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Animal Sciences, General


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What to Expect

If you plan to study animal science, be prepared to work in a barn.

Janice Pierson took a master's degree in reproductive physiology. She says she has done a lot of hands-on work. "My research is in conjunction with a company and I have an industrial scholarship, so I work a lot with animals," she says.

"I have worked at the dairy farm [and] I have worked at the swine farm. We also have a mini farm with all kinds of animals. I have worked in almost every part of the school."

Coming from a city did not stop her reaching her goal of studying animal science.

"I am from the city. I am not from a farm and I had no link to a farm until I came here," she says. "But if you think it is for you, don't be afraid to go for it."

As an undergraduate, Pierson took basic animal science courses such as biochemistry. She also took more production-based courses such as theory production, swine production and international agriculture.

Laura Vaske took a bachelor's degree in animal science at Iowa State University. She says that an average semester for her included one or two general education classes, one or two animal science classes (possibly including a lab), and another science class with a lab.

Survival Tips

Costs can add up, but Pierson says that there are ways to save money. She suggests buying used books. She also says that professors often put several copies of textbooks on reserve in the library for their students.

How to Prepare

Pierson suggests high school students get involved in as many activities as they can. "Work in a related field on the weekends," she says. "In high school, I did a lot of activities. I was the class president. Those kinds of things are good for you as a person. You learn organizational skills and presentation skills. You learn to feel comfortable talking with different people."

Vaske suggests high school students get a good background in science and agriculture.

"Also, it is helpful to have a specific area or animal -- for example swine, beef or horse -- you are interested in to direct your course of study."


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