The Department of Animal and Range Sciences at Montana State University offers a Master of Science degree and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Animal and Range Sciences. Both the M.S. and Ph.D. degree programs require students to choose an emphasis in either Animal Science or Range Science. Additionally, the department is a program participant in the cross-college Ecology and Environmental Sciences Doctoral Program.

Departmental Application Process

Requirements for M.S. and Ph.D. programs

Graduate Course Descriptions

The Graduate School application procedures

Animal and Range Sciences Graduate Student Policy


Completed application packages must be received by the department by the following deadlines:

  • For fall semester admission: June 1*
  • For spring semester admission: November 1*
  • For summer semester admission: April 1*

*The deadline for international applicants is one month prior to the above dates.

Incomplete application packages will not be accepted.

Animal Science Emphasis

Two women are shown engaged in research with a flock of sheep behind them.

Graduate students in the Animal Science emphasis receive broad-based training resulting in experiences that qualify them for many agricultural or agriculture-adjacent careers. Areas of emphasis include nutrition, breeding and genetics, physiology, production systems, and meat science/muscle growth. Research problems may involve beef cattle, sheep, and biochemical or other properties of agricultural products.

Supporting course work may be taken in Animal Science, Range Science, Biology, Wildlife Management, Biochemistry, Statistics, Plant Sciences, Land Resources and Environmental Sciences, and Economics.

Research laboratories and facilities are available in the department and specialized equipment is also available through cooperation with other departments.

The department conducts cooperative research with the U.S. Livestock and Range Research Station at Miles City, Montana, and the U.S. Sheep Experiment Station at Dubois, Idaho. Facilities for the maintenance of beef cattle and sheep are available at the Red Bluff Research Ranch, 30 miles west of Bozeman, the Fort Ellis Research Center near Bozeman, and the Northern Agricultural Research Center at Havre. The main station has facilities for sheep, horses and beef cattle (a cattle feedlot and nutrition laboratory). A wool laboratory is located on campus.

You are welcome to contact any tenure-track faculty advisor whose research may interest you.

Range Science Emphasis

A woman and man are shown measuring forage in a field under dark clouds

A graduate degree in range science prepares a graduate for careers in rangeland management, wildlife management, habitat management, natural resource conservation and restoration, research, land-use planning, and consultation.

Major areas of study are range ecology, habitat management, watershed management, grazing management, monitoring, riparian ecosystems, measurements, and plant-animal (livestock and wildlife) interactions. Research and training opportunities in the Range Science programs are diverse, and students with a wide variety of backgrounds, goals, and educational needs are accepted.

Research facilities include the Red Bluff Research Ranch, several research centers of the Montana Agricultural Experiment Station, U.S. Livestock and Range Research Station at Miles City, Montana, and the U.S. Sheep Experiment Station at Dubois, Idaho.

Cooperative projects with ranchers and federal and state agencies are also conducted. Supporting courses at the graduate level include botany, wildlife biology and management, soils, animal science, earth science, plant science, statistics and biochemistry.

You are welcome to contact any tenure-track faculty advisor whose research may interest you.

Ph.D. Degree in Ecology and Environmental Sciences

This cross-college doctoral degree represents a broad collaboration among departments and faculty from across MSU. It provides the opportunity for motivated students to integrate our world-class faculty research programs in diverse aspects of ecology and environmental sciences, often within the unparalleled natural laboratory that is the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Particular program strengths include terrestrial and aquatic ecology, environmental biogeochemistry, evolutionary biology, hydrology and watershed analysis, quantitative ecology, agroecology, environmental risk assessment, invasive plant ecology and management, conservation biology, land rehabilitation/restoration ecology, environmental microbiology, remote sensing and spatial sciences, chemical ecology and land-atmosphere interactions. 

Graduates will be well-trained professionals who will compete strongly in research, teaching, and related fields nationally and internationally.

Ecology and Environmental Sciences doctoral students have the option to be affiliated with one of several home departments, in addition to Animal and Range Sciences, but that corresponds to that of their major faculty advisor. Other specific graduate program criteria, procedures, and processes vary among departments.

In the Department of Animal and Range Sciences these include:

  • One credit of ARNR 507 - Research Methods
  • One credit of ARNR 594 - Animal and Range Sciences Seminar
  • One credit of LRES 593 - Grand Challenges in Ecology and Environmental Sciences (EES).
  • A three credit graduate (400-500 level) course in experimental design and six credits of graduate statistical methods courses within a previous M.S. or current Ph.D. program

Click here to learn more about this program and other participating departments.