Prospective Students

Prospective Graduate Students

Graduate students at the UMD Animal Science Department have the unique opportunity to learn from, teach with, and work alongside some of academia’s brightest minds. Our students choose from a variety of animal science, statistics, and biomolecular courses to serve as the foundation of their advanced education. Those with teaching assistantships play a leading role in instructing and assessing undergraduate-level animal science courses each semester. In their time here, all students work closely with their advisor on projects within their research specialty.

Graduate Courses

The animal science department offers a variety of advanced courses for its graduate students, including topics such as immunology, animal welfare, biotechnology, and infectious diseases.

Research Opportunities

Students will work closely with their faculty mentor during their graduate studies. Applicants should look for a research lab that matches their own interests. The ANSC department currently has openings available in the following labs:

Genetics & Cell Biology:

Nutrient Utilization & Metabolism:

Pathobiology & Infectious Diseases:

  • Understanding the molecular basis underpinning the pathogenesis of avian infectious diseases in order to improve disease control and develop better vaccines: Dr. Andrew Broadbent (Spring & Fall 2021)

  • Immune response to pathogens in animals: Dr. Zhengguo Xiao (Fall 2021)

Reproduction & Development:

  • Behavioral neurophysiology and better understanding the mechanisms of neural plasticity and the impacts behavior: Dr. Rachel Dennis

  • Developmental potential and cell fate decisions during embryonic and early mammary development: Dr. Andrew Schiffmacher

  • Early embryonic patterning: Dr. Lisa Taneyhill

Animal Behavior & Well-being

  • Impacts of environmental stressors on the behavior and well-being of agricultural animals: Dr. Shawna Weimer

Special Fall 2021 Research Opportunities:

Two graduate student positions are available through a collaboration between the University of Maryland (UMD) and USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)

Position Description: Two graduate students in the research group directed by Dr. M Salem (ANSC-UMD) will serve as graduate student workers for APHIS Veterinary Services field operations staff and/or the Centers for Epidemiology and Animal Health staff. The incumbent will provide analytical and writing support for developing materials for the aquaculture industry and/or pathways evaluation for multiple pests and diseases of aquaculture at multiple U.S. entry points. Ideal candidates would understand or be willing to develop expertise around various aspects of the aquaculture industry, best practices for biosecurity, and/or risk analysis techniques.

How to apply: A USAJobs listing will be advertising at a GS7 or GS9 pay grade, but it will be open only to UMD graduate students and available through a direct link.  The incumbent must be a U.S. citizen. Interested candidates must also complete an online application for the fall 2021 semester through the application process on this page.


Educational requirement: Bachelor’s degree in biology, animal science, and aquaculture or a degree or experience in a related field. Background or familiarity with aquaculture, biosecurity, or pathways analysis is a plus.


The animal science department offers a variety of advanced courses for its graduate students, including topics such as immunology, animal welfare, biotechnology, and infectious diseases.

Admission Requirements

Baseline Requirements:

  • Minimum Undergraduate GPA: 3.0

  • Combined GRE score: 300
    (The requirement for submission of GRE scores has been waived for Fall 2021.)

  • Minimum TOEFL score (for international applicants): 100

    Please note: For complete details on UMD English Proficiency requirements, please visit the Graduate School requirements page.


Applicants with scores lower than the baseline in any one category may be considered if other components of their application are strong.

Application Deadlines

Fall 2021:

  • Best consideration for an assistantship: January 15, 2021

  • International final deadline: February 24, 2021

  • Domestic final deadline: May 12, 2021

Spring 2022:

  • International final deadline: September 17, 2021

  • Domestic final deadline: December 17, 2021

Tips for Success

ANSC Tips for Applicant Acceptance:

  • Finding an Advisor: We recommend that prior to applying you contact one or more faculty members whose research interests mesh with yours. Identifying an advisor first can be helpful to determine whether the faculty member and their research is a good fit for the applicant and whether the faculty member is taking new graduate students into their lab (see Research Opportunities section above).

  • Review our guide on how to write a Statement of Research Interests and Career Goals 

Application Checklist

ANSC Graduate Application Checklist:

  • ☐ Review our Tips for Success tab

  • ☐ Online Application

  • ☐ Academic Transcripts

  • ☐ CV / Resume

  • ☐ Statement of Research Interests and Career Goals
    Review our guide

  • ☐ 3 Letters of Recommendation

  • ☐ Official GRE Scores (not required for Fall 2021 applications)

  • ☐ Official TOEFL scores (international students)