Texas Tech University

Graduate Program General Information

Graduate Program General Information

The Texas Tech University Department of Animal and Food Sciences offers many challenging and unique opportunities for graduate studies. The faculty is dedicated to excellence in teaching, research and public service. Animal Science and Food Science are broad fields of study involving biology, chemistry, microbiology, production, management, care and value-added processing of animal products. Animal Science and Food Science graduates are employed in all phases of production, research, sales, service, business and education around the world. As the world population continues to rise, it is ever more important to have well-trained professionals to serve the food and fiber needs of mankind.

Texas Tech University is located within an exceptionally dynamic and productive animal agriculture area. Texas leads the nation in beef cow-calf inventory, stocker cattle, feedlot cattle, feed and beef processing facilities, sheep, goats and horses. The swine and dairy cattle industries in the southern high plains are among the most rapid growing in the nation. These industries, along with their supportive infrastructure, offer exceptional support to instructional, research and interning needs of students, and offer excellent employment for our graduates.

Career Opportunities & Development

Graduates of the Texas Tech University Department of Animal and Food Sciences have boundless and diverse employment opportunities. For example, graduates are qualified to manage animal enterprises and processing facilities; serve as technical advisors and extension specialists; work for state and federal agencies, financial institutions, or private enterprises. Many graduates pursue careers in teaching and research in both the private and public sectors of the economy. Some develop their own private enterprises. Texas Tech animal and food scientists are making contributions to the food chain around the world. Many are leaders in their professional societies and industries. Professional certification through the American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists is encouraged of all our graduates to formalize their professional career development. The Animal Science and Food Science faculty at Texas Tech are eager to assist students in achieving their career aspirations.

Graduate Study

The department offers programs of graduate study leading to the following degrees:

  • Ph.D. in Animal Science
  • M.S. in Animal Science (thesis and non-thesis)
  • M.S. in Food Science (thesis and non-thesis)

    Each plan of study is designed by the graduate student and his/her graduate committee to accomplish the specific career aspirations of the student. Within the Department of Animal and Food Sciences alone, graduate students may select from over 30 different graduate courses. A program of study and research project is developed with appropriate selection of courses from numerous academic departments on campus for Ph.D. and M.S. students. M.S. non-thesis students utilize an internship in lieu of a research project as a portion of their program of study. Internships with the food processing industry, ranches, feedlots, packing companies or other industries serve as a focal point for each non-thesis student. All students are expected to publish their work in appropriate professional journals.

Research Emphasis

Animal Science and Food Science are applied sciences that draw heavily upon the basic sciences of biochemistry microbiology, physiology, immunology, genetics, and nutrition. Each graduate plan of study is designed to accomplish three major objectives: 1) to be of practical value to the animal and food industries; 2) contribute to the advancement of science, and 3) teach the student technical and reasoning skills conducive to accomplishing research. Research is conducted across the continuum from animal production to processed foods, utilizing appropriate advanced technologies of many types. Areas of research available for graduate students include ruminant nutrition, feed processing and preservation, growth physiology, animal breeding, animal behavior and welfare science, reproductive physiology, endocrinology, neuroscience, genetics of carcass merit and muscle hypertrophy, meats and muscle biology, and food processing, preservation and safety. Animal inventories of approximately 1000 beef cattle, 3000 swine, 350 sheep (many expressing the callipyge gene) and horses are available at our animal facilities to support graduate student instruction and research.


The Department of Animal and Food Sciences has modern facilities to support graduate student teaching and research. Field laboratories for beef cattle, sheep, goat, and swine are located on a 980-acre irrigated farm near New Deal. Additionally, the Burnett Center for Beef Cattle Research and Instruction is a world-class research feedmill and feedlot complex to support the research needs of the cattle feeding and the feed milling industries. The department also has a 40-acre equine facility that is home to the Ranch Horse Program, Therapeutic Riding Program, Equestrian Team, Ranch Horse Team and Rodeo Program. Many faculty and graduate students work closely with local commercial firms while conducting their research. Modern technical laboratories are available to all faculty including a meat laboratory/livestock arena complex located on campus. The Pork Industry Institute, the Center for Feed Industry Research and Education, and the International Center for Food Industry Excellence provide added capabilities for graduate training. Other technical support includes the Health Sciences Center, campus libraries, computer and related capabilities.

