2022-2023 Graduate Catalog 
    May 29, 2023  
2022-2023 Graduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Animal Science (M.S.)

Location(s): Brookings Main Campus

Program Coordinator/Contact

Jeff Clapper, Professor
Department of Animal Science
Animal Science Complex 103A

Program Information

The Department of Animal Science offers graduate programs leading to the Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in Animal Science, or the Doctor of Philosophy degree in Biological Sciences. Faculty and graduate students are actively involved in basic and/or applied research in the fields of nutrition, reproductive physiology, animal breeding and genetics, meat science, gastrointestinal microbiology and animal production.

With the multi-disciplinary approaches towards production efficiency, product enhancement, and basic science graduate students gain strong skill sets. The graduate programs are administered in collaboration with the Departments of Animal Science, Dairy Science, Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, and Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering. The Department is committed to providing graduate students with quality educational and research experiences and preparing them to meet the challenges of a competitive job market upon graduation.

This program allows for considerable latitude in the education and training of students. Identification of a major professor with resources to support the student’s thesis project is required for unconditional acceptance into the program. An advisory committee will be formed for each student. The advisory committee will work with the student to design a unique and individualized plan of study to meet the interests and needs of the student. While the training of most students is largely directed to a single discipline represented within one of the participating departments, cross-discipline training is available and encouraged.

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Communication skills: Demonstrate effective written and oral communication skills
  • Apply methods and interpret results: Apply scientific method, experimental design, statistically analyze data, and interpret results
  • Demonstrate technical methods: Demonstrate a proficiency in technical methods necessary to conduct research in their field
  • Professional Ethics: Demonstrate an understanding of professional ethics
  • Critical thinking: Critically evaluate data and solve problems in their field
  • Diversity and inclusion: Relate with people of diverse backgrounds with integrity and professionalism

Course Delivery Format

Program coursework is available on campus, in classroom and laboratory settings, as well as field-based settings.

Facilities and Services

Training and experience in research methods are among the most important facets of a well-rounded graduate student education. Excellent facilities and large herds and flocks of livestock are available for Animal Science research at South Dakota State University. Modern research facilities, including state-of-the-art facilities for cow-calf management and ruminant nutrition, along with new swine education and research facilities, both on-site and off-site, were completed in 2016.

Student Engagement and Support Opportunities

The Department conducts cutting edge research that creates opportunities for graduate students. Qualified students may apply for a Graduate Research Assistant position.

Available Options for Graduate Degrees

Master of Science Option A - Thesis 30 Credit Hours

Core Requirements

Total Required Credits: 30 (Option A)


Develop a Plan of Study no later than the end of the first semester of study.

  • The Advisory Committee will work with the student to select the discipline specific courses intended to prepare the student in their emphasis area.

Develop a research proposal no later than the end of the first semester.

Additional Admission Requirements

GRE: Not required
TOEFL: 79-80 Internet-based
TOEFL Essentials: 8.5
IELTS: 6.5
Duolingo: 110

Two letters of reference, a letter of interest and intent, transcripts, and a resume.

General Requirements

Graduate students should consult with their advisor before registering for graduate coursework.

For additional information refer to the Master’s Degree Requirements .