Poultry science PhD students are assets in improving the performance, efficiency, and profitability of today's poultry marketplace. An interest in research is required of poultry science students, due to the fact that students will spend most of their time conducting research and lab work. Upon graduation, Ph.D. graduates are known for their contribution to enhancing food safety, environmental quality, and animal well-being throughout the poultry science field. A PhD in poultry science is perfect for students with master's degrees in biology, chemistry, economics, or poultry science.
Graduate programs in poultry science are useful for students who have a keen interest in animal nutrition, microbiology, genetics, business management, parasitology, and a myriad of other poultry-centric studies. Other areas of emphasis that are offered through poultry science graduate degrees include population genetics and avian diseases and parasites. Upon graduation, poultry science students have an opportunity to find employment in a number of areas, including science, agribusiness, animal production, and public service industries. Students may also use their degrees to enter graduate school for veterinary science and medicine as well.
About Online PhD Programs in Poultry Science
Typically, students who enroll in an online PhD program for poultry science spend five to six years working on their degree. Course work usually includes 9 hours of classes per semester, with at least 20 hours of lab work per week conducted in a research center or graduate assistantship. Many of the courses in a poultry science PhD degree have an emphasis in biology, chemistry, and mathematics. Below is a listing of the courses one should expect to take in a poultry science graduate program.
- Poultry Science and Production. This first-year laboratory course covers the fundamentals of chicken, broiler, and turkey production. Topics covered in this course include physiology, breeding, incubation, housing, nutrition, disease control, management, and marketing.
- Calculus for Life & Management Sciences. This calculus course covers population growth, finance and investment, and the functions of several variables partial derivatives. This course is useful for those who have an interest in the economics of running a poultry business or corporation.
- Intro Biology: Ecology, Evolution, and Biodiversity. This course discusses the interactions of organisms, evolution, natural selection, biological diversity, and the function of organisms. Skills needed for this course include critical thinking, problem solving, and communication.
- Intro to Agricultural Resource Economics. This course provides an overview of the economic principles in consumer and producer marketplace decisions. Much of what students will learn in this course is how prices are determined and the creation of wealth.
- Organic Chemistry I. This course covers the principles and fundamentals of modern organic chemistry. Students will learn about structure and bonding, reactivity, and the synthesis of carbon compounds, amongst numerous other key topics in this class.
- Poultry SeminarIn this seminar course, students will learn about topics related to the current state and future potential of the poultry science industry. Areas that are thoroughly discussed in this course include poultry production, breeding, marketing, poultry health, poultry medicine, and management of poultry companies and corporations.
Usually, poultry science PhD students must take an average of 18 hours of research during their dissertation studies. This research is conducted alongside a college professor or inside a professional lab. Students are also required to takeÿa comprehensive written exam as well as a preliminary oral exam given byÿa college advisory committee during their dissertation process. Naturally, different degree programs have varied requirements. Before a student may obtain their degree, they must attain a minimum GPA of 3.0.
Value and Criticisms of a PhD in Poultry Science
One of the benefits of choosing a graduate degree in poultry science is that students will have an astute knowledge of both the science and business side of poultry science. Furthermore, upon graduation, students can find career opportunities in an array of industries, including but not limited to business, advertising, journalism, marketing, sales, management, and technical services in the poultry industry. One of the greatest reasons to pursue a poultry science degree is job security. Due to the fact that poultry is a key part of the mainstream American diet, individuals with poultry science degrees are always in high demand.
One of the drawbacks of pursuing a poultry science degree is the amount of time it takes to graduate. While most Ph.D. programs take 2-3 years to complete, a poultry science graduate degree typically takes 5-6 years to finish. Furthermore, in recent years, the poultry industry has experienced a number of media criticisms, including the “pink slime” incident of 2012. Also, there is a lot of inner debate in the poultry industry regarding disagreements among small and large producers and companies.
Application & Admission Requirements
Students will need a master's degree in a science-related subject in order to be considered for admission to a poultry science PhD program. Students will also likely need to submit an academic transcript, letters of recommendation, a resume, and a statement of purpose with their application as well. Each individual school will require different things from their students, but generally, students should have a background/knowledge of poultry and animal science. Academic performance is one of the most important factors in determining where a student will be admitted.
Career Options & Job Market
There are a number of things a person can do with a poultry science PhD. Some of the more popular poultry science jobs include poultry corporate executives, breeding supervisors, flock supervisors, feed inspectors, veterinarians, hatchery supervisors, and a few others. There is a wide salary range for these jobs, but typically, most of them pay anywhere from $35,000 a year to $150,000 a year, depending on which job you choose of course. Fundamental education in agricultural business, marketing, finance, and management helps prepare students for entering a wide variety of poultry positions.
Where to Find Information
- U.S. Poultry & Egg AssociationThe U.S. Poultry & Egg Association is the world's largest and most active poultry organization that serves members through research, education, and communication services.
- Poultry Science Association The Poultry Science Association (PSA) is a professional organization that has contributed to the research and growth of the poultry industry as well as the development of safer and more nutritious poultry products for consumers.
- World's Poultry Science AssociationThe World's Poultry Science Association is an organization that advances knowledge, research, education, growth, and fairness in the poultry science industry.
How to Get Funding
Most schools offer their Ph.D. graduate students a range of financial aid options for tuition and expenses. Poultry science graduate students may receive financial support through internships, research assistantships, federal work-study programs, scholarships, and student loans. Scholarships are typically awarded on a student's merit and/or financial need. In order to be considered for a scholarship or loan, students need to contact their school's financial aid office and/or submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application.
- Federal Direct Stafford Loan. This financial aid program offers students low-interest loans while they pursue their Ph.D. degree. The maximum loan available to students is $20,500 per academic year, and the fixed interest rate is 6.8%.
- Federal Perkins Loan. In the case of full-time students with the most need for financial assistance, the Federal Perkins low-interest loan can be awarded, offering an average of $3,500 per academic year — with a fixed interest rate at 5%.
- Campus-Based Aid. Campus-based programs are managed by the financial aid office of your university. Of course, all schools actively participate in almost every program made available by the federal government.
- Many people choose a poultry science degree because they have an interest in working with animals. While that is a good reason to pursue poultry science, make sure whenever you're pursuing this degree that you are committed to work specifically with poultry, as opposed to a wide range of animals and livestock.
- Prior to applying to a specific program, prospective Ph.D. students are encouraged to contact professors and advisors at schools they're interested in attending before making a final Ph.D. program choice.
- Before finalizing your Ph.D. program choice, go ahead and consider what concentration you would like to pursue within your poultry science degree. Popular concentrations include marketing, business, nutrition, poultry heath, and a myriad of others.
- Last but not least, make sure you're committed to the length of time the program takes to complete. As emphasized earlier, a poultry science PhD takes about 5-6 years to complete, so you'll need to make sure you can commit to the full length of the program.