COOKEVILLE – Students in Tennessee Tech University’s School of Agriculture now have the option of receiving a bachelor’s in either agriculture or animal science. The animal science and pre-veterinary science programs were previously concentrations under a bachelor’s in agriculture but have now been modified and consolidated as their own bachelor’s degree major.
One factor driving this decision was that this program modification would be more advantageous for students going on to pursue graduate school studies or veterinary school if the bachelor’s degree was in animal science, as opposed to a bachelor’s in agriculture. The School of Agriculture previously provided one bachelor’s degree in agriculture with 11 concentrations, of which animal science and pre-veterinary science were two.
“Some high schoolers, when you talk to them, get more excited about a degree in animal science or a degree in pre-veterinary science, compared to a degree in agriculture. It just has a different connotation for them,” said Ciana Bowhay, assistant professor of agriculture at Tech. “And also, many other universities have degrees in animal science instead of just agriculture, so when students are comparing schools they can better compare the degree programs at each university to see which fits their needs best.”
This new modification pulls animal science and pre-veterinary science from that umbrella degree program to create a standalone degree program. The change is expected to improve recruiting efforts and enhance graduate career opportunities for students.
“One of my colleagues describes this new program as like getting a driver’s license,” Bowhay said. “It’s your gateway into many, many different things.”
Students can get into careers such as veterinarians for livestock or companion animals, livestock reproduction, poultry science, animal pharmaceuticals and more. Students have even gone on to marketing for these industries.
The Tennessee Higher Education Commission gave final approval to Tech in January for this new bachelor’s degree in Animal Science, and the incoming freshmen this fall will be the first to be in the program.