With new tools and discoveries rapidly emerging in every area of equine research, it is an exciting time to be an equine scientist. Students enrolled in programs such as the University of Kentucky’s (UK) Graduate Program in Veterinary Science at the College of Agriculture are uniquely positioned for immersion in research that will advance understanding of equine infectious diseases, genetics, reproduction, pharmacology, parasitology, and musculoskeletal disease.

Who Applies?

A typical Graduate Program applicant has both a passion for scientific investigation, and for horses, according to Daniel Howe, PhD, Director of Graduate Studies at UK’s Department of Veterinary Science. "We are looking for students who are interested in doing research and have interest in helping horses and the equine industry," he said. A passion for horses is not an absolute requirement, but many are drawn to the program due to an interest in horses and research. "Passion for the horse tends to make students more enthusiastic about their work," he added.

The program draws 20 to 30 applicants each year. Of those, according to Howe, about 15 are truly competitive. Five students were accepted last year, and five are starting in the program this coming year.

Students who are competitive for admission to the program have good undergraduate preparation in the life sciences. It is critical that applicants have taken courses in chemistry (particularly organic chemistry), biochemistry, physics, and mathematics. Some applicants already have professional degrees. "Students with veterinary degrees who have the urge to get int