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Graduate Program Degree Options

Degree Options

The Department of Animal Science offers a graduate program leading to the Master of Science degree with a major in animal science. Primary areas of emphases include animal physiology (e.g., ruminant and monogastric nutrition, reproduction, stress, or obesity) or health and well-being (immunology, genomics, microbiology, pre-harvest food safety, or behavior).

The Master of Science Program

The program requires the student to write a thesis based on original research and complete 24 hours of graduate coursework, plus 6 hours of ANSC 500. Coursework must include the following:

  • At least 14 hours in courses numbered at or above the 500 level.
  • At least 1 credit hour of teaching/Extension experiential learning.
  • At least 3 hours in statistics chosen from courses approved for use in the intercollegiate graduate statistics program.
  • 1 hour of research ethics coursework (preferably in the first year).
  • 3 hours of graduate-level multi-systems physiology coursework (approved by the student’s advisory committee).
  • ANSC 696 each spring term for first- and second-year students.
  • The remainder of coursework will be selected by the student in consultation with the major professor and advisory committee. A majority of coursework must be completed at the University of Tennessee.

The major professor, an animal science faculty member at the rank of assistant professor or above, chairs the student’s graduate advisory committee. The student and major professor select the other members of the advisory committee, which should contain at least two other faculty members at the rank of assistant professor or above, one of whom may be outside the Animal Science department. The student’s advisory committee assists in the planning of coursework and may require specific courses in addition to those required by the Animal Science graduate program. The student’s graduate advisory committee also aids in formulating an appropriate research project and assesses achievement of other degree requirements, including the research proposal and thesis defense. Students are expected to choose their graduate advisory committee in their first semester, present proposed coursework and research plan to the committee before the beginning of the second semester, and present a written research project proposal to the committee no later than the third semester of matriculation.

The Department of Animal Science offers a graduate program leading to the Doctor of Philosophy degree with a major in animal science. Major areas of emphases include animal physiology (e.g., ruminant and monogastric nutrition, reproduction, stress, or obesity) or health and well-being (immunology, genomics, microbiology, pre-harvest food safety, or behavior).

The Doctor of Philosophy Program

The program requires the student to write a dissertation based on original research and complete at least 24 hours of graduate coursework at the 500 and 600 levels beyond the master’s degree, plus 24 hours of ANSC 600. Coursework must include the following: 

  • A minimum of 6 hours at the 600 level.
  • A minimum of 8 hours in related courses outside of animal science (ANSC cross-listed courses may be used for this requirement).
  • At least 1 credit hour of teaching/Extension experiential learning.
  • At least 3 hours in statistics chosen from courses approved for use in the intercollegiate graduate statistics program (or 6 hours if student has no previous graduate-level statistics coursework).
  • 1 hour of research ethics coursework if not taken for the Master of Science degree.
  • 3 hours of graduate-level multi-systems physiology coursework if not taken for the Master of Science degree (as approved by the student’s advisory committee).
  • ANSC 696 each spring term for first- and second-year students.

The remainder of coursework will be selected by the student in consultation with the major professor and committee, reflecting the student’s area of emphasis and professional objectives. A majority of coursework must be completed at the University of Tennessee. The student and major professor select the graduate advisory committee, which must be composed of at least five faculty members at the rank of assistant professor or above. The major professor serves as chair, three members must reside within the Department of Animal Science, and one member must be from outside the department. The major professor and at least two other members must be approved to direct doctoral research. The student’s advisory committee assists in the planning of coursework and may require specific courses in addition to those required by the Animal Science graduate program. The graduate advisory committee also aids in formulating an appropriate research project and administers other degree requirements, including the comprehensive exam and dissertation defense. Students are expected to choose their graduate advisory committee in their first semester, present proposed coursework and research plan to the committee before the beginning of the second semester, and present a written research project proposal to the committee no later than the fourth semester of matriculation.

For qualified students, the Department of Animal Science offers a Five-Year BS/MS accelerated degree program with a BS major in Animal Science and a thesis-based MS major in animal science. Central to this program is that a qualified student may take up to 9 hours of graduate-level courses for their senior undergraduate electives and have them count toward both the BS degree and the MS degree. Students are typically considered for conditional admission to the program during, or immediately following, their third year of undergraduate study at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Because the MS program requires that a student write a thesis based on original research, efforts related to developing and starting a research-based project in consultation with a graduate advisory committee (that meets MS committee requirements) is required immediately following their third year of undergraduate studies.

The form, “Animal Science Conditional Admission 5 Year BS-MS,” is available from the graduate director and must be completed and signed by the student, the student’s graduate advisory committee, the graduate director, and the undergraduate coordinator before submitting to the Graduate School for approval and processing.

How do I become an Animal Science graduate student?

MS and PhD Programs

To be considered for admission, a student must have at least a 3.0 grade point average (GPA) on a 4.0 scale in a completed undergraduate degree program in Animal Science or related field (or at least a 3.0 GPA each term during the junior and senior years). Prerequisite courses with grade of B or higher may be required if the applicant has insufficient background or low GPA.

Domestic students must satisfy the GPA above 3.0 requirement in any graduate work they have completed. International students who have taken graduate classes must have a 3.5 GPA for previous graduate classes: ( https://gradschool.utk.edu/admissions/applying-to-graduate-school/admissions-for-international-students/ ).

