Master of Science in Animal & Rangeland Science


An essential criterion for admission to the master's program is the agreement of a GPARS graduate faculty member to serve as a student's advisor. Prospective students must correspond with potential advisors early in the application procedure as no students are accepted in the absence of the agreement by a faculty member to serve as advisor. Link to the database for these faculty: Robert Washington Allen, Manuel Alejandro Andrade-Rodiguez, Felipe Barios Masias, Amilton DeMello, Mozart Fonseca, Yvette Gibson, Paul Mieman, Lesley Morris, Most Tahera Naznin, Andrew Nuss, Barry Perryman, Hannah Rodrigues, Patricia dos Santos, Juan Solomon, Tamzen Stringham, Mike Teglas and Melinda Yerka.

Additional admission requirements include

  • Students who seek admission to the program should have a cumulative grade-point average of 2.75.
  • Each student must have an advisor among the GPARS faculty before they are accepted into the Program.
  • Students must meet a set of coursework requirements consistent with career objectives in either animal science or rangeland ecology and management. Required undergraduate classes must be taken prior to admittance or while in their MS program.
    • Students emphasizing animal science must have completed a degree in (or similar to) animal science or veterinary science, or complete course work in physical sciences (6 credits), organic chemistry or biochemistry (6 credits), and biology, agriculture or natural resources (24 credits, including genetics, anatomy, physiology, soils, hydrology, ecology or plant or animal science).
    • Students emphasizing rangeland ecology and management must have completed the equivalent of a bachelor's degree in animal science, rangeland science, or a closely related area.
    • In selecting applicants, the Animal & Rangeland Sciences Graduate Selection Committee will consider the prospective student’s statement of purpose, undergraduate and graduate transcripts and three letters of recommendation.
  • Students who do not meet these criteria but who remain interested in the graduate program should contact the Director of the Graduate Program

Application Deadline

Applications may be reviewed at any time. However, to receive full consideration for fall admission, all application materials should reach the department by Feb. 1. For spring admission, please provide all materials by Nov. 1. Prospective students must apply online. In addition to transcripts, prospective students will need three letters of recommendation and a Statement of Purpose and Intent. The Statement is a one- to two-page essay that describes the prospective student's reasons for undertaking graduate work, as well as an explanation of the prospective student's study and research interests and their relation to previous studies and professional goals. All application materials must be submitted to the Graduate School. Prospective students may also submit copies of all materials, including informal transcripts, to the faculty member who is considering or has agreed to be their advisor.

Master of Science Graduation Requirements

  • Students for the M.S. in Animal & Rangeland Sciences (ARS) must satisfy the general requirements of the Graduate School.
  • Students must select an M.S. graduate committee consisting of at least three members of the graduate faculty, including the advisor. At least two members represent the area of specialization, and one member serves as the Graduate School Representative.
  • Courses should be selected to complement the student’s fields of interest and enhance his or her conceptual and research skills.
  • Required Core Curriculum (The animal science or rangeland science requirement below can be waived if students enter the program with strengths in that field):
    • AGSC 790 Animal and Rangeland Science Seminar (1 unit) which is offered in the Fall Semester. Attendance in all semesters is strongly encouraged.
    • A graduate-level statistics class (3 units)
      For graduate students with an emphasis in the Animal Sciences choose two of the three following courses or others approved by their committee:
    • AGSC 606 Advanced Nutrition Management
    • AGSC 610 Sheep Management
    • AGSC 618 Cattle Production & Management
      For graduate students with an emphasis in Rangeland Science choose two of the three following courses or others approved by their committee:
    • REM 608 Rangeland Ecosystems
    • REM 698 Rangeland Restoration Ecology
    • AGSC 613 Rangeland Livestock Interactions
  • Each candidate makes a formal prospectus presentation (study plan) and later in their program will publicly defend their thesis (Plan A) or professional paper/project (Plan B) to the public and their advising committee. The thesis must also be accepted by the graduate school.

There are 3 different degree plans available: Plan A (30 credits) includes a thesis on original research; Plan B (30 credits) replaces the thesis with a non-thesis, a project, a professional paper or report, and or portfolio option, and a Plan B online (30 credits) focuses on further professional development of interested candidates.

  • Plan A includes a research thesis: (30 units minimum). Of these 30 units, at least 9 units must be at the 700-level and at least 20 graduate units must be earned at UNR (this means that no more than 12 credits may be transferred in).  Six to 10 thesis units (i.e., AGSC 797) must be included in the total.
  • Plan B Non-Thesis: (30 units minimum). Of these 30 units, at least 12 must be at the 700-level and at least 18 units must be earned at UNR. No more than two professional papers, a project, or portfolio units (i.e., AGSC 796) may be included in the total.
  • Plan B Non-Thesis Online/Hybrid: (30 units minimum). Of these 30 units, at least 12 must be at the 700-level and at least 18 units must be earned at UNR. No more than two units for a professional paper, project, or portfolio (i.e., AGSC 796) may be included in the total. All courses are by Zoom or Microsoft Teams and are held either synchronously or asynchronously by agreement with the instructor.

Each candidate will be required to make a formal prospectus (study plan) presentation to their committee.

Each student will write and defend in public their thesis or professional paper. The student's advising committee will pass judgment about the quality and sufficiency of the thesis or professional paper and its defense. The thesis must also be accepted by the graduate school.

Most incoming students are admitted to the Plan A degree program, in which the student is expected to write a thesis making an original contribution to the research field of a quality acceptable to a major, peer-reviewed scientific journal. A small number of students, primarily those without research funding and/or who have a full-time job commitment, are admitted to the Plan B degree program, which requires the writing of a professional paper of a quality suitable for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.  Occasionally, Plan B students transfer to Plan A if research funding becomes available.  Only under very special circumstances is a Plan A student allowed to transfer to Plan B.

Graduate Student Handbook

Who do I contact for more information?

Robert Washington-Allen, Program Director
robert washington allenn