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Animal Biosciences

Why major in Animal Biosciences?

Animal bioscientists are needed to answer questions related to how animals and animal systems function. They are interested in solving problems related to producing healthy and productive livestock and companion animals such as horses. Students interested in fundamental biology of any kind of animal will find this a focused, hands-on major with a variety of in-demand career options available after graduation. Students that graduate from this major are prepared to pursue post-graduate, research-based degrees (M.S. and/or Ph.D.) in the animal biosciences. The curriculum includes an animal science core (anatomy, nutrition, physiology, health, genetics, and behavior) complemented by animal bioscience interest areas in animal nutrition, animal physiology and animal health.

Uniqueness of our program

Students will develop expertise in the interest area of their choice to enhance their application for graduate programs in that area. The curriculum also includes prerequisite courses suggested for admission to graduate programs in animal science and in biology (calculus, chemistry, organic chemistry, biochemistry, and microbiology). Among our faculty, animal bioscientists are engaged in research and education in animal nutrition, animal virology, animal immunology and animal geneticists.

For more information, visit the UD Online Catalog.

Visit the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

Under ‘Academic Program Interest,’ select Animal Biociences.

Contact our faculty to learn more.

Dr. Lesa Griffiths, TA Baker Professor of Agriculture and Natural Resources

Contract Courses

Description of Contract Courses

ANFS 464, ANFS X66, ANFS 468

 

ANFS 464 is a course for students who which to receive credit for a supervised, faculty-monitored, career-related experience in one or more aspects of the animal science or food science industries on or off campus. For example students that want experience working on our University farm facilities or on private farms register for ANFS 464 . Students may  obtain a maximum of 3 credits per internship which requires 120 hours of internship work.  A student may register for an internship during any semester. ANFS 464 meets the DLE requirement for graduation. ANFS 464 is a pass/fail course.

ANFS X66 is a course for students who receive credit for independent, faculty-monitored activities in the fields of animal science or food science. Students may obtain a maximum  of 3 credits per semester which requires 120 hours of work. A student may register for  independent study during any semester. These activities can include library research  projects or more informal, small research projects which are designed specifically for  students (which means they are probably not part of larger, substantial or funded project;  or the number of animals and/or data collected are not substantial enough for real  statistical analysis; there is no statistical experimental design; focus on data and lab techniques is usually not as strong as in ANFS 468.) ANFS X66 may also be used to teach a  course under special circumstances for example to a student that cannot take the course during a regular offering because of a scheduling conflict. ANFS X66 does not meet the DLE requirement for graduation No more than 5 credits of X66 may be counted towards the major. ANFS X66 is a letter-graded course.

ANFS 468 is a course for students who want to receive credit for a supervised, faculty-monitored, experience in research in the fields of animal science or food science. Students may obtain a maximum of 3 credits per semester which requires 120 hours of research (40h for 1 credit). A maximum of 3 credits in ANSC 468 may count towards the major. A student may register for research during any semester. While these students are typically part of a larger research program, beginning students usually do not have their own projects and will assist in on -going research projects while learning techniques. Advanced students may be assigned to specific research projects, which may be their own. ANFS 468 meets the DLE requirement for graduation. ANFS 468 is a letter -graded course.

There are contract forms for each of these courses which must be reviewed and signed by the Department Chair or his/her designee.

Graduate School – Application

 

Most programs will not review your application until all parts of it are submitted. So, start preparing the application components early and send them in as soon as possible

A complete graduate school application usually consists of:

  • Application Form
  • Application Fee
  • Official Transcripts from all institutions attended
    To request your official transcript, contact the Office of the Registrar. For transcripts from other institutions, contact their Registrars.
  • Test Scores
  • Statement
  • Letters of Recommendation 

Graduate and professional schools often require some sort of written statement — often called a “statement of purpose,” “personal statement,” or “letter of intent”– as a part of the application. Some statements require rather specific information–for example, the applicant’s intended area of study within a graduate field. Still others are quite unstructured, leaving the applicant free to address a wide range of matters. The importance of the statement varies from school to school and from field to field.

Determine your purpose in writing the statement 

Usually the purpose is to persuade the admissions committee that you are an applicant who should be chosen. Whatever its purpose, the content must be presented in a manner that will give coherence to the whole statement.

Pay attention to the purpose throughout the statement so that extraneous material is left out.

Pay attention to the audience (committee) throughout the statement. Remember that your audience is made up of professionals in their field, and you are not going to tell them how they should act or what they should be. You are the amateur.

Determine the content of your statement

Be sure to answer any questions fully. Analyze the questions or guidance statements for the essay completely and answer all parts. Usually graduate and professional schools are interested in the following matters, although the form of the question(s) and the responses may vary:

  • Your purpose in graduate study. Think this through before you try to answer the question.
  • The area of study in which you wish to specialize. Learn about the discipline in animal and /or food science in detail so that you are able to state your preferences using the language of the field. It would be helpful to read some of the journal articles of faculty members under which you would like to study at the institutions you have selected.
  • Your intended future use of your graduate study. Include your career goals and plans for the future.
  • Your unique preparation and fitness for study in the field. Correlate your academic background with your extracurricular experience to show how they unite to make you a special candidate.
  • Any problems or inconsistencies in your records or scores, such as a bad semester. Explain in a positive manner. Since this is a rebuttal argument, it should be followed by a positive statement of your abilities. In some instances, it may be more appropriate to discuss this outside of the personal statement.
  • Any special conditions that are not revealed elsewhere in the application, such as a significant (35 hour per week) workload outside of school. This, too, should be followed with a positive statement about yourself and your future.
  • You may be asked, “Why do you wish to attend this school?” Research the school and describe its special appeal to you.
  • Above all, this statement should contain information about you as a person. They know nothing about you unless you tell them. You are the subject of the statement.

Determine your approach and style of the statement (click to open)

There is no such thing as “the perfect way to write a statement.” There is only the one that best fits you.