In addition to the materials to be submitted to the Office of Graduate Admissions, applicants must request at least THREE Animal Science rating forms be submitted by professors familiar with the applicant’s scholastic ability and professional potential. At least two of the three individuals requested to provide a rating form must be from the applicant’s former academic institution(s). If the applicant was previously enrolled in a graduate program, one rating form must be completed by the graduate mentor (major professor).

Admission will be contingent upon evaluation of the applicant’s undergraduate or graduate grade point average, Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores, information provided by evaluators or others, educational and career goals, relevant experience, and scores from the TOEFL or IELTS, if applicable. Final admission is contingent upon the applicant obtaining a commitment from a graduate research faculty member to serve as their graduate mentor (major professor).

Applicants to the PhD program normally should have completed an MS degree with thesis before beginning the doctoral program. In exceptional cases where a student is admitted to the PhD program having only a BS and/or DVM but no thesis-based MS degree, they would be expected to obtain a concurrent MS degree. 

Accelerated Five-Year BS-MS Program, Animal Science Major

For qualified students, the Department of Animal Science offers an accelerated Five-Year BS/MS degree program with a BS major in animal science and a thesis-based MS major in animal science. Central to this program is that a qualified student may take up to 9 hours of approved graduate courses for their senior undergraduate electives and have them count toward both the BS degree and the MS degree. Students are typically considered for conditional admission to the program during, or immediately following, their third year of undergraduate study at UT. Because the MS program requires that a student write a thesis based on original research, efforts related to developing and starting a research-based project in consultation with a graduate advisory committee (that meets MS committee requirements) is required immediately following their third year of undergraduate studies.

To be considered for conditional admission to the program:

  1. A student must be a declared animal science major with a minimum GPA of 3.4, must have completed at least 15 hours of credit in animal science, and must have completed at least 90 hours of the 120 hours of coursework required for the BS degree with a major in animal science.

  2. A student must provide three letters of recommendation and complete a personal interview with individuals comprising the Graduate and Undergraduate Committees in the Department of Animal Science.

  3. A student must obtain a commitment from an Animal Science graduate research faculty member to serve as their graduate mentor-advisor (i.e., major professor) and at least two other graduate research faculty members to serve on their graduate advisory committee.

Applicants are required to have completed at least 6 credit hours from the following Animal Science core courses (i.e., ANSC 320, ANSC 330, ANSC 340, ANSC 380, or their Honors counterparts). The department may consider other relevant factors such as an applicant’s work experience and level of maturity before conditionally admitting a student to the BS-MS program. Conditional admission of a student into the Five-Year BS-MS program must be approved by both the Department of Animal Science and the Graduate School. Typically, students will be informed of the outcome of their application before the beginning of their fourth year of undergraduate study.

Any course taken for graduate credit before satisfying all requirements for the BS degree must be approved both by the graduate director and by the Graduate School. These courses must be identified in advance, in consultation with the Graduate Advisory Committee members. The form, “Senior Requesting Graduate Credit,” is found on the Graduate School website and must be completed, signed, and submitted to the Graduate School for approval and processing.

UT’s Senior Privilege rule imposes a maximum limit of 9 hours on the number of graduate-level hours that an undergraduate student may complete before completing an undergraduate degree and being formally admitted to the Graduate School. A student that is conditionally admitted to the BS-MS program completes 9 hours of graduate credit during the student’s fourth year of undergraduate study (by submitting the “Senior Requesting Graduate Credit Form” to the Graduate School) and applies those 9 hours to satisfy BS degree requirements may also apply the 9 hours towards MS degree requirements.

Conditional admission into the BS-MS program does not guarantee acceptance into either the Graduate School or the MS program. Students in the BS-MS program must apply for admission to the Graduate School and to the MS program during their fourth year of undergraduate study, following the same procedures that all other student applicants follow. A GRE score must be submitted as part of the application for admission into any graduate program in the Department of Animal Science. Students will be fully admitted to the MS program after they have been accepted both by the Graduate School and by the Animal Science MS program. Students will not be eligible for graduate assistantships until they are enrolled as graduate students in the Graduate School. 

Please review the following information carefully as the success of your application will depend on submission of the following materials to the Office of Graduate Admissions. More detailed instructions are provided by the Office of Graduate Admissions.

  1. GRADUATE APPLICATION FORM
    APPLY ONLINE As part of the online application, you will identify at least THREE individuals able to assess your previous academic and/or research experience and ability to succeed in graduate studies. Two out of three of these individuals must be from your former academic institution(s). If you were previously enrolled in a graduate program, your graduate adviser should be chosen as one of your evaluators. A decision will not be made regarding admission without these materials – contact Denice Milligan below to monitor your application status.
       
    As part of the application process, you are expected to identify potential major professors to mentor you. See the list of research faculty to assist with this requirement, and email individual faculty for more information and to determine their willingness to mentor you.

  2. APPLICATION FEE
    (Non-refundable and must accompany application)

  3. TRANSCRIPTS
    (One transcript from all colleges and universities attended; do not send until you apply)

  4. TOEFL SCORES
    (If your native language is not English)

  5. GRE SCORES
    Attention International Students: See also the Admission Guide for International Students.
    o Pay particular attention to deadlines.
    o Note that additional forms are required.

Please contact us if you have questions or wish to schedule a visit.
Denice Milligan 
dmilliga@utk.edu 
865-974-6389
Department of Animal Science
University of Tennessee
2506 River Drive
149 Brehm Animal Science Building
Knoxville, TN 37996-4574