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This degree is an innovative approach to joining the demands of employers wanting employees with advanced degrees with customizable degree plans to meet the interests and time demands of students. The program is a unique way to build the knowledge base and academic proficiency of students who would like to further their education in a professional school.

What are some potential careers?

An advanced degree in Animal and Dairy Sciences can afford you numerous career opportunities. Many companies involved in animal agriculture are seeking individuals who bring the experience of advanced coursework and the ability to conduct and interpret research to their businesses. In addition to jobs in the animal feeding, breeding, production and health management industries, an advanced degree in Animal and Dairy Sciences can also give you an advantage in the basic and molecular sciences.

Who should pursue this degree?

Students interested in obtaining jobs in a whole host of areas, including Extension work, teaching, sales, marketing, finance or production should pursue this degree.

Program Structure

The program curriculum is based on a total of 30 credit hours. The program is 100% online. Master of Agriculture students must also successfully complete a defense style oral examination, which can be done over WebEx.

All courses are offered on the spring, fall and summer semester rotation. Students must discuss course availability with the Director of the program prior to each registration period.

Course Code Course Name Credit Hours
ST 8114 Statistical Methods 4
ADS 8004 Method Application and Data Analyses in Animal Sciences 4
ADS 8333 or Nutritional Biochemistry of Livestock Species 3
BCH 6013 Principles of Biochemistry 3
ADS 8111 Animal and Dairy Sciences Seminar
Repeatable
1
ADS 7000 Directed Individual Study
Will enroll with major advisor and write scholarly paper
3
Graduate level coursework   14
ADS 8162 OR Monogastric Nutrition 2
ADS 6633 OR Immunology and Disease in Large Livestock Species 3
ADS 6553 OR Current Literature in Animal and Dairy Sciences 3
ADS 8533 OR Beef Cattle Production Systems Management 3
ADS 8973 OR Scientific Writing 3
ADS 8243 OR Advanced Physiology of Reproduction 3
ADS 8133 OR Endocrine Secretions 3
ADS 8423 OR Meat Science 3
ADS 8463  Advanced Animal Nutrition 3
At least 12 hour at the 8000 levels
Total Hours: 14
Overall Total Hours: 30

Course Rotation

Fall Spring Summer
ADS 6533
Current Literature in Animal and Dairy Sciences
ADS 8004
Method Application & Data Analyses in Animal Sciences
ADS 8111*
Animal and Dairy Sciences Seminar
ADS 7000**
Directed Individual Study
ADS 8111*
Animal and Dairy Sciences Seminar
ADS 7000**
Directed Individual Study
ADS 81621
Monogastric Nutrition
ADS 7000**
Directed Individual Study
ADS 84232
Meat Science
ST 8114
Statistical Methods
ADS 89732
Scientific Writing
BCH 6013
Principles of Biochemistry
ADS 81332
Endocrine Secretions
ADS 82431
Advanced Physiology Of Reproduction
ADS 8333
Nutritional Biochemistry of Livestock Species
  ADS 84631
Advanced Animal Nutrition
ADS 66331
Immunology and Disease in Large Livestock Species
  ST 8114
Statistical Methods
 

*Repeatable
**Will enroll with major advisor and write scholarly paper
1Taught in odd-numbered years e.g.: 2023, 2025, 2027 etc.
2Taught in even-numbered years e.g.: 2022, 2024, 2026 etc.

Admissions Requirements

Applications for the degree programs are reviewed three times a year. The application deadlines for those semesters are as follows:

  • Fall Semester – August 1
  • Spring Semester – December 1
  • Summer Semester – May 15

Students seeking full admission into the Master of Agriculture with a concentration in Animal and Dairy Sciences program should apply as a classified student. Non-degree seeking students wishing to take classes offered through the Online program should apply as an Unclassified student.


An applicant for admission to graduate study must hold a bachelor's degree from a fully recognized four-year educational institution that has unconditional accreditation with appropriate regional accrediting agencies. They must meet the admission requirements of the Graduate School and the Master of Agriculture with a concentration in Animal and Dairy Sciences.

Regular admission to graduate study in the program requires a minimum grade point average (last four semesters of undergraduate work) of 3.00/4.00. When a student is deficient in one of the criteria cited, the student's application, nevertheless, may be considered for admission based on the strength of other materials contained in the student's application.

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) scores are NOT required for entry into this program.


Attention International Students

International students are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and score greater than 550. Detailed information regarding international applications can be found in the Graduate Catalog. Questions regarding international applications can be addressed to the Office of the Graduate School at gradapps@grad.msstate.edu.

