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Graduate Program

Use the information found on this page to help you navigate through your graduate program in the Department of Animal, Dairy and Veterinary Sciences at Utah State University. With further questions, please reach out to Cara Allen or Lee Rickords

Prospective Students


The Animal, Dairy, and Veterinary Sciences department has a pre-application process to assist you in finding a program you qualify for prior to paying the application fee. 

We accept applications all year round. If is highly recommended that you submit your materials early in the year because the department will begin accepting the top students in February of each year.  If the class is not full, we will continue to review applications throughout the year. 

Application Deadlines to be considered for an assistantship are:
Fall Semester: January 31st
Spring Semester: September 30th

Pre-application survey
      Prepare to upload a statement of purpose listing your research experience, area of research interests.
              (400 words or less)
      Prepare to upload an unofficial copy of your transcript(s).
      Review our Research Emphases page to explore faculty by research area
      Have your GRE scores in percentage to add to the application

Upload documents needed for pre-application (Information is secured using RedCap software)

If you decide you are interested in our program and feel your chances are high you will be accepted you will need to complete an online application.  You will have to send official transcripts and have them sent electronically to USU.  You can use the same statement of purpose and upload to official application. 

Admission Requirements

General Requirements:

All prospective graduate students must apply through the School of Graduate Studies. Please note that all applicants must meet the following general admission requirements:

  • A bachelor's degree from an accredited college, with a 3.0 GPA for the last 90 quarter or 60 semester credits earned, is required. An official transcripts must be sent directly to the School of Graduate Studies from each college or university previously attended (except USU).
  • Completion of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). A score equal to or above the 40th percentile in both the verbal and quantitative sections is required. If one of the scores is below the 40th percentile, a petition can be made for further consideration. Scores must be sent directly to the Graduate School.
  • Student recommendation request forms (included in application material) should be used to request three people to submit letters of recommendation directly to the Graduate School. Two letters of recommendation should be from faculty from whom you have taken course work.
  • International Students: Please visit the Graduate School website for requirements.

Department Requirements:

An applicant must meet the minimum standard as set forth by the School of Graduate Studies, as well as the following department specific requirements:

  • Applicants for a graduate program in animal or dairy science should have completed a BS undergraduate program similar to the science specialization of the USU animal science or dairy science BS degree. This background includes the following courses and their prerequisites:
    • Biol 1210 and 1220 or their equivalents
    • Chem 2310 and 2320 or their equivalents
    • Math 1050 and Stat 1040 or their equivalents
  • Applicants with deficiencies in these areas may be admitted to the graduate program subject to the completion of remedial course work specified by the department. Other preparatory courses may be specified by the student's supervisory committee.

Ready to apply or have more questions?

Visit the Graduate School Website

*Matriculation is based upon the recommendation of the ADVS Graduate Programs Committee (GPC). The GPC bases its decisions on multiple factors such as GPA, GRE scores, letters of recommendation, student's application essay, if a major professor has been identified, and whether the applicant's interests fit within the scope of specializations offered for the MS and PhD degrees in ADVS.


The pre-application process automatically considers you for department assistantships. The assistantships are a yearly salary, PhD students also receive tuition paid for up to 9 credits per semester.  Summer semester does not require a student to take courses.  Fees, housing, books are not covered in an assistantship.

Deadlines for assistantship decisions:
Fall:  January 31st
Spring: September 20th

Current Students

General Information

 ADVS Graduate Handbook
USU Graduate Catalog

Memorandum of Understanding Forms

Credit Requirements 

Graduate School Forms
(All forms are submitted through
SCAF Supervisory Committee Form - submitted end of 1st semester for MS, and submitted end of 2nd semester for PhD.  Cannot change 90 days prior to defense.
POS - Program of Student - Plan prepared in degreeworks. Degree plan submitted in servicenow by the end of your 2nd or 3rd semester.  Cannot change 90 days prior to defense. (Must be submitted by the GPC Graduate Program Coordinator)
TPA Master's Thesis/Project Approval Form- submitted after student successfully defends a research proposal and have  the necessary regulatory approvals to conduct that research. Completed during 2nd or 3rd semester. Submitted 3 months prior to defense.
ACDD Application for Candidacy- completed after you finish your comprehensive exams. Submit at least three months prior to your final defense.
AFE - Appointment for Examination  must be submitted 10 business days prior to the defense  (department suggestion 30 days prior to defense) The title page is submitted to the graduate school at the same time
Work with your GPC to submit these forms
ROE – Record of Examination – submitted by GPC after defense decision is made.
F&S – Format and Style Form – submitted after your defense
A&C- Authorship and Copyright – submitted after your defense
EMB- Embargo Form – submitted to digitalcommons after your defense (policy may change by SGS)

Graduate Student Defense and Graduation Information
Graduate students should submit their thesis/dissertation 30 days prior to defense with a minimum of 2 weeks.  Only minor edits should be needed after a successful defense. 

Defense Outline
The format for your public defense  is an introduction, presentation, followed by questions by questions.  Participants can ask questions during the presentation if needed and at the end. The public defense shows a rational for your data and the critical assessment and interpretation of that data to show the depth knowledge. 

Non-public defense is open to all faculty members by typically the students supervisory committee.  Additional questions and follow up take place during this period. 

Grace Semester
This semester is only used on rare occasions a study did not complete all edits within the weeks after their defense.   




Lee F.  Rickords

Lee F. Rickords

Molecular Genetics, Reproductive Physiology, Embryology