Animal scientists need at least a bachelor’s degree from an accredited postsecondary institution, although many obtain a doctoral degree. Some earn a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine (DVM). Most animal scientists earn a Ph.D.
Students typically gain a strong foundation in their field, with an emphasis on teamwork, internships, and research opportunities. In addition to science coursework, undergraduates sometimes take humanities courses, which help them develop good communication skills.
Some people with bachelor's degrees in animal sciences find work in related fields rather than becoming an animal scientist. For example, a bachelor's degree in animal science is useful for managerial jobs in farm-related or ranch-related businesses, such as farming, ranching, agricultural inspection, farm credit institutions, or companies that make or sell feed, fertilizer, seed, and farm equipment.
Graduate study further develops an animal scientist’s knowledge. It typically takes students six years to complete a Ph.D. During graduate school, there is additional emphasis on lab work and original research, where prospective animal scientists have the opportunity to do experiments and sometimes supervise undergraduates.
Advanced research topics include genetics, animal reproduction, and biotechnology, among others. Advanced coursework also emphasizes statistical analysis and experiment design, which are important as Ph.D. candidates begin their research.
Like candidates for a Ph.D. in animal science, a prospective Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine candidates must first have a bachelor’s degree before getting into veterinary school.