current grad program students outside







Welcome to the Department of Animal & Veterinary Sciences and the graduate program in Animal Biosciences.

Our program is designed to provide fundamental training in basic and applied research toward a graduate degree in Animal Biosciences.  We seek highly motivated, outstanding students interested in pursuing an accelerated Master’s degree, a traditional Master’s degree, or a doctoral degree. Interested students should review the information in each of the sections below.

After determining an area of specialization, students are guided by their research mentor and a graduate advisory committee in designing a program of study that will develop knowledge and skills appropriate to the student's professional and career objectives. Our program prepares students for careers in basic or applied animal sciences, working at universities, colleges, government agencies, private industry, or public health education programs.

UVM graduate students enjoy access to a variety of excellent facilities across campus. The nearby Miller research facility houses a small dairy herd and is used for studies involving livestock. Animal facilities on campus facilitate research with animal models such as genetically-modified rodents. Several faculty members within Animal & Veterinary Sciences are affiliated with the Vermont Cancer Center or have connections with research faculty at the Larner College of Medicine. Students have access to state-of-the-art core facilities including imaging, genomic and proteomic sequencing, biostatistics, instrumentation, and advanced computing.

Prospective students are encouraged to review the key areas of research pursued in the department and contact potential faculty mentors. Research faculty lead projects in the following areas: nutrition, metabolism, lactation, reproduction, genetics, animal health, food safety, and food technology. During the application process, you will be asked to name at least one and up to three potential graduate program advisors. In general, admission to our program, and obtaining a graduate teaching or research assistantship from our university requires endorsement from a potential faculty mentor in our department. We offer a strong training program with a limited number of assistantships available each year, therefore, admission is highly competitive. Please review the information below to see if our graduate program is a good fit for you and you are a good fit for our program.

Graduate Programs and Requirements

Research areas and Faculty

  • Lactation and mammary Biology

          Greenwood, Barlow, Zhao

  • Nutrition and nutritional physiology

          Dann, Greenwood, Grant, Kraft, Morrison, Testroet

  • Animal/human Health

          Barlow, Etter, Freeman, Jetton, Kraft, Smith, Testroet, Townson, Zhao

  • Animal Genetics


  • Reproductive Physiology


  • Farm Biosecurity

          Etter, Smith

  • Dairy Management

          Barlow, Dann, Grant, Morrison, Smith

  • Food Science and Animal products

          Etter, Guo, Kraft

Application requirements and admission

Application requirements

To be considered for admission, applicants must show promise of ability to pursue advanced study, have adequate preparation in the field, and be fluent in the English language.

Admission to graduate programs in Animal Biosciences requires the following coursework to be completed:
• Two semesters of chemistry to include general chemistry, organic and/or biochemistry, with labs;
• Two semesters of biological sciences (e.g., anatomy, biology, physiology, animal sciences, botany, nutrition, food science, cellular and molecular biology, or microbiology); and
• One semester of math (precalculus or calculus) or statistics.

The following standards and coursework are recommended, especially for PhD applicants:
• GPA of at least 3.0 or equivalent
• One year of undergraduate general chemistry, with lab
• One year of undergraduate organic chemistry, with lab
• One course in biochemistry, with lab
• One course, with lab, in any biological science, with anatomy and/or physiology preferred
• One semester of math (precalculus or calculus) and statistics

Application Submission and Admission

Those considering applying to a graduate program in Animal Biosciences are encouraged to contact the faculty member(s) whose program(s) is/are of interest. If a position in their laboratory is available, an application will be welcomed. All graduate program applications are submitted to the Graduate College. (See link in right hand menu.) Applications meeting the minimum standards for consideration are reviewed by the Department’s Graduate Committee, which is a subset of program faculty. The faculty member identified by the candidate has right of first refusal regarding the application. If no faculty member accepts the candidate, the applicant is not admitted and is notified accordingly. If a faculty member agrees to take on an applicant, an offer letter is sent to the applicant and must be signed and returned by the date specified.

Applications are submitted online through the Graduate College application portal. The following required elements must be received in order for your application to be considered (for complete details see, Application Instructions)
• Statement of purpose
• Three letters of recommendation
• Transcript(s)
• Test scores for English proficiency, for applicants whose native language is not English (see International Students).

Standardized test scores (e.g. GRE) are NOT required to apply the Animal Biosciences Graduate Program.
Optional supporting materials to include in your online application can include a resume or curriculum vitae. We are particularly interested in receiving a list of any publications, scientific presentations or academic awards. A writing sample other than your statement of purpose may also be submitted to support your application.

Funding (assistantships)

Most students are supported by either graduate teaching assistantship (GTA) or graduate research assistantship (GRA) stipends. (For students who take the TOEFL, a score of 100 is required to be eligible for funding.) Students supported by GTA most often assist with teaching laboratories of undergraduate courses offered by the department. Students supported by GRA devote additional time to research under the supervision of their mentor. More details on how this funding works can be found in the graduate student handbook.


All graduate students take ASCI 301, Journal Club, and ASCI 302, Graduate Seminar. Doctoral students are also required to take ASCI 303, Proposal Writing, or an equivalent course. Other courses are selected based on the student’s research and career goals. A comprehensive exam and final defense presentation are required in all programs. The credit requirements for each program (AMP, MS, and PhD) are described in more details in the graduate handbook.

For more information please contact the program advisor:

Grad students jumping in the air

Dr. Heather Dann (Miner Institute, Adjunct Assistant Professor)

Dr. Andrea Etter (NFS)

Dr. Kalev Freeman (Surgery)

Dr. Rick Grant (Miner Institute, Adjunct Professor)

Dr. Mingruo Guo (NFS)

Dr. Stephanie McKay (ASCI)

Dr. Sarah Morrison (Miner Institute, Adjunct Assistant Professor)

Dr. Feng-Qi Zhao (ASCI)