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Animal Science

College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences

Animal Science is the study of animals and the way they are utilized by people. Animal scientists focus on animal health and nutrition, animal behavior, farm management, food animal production and more.

San Luis Obispo, California

Animal science majors take coursework in the sub-disciplines of nutrition, physiology, technology/management and many aspects of production management. The curriculum provides significant flexibility, with enough approved electives for you to complete a minor within the allotted 180 quarter units required for graduation.

Animal Science Curriculum

The department proudly manages multiple production facilities that we consider living laboratories. These facilities include:

  • Animal Nutrition Center
  • Beef Operations
  • Biotech Labs
  • J and G Lau Meat Processing Center
  • Oppenheimer Family Equine Center
  • Poultry Center
  • Sheep and Goat Operations
  • Swine Center
  • Vet Clinic


Rather than formal concentrations, the Animal Science Department has seven career emphasis areas:


The biotechnology program provides you with a strong animal and molecular biology background to help you learn to maximize animal well-being, production and efficiency, as well as develop new treatments for diseases in both humans and animals.

More about Biotechnology

Equine Science

The equine science program offers an extensive look into the science, research, management and training of horses.

More about Equine Science

Food Animal Production

The food animal production program allows you to gain first-hand knowledge of the beef, swine, sheep and goat industries.

More about Food Animal Production

Meat Science

Cal Poly’s USDA certified, state-of-the-art meat processing center provides you with the opportunity to produce, package and market meat products.

More about Meat Science

Poultry Management

The poultry management program gives you an understanding of the poultry industry, including health and nutrition, production, food science and technology, management, marketing and other skills needed to be successful in the industry.

More about Poultry Management

Pre-Veterinary Medicine

The pre-veterinary program allows you to learn directly from veterinarians and to work at our student-run veterinary clinic that cares for the more than 100 horses, 400 head of cattle, 100 ewes, 35 sows, a tortoise colony and thousands of birds on campus.

More about Pre-Veterinary Medicine

Range Resource Management

The rangeland resource management program helps you learn how to apply science to the assessment, planning and management of lands used for pasture, recreation, and wildlife habitat.

More about Resource Management

About the Program

Animal science students using model to study cattle musculature

Cal Poly’s Animal Science Department is a national leader of undergraduate training in animal nutrition and reproductive physiology. It is one of the four largest programs in the nation.

The department’s comprehensive hands-on program allows you to apply the principles you’ve learned in the classroom to a variety of species in real life including farm animals, exotic animals, laboratory animals, as well as your own pets. Extensive facilities are available for you to gain experience in areas such as veterinary medicine, animal biotechnology, animal facility management, animal nutrition and animal food manufacturing. You'll able to regularly engage with current animal industry in California and all over the country through faculty involvement research and educational programs.

Learn by Doing

In animal science, you will learn how to foal horses, breed cows, raise broiler chickens and quail, ride and train horses, run a vet clinic and much, much more. As an undergraduate, you will be able to conduct research in the biotechnology labs and perform tests in animal nutrition and husbandry. With more than 20 hands-on courses, you will be able to mold your educational experience to best fit your interests and career goals.

Animal Science students learning at the Equine Center

Run a Vet Clinic

Help care for the hundreds of animals and birds on campus in the student-run Veterinary Clinic.

Learn More

Our Graduates

Animal science graduates find successful careers as veterinarians, zookeepers, teachers, animal facility management, researchers, lawyers, agricultural and pharmaceutical sales, and more.

Nearly half of the department’s graduates go on to graduate or veterinary school, while other graduates go on to work for employers in both the public and private sectors.