DO

  • Be objective, yet self-revelatory. Write directly and in a straightforward manner that tells about your experience and what it means to you. Do not use “academese.”
  • Form conclusions that explain the value and meaning of your experience, such as what you learned about yourself and your field and your future goals. Draw your conclusions from the evidence your life provides.
  • Be specific. Document your conclusions with specific instances. See below a list of general words and phrases to avoid using without explanation.
  • Get to the point early on and catch the attention of the reader.
  • Limit its length to two pages or less. In some instances it may be longer, depending on the school’s instructions.

DON’T

  • Use the “what I did with my life” approach.
  • Use the “I’ve always wanted to be a _____” approach.
  • Use a catalog of achievements. This is only a list of what you have done, and tells nothing about you as a person.
  • Lecture the reader. For example, you should not write a statement such as “Communication skills are important in this field.” Any graduate admissions committee member knows that.
  •  Words and phrases to avoid without explanation
significant
interesting
challenging
satisfying/satisfaction
appreciate
invaluable
exciting/excited
enjoyable/enjoy
feel good
appealing to me
appealing aspect
I like it
it’s important
I can contribute
meant a lot to me
stimulating
incredible
gratifying
fascinating
meaningful
helping people
I like helping people
remarkable
rewarding
useful
valuable
helpful

How important are letters of recommendation?

  • Letters of recommendation are required for almost every graduate school application and are a very important part of the application process. Usually grades and test scores factor in most heavily; however, your letters of recommendation could be the deciding factor in the admission process.

How many letters of recommendation do I need?

Although it can vary, generally, you will be asked for three letters. We recommend that you send only the number of letters requested. Admissions committees do not have enough time to read extra credential

Whom should I ask for letters of recommendation?

  • The best letter writers are those that know you well and can provide an evaluation of your ability to perform and succeed at the graduate level.

Graduate and professional school admissions people tell us the following make the best letter writers:

  • Someone who knows you well
  • Someone with the title of “Professor”
  • Someone who is a professor at the school granting your baccalaureate degree
  • Someone who has earned the degree which you are seeking in your graduate work
  • Someone with an advanced degree who has supervised you in a job or internship aligned with the graduate program you are pursuing (e.g., Public Health, Social Work, Business Administration, etc.)
  • Someone who has academically evaluated you in an upper-division class
  • Note: Letters from family friends, political figures, and the like are discouraged and, in fact, may be detrimental.

How do I approach potential letter writers?

  • First, make a list of professors and/or supervisors who will be your best advocates. Then, set up an appointment to discuss your request in person. Do not make the request via email. Be prepared to articulate your interest and reasons for attending graduate school.
  • Letters of recommendation are written strictly on a voluntary basis. The best approach is to ask potential letter writers if they are willing to write you a strong letter. If you sense reluctance or the answer is no, ask someone else.

When should I approach letter writers?

  • Professors and supervisors are generally pleased to write on your behalf; however, they are usually involved in many activities. Faculty are especially busy during the months of May and September. Be considerate of your letter writers’ time and approach them at least two months before you need the letter.

How can I go about getting good letters of recommendation?

  • Since your best letters will come from those who know you well, make an effort to get to know your professors and/or supervisors. A few ways you can do this are to speak up in class, select courses with small class sizes, take more than one class from a professor, do research for a professor, take on optional projects, and regularly attend office hours.
  • The best strategy you can use to get a good letter of recommendation, particularly if a professor hasn’t known you long, is to provide your letter writer with ample information about you. This way, you will get a letter that includes concrete details about you, instead of a letter that contains only your grade, which is of limited value.

What information do my letter writers need to write good letters?

You can help your letter writers write enlightening letters by giving each of them a portfolio comprised of:

  1. A cover note (ok to send via email after your recommender has agreed to write a letter for you) that includes:
  • Information on how to get in touch with you in case they need to reach you
  • What you would like emphasized in each letter
  • A list of schools to which you are applying, and due dates, with the earliest due date at the top
  • Any other information that is relevant
  • Open and close your note with thanks and acknowledgement that the letter writer’s time is valuable and that this letter is important to your professional future.
  1. Your UD student ID (in case the recommender wants to view your transcript)
  2. A draft of your statement of purpose
  3. Your resume
  4. Recommendation forms are almost all electronic but you will have to provide the program with the Recommender’s name, title, contact info (telephone, fax, address etc)

Do graduate schools care if letters are confidential or not?

  • In general, graduate programs prefer confidential letters. Admissions officials say that it displays more confidence on the part of the applicant if letters are “confidential” (meaning you, the applicant cannot see the letter).

 

Graduate School – Financial Aid

  • Assistantships are usually campus-affiliated work assignments (e.g. graduate teaching instructor, research associate) that provide an individual a stipend (salary) and often waive tuition. Assistantship availability is discipline-specific, and most graduate students in the animal or food sciences are provided with assistantships.
  • Assistantships are often associated with a specific professor – that’s why it is important to identify potential research mentors before sending an application to the graduate program. Even if you meet admission requirements, admission will only be granted if a research mentor agrees to accept you into their lab and fund your assistantship.
  • The graduate school office will send all the applications for a department to the faculty in the department.
    • If you’ve already been corresponding with someone, they’ll see your application and say –“Oh – I know them and we’ve been chatting over email. I want him/her in my lab!”
  • Fellowships are typically granted to individuals to cover their stipend and tuition while they conduct their graduate work. Awards may be single or multiple-year and may come from a university or outside organization. Awards are highly competitive and based on an individual’s merit as measured by grades, GRE scores, publications, and letters of recommendation. If you are a strong student, fellowships are an excellent way to get you in virtually any lab of your choice.
  • Grants are most often awarded to cover expenses associated with carrying out research or other specific projects, such as travel, materials, or computers.
Researchers at UD look at stink bugs on sweet corn

How Do I Choose a School?

 

This next step is to research programs that match your interests and fit your needs. Don’t limit yourself at this point, but instead gather information on a broad range of programs. Click on any of the following steps to get advice on how to proceed.

