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Animal Science Major & Minor

Make a meaningful impact through animal science

Spark discoveries and disseminate new knowledge about the biology and management of domestic animals and put our knowledge to work to make a positive impact in the world. Animal Science offers undergraduate and graduate programs on the biology and management of food, laboratory and companion animal species.

Our goals are to discover and develop new techniques and information to benefit animals, agriculture and human health. The department’s 19 faculty members, many internationally recognized, have diverse interests in animal management, breeding, genetics, physiology, nutrition, growth biology and microbiology.

Major in Animal Science

Bachelor of Science (B.S.)

The Animal Science major prepares students for study in veterinary medicine or careers in animal production, biotechnology and conservation and has been nationally recognized for its work in animal breeding and genetics, nutrition, physiology, growth, behavior and management. Join students and professors who go beyond the classroom to explore ideas and tackle some of the complex challenges of our times. You’ll be prepared to find positions immediately upon graduation, or enter a graduate or professional school to obtain an advanced degree.

The animal sciences major offers an opportunity to apply animal biology, biochemistry, molecular biology and other life sciences to the study of animal breeding and genetics, nutrition, physiology, growth, behavior and management. The curriculum is extremely flexible and can be applied to a great variety of species, from farm animals and pets to laboratory animals and even some exotics. Students are encouraged, with the help of a faculty advisor, to plan an individual curriculum that suits their interests and career goals.

CALS seeks students who maintain a rigorous high school curriculum and demonstrate an outstanding record of academic achievement. Admissions requirements include:

  • 4 Units of English

  • 4 Units of Mathematics (including pre-calculus, calculus recommended)

  • 3 Units of Science (biology, chemistry and physics recommended)

  • Also recommended: statistics

  • Agriculture courses are strongly encouraged



Requires fifteen credit hours of introductory Animal Science foundation courses, six or more hours of Animal Biology Systems courses and six or more hours of Advanced Animal Biology Systems courses.

ANSC 2210 – Principles of Animal Genetics

Examination of basic genetic principles and their application to the improvement of domestic animals, with emphasis on the effects of selection on animal populations and an introduction to the application of molecular techniques to animal improvement.

ANSC 3200 – Comparative Animal Nutrition and Toxicology: Horses, Dogs, Cats and More

Understand how to match feed resources to the physiological needs of a variety of animals. Develop a successful, science-based feeding strategy for animals without a history of domestication, as well as the evolutionary and physiological basis for nutritional strategies and toxicological vulnerabilities found among animals.

ANSC 3510 – Dairy Herd Management

Application of scientific principles to practical herd management with components of reproduction, milking, housing, records and production economics. Laboratories emphasize practical applications, analyses of alternatives, decision-making, field trips and discussion.

Students specializing in animal science have the opportunity, with the help of their advisors, to develop a curriculum that fulfills individual interests and allows a broad selection of courses. For example, a student interested in a production-oriented career might take courses in agronomy, farm management, agricultural engineering and economics to complement their animal science courses.

On the other hand, students with a more basic interest in animal biology might take organic chemistry, biochemistry, microbiology and other courses in the biological and physical sciences. While one student may be captivated by the molecular biology of the developing embryo, a classmate may be equally fascinated by the nutrition in the domestic cat or by the mathematics of genetic selection in the horse. No two students need to have identical programs.

Cornell’s Animal Science major also offers students the opportunity to:

  • Graduate with distinction in research

  • Receive top-notch training for careers in the dairy industry through the Dairy Fellows Program
  • Student at Cornell’s College of Veterinary Medicine
  • Licensed Veterinary Technician
  • Biotechnologist
  • Animal genetic counselor
  • Livestock/dairy manager
  • Agriculture Research Analyst
  • Dairy Farm Manager
  • Dairy Cattle Nutrition Consultant
  • Business Analyst

Minor in Animal Science

Students declaring a minor in Animal Science must arrange to have a formal academic advisor in Animal Science at least three semesters before graduating. Courses are then planned in consultation with the advisor. For example, students completing the Animal Science minor assemble courses, or demonstrate having the equivalent from elsewhere, that include basic and applied biology of animals (i.e. anatomy, physiology, nutrition, genetics) along with a selection of intermediate or advanced offerings from the Animal Science curriculum.

