core||3||Animal Science Core||3|
|Major Breadth||3-4||Animal Biology Depth||3|
|Animal Biology Depth||3||Major Breadth||3-4|
|Animal Biology Depth||3||Elective or Breadth||3|
|General Education||3||COMM B||3|
|AN SCI 435 or DY SCI 535||2-3||Animal Science Core||3|
|Animal Biology Depth||3||Animal Science Core||3|
|Total Credits 119-124|
Each student receives one-on-one guidance from their professional advisor. Academic advisors will help students build an individualized, four-year plan. Many Animal and Veterinary Biosciences majors complete certificates or double majors. Customary examples include Life Sciences Communication, Genetics and Genomics, Global Health, CALS Business Management, and opportunities outside of CALS such as foreign languages, depending on the students’ interests.
All students have a faculty mentor to assist with their career planning.
Students graduating with a degree in Animal and Veterinary Biosciences can enter a number of career fields. These include nutrition and genetics, health and welfare, animal management and monitoring technology, meat science and biologics, food and animal research, and teaching. Many students go on to pursue professional education in veterinary medicine, graduate programs in animal science, or human medicine.
Animal And Dairy Sciences Department
Weigel, Kent (Chair) Khatib, Hasan (Associate Chair) Adcock, Sarah Arriola Apelo, Sebastian Cabrera, Victor Claus, Jim Crenshaw, Thomas Dorea, Joao Ferraretto, Luiz Fricke, Paul Guo, Wei Hernandez, Laura Kirkpatrick, Brian Laporta, Jimena Leone, Vanessa Mantovani, Hilario Ortega, Sofia Parrish, John Peñagaricano, Francisco Reed, Jess Richards, Mark Ricke, Steve Rosa, Guilherme Shanmuganayagam, Dhanansayan (Dhanu) Sindelar, Jeffrey Van Os, Jennifer Wattiaux, Michel White, Heather Wiltbank, Milo
Animal and Veterinary Biosciences majors take part in a number of internships around campus and beyond. Past students interned at veterinary clinics and hospitals, genetics companies, animal feed companies, Extension, food companies, farms, animal pharmaceutical companies, animal councils, humane societies, and more.
On campus opportunities at department animal care facilities, UW veterinary school, and at Bucky’s Varsity Meats, give students hands-on experience each semester.
There are numerous opportunities to conduct research with faculty and staff in the department. Around 75 percent of Animal and Veterinary Biosciences majors have completed independent study projects. Several research stipends are available and some students also take part in research as part of an honors thesis.
By joining a student organization, Animal and Veterinary Biosciences majors connect with other students and build relationships with faculty and staff. Organizations of particular interest to Animal and Veterinary Biosciences students include Pre Vet Association, Saddle and Sirloin Club, Poultry Club, Badger Dairy Club, and Badger Meat Science Club.
There are additional opportunities for students to get involved in animal or agriculture related organizations on campus such as Hoofer Riding Club, Association of Women in Agriculture, Babcock House, and Collegiate FFA.
The department encourages students to study abroad and offers globally focused courses that look at animal health, animal agriculture, and sustainable development. Students can find more information on the International Academic Programs website and the CALS study abroad advising page.
Community engagement and volunteering
Animal and Veterinary Biosciences students engage in a number of volunteer opportunities including working at the Livestock Lab, the Poultry Research Lab, the Dairy Cattle Center, Bucky’s Varsity Meats, and Animal Farm Units. Students also participate in undergraduate student recruitment events, 4-H and Extension events, Dane County Humane Society, and spay/neuter clinics.
On campus, the Morgridge Center for Public Service provides resources to help students connect with volunteer opportunities based on their interests and goals.
The Animal and Veterinary Biosciences program awards $25,000 – 35,000 in annual scholarships. Students in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences receive more than $1.25 million in scholarships annually. Learn more about college scholarships here.
Campus facilities offering students hands-on experiences:
- The Livestock Laboratory accommodates research on multiple species and includes a surgery room.
- The Poultry Research Laboratory houses chickens and other birds.
- The state-of-the-art Meat Science & Animal Biologics Discovery Building houses a meat processing facility, retail shop, and advanced laboratories.
- A network of off-campus Agricultural Research Stations serve as living laboratories for agricultural animal research.
- The School of Veterinary Medicine Animal clinics and research labs offer experiences for undergraduate students.
- The Dairy Cattle Center houses more than 80 dairy cows on campus in a tie-stall barn.