Doctor of Philosophy in Animal & Rangeland Science


To be admitted to the Ph.D. Program, prospective students must obtain the agreement of a graduate faculty member to serve as a student's advisor.

Graduate Student Handbook

Additional admission requirements include

  • A bachelor's or master's degree from an accredited institution of higher education in an appropriate area of science,
  • An undergraduate/graduate grade point of 3.0 or higher, and
  • 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 graduate 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 their potential advisor(s).

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, all application materials should reach the department by Nov. 1. Prospective students must apply online. In addition to transcripts, prospective students 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 and provides 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.

Doctor of Philosophy Graduation Requirements

  • Students for the Ph.D. in Animal & Rangeland Sciences must satisfy the general requirements of the Graduate School.
  • Students must select a Ph.D. graduate advising committee consisting of at least five members of the graduate faculty, including the advisor, at least one other member from the advisor's department, a member representing a closely allied discipline to the area of specialization and one member serving as the Graduate School representative.
  • Students must present a dissertation proposal within their first year. It will clarify how their research will create new knowledge in a variety of related sub-disciplines.
  • Courses should be selected to complement the student’s fields of interest and enhance his or her conceptual and research skills. A minimum of 60 graduate credits (with grades of “B” or better) beyond the baccalaureate are required, including at least 40 units in coursework. A maximum of 24 units may be used from a completed master's degree. However, there is no limit on the number of units transferred when a student earns an MS degree en route to a Ph.D. in a UNR doctoral program. Some 12 – 30 units of dissertation (AGSC 799) are required with at least 18 units of 700-level courses, exclusive of dissertation units are required for the doctoral degree. Only 9 credits of satisfactory/unsatisfactory grading are allowed.
  • The Required Core Curriculum (The animal science or rangeland science requirement below can
    be waived if students enter the program with strength in that field):
    • Two (2) units of a Graduate Seminar, with at least one (1) unit being AGSC 790 Animal and Rangeland Science Seminar which is offered in the Fall Semester. Attendance in all semesters is strongly encouraged. The other unit can be from another committee-approved 700-level seminar course.
    • 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
  • Students will take and pass a 1-credit (i.e., AGSC 795) comprehensive examination to be admitted into Candidacy for the Doctoral Degree. The written and oral comprehensive examination will be administered by the student's advising committee.
  • Each candidate will write and defend in public their dissertation. The student's advising committee will pass judgment concerning the quality and sufficiency of the dissertation and its defense. The dissertation must also be accepted by the graduate school.

Who do I contact for more information?

Robert Washington-Allen, Program Director
robert washington allen