  • Identify a broad discipline that you are interested in studying. For example, in the animal science field, this might be poultry nutrition, avian immunology, cattle reproduction, or equine genomics.
  • Find the UD faculty member(s) most closely related to that discipline and ask them where are the best programs or faculty in the discipline in which you want to study
  • Go to a research journal in the discipline in which you want to study and look for recent research papers you find interesting and see who the authors are.
    • For example – you could go to the Journal of Animal Science and look up “Ruminant Nutrition” and see who the professors studying ruminant nutrition are.
    • The address (college) of the corresponding authors is usually at the bottom of the first page. Corresponding authors are those people who directed the research and thus sponsored the graduate students.
    • Follow up by visiting the potential research mentor’s webpage to learn more about his/her research program.
  • Once you have some names of potential research mentors, look up some of their research papers published in journals and visit their website to get an understanding of the full scope of research they do in their laboratories
  • You can also consult sites such as these for researching graduate and professional schools. These are particularly useful if considering a graduate program outside of the animal or food sciences:
    • Peterson’s Graduate Schools
    • US News, Best Graduate Schools

  • Reputation of the Faculty – What are their academic degrees/credentials and research specialties? How many research articles have they published within the past few years? Look at faculty websites if available.
  • Quality of the Program – This is measured by many different factors, many of which are mentioned below. You may choose to look at graduate school rankings to help you assess a program’s quality.
  • Financial Costs – What are the opportunities for fellowships, assistantships, or scholarships? What other sources of financial aid are available?
  • Admission Requirements – GPA test scores, undergraduate coursework, undergraduate GPA, specific entrance examinations, etc.
  • Facilities – Consider the quality of on-site research facilities.
  • Geographic Location – Will studying in a particular location help you meet personal or professional goals?

Junior Year
  • Identify a discipline you would like to study
  • Begin researching available programs
  • Request promotional materials
  • Visit schools’ websites
  • Talk to faculty/alumni/current students in the program
  • Start exploring financial aid resources
  • Sign up for required standardized test and take a practice test
  • Identify potential letter writers
  • Take the required standardized test
Senior Year

Summer and Fall Semester

  • Email potential research mentors to enquire whether they will be accepting new students
  • Write the first draft of your statement of purpose
  • Request your letters of recommendation from faculty
  • Order official transcripts
  • Write final draft of statement of purpose
  • Complete and mail your applications
  • Apply for aid available through program; assistantships, fellowships, scholarships, etc.

Spring Semester

  • Complete and submit financial aid applications
  • Visit prospective campuses if possible, and talk to faculty/students to help you make your final decision
  • Follow-up with schools to make sure your file is complete
  • After receiving acceptance from the school of your choice, send in the required deposit, and contact other schools and decline acceptances
  • Write thank you notes to people who helped you

 

 

 

Why Graduate School?

  • Graduate school constitutes an advanced program of study focused on a particular academic discipline
  • In the animal or food sciences, graduate degrees are required for some higher level technical positions in industry, government, and academia
  • Graduate students conduct original research in a specific discipline (for example animal nutrition, animal reproductive physiology, growth physiology, immunology, virology, genetics, genomics, food microbiology, flavor chemistry, functional properties of foods)
  • Compared to undergraduate studies, graduate students in the animal or food sciences take one to two discipline-specific courses each semester and expectations regarding the quality and quantity of academic work are greater
  • Graduate degrees are available in almost any subject and should be selected based on your career objectives
  • Master’s degrees are usually completed by full-time students in 2 years. Following completion of a Master’s Degree, students can seek employment, apply to professional schools, or continue to a Doctoral Degree Program.
  • Doctoral degrees are the highest degrees possible. They usually require the creation of new knowledge via independent research on a focused issue. Doctoral degrees typically take 3-4 years to complete if a student already has a Master’s Degree or 5-7 years to complete without a Master’s Degree. Doctoral Degree recipients are eligible for highly-skilled jobs related to their field of study.

 

 

Foodborne Illness Outbreak Investigation

The University of Delaware Food Science Program presents educational materials to teach the science of foodborne illness, prevention, and outbreak resolution. The materials were developed by UD food microbiologists with insight of an advisory board of secondary educators and support of a USDA award 3. The content is multifaceted with a presentation, case studies, video, and web-based activities.

  • The Power Point™ presentation, Introduction to Foodborne Illness and Surveillance for Foodborne Illness, features over 70 slides on basic food microbiology, disease surveillance and epidemiology. An audio file accompanies the presentation for more background information for the educator.
  • Case studies immerse students in the role of public health investigator in foodborne illness outbreak investigations. Case studies are based on actual outbreaks that occurred in the United States and which dramatically impacted scientific understanding and other societal issues of trade, economics, and regulations. Learning concepts of the case studies include the different etiologies of foodborne illness, experimental design, data collection and handling, epidemiology, food safety strategies, good agricultural practices, communication, societal impact and regulatory outcomes of foodborne illness outbreaks. Teacher and student versions are provided.
  • A video, Foodborne Illness Investigation – Behind the Scenes, presents principles of microbial biochemistry for laboratory detection and identification of foodborne pathogens. The 14-minute video features varied visual elements to illustrate laboratory techniques such as culturing, gene-based assays, and immunoassays with emphasis on the biochemical similarities and differences among foodborne viruses, bacteria, and protozoan parasites. [ Teacher Supplement to Video ]
  • Three sets of web games reinforce concepts presented in the presentation, case studies, and video.
    • Outbreak Investigation – the student uncovers clues to a case file by matching terms related to outbreak investigations. The student must show mastery of concepts and work quickly to avoid loss of clues!
    • Tile Sorter™ includes four different exercises to order the sequence of events in an investigation and in laboratory procedures.
    • StudyMate™ features ten different exercises based on a question and answer bank related to concepts of food microbiology, outbreak investigations, laboratory detection, safety strategies, and critical numbers and roles. All activities can be used by one player; the Challenge game allows two players.

