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Dairy Science

College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences

Dairy Science is the study of managing and maintaining dairy animals, as well as the production and manufacturing of dairy products such as milk, cheese and ice cream.

San Luis Obispo, California

Your coursework will include nutritional, reproductive and lactation physiology, breeding and genetics, and many aspects of dairy farm and plant management. The curriculum provides significant flexibility, with enough approved electives for minors, all within the allotted 180 quarter units required for graduation.

Dairy Science Curriculum

About the Program

With the only dairy science program in California and the West Coast, Cal Poly is also one of the most advanced academic facilities in the United States for those pursuing a career in the dairy industry.

You will learn animal nutrition, physiology, genetics and management, as well as the fundamentals of dairy products technology and processing. The program is small and provides opportunities for individual attention and mentorship, as well as paid work experience and scholarships. You are also strongly encouraged to participate in internships to gain practical experience and test potential career directions.

Learn by Doing

Dairy science majors are responsible for the day-to-day operations of both the Corporation Dairy and the Cal Poly Creamery. Under the supervision of management, you will perform all of the tasks necessary to operate these units and be paid for your efforts. These facilities allow you to experience all aspects of modern dairy operations, from both the cattle to the foods sides of the dairy industry. You are able to practice animal health, explore breeding and genetic selection strategies, and learn about the business aspects of running a dairy farm. You are also able to create dairy products, learn techniques for monitoring quality and assuring food safety, and practice skills in dairy product formulation and food chemistry.

Student making ice cream

Create Dairy Products

Research and create dairy products such as butter, cheese and ice cream.

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Our Graduates

Dairy science graduates pursue a wide variety of careers including those in agriculture, dairy foods, education, veterinary school and dairy/dairy plant management.

A very high percentage of dairy science graduates go to work in dairy or allied fields. Dairy science experts are in high-demand and employers come from across the nation to recruit our graduates.