  • ETS is providing home testing for the TOEFL iBT test, and MSU is encouraging students to take advantage of this testing option. For those students applying who have taken the TOEFL within five years of the semester they plan to enroll and are unable to access the TOEFL iBT test from home, we will accept your previous test scores.

Admission Options

Domestic/International Classified Admissions

  1. Submit online application. You will choose Master of Agriculture with a concentration in Animal and Dairy Sciences as your Program of Study and Online Education as your campus.
  2. Statement of Purpose
  3. Three letters of recommendation
    • You will be asked to submit three names and three email addresses of individuals you are using as references. Once you click submit, these individuals will be sent an email from MSU, which will provide a link to an online form for completing their recommendations.
  4. One official transcript showing bachelor’s degree or progress toward degree. (For international students, please submit a copy in native language along with translated copies, if appropriate.)
  5. One official transcript showing ALL work after bachelor’s degree. (For international students, please submit a copy in native language along with translated copies, if appropriate.)
    • Electronic transcripts should be sent to: gradapps@grad.msstate.edu Mississippi State University, Graduate School. Only one copy of an electronic transcript is required.
    • Paper Transcripts Address (USPS):
      Mississippi State University
      The Office of the Graduate School
      P.O. Box G
      Mississippi State, MS 39762
    • Physical Street Address (for DHL, Fed Ex, UPS, DHS, etc.):
      Mississippi State University
      The Office of the Graduate School
      175 President Circle
      116 Allen Hall
      Mississippi State, MS 39762
  6. Payment of $60 non-refundable application processing fee for domestic students.
    Payment of $80 non-refundable application processing fee for international students.
  7. Once you are admitted, you will receive an email with complete instructions on registering for classes and contacting your advisor

Courses

ADS 6553 Current Literature in Animal and Dairy Sciences
(Prerequisite: Junior, Senior or graduate standing) Three hours lecture. Evaluation of current research in animal and dairy sciences and its application to production and management.


ADS 6633 Immunology and Disease in Large Livestock Species
(Prerequisite: ADS/VS 3014) Three hours lecture. This course will cover common diseases in dairy cattle, beef cattle, and horses. Curriculum will include immunology, disease transfer, prevention methods, detection techniques, treatment options, and potential impacts on the animal, producer, and industry.


ADS 7000 Directed Individual Study
Hours and credits to be arranged.


ADS 8004 Method Application & Data Analyses in Animal Sciences
(Prerequisite: ST 8114 or equivalent) Three hours lecture and two hours laboratory. Data analyses and experimental design principles used commonly in the field of animal science. Data management and practical applications using statistical software. Assessment of validity in differing methods of analysis.


ADS 8111 Animal and Dairy Sciences Seminar
Survey of current literature; preparation, organization, and presentation of papers on selected topics in animal and dairy sciences. (Course is repeatable and may be taken 6 times)


ADS 8133 Endocrine Secretions
Three hours lecture. Study of factors by which cells communicate: the traditional endocrine system, autocrine, paracrine and neurocrine secretion. Physiological and genetic control of synthesis and secretion.


ADS 8162 Monogastric Nutrition
(Prerequisite: ADS 4114/6114 or equivalent) Two hours lecture. Monogastric nutritional relationships with special emphasis on swine nutrition. Metabolic functions, dietary requirements, deficiency symptoms and distribution of nutrients in feedstuffs.


ADS 8243 Advanced Physiology of Reproduction
(Prerequisite: ADS 4613/6613 or its equivalent) Three hours lecture. An advanced study of the reproductive process with emphasis on reproductive endocrinology and the physiology of germ cells. (Same as PHY 8243)


ADS 8333 Nutritional Biochemistry of Livestock Species
Three hours lecture. The biochemical aspects of post-absorptive nutrient utilization, intermediary metabolism, and tissue-level accretion in livestock species will be discussed. Particular emphasis will be placed on the contribution of nutrients to the metabolic disposition of economically important tissues including muscle and adipose.


ADS 8423 Meat Science
Summer semester. (Prerequisites: CH 4513/6513 or equivalent and BIO 3304 or equivalent) Three hours lecture. Basic study of the value of meat and how this information is applied to the evaluation, processing and preservation of meat, meat products and meat by-products. (Same as FNH 8423)


ADS 8463 Advanced Animal Nutrition
(Prerequisite: ADS 4114/6114 or prior approval from instructor) Two hour lecture. Two hour laboratory. Develop an understanding of nutritional physiology, metabolism, and utilization of nutrients by animal species.