*Some games may not be supported with Internet Explorer.
1 Scallan, E, et al. 2011. Foodborne illness acquired in the United States – major pathogens. Emerg. Inf. Dis. 17(1): 7-15.
2 Scallan, E, et al. 2011. Foodborne illness acquired in the United States – unspecified agents. Emerg. Inf. Dis. 17(1): 16-22.
3 These educational materials were prepared by the University of Delaware based upon work supported by the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service, U. S. Department of Agriculture, under Award No. 2009-38414-19698. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Animal and Food Sciences Master’s Degrees

M.S. Degree in Animal Science
M.S. Degree in Food Science

Time Limitation

The programs are normally completed in 2 to 2 1/2 years of full-time study. All requirements for the Master’s degrees must be met within a maximum of ten consecutive semesters.

Credits

A minimum of 30 graduate credit hours is required, of which six credits must be six hours of thesis (869) or three hours of research (668/868) or a combination of both. The student must have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.00 (4 point scale) in order to receive the M.S. degree.

Core Courses

All students pursuing the M.S. degree will complete the following core courses; ANFS 865 Seminar (1 cr.) or ANFS 665 Seminar (1 cr.), and CHEM 527 Introductory Biochemistry (3 cr.) or CHEM 641 Biochemistry (3 cr.), and a statistics course [FREC 608 Research Methods (3 cr.), FREC 806 Research Techniques and Procedures (3 cr.), or equivalent].

Elective Courses

The remaining courses, totalling no less than 17 credit hours, will be determined by the student, faculty advisor and the Graduate Committee. These courses will vary among students depending on their specific needs to carry out their research and complete the program. Elective courses taken by students pursuing the M.S. in Animal Science include, but are not limited to, those with the ANFS, ANFS, BISC, CHEM, and FREC/STAT designations. Elective courses taken by students pursuing the M.S. in Food Science include, but are not limited to, those with the ANFS, ANFS, BISC, CHEM, FREC/STAT, CHEG, MATH, MEEG, PLSC, PHYS, AND NDTD designations.

Graduate Committee

Each student will have a Graduate Committee consisting of at least three faculty or professional members nominated by the faculty advisor and approved by the Department Chairperson. The advisor, who serves as the chair of the committee, must be a department faculty member. The Graduate Committee’s responsibility is the evaluation of the student’s program, thesis and examination. Participation from individuals from industry, government, or other academic departments on Graduate Committees may be required depending on the student’s area of research and the availability of faculty expertise within the Department. However, the number of “non-University of Delaware” committee members must not exceed 50% of the total number on the committee. Departmental Adjunct Faculty shall be considered as “non-University of Delaware” members in their participation on Graduate Committees. The Department Chairperson is considered an ex officio member of all Graduate Committees.

Research Proposal

A research topic shall be determined in conference between the faculty advisor and the student. The student will prepare a research proposal containing pertinent background material including a literature review, specific objectives of the research project and methods to be used in the planned studies. The proposal shall be submitted to the student’s Graduate Committee for review and approval of the research project. A proposal review meeting shall be held prior to the completion of the first year following matriculation. The proposal shall be submitted to the committee members at least ten working days prior to the scheduled meeting. The student will give an oral presentation summarizing the proposal. The committee members will question the student to verify that the student understands the research problem and the experimental approaches needed to address it. The Committee will also ensure that the student has the proper training and resources to do the research. As a result of the proposal review meeting, the student may be required to revise the proposal and/or take additional relevant course work.

Thesis

A thesis reporting the objectives, procedures, results, and a discussion of the student’s research shall be prepared according to the most recent edition of the Thesis Manual prepared by the Office of Graduate Studies. Copies of the thesis shall be submitted to the student’s Graduate Committee at least ten working days prior to the final examination.

It is highly recommended that the student present his/her research results at an appropriate scientific meeting and prepare a manuscript(s) based on his/her research results in a form suitable for publication. Published thesis research is acceptable as part of the thesis. At the discretion of the advisor, students may be required to provide a draft manuscript at the time of the defense.

Examination

Upon completion of the thesis, the student is required to pass an oral examination covering the thesis and allied areas of study. This examination is administered by the student’s Graduate Committee. The student will give an oral presentation (seminar) summarizing the thesis research. The committee members will question the student about the thesis and related subject areas to verify that the student fully understands the research findings and their implications. A favorable vote of at least two-thirds of the committee members is required for passing.

Animal and Food Sciences Ph.D.

Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Animal and Food Sciences

Admission

Students may enter the Ph.D. program after having previously earned a bachelor’s degree (B.A. or B.S.), M.S. degree, or Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine (DVM) or equivalent(s). A student who has been admitted to the Ph.D. program in Animal and Food Sciences may begin working toward the degree. However, he/she has no official status as a doctoral candidate until he/she has passed the comprehensive examination.

Areas of specialization

The Ph.D. degree in Animal and Food Sciences will be granted in the following major areas of specialization: animal nutrition, physiology, pathology, immunology, molecular biology/biotechnology, food science, and food engineering. In addition to the major area of specialization, the student’s advisor, in consultation with the Doctoral Committee, will determine whether the student should pursue a minor field of specialization. If a minor field of specialization is selected, the committee will judge the suitability of the field, relevance to the major area of specialization, and requirements for the minor.

Time limitation

A maximum of 14 consecutive semesters beyond the bachelor’s degree, or 10 consecutive semesters beyond the master’s degree, is allowed to complete the requirements for the Ph.D. degree.

