Thinking About Graduate School

Thinking About Graduate School

The Animal and Rangeland Sciences graduate program is designed to provide fundamental training in animal sciences and rangeland and ecology management. After selecting an area of specialization, students are guided by their major professor and advisory committee in designing a program of study to develop the knowledge and skills relevant to the student's career and professional goals.


Frequently Asked Questions


  • What kind of financial support can a student be expected to receive during the course of the program? This varies among students with different funding opportunities available. Potential graduate students are encouraged to review the list of faculty within the department to select a potential major professor and make contact to inquire about graduate school and potential funding opportunities. A list of major professors can be found in the Graduate Student Handbook on page 42.


  • How much education debt do graduates incur? The objective of the Department of Animal and Rangeland Sciences is to equip students to achieve their educational goals while not being overly burdened with financial debt. The majority of graduate students within the department are able to complete their degree with minimal financial obligations.


  • From the time I submit my graduate school application, when will I be notified of an admission decision? This varies among applications. After an application is submitted it is reviewed by multiple departments and individuals before a final decision is made. This process can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. Applicants can check on the status of an application by contacting Caroline Charlton, Graduate Program Coordinator.


  • How many years does it typically take to graduate with an advanced degree? Depending on whether a student is pursuing a masters or doctorate degree will determine how long it takes to graduate. Graduate students generally complete an MS degree within 2-3 years. PhD students can complete degree requirements in 4-6 years.


  • How long are graduates on the job market? The current job market is favorable for graduates in Animal Sciences and Rangeland Ecology and Management. it is not uncommon for students to be employed before graduation. A variety of career opportunities are available.


  • Does the program lead to appealing career paths outside of academe? Potential career fields outside of basic or applied animal/rangeland studies in universities include government agencies and private industry.


  • How do I choose a major professor? Graduate student applicants are encouraged to research and connect with a potential major professor within the department. Each professor has information within the department directory which outlines their research and capability to accept graduate students. Students are encouraged to reach out to faculty by email with any questions or to make an introduction.


  • Is a GRE score required? Yes, a GRE score is required for admission to the graduate program within the Department of Animal and Rangeland Sciences. An official score must be included in the application for consideration.


  • Is a TOEFL/IELTS score required for all international students? Yes, a TOEFL/IELTS score is required for admission to the graduate program within the Department of Animal and Rangeland Sciences for all international students. A minimum score of 6 is required for admission.

Student Profile

Shelby Wanser, Pursuing MS in Animal Sciences

Last year I had the unique opportunity to be a wolf pup parent. I spent several months raising, training, and socializing wolf puppies at Wolf Park in Battle Ground, Indiana. While I was there I also conducted behavioral research with the wolf pups as part of my mentor’s ongoing research. This opportunity came about as a result of an ongoing collaboration between my mentor, Dr. Monique Udell, and Wolf Park since she was a graduate student. She has been involved with numerous behavioral research projects involving the hand-reared wolves at Wolf Park, and she herself has been a wolf pup parent to litters there in the past. 

The foundation for this opportunity began during the spring of 2015. As an undergraduate in Animal Sciences at OSU, and a part of Dr. Udell’s Human-Animal Interactions Lab, I was able to travel to Wolf Park along with Lauren Brubaker, a graduate student from the lab, and conduct behavioral research with the adult wolves. This research was later published in Science Advances in 2017. Because of my background as an animal trainer and the connections formed with the wolves and staff during this project, I was recommended to be a wolf pup parent the next time they had a litter of pups.  

That opportunity became a reality when a litter of five pups was born on April 8, 2017. Soon thereafter I arrived at Wolf Park and became a part of the team of eight pup parents. We rotated shifts, taking care of the puppies 24/7 for the next several months. Even with eight of us sharing the job, we were sleep deprived for sure! 

A key element of our job as puppy parents was to gradually expose the pups to novel stimuli in their environment especially within the first 5 weeks of their lives, during the stage of their life known as the critical period of socialization. Our goal was to systematically introduce them to a huge variety of sounds, smells, sights, movement, and textures throughout their puppyhood so that throughout their lives, other new things wouldn’t seem so unusual or frightening. It was fascinating, exciting, and definitely educational.

Getting to raise and train the wolf puppies, and having the opportunity to also train adult wolves, foxes, coyotes, and bison while at Wolf Park, was an immensely valuable experience, especially in my career aspirations as an animal trainer. I learned more than I ever could have imagined thanks to those wolf puppies!


PhD Student Profile:

David Eduardo Prado-Tarango,

Pursuing a Ph.D in Rangeland Management & Ecology 


 My first involvement in this department was through an internship in the fall of 2014. During that time, I was a master’s student at the Universidad Autónoma de Chihuahua, in Mexico. I was invited to do an internship to enhance the research for the master’s program which focused in the germinative responses of different native plant species from the Chihuahuan desert to simulated rainfall sequences that represent the most common rainfall patterns. Dr. Ricardo Mata-Gonzalez agreed to help with the research and I came to Corvallis work with him the fall of 2014. The research here was conducted at the Oregon State University seed laboratory and greenhouse facilities. I learned how to conduct a tetrazolium (TZ) viability and germination tests on the laboratory. The information obtained from this research was the base for the propagation protocol of the three studied native plants from the Chihuahuan desert. These results were presented at the Society for Range Management 2017 annual meeting in St. George Utah and are being reviewed for publication in the Journal of Arid Land Research.

As a person born and raised in Mexico, my mother language is Spanish. While I was able to read and write in English, I found it difficult to speak and communicate properly. The people here have been supportive, and I have overcome difficulties from the language barrier. I have seen people with bright ideas not trying in places where they could greatly improve, because of the languages barrier. The recommendation that I always make is TRY. No one will never know what could happen unless they try, and I could make it!

After the internship, I wanted to pursue my Ph.D. degree at OSU. I came back in the Fall of 2016, with the help of Dr. Mata-Gonzalez as my major professor. I am studying the relationships of different sagebrush species with soil arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi to improve understanding of the natural symbiosis and facilitate restoration programs for degraded rangelands. I expect to find how to improve the establishment of different species of sagebrush for restoration programs.