Taught by active, world-renowned leaders - Kelly Swanson and Maria de Godoy.

Degree requirement: Bachelor’s degree required
Offered in: Spring, Fall semesters
Program length: 3 university courses
Format: Online
Estimated Cost: $6,534
More detailed information below.

The Companion Animal Nutrition Certificate program gives industry professionals, veterinarians, animal scientists, pet breeders, and pet enthusiasts the opportunity to take in-depth courses on various aspects of companion animal nutrition.

Instructor with yellow labrador and students in classroom.
Rich Text

Program Requirements

The non-degree certificate program is currently a three-semester program with all courses offered entirely online. For those who need them, continuing education (CE) credits will be provided after the successful completion of each course. 

In order to be accepted, applicants must have a bachelor’s degree. No specific discipline for this bachelor’s degree is required.


All courses are priced at the same rate. The cost will be $726/credit ($2,178 for each 3-credit course.) The certificate, which requires three courses of three credits each, would cost a total of $6,534. This degree program is paid for by the student and not eligible for waivers, assistantships, or internal scholarships.

Program Highlights


Course topics include canine and feline metabolism, nutrient functions and requirements, pet nutrition and disease, pet food ingredients, principles of diet formulation, pet food processing technologies, good manufacturing practices, pet food regulations, and market trends.

In order to be accepted, applicants must have a bachelor’s degree. No specific discipline for this bachelor’s degree is required.

In order to obtain the certificate, students will need to successfully complete ANSC 422, Companion Animal Nutrition, and two additional courses of their choosing from the list below.

Companion Animal Nutrition (ANSC 422; 3 credits)

Required for certificate and pre-requisite for ANSC 526
This course will cover the digestive physiology and basic nutritional considerations of companion animals, with primary focus on dogs and cats. Topics will include macronutrient and micronutrient digestion, metabolism, and function, nutritional idiosyncrasies of dogs and cats, unique nutritional needs throughout the life cycle, nutrient needs during exercise, common pet food ingredients, and nutritional sustainability.

422 Course Syllabus (pdf)

Pet Food & Feed Manufacturing (ANSC 424; 3 credits)
Integrates principles of animal nutrition with various aspects pertaining to pet food and animal feed manufacturing. Topics discussed in this course include processing technologies (e.g., extrusion, retorting, baking) involved in the manufacturing of pet foods and animal feeds, principles of diet formulation and nutritional guidelines, and an overview of regulatory affairs, quality control, and good manufacturing practices.

424 Course Syllabus (pdf)

Advanced Companion Animal Nutrition (ANSC 526; 3 credits)
Students will learn how to effectively apply advanced concepts related to pet nutrition and disease, including the metabolism within healthy and diseased dogs and cats, how nutrition may aid in preventing and treating disease, and the science behind pet food formulation and production.

526 Course Syllabus (pdf)

Pet Food and Feed Regulation (ANSC 499; 3 credits)

This is a 3-credit course designed to train undergraduate, graduate students, and professionals in the pet food and feed industry on topics pertaining to the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and regulatory framework concerning specifically animal feed. Students at the end of this course will also be able to conduct hazard analysis, develop and apply pre-requisite programs, and build a safety food plan for animal feed and pet food.

Course explorer

Certificate Reviews

“The content was organized very well and presented clearly and concisely.”

“The videos for the modules were of good quality and the modules themselves were easy to follow.” 

“Very comprehensive coverage of the topic, with relevant information for the intended students. The instructor was good about responding to questions posted online in a timely manner.”

“This was an excellent course and well taught.”

Start Certificate
Rich Text

Express your interest in pursuing a certificate. Once accepted, you will receive an email with further instructions for registration. Please note that you will need to keep track of your classes and ensure completion of the certificate on your own. There will not be an advisor or faculty member tracking your progress. Please make sure you communicate to your advisor about your desire to complete the certificate when you are planning classes and developing graduation plans.

Start certificate

Complete Certificate
Rich Text

Upon completing your required coursework, you will need to submit a completion request for your certificate. The certificate coordinator will check your course work to ensure you have completed all of the requirements, and then a certificate will be either mailed to you or available for pick up. If you complete your last course in the semester that you graduate, please note that we will be mailing the certificate after grades are posted and the completion can be certified. 

Confirm completion

Program Contacts

Dr. Kelly S. Swanson
Professor and Certificate Program Coordinator


Dr. Swanson is a Professor in the Department of Animal Sciences. With a background in Animal Sciences (BS) and Nutritional Sciences (MS; PhD), he studies how diet impacts canine and feline physiology and gut microbiota, with primary emphasis on gastrointestinal health and obesity. His prominence in the field is highlighted by over $20 million in research support, 140 invited lectures, 210 peer-reviewed publications, and training of over 65 graduate students, post-docs, and undergraduate researchers. He has been selected to the ‘List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent by Their Students’ 27 times and serves on advisory boards for several pet food companies.

Dr. Swanson
Dr. Maria R. C. de Godoy
Associate Professor


Dr. Maria R. C. de Godoy is an Associate Professor and recipient of the 2021 Campus Distinguished Promotion Award at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The focus of her research program is on companion animal and comparative nutrition with 3 main overarching goals:

  • analytical methods and animal models for evaluation of nutritional adequacy of novel ingredients;
  • the effects of processing on pet food quality, nutritional value, and safety; and
  • the role of nutraceuticals in health and wellness of pets. Dr. Godoy has an internationally recognized program highlighted by over $ 6.5 million in research funds, 40 invited lectures nationally and internationally, and more than 60 peer-reviewed publications.

She has been consistently named to the Univ. of IL “List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent by Their Students”. Dr. Godoy’s academic program showcases her innovative approach to science that further advances the pet food industry and the nutritional sciences community. She also serves as scientific advisor for many animal-health and pet food companies.

Dr. de Godoy