Core courses and general requirements

All students pursuing the Ph.D. will complete the following core courses: ANFS 865 Seminar (1 cr.) or ANFS 865 Seminar (1 cr.); ANFS 969 Doctoral Dissertation (9-12 cr.); CHEM 641 Biochemistry (3 cr.); CHEM 642 Biochemistry (3 cr.); and a statistics course: (STAT 608 Research Methods (3 cr.), STAT 806 Research Techniques and Procedures (3 cr.), or equivalent). Beyond the core courses, no specific number of courses completed or credits earned are uniformly required. The student and advisor, in concert with the Doctoral Committee, will select appropriate course work based on the student’s background and major and minor (if applicable) area(s) of specialization for the Ph.D. Consideration will be given to the student’s prior training and experience at the undergraduate (B.A. or B.S.) and M.S. and/or D.V.M. (if applicable) level(s). Students with more advanced training and experience will need fewer courses to complete their Ph.D. program. General requirements for the Ph.D. are based on a period of residency, writing of a satisfactory research proposal and dissertation, and passing the comprehensive and the final oral examinations. The candidate’s doctoral program will consist of a combination of Doctoral Committee-approved formal courses, seminars, individual study, and research credits as needed by the student.

Residency requirement

At least one continuous academic year (two semesters) must be devoted to full-time study as a registered student in the major field at the University of Delaware. Full-time study consists of a minimum load of nine credit hours per semester.

Advisor and doctoral committee

Most applicants to the Ph.D. program identify a potential faculty advisor at the time of application. If that faculty member is unable (due to lack of space, funding, etc.) to advise the student, then another advisor who is acceptable to the student is sought. If an advisor can not be identified, then the student is not admitted to the Ph.D. program. As a condition of admission into the program, a faculty member must agree to serve as the student’s graduate advisor for the balance of the student’s program. A student may change advisors but this is very rare.

A Doctoral Committee will be appointed within six months following matriculation. The committee shall consist of not less than four nor more than six faculty or professional members nominated by the graduate advisor and approved by the Department Chairperson. Participation from industry, government or other academic departments on the Doctoral Committee may be required depending on the student’s area of research. At least one member of the committee shall be from outside the Department of Animal and Food Sciences. However, no more than half of the committee members shall be from outside the Department. Departmental Adjunct Faculty shall be considered as “outside” members in their participation on Doctoral Committees. The committee is responsible for approving the student’s course work and research program. The committee will prepare, administer, and evaluate the student’s comprehensive and final examinations and will supervise and approve the dissertation. The student’s faculty advisor serves as chair of the Doctoral Committee. A faculty member may serve as the graduate advisor for a student in both his/her M.S. and Ph.D. programs, although this is not common. Students who have completed the M.S. degree in Animal Science or the M.S. degree in Food Science are generally encouraged to pursue the Ph.D. at other universities.

Research proposal

Advancement to degree candidacy requires successful oral defense of a research proposal. The proposal will be submitted to the Doctoral Committee at least ten working days prior to the scheduled defense. The student will give an oral presentation summarizing the proposal. The committee members will question the student to verify that the student understands the research problem and the experimental approaches needed to address it. The committee will also ensure that the student has the proper training and resources to do the research. As a result of the meeting, the student may be required to revise the proposal and/or take additional course work. The research proposal defense should precede the comprehensive examination.

Comprehensive examination

Successful completion of the comprehensive examination is required of all Ph.D. students prior to their admission to candidacy. The examination normally is given to the student after completion of all course work and selection of a dissertation topic. The student is required to have a minimum grade point average of 3.0 (4 point scale) at the time of the examination. The examination will cover the student’s major and minor (if applicable) areas of study. Each member of the student’s Doctoral Committee will submit examination questions to the student via the advisor who will administer the written portion of the comprehensive examination. Following completion of the written exam, the advisor will return the student responses to the appropriate committee member for their evaluation. Students passing the written examination may continue for the oral portion of the comprehensive examination generally given within one month of the completion of the written examination. In the oral portion of the comprehensive examination the student must appear before all committee members and demonstrate competency in this forum. A favorable vote by a majority of the committee is required for passing. Based on the performance of the student in the comprehensive examination, the committee may recommend one of the following actions:

The student be admitted to candidacy, without qualification or subject to fulfillment of certain conditions.

  • The student be reexamined at later date.
  • The student be disapproved unconditionally for the degree.

Dissertation

The ability to conduct independent research and competence in scholarly writing must be demonstrated by the preparation of a dissertation on a topic related to the major area of specialization in accordance with the regulations of the Office of Graduate Studies. The contents and conclusions of the dissertation must be defended at the time of the Final Oral Examination and approved by the Doctoral Committee. Copies of the dissertation must be available in the departmental office at least ten working days before the date of the Final Oral Examination. Preparation of (a) manuscript(s) for publication of the information contained within the dissertation is expected prior to, or within one month after, approval of the dissertation by the committee at the Final Oral Examination.

Final oral examination

Upon recommendation of the Doctoral Committee, a Final Oral Examination of the dissertation will be scheduled for the doctoral candidate who has satisfied all other requirements for the degree. The examination must be scheduled at least three weeks prior to the time the examination is to be held. The examination, which is open to the public, shall be related in a large part to the dissertation but it may cover the entire field of study of the candidate. The examination will be administered by the student’s Doctoral Committee. The student will give an oral presentation (seminar) summarizing the dissertation research. Committee members will question the student about the dissertation and related subject areas to verify that the candidate fully understands the research findings and their implications. A favorable vote of a majority of the members of the committee is required for passing. If the candidate fails, it is the responsibility of the Doctoral Committee to determine whether he/she may take another examination.

Dairy Science Research, Teaching and Extension

dairyscienceresearch

Delaware’s dairy industry is a vital segment of the agricultural economies of both the state and the nation. In Delaware, milk sales rank fifth in agricultural receipts and top the income of all livestock products except poultry. The College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Delaware has a long history of innovative research and rigorous teaching programs in dairy science. The dairy science research, teaching, and extension programs of the University of Delaware work cooperatively to integrate the findings from basic and applied research into cost-effective management practices for the dairy industry in the Northeast region, nationally, and abroad.

cow_farmFacts about the the U.S. and Delaware Dairy Industries

  • United States milk production rose 16% from 1997-2006, reaching nearly 182 billion pounds of milk produced annually, leading all countries in cow milk production
  • Over $28 billion dollars worth of milk are produced each year by the U.S. dairy industry, with the retail value of dairy products totaling about $100 billion/year
  • Dairy sales comprise almost 10% of all U.S. agricultural income
  • Dairy product sales rank in the top two agricultural commodities in 14 states
  • Dairy products represent the top agricultural cash receipts in 9 states
  • For statistics on the dairy industry visit the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service website.

