dairy science


Dairy Science

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Our Program

Dairy science is an applied science that prepares students for all aspects of dairy cattle production, including feeding, breeding, health and management. The dairy science program at UW-River Falls has a national reputation; it is one of the three largest undergraduate dairy science programs in the U.S., with approximately 125 students enrolled. 

The dairy science curriculum focuses on genetics, health, nutrition, production and animal welfare. Our faculty provide support and guide students toward a career that best suit their interests and abilities. Students receive a well-rounded education and learn just how closely disciplines such as agricultural business, agricultural engineering, and crop science work together within the dairy industry. They also acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to manage a dairy enterprise, pursue a career with a business or organization that serves the industry, or continue their education in veterinary or graduate school. 

The dairy science major has a core of required courses, beyond those the major offers three program options, which offers students flexibility and guides them in choosing appropriate course work for their chosen career path.

  • Management Option: The management option emphasizes the development of business skills needed in today's dairy industry and allows flexibility for students to pursue additional avenues of interest.
  • Science Option: For those interested in graduate work or veterinary medicine, the science option includes the necessary hours of chemistry, mathematics, physical and biological sciences.
  • Minor Option: As an alternative to the management or science option, students can pair the dairy science major with an academic minor (e.g., minor in agricultural business or modern language) to develop a more in-depth understanding of a second area of interest.

Graduates with a degree in dairy science choose from a wide variety of career paths. Upon graduation, about half of our dairy science majors become dairy farm owners or managers. Others go on to work in areas such as nutrition, genetics, and animal health, or they enroll in veterinary and graduate school programs. 

Potential Positions: 

  • Dairy herd manager/owner 
  • Nutrition consultant/representative 
  • Dairy cattle classifier 
  • Sire analyst and mating specialist 
  • Dairy records association manager 
  • Breed association representative 
  • Milk plant field representative 
  • Milk inspector 
  • Milking equipment representative 
  • Pharmaceutical sales 
  • Public relations specialist 
  • Research assistant 
  • Extension youth specialist 
  • Agricultural extension agent 
  • Agricultural journalist 
  • Agricultural loan officer or financial consultant 
  • University teaching 
  • Public or private research and development 
  • Private veterinary practice 
  • Federal or state veterinary practice

Global. Innovative. Excellent.

Beyond the Classroom 

The UW-River Falls dairy science department works to make sure its students are getting involved outside the classroom as much as they are in! 

Our Dairy Learning Center is a state-of-the-art teaching laboratory and farm located minutes from campus. This facility allows our faculty to engage students in a hand-on learning environment, helping our graduates easily transition into the working world. 

The department is also actively engaged with the industry, and offers networking opportunities to their students through professional organizations such as the American Dairy Science Association and Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin and industry events such as World Dairy Expo, Canadian Royal, and the PDPW Annual Business Conference. 

In addition, the department sponsors dairy judging teams that compete against students from other university campuses across the nation through: 

  • Academic Quadrathlon 
  • Dairy Judging 
    • World Dairy Expo (Madison, WI) 
    • North American International Live stock Exhibition (Louisville, KY) 
    • All-American Dairy Show (Harrisburg, PA) 
  • Regional and National Dairy Challenge

Clubs and Organizations 

  • Dairy Club – this is the largest active dairy club in the nation 
  • Block and Bridle Club 
  • Pre-Vet Club