ADS 8973 Scientific Writing
(Prerequisite: Graduate standing and consent of instructor) Three hours lecture. The course provides advanced training in research proposal, grant proposal, and manuscript writing. (Same as FO 8973 and CVM 8973)


BCH 6013 Principles of Biochemistry
(Prerequisite: CH 2503, BIO 1134 or equivalent) Three hours lecture. A survey of biochemistry designed to provide the non-major with a comprehensive background in the field. (Credit will not be given to students matriculating in the Biochemistry or Molecular Biology degree programs)

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Major Professors

Students should identify and contact a major professor with their area of interest.

Derris Burnett

  • Associate Professor

Research:

  • Molecular Approaches to Improve Muscle Composition and Meat Quality
  • Prenatal Programming of Postnatal Growth and Body Composition
  • Depot-Specific Adipose Tissue Development
  • Nutrient Partitioning and Metabolic Flexibility in Muscle and Adipose Tissue

Clay Cavinder

  • Professor

Research:

  • Effects of nutrition and exercise on reproductive efficiency of the stallion and mare

Thu Dinh

  • Associate Professor

Research:

  • Meat quality: the oxidation, packaging, and preservation of meat; meat tenderness, flavor, flavor precursors, and composition
  • Analytical methodology for meat and food research: LC, LC/MS, GC, GC/MS, AA, NIR; method development and validation

Jean M.N. Feugang

  • Associate Research Professor

Research:

  • Biology of mammalian gametes and embryos
  • Post-collection semen manipulation (i.e., in vitro analyses, purification, and cryopreservation)
  • Non-invasive luminescence and fluorescence bioimaging
  • Nanotechnology in animal production, reproduction, and disease prevention
  • Various biological techniques are employed:
    1. cell and embryo culture;
    2. biochemical and cellular assays (i.e., ELISA and apoptosis analyses);
    3. proteomics (protein isolation, western-blot, and high-throughput approach);
    4. transcriptomics (DNA/RNA isolation, PCR, and high-throughput approach);
    5. Biophotonic imaging (bioluminescence and fluorescence).

Kelsey Harvey

  • Assistant Professor

Research:

  • Applied beef cattle management
  • Stage-specific nutrient interventions to improve productive and health responses
  • Heifer development

Brandi Karisch

  • Milton Sundbeck Endowed Associate Extension/Research Professor

Research:

  • Improving efficiency of beef production
  • Applied beef cattle management

Jamie Larson

  • Professor, Graduate Coordinator

Research:

  • Improving reproductive efficiency in dairy and beef cattle
  • Studying heat stress and reproduction physiology
  • Understanding the role of hormones in early embryonic death
  • Looking at the effects of dam nutritional stress on her offspring

Caleb Lemley

  • Associate Professor

Research:

  • Reproductive endocrinology and developmental programming in livestock
  • Environmental influence on dam fertility and conceptus development
  • Developing in vitro systems to examine reproductive and nutrient transferring tissue physiology
  • Microbiome of the reproductive tract

Shengfa Liao

  • Associate Professor

Research:

  • Nutrient regulation of animal growth/development and health
  • Diet/feed evaluation for swine production
  • Swine model for human nutrition and health
  • Molecular biotechnoloy

Molly Nicodemus

  • Associate Professor

Research:

  • Understanding the normal gait mechanics of the performance horse
  • Identifying gait parameters that may indicate lameness in the performance horse
  • Determining the influence of training and training devices on performance horses
  • Studying the development of equine gait mechanics through aging
  • Looking at the interaction between the rider and equine gait mechanics
  • Evaluating the impact of animal assisted activities and therapy on physical, psychological, and cognitive disabilities

Jane Parish

  • Professor and Interim Head,
    North MS Research and Extension Center

Research:

  • Forage systems for beef production
  • Applied beef cattle management

Trent Smith

  • Associate Professor

Research:

  • Estimation of genetic parameters in performance, carcass, and consumer related traits in beef cattle
  • Evaluation of beef breeds, breed types, and mating systems

Amanda Stone

  • Assistant Professor

Research:

  • Mastitis
  • Heat stress
  • Pasture grazing
  • Disease detection
  • Precision dairy monitoring

Rhonda Vann

  • Research Professor

Research:

  • Growth and development of beef cattle with emphasis in heifer development
  • Reproductive efficiency
  • Live animal carcass evaluation
  • Immunity, animal behavior, and herd health
  • Growth development and reproductive physiology in sheep

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Contact Information

Photo of Mindy Wolfe

Mindy Wolfe

Online Education

  • Coordinator
Photo of Dr. Jamie Larson

Dr. Jamie Larson

Agriculture

  • Professor & Graduate Coordinator