Animal Science Major

Hands-on animal science–with mud on your boots and dirt under your fingernails.

The Animal Science major combines practical animal stewardship and a refined scientific education targeted at making an immediate impact in medicine, government, academia, and the industry. Students go on to pursue career paths in farm management, animal production, veterinary care, and agribusiness leadership.

Your whole world is right there.

Our Animal Science facilities are more than world class. They are a world of their own. You’re never more than minutes from the dairy, beef, swine, sheep, poultry, and deer barns—because we believe some of our best teachers don’t walk on two legs.

Our faculty are conducting pioneering research and are sought-after experts in their fields. But mentoring you and cultivating your talents is their top priority.

Animal Science is the right major if you’re:

  • prepping for graduate or veterinary school
  • interested in animal-related research
  • driven to manage a farm or other business related to animals
  • pursuing a career in agricultural sales or service
  • hoping to impact our communities through community-based education
Animal science degree and career options

One major. Two paths. Infinite destinations.

Business and Animal management is on of the career paths for animal scientists

Business and Animal Management option

This path combines business and the production and management of animals. Graduates chair Fortune 500 companies, manage agricultural operations, and are leaders in government.

Example business courses

  • Agribusiness Problem Solving
  • Careers in Animal Agriculture
  • Entrepreneurial Leadership
  • Farm Planning and Financial Management
  • Global Agribusiness
  • Marketing

Example production courses

  • Equine Nutrition and Feeding
  • Introduction to Livestock Judging
  • Principles of Avian Diseases
  • Small and Large Animal Health
  • Wildlife Behavior
An animal science degree is also a great stepping stome for getting into veterinary school

Science option

This is an in-depth study of the basic sciences relevant to animal biology. This path leads to opportunities in research, the pharma industry, and genetics, and is a great track toward veterinary school.

Example courses

  • Applied Animal Welfare
  • Biology of Animal Parasites
  • Endocrinology
  • Principles of Avian Diseases
  • Techniques in Reproduction

Ag Journeys

"There's a magic at Penn State."

– Caroline Haga

Penn State offers a welcoming environement for students pursuing an animal science degree.

The classroom is only the beginning.

You’ll study with professors who are leaders in their specialties, but they’ll be the first to tell you that the classroom is just the beginning of your Animal Science experience.

You name the species and industry, and we’ll help you find a faculty-guided club, internship, externship, or hands-on research opportunity for that. The learning doesn’t stop on campus, or in Pennsylvania for that matter. How do they raise cattle in California? Swine in Switzerland? You go, and you find out.

Craft your experience.

Related clubs and teams

  • Collegiate Cattlewomen
  • The Collegiate Horseman's Association at Penn State (CHAPS)
  • Dairy Cattle Judging Team
  • Horse Judging Team
  • Livestock Judging Team
  • Meat Judging Team
  • Penn State Block and Bridle Club
  • Penn State Dairy Science Club
  • Penn State Equestrian Team
  • Penn State Equine Research Team
  • Penn State Reproduction Research Team
  • Poultry Judging Team
  • Poultry Science Club
  • Small and Exotic Animal Club (SEAC)
  • See all clubs and teams

Recent internships

  • Caretaker at a city zoo
  • Research assistant at a pharmaceutical company
  • Operations intern at a food processing company

Popular study abroad

  • Exploring the pasture-based dairy industry of the Azores
  • Touring processing plants and farms in Guanajuato, Mexico
  • Learning about the dairy industry in Switzerland
You will work with animals while earning your degree. Animal science courses can prep you for various career paths. Animal scientists studying abroad

A practical, workforce-ready degree—and a college experience you’ll love.

Penn State Animal Science grads are all over the world doing the most amazing things. From agriculture to medicine and law and everything in between. Here's food for thought–a few jobs our alumni work in now:

Our alumni out in the world

  • Ag finance
  • Animal breeding
  • Animal management and training
  • Biotechnology research
  • Genetics and nutrition
  • Industry relations
  • Marketing
  • Pharmaceutical research
  • Quality assurance
  • Sales and service
  • Veterinary medicine

Animal Science Career Options

Harness the awesome power of a truly unique education at one of the world’s most prestigious universities. Here are just a few career examples.

Farm Manager

A farm manager oversees all aspects of a farm business, including the maintenance of all buildings and equipment, the well-being of livestock, and the safety of farm employees.

What will I do?

  • Set and monitor animal nutrition programs
  • Coordinate veterinary care
  • Maintain equipment
  • Hire, train, and supervise farm employees
  • Maintain records
  • Remain up to date on industry trends and regulations

Veterinarian

Veterinarians work in a variety of medical practices and settings, from private clinics that focus on companion animal care, to large animal veterinarians who protect individual or group animal health on farm properties, to researchers who work in laboratories.

What will I do?

  • Examine animals and diagnose diseases and injuries
  • Prescribe medicines and recommend treatments
  • Perform surgery
  • Operate medical equipment

Industry Sales Representative

A sales representative of feed and animal health products combines knowledge of animal nutrition and wellness with business skills to market products to farms and veterinarians.

What will I do?

  • Stay current on animal nutrition/health trends
  • Provide exceptional customer service
  • Research and understand competing companies and products
  • Consult with customers on specific needs and desired outcomes
  • Work with vendors to procure desired products

Quality Assurance Manager

A quality assurance manager is in charge of developing plans to ensure a farm business complies with rules and regulations.

What will I do?

  • Maintain knowledge of all regulations
  • Set and implement quality standards
  • Monitor and make necessary corrections to ensure quality standards are met
  • Train and supervise employees