Requires a minimum of fifteen credit hours. The courses need to be taken from Foundation courses (or equivalent), Animal Biology Systems and Advanced Animal Biology. Please consult with an Animal Science advisor for specific information regarding courses.

Transfer Student Admissions

Prepare for study in veterinary medicine or careers in animal production, biotechnology and conservation, in a program that has been nationally recognized in animal breeding and genetics, nutrition, physiology, growth, behavior and management.

Academic Record Required:

  • Strong academic record at the college level. Competitive applicants have at least a 3.0 (B) average.
  • CALS Required Coursework should be completed or in-progress with a “B” or better before applying.
  • The most competitive applicants are full-time students who have met the GPA and course requirements.



(Or transfers with two full-time college semesters of study (post-high school) completed or in progress at time of application):


Students interested in pursuing a PreVet concentration are also required to take General (Inorganic) Chemistry I & II with labs


Strongly encouraged (but not required):

  • Statistics or Calculus

(Or transfers with four full-time college semesters of study (post-high school) completed or in progress at time of application).


  • Two College Writing/English Composition courses or one writing/composition and Public Speaking
  • One full academic year of Introductory Biology with labs
  • General (Inorganic) Chemistry I & II with labs (dairy, livestock, equine management - only General (Inorganic) Chemistry I)

Strongly Encouraged (Not Required):

  • Statistics or Calculus
  • Courses that meet the CALS social science and humanities requirements in Cultural Analysis, Historical Analysis, Knowledge, Cognition and Moral Reasoning, Literature and the Arts, Social and Behavioral Analysis and Foreign Language.

Note: Students interested in pursuing a PreVet concentration are strongly encouraged to complete Organic Chemistry I & II with one semester of lab or Physics I & II with labs.



BS/DVM Accelerated Pathway

7-year combined BS/DVM pathway is a joint program between the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell. Details for applying to the pathway can be found on the College of Veterinary Medicine website. Below are curriculum modifications for students accepted into the BS/DVM pathway. 

There are no modifications to core coursework. There are also no changes to Appendix I if you
are a sophomore transfer.

Concentration coursework

Students are eligible to pick one of the 4 concentrations. Within each concentration, students
have flexibility to design their course plan selecting categories and courses after discussion with
their advisors. Irrespective of the concentration selected and the flexibility provided, students
will be held to the following requirement:

Animal Physiology and Nutrition

Two of the following if completing Biology requisites* at Cornell
Three of the following if completing Biology requisites* with AP Bio or other transfer credits

  • ANSC 4410 Nutritional Physiology and Biochemistry 3
  • ANSC 3300 Fish Physiology (cross-listed BIOAP) 3
  • ANSC 3400 Comparative Mammalian Reproduction 2
  • ANSC 3410 Biology of the Mammary Gland in Health and Disease (cross-listed BIOAP) 2 (offered in even- numbered years only)
  • ANSC 4270 Fundamentals of Endocrinology (cross-listed BIOAP) 3
  • ANSC 3920 Mechanisms of Animal Growth and Development 2 (offered in odd- numbered years only)

* Refers to courses under “Biology requisites” category in the Pre-veterinary medicine concentration.

Careers in Animal Science


Agriculture Business

  • Dairy market analyst
  • Business development manager
  • Dairy nutrition consultant
  • Precision agriculture technology integrator
  • Financial analyst
  • Regulatory associate
  • Animal genetic counselor


  • International AgriCorps Fellow
  • Extension support specialist
  • Assistant language teacher
  • Science teacher


  • Dairy sire analyst
  • Herd manager
  • Rancher
  • Farm manager
  • Exercise rider

Food Industry

  • Quality control specialist
  • Research and development assistant
  • Cheesemaker
  • Account manager
  • Dairy nutritionist


  • Population health coordinator
  • Healthcare benefits coordinator
  • Small animal rehabilitator
  • Licensed veterinary technician
  • Surgical assistant
  • Zookeeper
  • Animal health associate


  • Cancer institute cell processing specialist
  • Wild bird researcher
  • Pharmaceutical research associate
  • Conservation research assistant 

Explore your opportunities

A CALS education goes beyond the classroom and gives students frequent opportunities to apply what they learn in real-world settings.