Animal Science

Graduate Degree Program Summary

Graduate programs offered

Earn a Graduate Degree

  • MS or PhD in Animal Science with optional specialization:
    • Animal Breeding and Genetics
    • Meat Science and Muscle Biology
    • Nonruminant Nutrition
    • Physiology
    • Ruminant Nutrition
Areas of Study

These informal areas of focus may help to shape your course of study but they will not appear on transcripts.

  • Animal Breeding and Genetics
  • Non-Ruminant Nutrition
  • Ruminant Nutrition

Online and Distance Opportunities

Some online coursework may be available for your program; contact dept. for details.

Contacts for Animal Science

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Other Ways to Connect

On the Web
Animal Science

Graduate Chair
Professor Sheila Purdum

Graduate Secretary
Heather Wilson

Campus Address
C203 Animal Science
Lincoln NE 68583-0908

Promo image for Animal Science

Application checklist and deadlines

1. Required by Graduate Studies

Submit these items as part of the standard steps to admission.

2. Required by Animal Science

After you apply, allow one business day for us to set up your access to GAMES, where you'll complete these requirements.

  • Entrance exam(s): GRE
  • Minimum English proficiency: Paper TOEFL 550, Internet TOEFL 79, IELTS 6.5
  • Three recommendation letters
  • Statement of goals and objectives

When sending GRE or TOEFL scores, UNL's institution code is 6877 and a department code is not needed.

Application Deadlines for Animal Science
  • For financial consideration: January 7 for Fall.
  • Otherwise: February 1 for Summer. March 1 for Fall. September 1 for Spring.

Application/admission is for entry in a specific term and year. UNL's academic year is divided into 3 terms: Fall (August-December), Spring (January-May), and Summer (multiple sessions May-August). Some UNL programs accept new students only in certain terms and/or years; if your desired entry term isn't mentioned here, you may want to consult the department for clarification.


The Department of Animal Science offers graduate study emphasizing animal breeding and genetics, meat and poultry products, non-ruminant and ruminant nutrition, and physiology. Analytical laboratories and animal facilities are available for graduate research.

The department's contemporary facilities enhance basic and applied research capabilities for intensive large animal, poultry, and laboratory animal work. An extensive, federally inspected meat laboratory is available for meat and poultry research. In addition, the department maintains facilities 40 minutes away from Lincoln for research in all disciplines of beef and dairy cattle, sheep, and swine. Graduate programs conduct collaborative research at four university district research and extension centers and the USDA Meat Animal Research Center in Clay Center, Nebraska.

Cost of attendance

Cost differs from one student to another. For details see Tuition, Fees, and Funding or try our Cost Estimator.

Courses and More

Admitted students will choose courses from the Course Catalog, typically in: During the first half of their coursework, students will work with an advisor to create a plan of study — one of the essential Steps to Degree Completion.

Faculty and research

Where available, faculty names link to bios or homepages and conversation icons () link to directory listings with address, phone, and email.

Don Adams

Range Beef Systems; Beef Cow Management

Kathy Anderson

Equitation; Horse Management

Larry Berger

Ruminant Nutrition; Protein and Energy Nutrition; Animal Management Techniques to Improve Production EfficiencyMarvel L. Baker Department Head

Dennis Brink

Mineral Requirements; Immunocompetence of Ruminants Fed Forages

Tom Burkey

Nonruminant Nutrition; Gastrointestinal Physiology

Dennis Burson

Food Safety; Meat Quality

Chris Calkins

Meat Quality and Palatability; Beef Muscle Traits; Consumers and Value

Daniel Ciobanu

Functional Genomics; Systems Genetics; Physiology

Andrea Cupp

Reproduction and Gonadal Development and Function

Galen Erickson

Environmental-Nutritional Interactions in Feedlots; Grain Processing and Starch Use; Corn Byproduct Utilization; Protein Requirements of Feedlot Cattle; Nutritional Effects on Pathogen Excretion

Samodha Fernando

Ruminant and Non-Ruminant Microbial Ecology; Microbial Meta-Functional Genomics; Host-Microbe Interactions

Rick Funston

Beef Cattle Physiology; Heifer Development

Ronnie Green

Animal Breeding; Improvement of Beef Cattle through Breeding Methods

Debora Hamernik

Reproductive Endocrinology

Kathy Hanford

Mixed Linear Models; Breeding and Genetics

Karla Jenkins

Ruminant Nutrition; Cow/Calf and Range Management; Grazing Systems; Enhancing Native Range Resources

Steven Jones

RNA Translation; Meat Quality

Lisa Karr-Lillienthal

Companion Animal Science Nutrition

Paul Kononoff

Forage Quality; Ruminal Fermentation

Ronald Lewis

Quantitative Genetics and Genomics

Matthew Luebbe

Feedlot Nutrition Management; Yearling Production Systems, Nutrition and Management Effects on Environment

James MacDonald

Ruminant Nutrition; Beef Cattle Nutrition and Beef Cattle Production Systems

Phillip Miller

Swine Nutrition; Liver Metabolism; Nutrient Intake; Growth Criteria

Jessica Petersen

Animal Functional Genomics

Sheila Purdum

Monogastric and Poultry Nutrition

Rick Rasby

Cattle Reproduction and Management Systems

Bryan Reiling

Livestock Production, Management, and Evaluation

Ty Schmidt

Muscle Biology and Physiology

Matthew Spangler

Quantitative Genetics; Molecular Information in Genetic Evaluations; Commercial Ranch Genetic Evaluations

Aaron Stalker

Ruminant Nutrition

Richard Stowell

Animal Housing Systems; Odor and Gas Emissions; Heat Stress Abatement

Gary Sullivan

Value-Added and Processed Meats Quality; Safety and Nutritional Value; Nitrate/Nitric Oxide Chemistry

Andrea Watson

Ruminant Nutrition

Brett White

Embryology; Endocrinology

Jennifer Wood

Female Reproduction; Ovarian Physiology; Steroidogenesis

This summary page is maintained by Graduate Studies.
For additional details check out the dept./program website: Animal Science.

Departments: Have an update for this summary? Contact Stacy Dam.