Graduate Faculty

The graduate faculty at the Texas Tech University Department of Animal and Food Sciences are nationally and internationally recognized as scholars and leaders in their profession. Graduate students will not be considered for admission to the Department of Animal and Food Sciences without a designated faculty member who is willing and able to serve as a faculty advisor. 


Highest Degree Faculty Year Institution Specialization
Michael A. Ballou, Associate Professor & Chair of Veterinary Science Ph. D.
University of California-Davis Ruminant Nutrition (Beef & Dairy), Animal Immunology, Disease, and Health; using Animal Models to study therapeutics for human diseases
Heidi A. Brady,  Professor & Co-Chair Texas Tech Therapeutic Riding & Therapy Program Ph.D.
Texas A&M University Equine Reproductive Physiology, and Production
Mindy M. Brashears, Professor Ph.D.
Oklahoma State University Food Science specializing in Food Microbiology
J. Chance Brooks, Professor and Interim Chair Ph.D.
Texas A&M University Meat Science & Muscle Biology; Meat Packaging; Value-Added Meat Cuts
Tiffanie Brooks, ACS Director/Attending Veterinarian DVM


Texas A&M University Veterinary Medicine
Alejandro Echeverry, Assistant Professor Ph.D.
Texas Tech University Food Microbiology; Food Safety
Michael L. Galyean, Horn Professor Ph.D.
Oklahoma State University Ruminant Nutrition; Feedlot Nutrition, 
Kristin Hales, Associate Professor and Thornton Chair Ph.D.
Texas Tech University Ruminant Nutrition, Beef Cattle Energetics
Samuel P. Jackson, Professor and Animal Science Undergraduate Coordinator Ph.D.
Texas Tech University Growth Physiology, Sheep and Goat Production
Bradley Johnson, Professor, Gordon W. Davis Regent's Chair in Meat and Muscle Biology Ph.D.
University of Minnesota Muscle Biology, Muscle Growth and Development, Beef Cattle Growth and Development
Jerrad Legako, Associate Professor & Graduate Coordinator Ph.D.


Texas Tech University Food Science, Meat Science
Guy Loneragan, Professor & Dean of the Veterinary School Ph.D.


Colorado State University Epidemiology, Animal Health
John J. McGlone, Professor Ph.D.
University of Illinois Swine Behavior in Animal Welfare Science, Ethology and Physiology
Vinicus Machado, Assistant Professor in the Department of Veterinary Science Ph.D.
Federal University of Goias in Brazil Veterinary Medicine
Markus F. Miller, SALE Chair and Professor Ph.D.
Texas A&M University Meats and Muscle Biology, Food Processing, Preservation
Kendra Nightingale, Professor Ph.D.


Cornell Food Safety and Quality, Microbiology
Sam Prien, Professor Ph.D.


Texas Tech University Reproductive Physiology
Ryan Rathmann, Associate Professor Ph.D.


Texas Tech University Livestock Evaluation; Beef Cattle
Kelly Riccitelli, Associate Professor of Practice Ph.D.  1998 Texas A&M University Equine Science
Marcos Sanchez Plata, Associate Professor Ph.D.   University of Nebraska-Lincoln Food Security
Angela Shaw, Professor Ph.D.
Texas Tech University Food Science, Microbiology
Leslie D. Thompson, Professor and Food Science Undergraduate Program Coordinator Ph.D.
University of Florida Food Science, Human Nutrition
Dale Woerner,  Professor and Cargill Endowed Chair Ph.D.
Colorado State University Meat Science


Animal & Food Sciences