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Broaden your expertise and professional versatility

The Master of Professional Studies (MPS) in Animal Science is a specialized, one-year, non-thesis, course-based master's degree program. Concentration areas cover a wide range of issues and advancements in animal science, including animal health, animal nutrition, animal production sustainability, dairy business management, and animal science (general). 

The MPS program offers a customized curriculum that advances technical knowledge, analytical skills, and professional development to equip students with the skill set and knowledge necessary for careers in industry, government, or non-profit agencies.

Animal Science MPS Concentrations

The Field of Animal Science offers concentration areas for MPS degree candidates. Each concentration cultivates the skillset and develops the theoretical problem-solving capacity required for careers in animal science.

Animal Health

Learn about the theory and the tools necessary to prevent, monitor and control disease in agricultural animals and/or companion animals, and prepares individuals to work in the area of animal health and/or welfare.

Animal Nutrition

Learn about the foundational knowledge of nutrition, feed ingredients and processing, methods of estimating and expressing feed requirements, principles of diet formulation across multiple animal species, and formulation of a sound diet with a given commercial formulation program. 

Dairy Business Management

Learn the methods and tools necessary to manage a dairy farm through a whole-farm approach, with farm management skills in areas including: nutrition and feeding, reproduction performance, health assessments, data collection, incorporation of the latest technologies, and financial management.

CALS MPS program details

Cornell’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) Master of Professional Studies (MPS) program is an accredited, course-based, one-year Master’s degree program that emphasizes professional development and intellectual investigation in the areas of agriculture, life sciences and global development.

Though similar to a Master of Science (M.S.) degree in its academic rigor, the MPS degree differs from a traditional M.S. degree in its structure and focus. An M.S. is research-based, with students building a thesis over the course of two or three years. In contrast, the MPS degree is a one-year, course-based program where students study the intricacies and in-depth questions of their field of study. Instead of a thesis or research project, MPS students complete a capstone project during their final semester. To understand this difference in greater detail, please visit our FAQ page.

MPS students are part of a community of diverse students and faculty who share common goals, connecting research and practice to solve complex problems. 


The Master of Professional Studies program has two main components:

  • Coursework: Students work with a faculty advisor to map out their individualized course of study based on their areas of interest. The majority of courses (20 credits) will be within CALS; however, students have the opportunity to take courses across Cornell.
  • Capstone project: With the guidance of a faculty advisor, students work on solving a real-world problem.
  • Satisfactory completion of a minimum of 30 credit hours related to the candidate's professional interest, as agreed upon with the faculty advisor.
    (a)   Twenty credit hours must be taken within the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and at least 30 credits must be in graduate-level courses (5000-level and higher).
    (b)   A maximum of 6 of the required 30 credit hours may be earned through the student's problem-solving project (see third bullet).
    (c)   A maximum of 6 graduate-level credit hours earned outside the program, at Cornell University or elsewhere, may be counted toward these requirements at the discretion of the student's faculty advisor. These credits must be appropriate to the subject of study and completed not more than five years before admission.
  • Completion of a minimum of two semesters. One semester must be earned by carrying a minimum of 12 credit hours. In certain circumstances, the second semester credit may be earned by accumulating the remaining credit hours in the School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions at Cornell University or through transfer of credit (see item c above).
  • Satisfactory completion of a problem-solving project under the supervision of the faculty advisor. This project may be an action program, the development of a plan to address a pertinent problem, the development of materials or methodology suited to the student's situation, or the development and execution of research appropriate to the profession. A formal project report must be submitted to and approved by the candidate's faculty advisor. 
  • A minimum semester grade point average of 2.5 (minimum of 18 credit hours with letter grades at Cornell).
  • Completion of the degree within four years of admission. Some fields of study may have special requirements, so students should check with the field's director of graduate studies for specific details.

Students work with top-ranked faculty who are leaders in their field on an experiential project that fosters professional skill development through the creation of solutions to real-world problems.

Next Steps

Priority Application Deadline: February 15


  • Apply now
  • calsprofprograms [at] (subject: More%20information%20about%20 Animal Science MPS%20admissions) (Email us with questions)
A faculty member tends to a sheep.

Compare a CALS Professional Master's (MPS, MFS) to an M.S. degree

MPS, MFS and M.S. programs lead to graduate-level master’s degrees. Which is right for you? Here's how they compare: 

Final ProjectCapstone projectThesis
LengthTypically one yearTypically 2-3 years
FundingSelf-funded, usually with federal and/or private loansFunded by the department with  stipends and teaching  assistantships
Ideal forIndividuals who want to pursue careers in industry, government or nonprofit agencies; some continue in researchIndividuals who are interested in pursuing careers in research or academia

Alumni Spotlights


Luciana Jonkman

"It’s so wonderful to develop your curriculum with your advisors. I was able to take courses from a variety of schools at Cornell while staying on track for earning my degree. It was incredible to sit in the many school halls from management to economics to language arts and animal science. This truly allowed me to prepare in so many ways for the career environment I was about to enter."


Preston DeJong

"My MPS experience has changed me both personally, and professionally, by the way that I treat my day and value my time. It has developed my outlook on a variety of topics and it has aided how I interact with people, the quality of conversations that I have, my increased curiosity and ability to ask questions. It has also increased my passion for the dairy industry."

Student with Jersey Cows
Preston deJong presents in front of people

Career Development and Outlook

The MPS program contains a significant career development component focused on developing the necessary interpersonal and communication skills required to advance in any professional field. Offering a range of workshops including resume building, personal narrative development, and mock interviews, to effectively prepare students to transition into their careers after graduation.

The MPS is a versatile degree that can open doors to a range of professional opportunities. Past graduates from the Animal Science program have found employment in positions such as:

  • Quality Assurance Manager
  • Farm Owner
  • Senior Extension Associate
  • Lab Technician
  • Some students continue their education, such as:
    • Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
    • Additional research degrees: MS, PhD