Why study Animal Science?

Student with Cow

Since the emergence of modern humanity, the relationships between people and animals have been an integral part of our society, economy and culture. Animals provide us with food, clothing, recreation and companionship. Animal science—the study of the biological function of domestic and captive animals and their utilization by people—focuses on modern, efficient and humane ways to care for and make the best use of the animals who share our lives. Our undergraduate students work with animals regularly as they prepare for graduate school, veterinary school or a career in teaching, agricultural production or business.

Undergraduates can select one of three majors administered by the department:

Our majors offer opportunities to students who enjoy animals and wish to study their biology and care and/or their management. A practical, as well as, a scientific understanding of domestic animals is obtained by completing a specialization: animal behavior, biochemistry, genetics, nutrition, physiology, aquatic animals, avian sciences, companion & captive animals, laboratory animals, equine science, livestock & dairy, or poultry. We pride ourselves in the experiential learning students obtain through our majors.

Knowledge is gained both in lecture classes and hands-on laboratories. The courses expose students to an integrated study of animal behavior, reproduction, growth, lactation, molecular biology, animal breeding, livestock judging, and many other aspects of animal biology. A wide array of formal and informal internship opportunities are available at the department's extensive animal facilities.

Animal science majors from UC Davis have entered careers as agricultural and natural resources consultants, agricultural and pharmaceutical sales staff, fisheries owners, lawyers, physicians, researchers, teachers, veterinarians and zookeepers.

Graduate students enroll in cross-cutting, disciplinary focused graduate groups. Graduate groups bring together scholars from across campus to address common research interests in a highly collaborative fashion. Department of Animal Science faculty host students in the following graduate groups: Agricultural & Environmental Chemistry, Animal Biology, Animal Behavior, Avian Sciences, Ecology, Forensic Science, Immunology, Integrative Genetics & Genomics, International Agricultural Development, Microbiology, Molecular, Cellular & Integrative Physiology, and Nutritional Biology.

The department is also home to two Graduate Groups:

More information about these and other affiliated Graduate Programs is available.