Animal Science Programs

There’s a school with an equine program that best suits your desired career path.
From large land grant universities to community colleges, there’s a school with an equine program that best suits your desired career path

As the school year starts up again, high school seniors across the country are thinking about the next step in their education: college. Students with a love of horses often gravitate toward animal science or equine science programs with goals of becoming trainers, farm managers, or veterinarians. While countless articles, websites, books, and services have focused on matching these horse-loving students with the right universities, many students don’t realize there’s more to this process than just picking a school that offers the major they desire; each major’s "home department" faculty and mission largely influence a student’s college experience and the marketable strengths they develop. And the type of university or college will dictate how these departments operate. Likely, animal science programs at large agriculture-oriented universities will offer different strengths (and weaknesses) than the same majors at small liberal arts colleges.

In this article we will discuss how animal and equine science departments differ at four types of colleges and universities, as well as how a student can go about choosing the best program for him or her. We’ve used a few schools as examples, but there are many excellent programs to choose from; be sure to explore all the options.

Why Animal Science

In the current economy, students are anxious to earn a degree that will give them the knowledge and skills necessary to land a good job after graduation. (Chances are their parents don’t think it’s such a bad idea either!) Although the online higher education resource Yahoo! Education picked animal science as one of its "College Majors that are Useless," Margaret Benson, MS, PhD, MBA, president of the American Society of Animal Science (ASAS), couldn’t disagree more. According to an official ASAS Board of Directors statement, "Animal science has stayed strong during the recession. … In 2009 to 2012 unemployment rates for recent graduates with agriculture-related degrees was 7%, below the national unemployment average of

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Written by:

Samantha Steelman, PhD, is a USDA postdoctoral fellow at the Texas A&M University’s College of Veterinary Medicine in the Department of Veterinary Integrative Biosciences.

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