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MSc in Animal Biosciences (Course-based)

Expand your animal science knowledge and advance your career.

The course-based Master of Science (MSc) in Animal Biosciences are offered through our Department of Animal Biosciences and focuses on advanced training in specialized aspects of the animal sciences.

 Focus your knowledge

Select courses to target an area of expertise: Animal Breeding and Genetics; Animal Nutrition and Metabolism; or Animal Behaviour and Welfare.

 Course-based learning

This professionally oriented master’s is completed through six courses + a major research paper.

 World-class faculty

Tap into the knowledge, expertise and research of the 25+ faculty in the Department of Animal Biosciences.


 Expand your network

Join a thriving community of over 130 graduate students who share similar interests and career goals.

 Complete in 1 year

Full-time students can complete the program in one year (or three semesters) – getting you back into the workforce quickly.

 Access unique facilities

Learn in high-quality research and laboratory facilities focused on genomics, nutrient analyses, physiology, welfare, meats and microbiology.


  • Six (6) courses + a major research project; typically completed in one (1) year

If you are interested in completing a thesis with a faculty advisor, please check out our MSc in Animal Biosciences (Thesis/Research) option.

You will complete a minimum of seven (7) courses (6 courses + major research project). In total there are two required courses:

  • Major Paper in Animal Biosciences
  • Scientific Communication, Knowledge Dissemination and Professional Development

You will then select five (5) electives from this course list. To help guide your studies, here are recommended graduate courses in the three areas of specialization.

But, what is the major research paper?

The major paper will be a detailed, critical review of an area of study related to the specialization you've chosen and should include analyses and interpretations of relevant data. Depending on the scope of the project, the course may span 1 or 2 semesters. Students may be involved with experimental work or research and planning; this can lead to a final product in the format of a manuscript suitable for publication, a report, a standard operating procedure, a white paper or a set of guidelines.

  • Technician
  • Project Manager
  • Animal care assistant
  • Sales and services representative
  • Veterinary assistant
  • Consultant

Master’s graduates from the Department of Animal Biosciences have careers in diverse fields. We recently conducted a career destination survey of 467 master’s graduates of the department. View the results here:

This program is predominantly a self-funded professional program. As such, students need to be prepared to cover the full costs of the program, but many animal biosciences graduate students compete successfully for University of Guelph scholarships and awards

More details on funding your graduate studies are available on the Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies website.

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More information on courses and admission requirements can be found here.

Wendy Pearson smiles in black and white floral shirt
My research program seeks to understand the underlying physiology of diseases common in horses, and how these diseases can be modified with targeted nutrition, with a focus on cartilage biology.

Dr. Wendy Pearson, Faculty
Professor, Department of Animal Biosciences
Hear more from Dr. Pearson

Kate in teal shirt and black suit jacket with silver earrings
It's the data that makes me excited, but what makes me even more excited is when my graduate students come from trying to understand how to put that in the context of our global understanding about dog and cat nutrition and I see them move into a state of excitement over the data.

Dr. Kate Shoveller, Faculty
Professor, Department of Animal Biosciences
Hear more from Dr. Shoveller

How to Apply

Application to this program is more like the process of a job application (rather than the process you went through applying for your undergrad degree).

Securing a faculty advisor is mandatory for acceptance into the program. We recommend that your first step is emailing potential advisors to express your interest and find out if they have positions in their labs. Our faculty profiles on the Department of Animal Biosciences website describe research programs in more detail. Make sure your emails are tailored to each professor – not copied and pasted from other inquiries.

Once you have an agreed advisor, you will apply directly online here: Applying to Guelph.

  • An honours baccalaureate, with a minimum average grade of `B' during the last 2 years of full-time equivalent study. For Canadian degrees, we interpret this as the last 20 semester courses, however we do not split a semester and we will not consider any fewer than 16 courses.
  • A faculty advisor is required for acceptance into the program. For students interested in an MSc by coursework focused on animal welfare and behaviour, you can either: 1) approach faculty directly, or 2) apply without a faculty advisor and we will find you one. 

  • Animal Breeding and Genetics: Ongoing*
  • Animal Nutrition and Metabolism: Ongoing*
  • Animal Behaviour and Welfare: April 30th 

*We recommend that you apply online at least 3 months before the start of semester if you're a Canadian student. If you're an international student, you'll need to allow time for visa approval as well, please apply at least 6 months before the start of semester.

More details on the U of G graduate program application process here.

Additional Options

You may also be interested in MSc in Animal Biosciences (Research/Thesis).


For questions on applying and admissions, contact: 

Jake Harwood
Department of Animal Biosciences 
519-824-4120, Ext. 56215

For questions on graduate program options, contact:

Leigh West
Ontario Agricultural College (OAC)
519-824-4120 Ext. 52101

The main reason I pursued graduate studies was the desire to continue learning. Fortunately, the Department of Animal Biosciences offers a one-year M.Sc. by coursework. Personally, I’ve enjoyed graduate school more than my undergraduate experience. Yes, it has been academically challenging, but I really feel like my professors are more like mentors, and the amount of effort I put into my courses is what I will get out of them.

Lola Jung
MSc in Animal Biosciences