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Poultry Science


Poultry science programs teach people how to raise and manage healthy chickens, turkeys, and ducks for eggs or meat.

Poultry science programs teach people animal nutrition and food science. Students learn to apply principles of biology and chemistry to improve productivity. They also learn sanitary handling practices.

Poultry science programs include topics such as:


A few community colleges and technical schools offer certificate and associate degree programs in poultry science. A certificate program usually takes a year of full-time study. An associate degree program usually takes two years of full-time study to complete.

A few colleges and universities offer bachelor’s degrees in poultry science. A bachelor's degree usually takes about four years of full-time study.

A few universities offer graduate degrees in poultry science. A master’s degree typically requires two years of study beyond a bachelor’s degree. Doctoral (PhD) degree programs usually require two or more years of study beyond the master’s degree.

See schools that offer this program.

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Program Admission

You can prepare for this program by taking courses in high school that prepare you for college. This typically includes four years of English, three years of math, three years of social studies, and two years of science. Some colleges also require two years of a second language.

Below is a list of high school courses that will help prepare you for this program of study:

Graduate Admissions

Admission to graduate programs is competitive. You need a bachelor's degree and good grades. You also need to submit letters of recommendation and a personal statement.

Additional requirements at some schools include:

Your bachelor's degree does not necessarily have to be in poultry science or agriculture. For some programs, other related majors such as chemistry, zoology, and math are acceptable as well. However, these programs may grant only "provisional acceptance" until you complete fundamental courses in poultry science.

Typical Course Work

Program Courses

In this undergraduate program, you typically take courses such as the following:

Graduate Program Courses

Graduate course work tends to vary depending on the program. However, the outline of a typical graduate curriculum in poultry science looks like the following:

The required courses are usually a more in-depth study of topics introduced in the undergraduate program. You also typically take courses in biochemistry and statistics.

Some programs - both undergraduate and graduate - require you to complete an internship as part of their curriculums. This gives you the opportunity to gain real-world work experience in the segment of the field that most interests you.

Your program typically works closely with you to match your specific interests in the field with an appropriate organization. You could help take care of a hatchery or a feed mill. Or you could assist with quality assurance in a meat processing and food preparation plant. Or you might want to work on the business side of the field, in marketing or sales. In addition, the organization usually assigns you an experienced poultry science professional who can guide and supervise you.

Things to Know

A background in poultry science can also prepare you for careers in avian (bird-related) biochemistry and nutrition, genetics, and breeding products technology. You could also learn to work in marketing or sales in this field.

For information about farm occupations, opportunities, and 4-H activities, contact your local county extension service office.


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