Kniel, Kali

This is the faculty profile page for Kali Kniel Professor, Microbial Food Safety in the College of Agriculture & Natural Resources at the University of Delaware

Affiliated Programs and Centers

  • Avian Biosciences Center – The Avian Biosciences Center at the University of Delaware is established to be a center of excellence for research, education, and outreach programs that will provide solutions to contemporary problems in the avian biosciences.
  • Blue Hen Blankets & Yarn – Blue Hen Blankets & Yarn, established in 2009, are made from wool shorn from the University of Delaware’s flock of Dorset sheep at the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
  • Charles C. Allen Laboratory – The Charles C. Allen Laboratory located on the Universities main campus in Newark is a world class research laboratory that is used to address basic and applied research in infectious diseases with emphasis on epidemiology, pathogenesis, vaccine development and evaluation.
  • Dairy Science Research, Teaching and Extension – The dairy science research, teaching, and extension programs of the University of Delaware work cooperatively to integrate the findings from basic and applied research into cost-effective management practices for the dairy industry in the Northeast region, nationally, and abroad.
  • Delaware Biotechnology Institute – The Delaware Biotechnology Institute is a magnet for life science research and development. We support multidisciplinary, collaborative academic research at all of Delaware’s research organizations including the University of Delaware, Delaware State University, Christiana Care Health System, Nemours / AI DuPont Hospital for Children, Wesley College, and Delaware Technical and Community College. We foster academic-industrial research partnerships and work to support the local bioscience industry (from start-ups to multinationals) in partnership with the Delaware Bioscience Association.
  • Educational Resources for K-12 Food Safety Instruction – This site provides an extensive list of food safety resources geared for learners of all ages, from pre-school children to adults.
  • Foodborne Illness Outbreak Investigation – The University of Delaware Food Science Program presents educational materials to teach the science of foodborne illness, prevention, and outbreak resolution.
  • The Food Science Program – The University of Delaware’s Food Science Program integrates rigorous research, teaching, and outreach programs focused on food safety and food processing technologies.
  • Poultry Science, Research, Teaching and Extension – Preventing and controlling poultry diseases is one of the greatest challenges faced by the poultry industry. The Avian Biosciences Center Poultry Health System at the University of Delaware  provides comprehensive diagnostic services integrated with applied and basic research to identify and control poultry diseases.
  • UDairy Creamery – The UDairy Creamery, established in 2008, produces premium ice cream made with the milk from the cows on the farm at the University of Delaware College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Founded on science, sustainability and entrepreneurship, the Creamery encourages discovery learning, with University students involved in every aspect of making and selling ice cream “from the cow to the cone.”

Animal and Food Sciences | PH.D.

Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Animal and Food Sciences

Admission

Students may enter the Ph.D. program after having previously earned a bachelor’s degree (B.A. or B.S.), M.S. degree, or Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine (DVM) or equivalent(s). A student who has been admitted to the Ph.D. program in Animal and Food Sciences may begin working toward the degree. However, he/she has no official status as a doctoral candidate until he/she has passed the comprehensive examination.

Areas of Specialization

The Ph.D. degree in Animal and Food Sciences will be granted in the following major areas of specialization: animal nutrition, physiology, pathology, immunology, molecular biology/biotechnology, food science, and food engineering. In addition to the major area of specialization, the student’s advisor, in consultation with the Doctoral Committee, will determine whether the student should pursue a minor field of specialization. If a minor field of specialization is selected, the committee will judge the suitability of the field, relevance to the major area of specialization, and requirements for the minor.

Time Limitation

A maximum of 14 consecutive semesters beyond the bachelor’s degree, or 10 consecutive semesters beyond the master’s degree, is allowed to complete the requirements for the Ph.D. degree.

Core Courses and General Requirements

All students pursuing the Ph.D. will complete the following core courses: ANFS 865 Seminar (1 cr.) or ANFS 865 Seminar (1 cr.); ANFS 969 Doctoral Dissertation (9-12 cr.); CHEM 641 Biochemistry (3 cr.); CHEM 642 Biochemistry (3 cr.); and a statistics course: (FREC 608 Research Methods (3 cr.), FREC 806 Research Techniques and Procedures (3 cr.), or equivalent). Beyond the core courses, no specific number of courses completed or credits earned are uniformly required. The student and advisor, in concert with the Doctoral Committee, will select appropriate course work based on the student’s background and major and minor (if applicable) area(s) of specialization for the Ph.D. Consideration will be given to the student’s prior training and experience at the undergraduate (B.A. or B.S.) and M.S. and/or D.V.M. (if applicable) level(s). Students with more advanced training and experience will need fewer courses to complete their Ph.D. program. General requirements for the Ph.D. are based on a period of residency, writing of a satisfactory research proposal and dissertation, and passing the comprehensive and the final oral examinations. The candidate’s doctoral program will consist of a combination of Doctoral Committee-approved formal courses, seminars, individual study, and research credits as needed by the student.

Residency Requirement

At least one continuous academic year (two semesters) must be devoted to full-time study as a registered student in the major field at the University of Delaware. Full-time study consists of a minimum load of nine credit hours per semester.

Advisor and Doctoral Committee

Most applicants to the Ph.D. program identify a potential faculty advisor at the time of application. If that faculty member is unable (due to lack of space, funding, etc.) to advise the student, then another advisor who is acceptable to the student is sought. If an advisor can not be identified, then the student is not admitted to the Ph.D. program. As a condition of admission into the program, a faculty member must agree to serve as the student’s graduate advisor for the balance of the student’s program. A student may change advisors but this is very rare (see Evaluation of Graduate Student Progress).

