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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 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 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



Foundational Competency

ANSC 1101 - Contemporary Perspective in Animal Science (1 credit)
BIOAP 1100 - Domestic Animal Biology (4 credits)
ANSC 2120 - Animal Nutrition (4 credits)
ANSC 2210 - Principles of Animal Genetics (4 credits)
ANSC 2400 - Biology of Reproduction (3 credits)

Fundamentals of Animal Management

One of the following courses:
ANSC 2500 - Dairy Cattle Principles (3 credits)
ANSC 2650 - Equine Biology and Management (3 credits)
ANSC 3600 - Beef Cattle (3 credits - offered in even- numbered years only)
ANSC 3800 - Sheep (3 credits - offered in odd- numbered years only)
ANSC 3850 - Dairy Sheep Management (3 credits)

Professional Values and Responsibility

ANSC 1105 - Careers in Animal Science (1 credit)

As well as one of the following courses:
ANSC 3100 - Introduction to Animal Welfare (2 credits)
ANSC 4140 - Ethics and Animal Science (2 credits)


All students will design an ePortfolio through Digication showcasing their learning experience and highlighting plans as they progress through the Animal Science major. The ePortfolios need to be updated and presented to Faculty advisors at the end of each semester. A primer for launching ePortfolios will be part of ANSC 1105. Any questions about ePortfolio should be directed to the Undergraduate Program Coordinator, Lindsay Glasner (lig27 [at] (lig27[at]cornell[dot]edu)).


Students must select one of the following concentrations. View the course requirements for each concentration by clicking on the links below. Concentrations should be chosen no later than Junior year. 


If you are a Pre-Vet, it does NOT mean that you have to take the Pre-Vet concentration. You can take any of the above concentrations, still apply to vet school, and keep your options open. However each vet school has its own admission requirements. You are responsible to ensure you take all required courses for the vet schools you wish to apply to.

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 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.

ANSC 3700 – Immunology in Animal Health and Disease 

Discuss concepts in immunology, with a focus on those that are important to domestic animal health and disease prevention. Immunological principles applied to understand current literature, research, and practices.

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

All students are encouraged to take advantage of one or more opportunities for internships, a semester abroad, independent research or honors thesis research, as appropriate. For research or the Honor's Program in Research, consult with your advisor. Your advisor can help you identify possible internship opportunities and CALS has an office available to assist you. 


Each student in the animal science major is assigned a faculty advisor. Your advisor plays several roles: guiding you through the requirements of the major and the College distribution requirements; helping you to clarify your educational and career goals; suggesting courses to help you meet your particular educational interests and career goals; and serving as a source of information about opportunities and services available to you through the College and University (e.g., study abroad, internships, career counseling, health and psychological services). If you make the effort to get to know your advisor, she or he also may serve as a reference for you for internships, jobs, or graduate school.

  • 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

The Animal Science minor offers a great opportunity for any undergraduate student to pursue their interests in the Animal Science field in an accessible manor. Students declaring a minor in Animal Science must declare the minor prior to graduating.

The minor is satisfied by completing at least 15 credit hours of Animal Science courses. 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. 

Please consult with the Undergraduate Program Coordinator, lig27 [at] (Lindsay Glasner), if you are interested.

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 Pre-Vet 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 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.


a student kneels beside a goat in a pen

Integrative Physiology and Nutrition

Builds a foundation of animal physiology and nutrition along with exploring several advanced elective courses. This is a great concentration for students interested in a research career and/or seeking a competitive edge in future veterinary training.

Pre-Veterinary Medicine

Serves the dual purpose of providing a foundation in animal physiology and fulfilling prerequisites for veterinary schools, and other health professions.

Dairy Management

Focuses on the science, management and business skills needed to be successful in the dairy industry and the larger agricultural business environment.

Applied Animal Biology and Interdisciplinary Studies

Provides a breadth of nutrition, physiology and management while allowing the opportunity to explore electives.

Explore your opportunities

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