The emphasis of this degree is on students learning how to apply knowledge as professional practitioners. Animal Science M.P.S. students choose a broad plan of study or intensive training in a specialized area of animal science in preparation for careers in education, extension, or industry.

The plan of study leading to the Master of Professional Studies degree has an industry orientation and provides opportunities for students to increase their knowledge and competencies in the various fields of agriculture. A student may choose a broad plan of study over a wide spectrum of subject matter, or intensive training in a specialized area, according to his/her specific interests and needs.

The emphasis of this degree is for students to learn how to apply knowledge as professional practitioners.

An appropriate portion of the student's time will be devoted to developing skills in communication, especially technical speaking and writing. However, students will be expected to have completed most of their general education needs as undergraduates.

Degree Requirements

Time Limitation

All requirements for a master's degree, whether satisfied on the University Park Campus or elsewhere, must be met within five years or a period spanning six consecutive summers.


At least 20 credits must be earned in residence at the University Park Campus.

Credits and GPA

A minimum of 30 credits and a minimum grade-point average of 3.0 (4.0 basis) for graduate work done at the University are required for graduation.

Course Requirements

One credit of ANSC 503, Professional Skills for Graduate Students; one credit of ANSC 500, Current Issues in Animal Sciences; one credit of AN SC 501, The Ethics of Scientific Scholarship; and one credit of ANSC 504, Communication of Scientific Information.

A minimum of 30 graduate credits is required, including at least six credits of formal courses at the 500 level. A maximum of 10 credits may be earned in special problem-type courses, which may include up to three credits for the M. P. S. paper.

All graduate degree candidates shall assist in teaching at least one course. This teaching requirement will be met by completing one credit of AN SC 602 (Supervised Experience in College Teaching). Prior to assisting with a course for credit, students are encouraged to attend at least one teaching workshop provided for graduate students by the Instructional Development Program.

International students whose native tongue is not English must attend a certification workshop prior to teaching.

All candidates shall complete committee-approved courses and fulfill requirements for the specific degree. Note: Colloquium credit is not given for the mandatory paper/thesis/dissertation defense seminar.

Advisory Committee

A candidate's committee shall consist of an adviser, who shall be a member of the graduate faculty, and at least two additional members of the graduate faculty. Approval of the committee shall be by the chair of the Graduate Program in Animal Science, after consultation with the student and appropriate faculty members. If a minor is selected, a faculty member representing the minor field shall serve on the committee. The committee is responsible for approving the candidate's program and for administering the final oral examination.

M.P.S. Paper

The candidate shall prepare a paper on a selected professional problem as part of the program. Up to three graduate credits may be awarded for the paper. Whether required as part of a course or independent of course work, the nature and extent of the paper, and when its development is to be undertaken, shall be determined by the candidate's committee. The paper shall contain an appropriate Literature Cited section. Two hard-bound copies of the paper, one for the adviser and one for the graduate program, shall be prepared at the candidate's expense and will be available to the public.

The paper will be in a technical and grammatical form that is acceptable to the student's committee. The committee may require the candidate to employ the services of a technical editor (at the candidate's expense) to aid the candidate to bring the paper into an acceptable form.

Upon completion of the paper, the student shall be required to present a public seminar on the work and to pass an oral examination given by the candidate's committee. This examination shall cover both course work and the paper. A report of the completed M.P.S. Paper will be filed with the Graduate office.

While the Master of Professional Studies degree is not automatically a terminal degree, it must be understood that completion of this degree usually does not provide the preparation for pursuing the Ph.D. degree that would be obtained by completing an M.S. plan of study.