The Department of Animal Sciences offers major programs of study toward master's and doctoral degrees in a variety of disciplines including
The Department also formally participates in interdepartmental graduate minor programs in cell and molecular biosciences, ecology and environmental sciences.
Graduate programs leading to the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree provide advanced education and technical training in preparation for careers in public and private sectors related to animal science and technology, food science and technology, animal biotechnology, agribusiness and university-level research and education.
The doctoral program emphasizes original, scholarly research and includes significant advanced course work. A minimum of 60 credit hours beyond the bachelor's degree and a dissertation describing original research are required.
There is no foreign language requirement, but knowledge of a foreign language may be recommended by the student's advisory committee.
The Master of Science (M.S.) degree program requires a minimum of 30 hours of graduate-level course work. The degree includes significant training in research. Students pursuing the M.S. degree achieve specialization in a particular discipline through course work and completion of an original research project under the supervision of a faculty advisor. All M.S. candidates must complete and defend a written thesis based upon results of their research.
The Master of Agriculture (M.Ag.) degree program consists largely of course work and prepares students for careers in secondary education, agribusiness and other professions not requiring specialized training in research. A minimum of 30 credit hours of graduate-level course work is required and, while the M.Ag. degree does not require completion of original research and submission of a thesis, expectations for academic excellence and intellectual rigor are not different from those of the M.S. program.
Students pursuing this degree option are expected to engage in and report on some form of structured scholarly activity conducted under the supervision of the major professor and advisory committee. Examples of such mentored scholarly activity might include, but need not be limited to, completion of a field trial, writing a comprehensive literature review or professional paper on a focused scientific subject, development and validation of a novel laboratory procedure, or development of educational resources (software, Web-based resources, classroom/laboratory/extension manuals, etc.).
Conversion from the M.S. program to the non-thesis Master of Agriculture (M.Ag.) program is not permitted except in extraordinary cases and upon written approval of the major professor, all advisory committee members and the department chair.
Regardless of the degree option being pursued or whether a student has been awarded a departmental research assistantship, all graduate students are expected to demonstrate a high degree of visibility and citizenship in the department and contribute to departmental teaching, research, extension/outreach and(or) administrative activities. Classroom/laboratory teaching is not the sole means of fulfilling this requirement for service to the department, nor is it a formal requirement for conferral of a graduate degree.
Appropriate types and levels of service are identified and judged accordingly by the major advisor based on needs of the department and consideration of student interest and capabilities. Candidates for all degree programs are expected to bring to their programs a high degree of self-motivation and maturity which will enable them to benefit from the highly individualized and special relationship which ideally develops between student and major advisor.
Graduate research assistantships are not viewed as compensation for services rendered, but rather as stipends awarded competitively to eligible students on the basis of academic merit, research potential and sustained scholarly achievement. Assistantship stipends for M.S. and Ph.D. students are currently $16,044 and $19,657 per year, respectively, including full tuition waiver. The Department is able to support a limited number of its M.S. and Ph.D. students on departmental research assistantships throughout the year. Non-thesis M.Ag. students are ineligible to receive departmental research assistantships because of statutory restrictions on research expenditures from state appropriations and federal formula funds.
Students can start a graduate program any semester, but assistantships are awarded semiannually on a competitive basis as available. Prospective students wishing to be considered for assistantship support beginning in the fall semester must have completed their application to the graduate program by March 1, and by September 1 in order to be considered for assistantship support beginning in the spring semester.
U.S. citizens receive priority consideration for assistantship support, and continuation of financial assistance is dependent upon satisfactory performance and progress toward degree requirements. Also, because of statutory restrictions on research expenditures from state appropriations and federal formula funds, students enrolled in the non-thesis M.Ag degree program are ineligible to receive departmental research assistantships. However, a number of faculty also support graduate students with unrestricted grant funds or other monies, in which case financial support is negotiated directly between the student, the major professor and the department chair.
The Department of Animal Sciences makes admissions decisions based on the compatibility of the applicant's goals with departmental resources, the availability of spaces for new students and a holistic evaluation of the applicant's potential for success in the program. Other considerations will routinely include standardized test scores, grades and(or) grade point averages and letters of recommendation and might also include writing samples, research or applied experience and(or) interviews.
To be considered for admission, the applicant must satisfy the following requirements:
Prior to making formal application, prospective applicants are strongly encouraged to directly contact faculty members in the Department of Animal Sciences, whose areas of research specialization are compatible with their interests, and inquire about availability of openings for new graduate students in their programs.
Prospective graduate students should apply directly to the Auburn University Graduate School, indicating the degree program (M.Ag., M.S. or Ph.D) to which they are applying and designating "Animal Sciences" and area of specialization on the electronic application form. Applicants should arrange for official academic transcripts and standardized test (GRE and, if applicable, TOEFL) reports to be sent directly to the Auburn University Graduate School, Hargis Hall, Auburn University, AL 36849; phone: 334/844-4700.
Applicants are required to submit a letter of purpose/intent to the Department's Graduate Program Officer that indicates the applicant's area of interest and the basis of his/her motivation for undertaking a graduate degree program. Also, applicants are required to have three letters of recommendation forwarded to the Graduate Program Officer from individuals who can attest to the applicant's scholarly aptitude and provide insight into the applicant's qualifications and potential for success as a scientist/educator following completion of a graduate program.
Dr. Russell B. Muntifering
Professor and Graduate Program Officer
Department of Animal Sciences
210 Upchurch Hall
Auburn University, AL 36849-5415
Last Updated: January 24, 2013