A Doctoral Committee will be appointed within six months following matriculation. The committee shall consist of not less than four nor more than six faculty or professional members nominated by the graduate advisor and approved by the Department Chairperson. Participation from industry, government or other academic departments on the Doctoral Committee may be required depending on the student’s area of research. At least one member of the committee shall be from outside the Department of Animal and Food Sciences. However, no more than half of the committee members shall be from outside the Department. Departmental Adjunct Faculty shall be considered as “outside” members in their participation on Doctoral Committees. The committee is responsible for approving the student’s course work and research program. The committee will prepare, administer, and evaluate the student’s comprehensive and final examinations and will supervise and approve the dissertation. The student’s faculty advisor serves as chair of the Doctoral Committee. A faculty member may serve as the graduate advisor for a student in both his/her M.S. and Ph.D. programs, although this is not common. Students who have completed the M.S. degree in Animal Science or the M.S. degree in Food Science are generally encouraged to pursue the Ph.D. at other universities.

Research Proposal

Advancement to degree candidacy requires successful oral defense of a research proposal. The proposal will be submitted to the Doctoral Committee at least ten working days prior to the scheduled defense. The student will give an oral presentation summarizing the proposal. The committee members will question the student to verify that the student understands the research problem and the experimental approaches needed to address it. The committee will also ensure that the student has the proper training and resources to do the research. As a result of the meeting, the student may be required to revise the proposal and/or take additional course work. The research proposal defense should precede the comprehensive examination.

Comprehensive Examination

Successful completion of the comprehensive examination is required of all Ph.D. students prior to their admission to candidacy. The examination normally is given to the student after completion of all course work and selection of a dissertation topic. The student is required to have a minimum grade point average of 3.0 (4 point scale) at the time of the examination. The examination will cover the student’s major and minor (if applicable) areas of study. Each member of the student’s Doctoral Committee will submit examination questions to the student via the advisor who will administer the written portion of the comprehensive examination. Following completion of the written exam, the advisor will return the student responses to the appropriate committee member for their evaluation. Students passing the written examination may continue for the oral portion of the comprehensive examination generally given within one month of the completion of the written examination. In the oral portion of the comprehensive examination the student must appear before all committee members and demonstrate competency in this forum. A favorable vote by a majority of the committee is required for passing. Based on the performance of the student in the comprehensive examination, the committee may recommend one of the following actions:

The student be admitted to candidacy, without qualification or subject to fulfillment of certain conditions.

  • The student be reexamined at later date.
  • The student be disapproved unconditionally for the degree.

Dissertation

The ability to conduct independent research and competence in scholarly writing must be demonstrated by the preparation of a dissertation on a topic related to the major area of specialization in accordance with the regulations of the Office of Graduate Studies. The contents and conclusions of the dissertation must be defended at the time of the Final Oral Examination and approved by the Doctoral Committee. Copies of the dissertation must be available in the departmental office at least ten working days before the date of the Final Oral Examination. Preparation of (a) manuscript(s) for publication of the information contained within the dissertation is expected prior to, or within one month after, approval of the dissertation by the committee at the Final Oral Examination.

Final Oral Examination

Upon recommendation of the Doctoral Committee, a Final Oral Examination of the dissertation will be scheduled for the doctoral candidate who has satisfied all other requirements for the degree. The examination must be scheduled at least three weeks prior to the time the examination is to be held. The examination, which is open to the public, shall be related in a large part to the dissertation but it may cover the entire field of study of the candidate. The examination will be administered by the student’s Doctoral Committee. The student will give an oral presentation (seminar) summarizing the dissertation research. Committee members will question the student about the dissertation and related subject areas to verify that the candidate fully understands the research findings and their implications. A favorable vote of a majority of the members of the committee is required for passing. If the candidate fails, it is the responsibility of the Doctoral Committee to determine whether he/she may take another examination.

Alphin, Robert

Robert Alphin Instructor and Allen Laboratory Manager in Animal and Food Sciences at the University of Delaware.

ANFS Graduate Programs

For more detailed information on what graduate school is and how to apply, please visit: Why Graduate School?

The Department of Animal and Food Sciences (ANFS) offers two master of science (M.S.) degree programs with concentrations in either Animal or Food Science, as well as a joint Ph.D. degree program in Animal and Food Sciences. All ANFS graduate degrees require research-based theses and ANFS faculty do participate in graduate certificate programs (Bioinformatics, Statistics).

Our faculty research areas are focused in the fields of avian infectious diseases and their management, avian genomics, quantitative and molecular genetics, immunology, physiology and virology, food microbiology, virology, safety, and processing, and bovine (dairy cattle) immunology, nutrition and lameness.

All students accepted into the ANFS graduate program are offered financial support and tuition scholarships. Most graduate students (80%) are funded through research assistantships (RAs) and 20% are funded through teaching assistantships (TAs). Our graduates are successfully prepared for professional schools (veterinary, medical), further education (Ph.D. programs, post-doctoral positions), as well as employment in the fields of biotechnology, food product development and safety, pharmaceutical research, vaccine development and testing, as well as agricultural feed and nutrition industries.

Degree Program Specifics

Animal Science Major

Why major in animal science?

Be part of solving one of humanity’s most critical grand challenges — the global demand for food and fiber. With the population expected to grow by 2.3 billion by 2050, feeding the world will require raising overall food production by 70 percent. You will become knowledgeable in animal nutrition, health, behavior, reproduction, physiology, genetics and animal management. You will play an important role in education and the conservation of non-domesticated animals housed in zoos, aquariums and sanctuaries. You will also contribute to a greater understanding of the complex relationships between domestic animals (livestock and pets), wild animals, humans and our shared environment.

Uniqueness of our program

In your first semester, you will work with horses, cows, sheep and yes, blue hens, on our 350-acre farm. Step out of our back door and into the horse barn where you will learn to assess equine gaits. In the classroom, study lactational physiology and milk the cows in the dairy cattle milking parlor. From the farm, our milk is processed and returned to our own UDairy Creamery, where you will experience both the science and business of making ice cream. You can even raise and train a service dog in your residence hall! Through our study abroad program in New Zealand, gain a truly global perspective of the world food import and export economy. Develop a greater understanding of the importance of sustainable animal production. Our combination of courses in the basic sciences and hands-on experience with animals makes our program truly distinctive.

