CFAES Give Today

Department of Animal Sciences


Meat Science

Through the Meat Science Program, you will learn the underlying principles of biology, physiology, and nutrition that drive animal growth and the impact they have on meat quality.  In other words, you will connect scientific principles to the end-product through hands-on experiences. Through courses, internships, research, and part-time student employment, you will gain practical experience and learn about:

  • Life-cycle production and management across multiple species
  • Live animal, carcass, and genetic assessment
  • Cellular effects on animal growth and development
  • Meat processing and branded meat products
  • Critical factors influencing animal care and welfare
  • Production of high-value, high-quality, fresh, and  processed food
  • Relationships between on-farm, packing, and retail segments of food animal production

Meat Science Fact Sheet

By gaining practical experience prior to graduation, many of our students find high-paying opportunities prior to graduation with large companies such as Cargill, Smithfield, Wendy’s, Sugar Creek Packaging, Beef Products Inc., Tyson, Boar’s Head, and Buckhead Beef, to name a few. Did you know that the starting salary for students with a background in Meat Science is anywhere between $40,000 and $55,000? There are currently more jobs in the meats industry then there are people to fill them, so many recent alumni find themselves in management positions within a relatively short period of time.

Career Opportunities

  • Food and Consumer Safety Inspector
  • Meat Grader
  • Corporate Chef
  • New Product Development Director
  • Plant Production Supervisor
  • District Sales and Marketing Associate
  • Distribution/Warehouse Manager
  • Plant Safety Supervisor
  • USDA Regulatory/Packaging Manager
  • Quality Assurance Inspector

Major and Minor Options and 4-year Plans

Your interests in the area of meat science may fit under the Meat Science Major or the Meat Science Minor. Click here to investigate the options and plans.


The Meat Science Teaching Laboratory is a fully functioning and inspected meat processing facility. It is the site where most of the meat science classes and internship and research experiences take place. As a result, you will gain experience in:

  • Techniques involved in harvesting and fabricating retail cuts
  • Making processed meat products like sausage, bratwurst, or jerky
  • Product development
  • Quality Assurance
  • Facility inspection
  • Equipment processes and management


Investigate the meat science (MEAT SCI) courses available through the Department of Animal Sciences.

Short Courses and HACCP Certification (click here for more information)

A number of short courses and seminars are held regularly throughout the year providing you the opportunity to become HACCP certified or to further your knowledge in thermal processing or sausage making. Possible short courses include:

  • Introductory HACCP Training for Meat and Poultry Processors
  • Advanced HACCP Training for Meat and Poultry Processors
  • Sausage/Processed Meats Short Courses
  • Thermal Processing of RTE Meat Products Short Course

Team Area-Specific Opportunities (click here for more teams)

  • Meat Judging Team

Club Area-Specific Opportunities (click here for more clubs)

  • Meat Science Club
  • Saddle and Sirloin Club