Students seeking a master’s degree of agriculture in animal science at Texas A&M University now have the ability to choose to follow a curriculum specifically designed to emphasize the meat industry, according to officials.

The new emphasis for the degree plan provides students who have a bachelor’s degree insupplemental coursework and practical experience through internships to preparefor a variety of careers in, and for future leadership of, the U.S. meat industry.

“The meat science program at Texas A&M is one of the leading programs of its kind in the nation. As such, we have a proven record of success focusing on the preparation of young scientists to conduct research, perform food quality,  safety functions and initiate product development efforts,” said Dr. Russell Cross, head of animal science.

“By expanding the existing master’s of agriculture in animal science  to include an emphasis on  the meat industry, the meat science program is broadening and enhancing the knowledge of young people who wish to enter the professional workforce of the U.S. meat production, processing and sales industry as supervisory or middle-management personnel.”

The master of agriculture with an emphasis on the meat industry program will focus on the process of accelerating the climb up the corporate management ladder by exposing students to the tutelage of veteran industry experts with records of previous industry success, said Dr. Gary Smith, visiting professor and chair of the new degree program’s executive committee.

Students will be required to complete 36 hours of coursework in meat science, management, marketing, communication and leadership, and two short-term professional internships within the meat industry customized to meet specific student career interests. Students can complete a graduate certificate in meat science as a component of this degree plan.

“Through collaboration with our colleagues in the departments of agricultural economics, agricultural leadership, management, marketing and poultry science, students will be fundamentally exposed to interpersonal communication and employee management skills development. This will enhance their ability to relate to and supervise employees under their direction upon achieving full-time employment.”

In addition to being a continuation of a bachelor’s degree education emphasizing meat, animal or food science, the master of agriculture with an emphasis on the meat industry could be used as a refresher or retooling option for individuals who have industry experience wanting to advance their careers in the meat industry, Smith said.

For additional information regarding the new master’s program, contact Dr. David Forrest d-forrest@tamu.edu or Smith gary.smith@ag.tamu.edu at 979-845-1541. The degree plan may be viewed at http://animalscience.tamu.edu.