Animal Sciences

Head of the Department: Steve Loerch
Graduate Program Coordinator: Sandra Rodriguez-Zas
110 Animal Sciences Laboratory
1207 West Gregory Drive
Urbana, IL 61801
(217) 244-0418

Major: Animal Sciences
Degrees offered: M.S., Ph.D.

Major: Bioinformatics
Degrees offered: M.S.
Graduate Concentration: Animal Sciences

Medical Scholars Program: Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Animal Sciences and Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) through the Medical Scholars Program

Graduate Degree Programs

The Department of Animal Sciences offers graduate work leading to the Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees. Fields of specialization include:

  • animal breeding and genetics
  • animal behavior
  • biochemistry
  • environmental physiology
  • immunobiology
  • meat science and muscle biology
  • microbiology
  • nutrition
  • systems of animal management and production
  • physiology of lactation
  • physiology of reproduction

Beef and dairy cattle, horses, poultry, sheep, swine, and a variety of companion and laboratory animals are available for study.

The genomic and proteomic projects are generating large amounts of complex biological data that require effective storage, retrieval, analysis and interpretation. The bioinformatics degree program provides students with the skills necessary to augment the understanding and use of agricultural, biological and medical information and resources through the application of molecular, chemical, physical, computational, statistical, mathematical and informatic techniques. Students interested in this program may come with undergraduate training in one of the following areas:

  1. biological and agricultural sciences,
  2. statistical, mathematical and computer sciences,
  3. informatics and engineering sciences.

Graduates from the Bioinformatics program will be able to integrate basic and applied concepts in the three areas and applied them to biotechnology and medical research.


Candidates for admission to the M.S. and Ph.D. programs must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution equivalent to those from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Candidates for admission to the Ph.D. program must met Masters level requirements. A grade point average of 3.0 or higher (A = 4.0) for the last two years of undergraduate work and for any graduate study is required for admission. Students must take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and are recommended to take the advanced test in biology. English proficiency requirement for admission follow Graduate College requirement. Emphasis is placed on a student’s interest and ability in research as demonstrated by previous work and letters of recommendation. Admission is possible for spring and summer semesters.

Medical Scholars Program

The Medical Scholars Program permits highly qualified students to integrate the study of medicine with study for a graduate degree in a second discipline, including Animal Sciences. Students may apply to the Medical Scholars Program prior to beginning graduate school or while in the graduate program. Applicants to the Medical Scholars Program must meet the admissions standards for and be accepted into both the doctoral graduate program and the College of Medicine. Students in the dual degree program must meet the specific requirements for both the medical and graduate degrees. On average, students take eight years to complete both degrees.  Further information on this program is available by contacting the Medical Scholars Program, 125 Medical Sciences Building, (217) 333-8146 or at

Graduate Teaching Experience

Experience in teaching is considered a vital part of the graduate program and is encouraged as part of the academic work of students in this program.

Financial Aid

Financial aid for graduate students is available in the form of fellowships, teaching and research assistantships, tuition and partial fee waivers, and traineeships. Qualified candidates are considered for financial support upon application. Graduate students making satisfactory progress toward their degrees generally receive a full tuition waiver and a partial fee waiver, as well as a stipend.

Doctor of Philosophy in Animal Sciences

Students must pass preliminary and final examinations administered by committees appointed by the dean of the Graduate College. The final examination is limited to a presentation and defense of the thesis research.

Advanced lecture and laboratory courses (400- and 500-level courses; excludes ANSC 590 and ANSC 599)20-28
Graduate seminar (ANSC 590) enrollment is required every semester (max 4 hours can be applied to the degree)4
ANSC 599Thesis Research (min/max applied toward degree)32-40
Total Hours64

Other Requirements1

Other requirements and conditions may overlap
Masters Degree Required for Admission to PhD?No, but Masters level requirements must be met (32 hours min)
Qualifying Exam Required:No
Preliminary Exam Required:Yes
Final Exam/Dissertation Defense Required:Yes
Dissertation Deposit Required:Yes
Minimum GPA:3.0

For additional details and requirements refer to the department's Graduate Handbook and the Graduate College Handbook.