Undergraduates in Dairy Science prepare for a variety of career opportunities that require a strong background in applied animal biology. Careers include: agribusiness, dairy farm management, technical service and consulting, research, and teaching. Students also enroll in the major to prepare for veterinary school, medical school, or graduate school. Coursework in the major includes animal genetics, lactation, reproduction, nutrition and management. The department may be consulted for additional details and for specific career information.

The Dairy Science major can be earned under the bachelor of science degree program. The Dairy Science major may be combined with other majors such as Agricultural and Applied Economics, Biological Systems Engineering, Genetics and Genomics, Life Sciences Communication, and Agronomy. Multiple out-of-classroom learning opportunities are included in the curriculum and internships on farms or with agribusiness are required to provide the practical training needed for success in any 21st-century careers. Many students gain valuable experience through part-time employment in research labs or in the student-operated dairy cattle instruction and research center.

Discoveries from the research laboratories reach the classroom long before they appear in textbooks. Students benefit from integration of the instructional and research programs of the department. The co-curricular Badger Dairy Club involves students in dairy industry events that provide leadership and networking opportunities in a vibrant industry.

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. 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 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

Mathematics and Statistics
Select one of the following (or may be satisfied by placement exam):3-5
Algebra and Trigonometry
Calculus with Algebra and Trigonometry I
Select one of the following:3
Introduction to Statistical Methods
Introductory Applied Statistics for the Life Sciences
Select one of the following:4-5
General Chemistry I
and General Chemistry II
Advanced General Chemistry
Select one of the following options:9-10
Option 1:
Animal Biology
Animal Biology Laboratory
Principles and Practices in Crop Production
Option 2:
Animal Biology
Animal Biology Laboratory
General Botany
Option 3:
Introductory Biology
Introductory Biology
Select one of the following:3
Principles of Genetics
Elementary Organic Chemistry
Introductory Organic Chemistry
General Microbiology
Biology of Microorganisms
Select one of the following:3-6
Survey of Biochemistry
Introduction to Biochemistry
General Biochemistry I
and General Biochemistry II
Introduction to Human Biochemistry (offered during summer session only)
Select one of the following:4
Introduction to Agricultural and Applied Economics
Principles of Microeconomics
Dairy Science Core
AN SCI/DY SCI 101 Introduction to Animal Sciences4
DY SCI 233 Dairy Herd Management I3
DY SCI 234 Dairy Herd Management II3
DY SCI 305 Lactation Physiology3
AN SCI/DY SCI/NUTR SCI 311 Comparative Animal Nutrition3
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 373 Animal Physiology3
AN SCI/DY SCI 414 Ruminant Nutrition & Metabolism3
AN SCI/DY SCI 434 Reproductive Physiology3
DY SCI 399 Coordinative Internship/Cooperative Education1-8
DY SCI 535 Dairy Farm Management Practicum3
Dairy Science Electives
Select at least 3 credits from:3
Dairy Cattle Improvement Programs
Pre-Capstone Seminar
Honors Independent Study 1
Independent Study 1
Livestock Production and Health in Agricultural Development
Managed Grazing Field Study
Special Topics 1
Food Production Systems and Sustainability
Animal Agriculture and Global Sustainable Development
International Field Study in Animal Agriculture and Sustainable Development
Reproductive Management of Dairy Cattle
Senior Honors Thesis 1
Senior Honors Thesis 1
Special Problems 1
Total Credits65-79

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. Gain knowledge of current and emerging research­ based information in animal biology and management sciences to support dairy production.
  2. Gain intellectual, practical and attitudinal skills needed to identify and solve problems and challenges facing dairy producers and allied industries.
  3. Gain in life-­long learning skills to enable graduates to adapt to changing technological, economic and social circumstances throughout their professional career.

Four-year plan

Sample Dairy Science Four-Year Plan

AGRONOMY 1004A A E 2154
DY SCI/​AN SCI  1014CHEM 1034
MATH 1123DY SCI 2052
First Year Seminar (or DYS 272)1DY SCI 2721
COMM A Course3COMM B Course3
 15 14
Total Credits 29
CHEM 1045DY SCI 2343
Ethnic Studies3BIOLOGY/​ZOOLOGY  1022
 Free Elective3
 14 15
Total Credits 29
Total Credits 2
DY SCI/​AN SCI  3703DY SCI/​AN SCI  3612
Genetics prereq core3DY SCI/​AN SCI  362 (or 363)2
Free Elective Course3DY SCI/​AN SCI  3733
Social Science (or Humanities)3DY SCI/​AGRONOMY/​INTER-AG  471 (or free elective course)3
 Humanities 3
 15 16
Total Credits 31
DY SCI 3991-3
Total Credits 1-3
DY SCI/​AN SCI  4143DY SCI 5343
DY SCI/​AN SCI  4343Free Elective Courses9
DY SCI 5353Humanities (or Social Science)3
Free Elective Courses6 
 15 15
Total Credits 30

Sample  Dairy Science Four-Year Plan—Pre-Veterinary

CHEM 1034A A E 2154
DY SCI/​AN SCI  1014CHEM 1045
MATH 2215DY SCI 2052
COMM A Course (or Ethnic Studies)3DY SCI 272 (First year seminar)1
 Ethnic Studies (or Comm A)3
 16 15
Total Credits 31
DY SCI/​AN SCI  3703Humanities3
Social Science3
 14 15
Total Credits 29
DY SCI/​AN SCI/​FOOD SCI/​SOIL SCI  473 (optional study abroad)2
Total Credits 2
CHEM 3433DY SCI/​AN SCI  3733
DY SCI 29911-3DY SCI/​AN SCI  3612
Free Elective Course3DY SCI/​AN SCI  362 (or 363)2
 Free Elective3
 13-15 16
Total Credits 29-31
DY SCI 3991
Total Credits 1
DY SCI/​AN SCI  4143DY SCI 5343
DY SCI 5353DY SCI/​AN SCI  3203
PHYSICS 1034Free Elective Courses6
Free Elective Course3 
 16 16
Total Credits 32

All students receive individualized advising from their academic advisor. Students are assigned an academic advisor upon declaration of the major and are expected to meet with their advisor each semester before registering for courses in the upcoming semester.  Academic advisors and mentors will assist students in developing an individualized, four-year curricular plan. Research experience and internships are encouraged. Interested students should contact J. Liv Sandberg (608-263-4303) with questions.

Undergraduates in Dairy Science prepare for a variety of career opportunities that require a strong background in applied animal biology. Careers include: agribusiness, dairy farm management, technical service and consulting, research, and teaching. Students also enroll in the department to prepare for veterinary school, medical school, or graduate school. Coursework in the major includes animal genetics, lactation, reproduction, nutrition and management. The department may be consulted for additional details and for specific career information.

Animal and Dairy Sciences Department


Weigel (Chair), Khatib (Associate Chair), Cabrera, Claus, Crenshaw, Fricke, Kirkpatrick, Parrish, Reed, Richards, 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

Theresa Pillar

Students majoring in Dairy 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, Dairy Cattle Center opportunities, and study abroad.

The following opportunities can help students connect with other students interested in Dairy Science and other related majors, build relationships with faculty and staff, and contribute to out-of-classroom learning.

  • Badger Dairy Club
  • Collegiate FFA
  • Association of Women in Agriculture
  • Babcock House
  • Alpha Gamma Rho
  • Study Abroad: Dairy 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 with Dairy Science faculty or through other related 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.
  • Intercollegiate Dairy Judging competitions

See “Getting Involved in Dairy Science,” as well as a link to scholarships, on this web page.