Future Graduate Students

Please contact Kathy Monson with any questions, problems or concerns.
Animal Sciences Department
1675 Observatory Drive, Room 260
Madison, WI 53706
Phone: (608) 263-4300
Fax: (608) 262-5157

Animal Sciences Programs
Animal Nutrition
Animal Breeding & Genetics
Endocrinology & Reproductive Physiology
Meat Science & Muscle Biology

The Graduate School Experience

We are pleased that you are considering a graduate degree from the Department of Animal Sciences. We hope that this narrative gives you a better sense of what being a graduate student is all about. Prospective students are welcome and encouraged to contact faculty members to discuss research opportunities and available training positions.

Graduate school is a very unique experience. However, if you are considering graduate school, it is of value that you have a sense of some of the differences in comparison to a typical undergraduate program. As an undergraduate, students get into a routine of attending lectures, laboratory sessions, taking exams, and completing various out of class assignments (e.g. problem sets, term papers). Although as a graduate student you will also be required to take some advanced courses, there are several other requirements and/or expectations necessary to successfully complete a graduate program.


In many respects, a graduate program can and should be considered as a job. It is understood that you will be required to take classes and that faculty will be supportive of facilitating your academic classroom success. However, graduate students are expected to support a number of departmental activities as part of their advance graduate experience including assisting with classes, helping with various research projects, and other advisor and/or departmental activities.


Our graduate program requires that you successfully complete a research project (dissertation). The research that you undertake would be under the guidance of your major advisor. This research is much more in depth than anything that you would have experience as an undergraduate. This represents a major, significant commitment as part of your program. What research you become involved with and at what level may depend on the faculty advisor that you select and what funding he/she has to conduct the research. It is important to recognize that in order for you to complete a graduate program in Animal Science a financial commitment is being made in that your advisor at least has and/or will have the necessary research funding for the materials and supplies.


In terms of the starting point that you would get involved in the research depends on what funds are available to conduct the research. In many cases, your advisor has secured funds such that a core project has been thought out. The funds that are used to conduct the research represent an obligation of the faculty member to complete the project in a timely manner. This means the graduate student must also take the necessary steps to fulfill this obligation as well. In general, on a daily basis, it is expected that after you have met your coursework obligations, that you redirect your activity to the research.


Attendance at professional society meetings (e.g. Animal Science Association, Poultry Science Association, American Meat Science Association) is encouraged. These are meetings typically held once a year in which members meet to present, discuss, and exchange information. This is an excellent time for graduate students to interact with the best their field. Also, attendance at such meetings may help to lay the groundwork for future employment. Annual meetings are also a desirable time to present the results of your research.


Along with presenting your research at professional meetings, it is very important that your work is published in a peer-reviewed journal. Although you will have considerable effort dedicated to preparing your final dissertation, this document should not be considered the end in itself. Dissertations are not easily accessible and have limited readership.

Many consider graduate school as one of their most rewarding educational experiences. This is a very unique opportunity for you to work with and learn from an advisor on a one on one basis.


In order to be considered as a candidate for an advanced degree, the applicant must meet or exceed entrance requirements set by the Graduate School.

Graduate School Application Form and Application Fee
• All applicants must complete the Graduate School’s online application which is available on their Electronic Application website.

Statement of Purpose
• Your Statement of Purpose is an important component of your application packet. Be specific about your research interest and career goals as well as a description of your preparation for graduate study. The statement of purpose may be submitted electronically through the online application.

Three Letters of Recommendation
• Letters of recommendation are usually from people acquainted with your academic research and/or professional qualifications.
• The preferred method for submitting letters is online through the Graduate School’s electronic application. Letters can also be mailed directly to the department at the address below.

Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores

    • All applicants are required to submit Graduate Record Examination scores to the department. Animal Sciences will receive the GRE scores entered on the Graduate School application. If the GRE has not been taken, the GRE scores should be sent directly to the Animal Sciences when available.
    • The UW-Madison code is 1846 and no departmental code is needed.

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score
• Every applicant whose native language is not English, or whose undergraduate instruction was not in English, must provide official scores from TOEFL, the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or the Michigan English Language Assessment Battery (MELAB). You can view the minimum test score requirements on the Graduate School’s website

Submitting Application Materials
You must apply using the Graduate School’s online application.

Application for graduate studies in Animal Sciences are accepted throughout the year.

Students are admitted to the department if a faculty member agrees to accept the candidate into his or her research group and to provide laboratory/desk space and research support, and upon the approval of the Graduate School. The faculty member also makes the decision of whether or not to offer a research assistantship to the candidate.

International Students

International Student Services
The International Student Services staff helps students transition to a new cultural, educational, and social environment through an initial orientation program and an ongoing series of workshops, services, programs, and events.