Jun 25, 2024  
2021-2022 Graduate Catalog 
2021-2022 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Animal Sciences (Ph.D.)

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Application for admission to graduate school should begin as early as possible in the semester before the proposed admission date (i.e., for fall semester, begin application process early in the preceding spring semester).

All applicants must submit a completed application form, three letters of recommendation, and official transcripts of all previous college work. In addition, the applicant should write a short statement of objectives to include the discipline area (and animal species if appropriate) in which the student desires to study. The student should mention in the statement of objectives specific faculty with whom he/she desires to work as a graduate student. This information is important in placing prospective graduate students with major professors whose area of research coincides with their areas of interest.

In addition to the information noted above, international applicants must meet English proficiency requirements as described in the Graduate School handbook (submit satisfactory English test scores or provide evidence of receipt of a degree from a U.S. university). International students must also provide a completed financial form and evidence of financial support for their entire graduate training.

The Graduate Record Examination is not required for admission, but may be helpful in the evaluation process.

Upon receipt of all of the required application documentation, the applicant’s file will be reviewed by the departmental Graduate Committee which includes graduate faculty members representing each of the five discipline areas. If the student is deemed acceptable for admission, a graduate faculty member willing to serve as major professor must be identified before forwarding of the student’s credentials to the graduate school.

Limited numbers of Graduate Research Assistantships and Graduate Teaching Assistantships are available on a competitive basis. For students awarded a Graduate Research Assistantship, student tuition and fees are assessed at in-state resident rates. For students awarded a Graduate Teaching Assistantship, tuition is waived.

Animal sciences and industry- program description

The Department of Animal Sciences and Industry is a comprehensive unit supported by about 50 faculty devoted to research, teaching, and extension activities related to domestic farm animals species. Currently, the department has approximately 1,200 undergraduate students advised in the department and about 75 graduate students pursuing either M.S. or Ph.D. degrees in the Animal Science graduate program.

For graduate training, the department has animal research and teaching units located conveniently to the main campus. Those units include beef (grazing and feedlot), dairy, swine, sheep, poultry, and horse teaching and research units. In addition, both Call Hall and Weber Hall contain laboratories equipped to conduct most analytical techniques required for research.

Graduate training in the Department of Animal Sciences and Industry is organized within six functional discipline groups including animal breeding and genetics, meat science, monogastric nutrition, physiology, ruminant nutrition, and food science. The food science program represents a large interdisciplinary degree program and is detailed in a separate area in the catalog.

Programs of study must follow the policies of the Graduate School. All Ph.D. students must complete 3 hours of ASI 990 (Seminar in Animal Sciences Research). Students who have previously completed a research-based M.S. degree must complete at least 25 hours of ASI 999 (Doctoral Research in Animal Sciences and Industry), whereas students who have not completed a M.S. degree must complete at least 32 hours of ASI 999 (Doctoral Research in Animal Sciences and Industry). Graduate students in Animal Science are required to assist in teaching a course during each Spring and Fall semester, although waivers can be granted, notably during the student’s final semester.

Animal breeding and genetics

Graduate work leading to M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in animal breeding is administered by participating faculty. Graduate programs are designed specifically for each student to acquire training in genetics, animal breeding, and statistics. Additional courses will be selected from the fields of biological and physical sciences. A typical program of study will include some of the following graduate level courses: statistical and population genetics; animal breeding; statistics and experimental design; physiology; and anatomy. Research is conducted using field data from cooperating ranches, breed association, and universities. Facilities are available for adequate analysis of most data set, including REML and BLUP procedures.

Meat science

The meat science program is comprehensive and prepares students for fundamental and applied research, product and process development, and technical service in industry, academic, regulatory, and international positions. Faculty conduct research in tissue growth and development; germplasm characterization; ante- and post-mortem factors and processes affecting meat quality and composition; myofibrillar, collagen, and pigment chemistry; packaging; lighting; irradiation; low-fat products; byproduct value enhancement; processed meats; quality assurance; and safety of meat and meat products. Facilities include a fully equipped meat laboratory that permits experimental and industry-like fresh and processed meat processing; research laboratories for physical and chemical analyses; and thermal processing, display, and sensory facilities for instrumental and sensory panel evaluation of meat products. Graduate students are actively involved in teaching, research, and extension activities as part of their training.

Monogastric nutrition

The monogastric nutrition teams offer comprehensive training that weaves a basic understanding of nutrition into an applied research program. Areas of specialized emphasis include both comprehensive programs in swine, equine, and poultry nutrition. Areas of research in the swine nutrition program include: amino acid and energy nutrition; utilization of alternative feed ingredients; influences of technological advances on nutritional requirements; and effects of feed processing technologies on nutrient utilization.

The K-State swine nutrition program is a national leader in conducting applied field research in modern commercial swine facilities. This allows graduate students to be exposed to the swine business while conducting timely and industry-leading research.

The Equine Nutrition Research Team at K-State has one of only two university-owned herds of cecally cannulated horses. This allows graduate students an exceptional research program focused on nutrient digestion and absorption, the equine hindgut’s microbiome, and the cecal environment. 

The poultry program focuses not only on broiler and laying hen nutrition, but gamebird nutrition as well. Research areas include feed processing and nutrient requirements of poultry.

Graduate students are offered an array of course work to develop areas of expertise. Common areas of training include basic nutrition, biochemistry, statistics, and grain science. Seminars and discussion groups are an integral part of the graduate program. Prospective graduate students are encouraged to visit with the faculty and current graduate students about opportunities in the program.


Students pursuing M.S. and Ph.D. programs in physiology in the Department of Animal Sciences and Industry will be exposed to a comprehensive, interdisciplinary degree program including course work, seminars and research experiences spanning many departments including biochemistry, statistics, biology, and anatomy and physiology.

Graduate training in physiology prepares students for various careers in research, teaching, technical services, consulting, adult education, and extension in animal reproduction and related fields of animal physiology. Graduate studies will be in reproductive endocrinology, establishment of pregnancy, cell and tissue culture, molecular biology of reproduction, stress-environmental physiology, gamete physiology, and exercise physiology.

Ruminant nutrition

Scientists within the ruminant nutrition program maintain the dual goals of conducting research that will advance the understanding of fundamental nutritional phenomena but which also provide insight into practical aspects of the nutritional management of ruminant livestock. Individual research programs range from basic to very applied. Students in the program are provided with a strong foundation in ruminal and post-ruminal digestion, metabolism, and fundamental experimental procedures necessary for conducting ruminant nutrition research.

Supporting course work is frequently pursued in the areas of biochemistry, grain science, microbiology, physiology, and statistics. Areas of research emphasis within the ruminant nutrition group include dairy cattle nutrition, feedlot nutrition, cow-calf nutrition (grazing livestock), and stocker cattle nutrition.

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