For more information, visit the UD Online Catalog.

Visit the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

Under ‘Academic Program Interest,’ select Animal Science.

Contact our faculty to learn more.

Dr. Lesa Griffiths, TA Baker Professor of Agriculture and Natural Resources

Food Science Major

Food Science employs scientific principles in the design of new food products and explores ways to process, package and preserve the thousands of food items we consume to ensure their safety and quality.

Why major in Food Science?

Food scientists are working to solve one of the world’s greatest challenges — feeding the world. Food scientists study how to create new food products and bring them to market. The steps along the farm to fork pathway involve creativity, chemistry, biology, innovation, compassion (ethics and social conscience), nutrition, microbiology, engineering, social reasoning and critical thinking. Food scientists are revolutionizing the way we think about food!

What makes our program unique?

UD us accredited by the Institute of Food Technologists, which means that we perform detailed assessment on teaching our students current information covering all aspects of Food Science. We offer students a personalized education with close relationships with their fellow students and faculty. All the incredible aspects of a medium-sized research University with the benefits of small class sizes.  Opportunities abound for undergraduate research, leadership roles in clubs and organizations, and internships. The UDairy Creamery is also onsite where students can invent new flavors, and perform sensory and market analysis. This delicious opportunity is a great way for students to see and experience food development first hand. Students work with UDairy Creamery staff and interns in course work and in extracurricular activities.

Career paths

Graduates acquire the skills and knowledge for a successful and well-paid career. Sustainable food production is key to the U.S. and its role in the global economy. Our students have 100 percent job placement in the careers of their choice, working in areas like:

  • Product Development
  • Quality Assurance
  • Quality Control
  • Sensory Science
  • Regulatory
  • Food Safety

Graduate school paths

  • Sensory Science
  • Microbiology
  • Engineering
  • Nutritional Sciences
  • Genomics and the Human Microbiome
  • Business and Economics

Structure

The Food Science undergraduate major is accredited by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT). Students obtain a broad background in the sciences (chemistry, biology, physics and math) as a basis for in-depth studies of the food science disciplines of food chemistry, food processing, food engineering, food safety, food microbiology, and food product development.

For more information, visit the UD Online Catalog.

Visit the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

Under “Academic Program Interest,’ select Food Science.

Contact our faculty to learn more.

Dr. Kali Kniel, Professor, Microbial Food Safety

Abasht, Behnam

The faculty profile for Benham Abasht, Assistant Professor in Animal and Food Sciences at the University of Delaware.

Pre-Veterinary Medicine

Why major in Pre-Veterinary Medicine?

If you want to contribute to a greater understanding of the complex relationship between the health of domestic animals, wild animals, humans and our shared environment, you have found the right place! Be part of solving one of humanity’s most critical grand challenges ⁠— the global demand for food and fiber. Feeding the population, which is expected to grow by 2.3 billion by 2050, will require raising overall food production by 70 percent. Veterinarians are needed to respond to diseases that can be transferred to humans because it is estimated that 75 percent of new emerging diseases are zoonotic. You will help care for the 100 million companion animals that are members of our families and help solve problems related to the 10 million cats and dogs that enter shelters each year. Graduated of the pre-veterinary and animal biosciences major recognize that healthy productive livestock and pets lead to healthy people. Find out more on Why Pre-Vet?

Uniqueness of our program

You will be highly competitive for positions in graduate programs and for admission to veterinary schools. In 2016, 29 out of 30 students who applied to veterinary school or medical school were accepted. Beginning in your first semester, you will work with horses, cows, sheep and yes, blue hens, on our 350-acre farm, which is located right on campus. You will have the opportunity to participate in undergraduate research and work closely with faculty scholars to solve problems in animal nutrition, immunology, virology, and molecular biology. You can even raise and train a service dog in your residence hall! Through the college’s study abroad programs, you will have the opportunity to study cattle, sheep and horses in New Zealand and conservation biology of non-domesticated animals in Tanzania.

For more information, visit the UD Online Catalog.

Visit the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

Under ‘Academic Program Interest,’ select Pre-Veterinary Medicine.

Contact our faculty to learn more.

Dr. Lesa Griffiths, TA Baker Professor of Agriculture and Natural Resources

ANFS Undergraduate Majors

The greatest challenges we face today involve feeding nine billion people by the year 2050, adjusting to the decrease in the amount of available agricultural land and determining how to significantly improve declining human health and nutritional habits. Nationally, this explains why the USDA says that there are approximately two jobs for every one graduate of a college of agriculture and natural resources.  What we study is necessary to solve some of our world’s biggest challenges. From food to fork, we prepare our students to better understand animal growth, production performance and food quality assurance. With a 350-acre working farm, the possibilities are limitless in learning how to meet the world’s most immediate needs.

The major in Pre-Veterinary Medicine offers students an extensive study of basic and applied sciences including the requirements students need to succeed in post-graduate programs at Veterinary Schools and in a wide variety of Graduate school programs. Why Pre-Vet?

The Food Science major is accredited by the Institute of Food Technologists and includes active and engaging instruction on the processing, production, quality, and safety of foods.

The Animal Science major offers students opportunities to apply the sciences to the production of food, to the education and conservation of non-domestic animals, and to developing a better understanding of our companion animals. And the Animal Biosciences major includes an animal science core complemented by animal bioscience interest areas in animal nutrition, animal physiology and animal health.

Minors in Animal Science, Food Science, and Equine Science are also offered.

Animal and Food Sciences

We offer a wide range of disciplines including virology, physiology, nutrition, microbiology, immunology, molecular biology, engineering, and genomics. Our research addresses contemporary and future scientific challenges by using cutting edge technologies with the goal of assisting stakeholders in the poultry, livestock, and food industries.

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