No dairy background or experience is needed to enroll.

Students eligible: Current University of Illinois undergraduate students
Offered in: Spring, Fall semesters
Program length: 2 semesters
Format: In-person (most classes) and online (ANSC 435 and ANSC 499)

The Illinois Dairy Science Certificate (I-Dairy) will not only introduce you to dairy cattle biology and management, but also provide you with a greater understanding of dairy cattle nutrition, mammary health, and livestock farm management.

Students with dairy cattle.

Program Highlights

Hands-on Learning

Much of the I-Dairy curriculum is focused on providing hands-on learning experiences. Students in the program will have the opportunity to attend classes at the University of Illinois Dairy Research Farm. Classes at the dairy farm provide unique experiences from learning how to properly handle large animals and experiencing dairy cattle behavior to milking cows on the farm. Additional classes will allow students interested in research to work side by side with professors in the Animal Sciences department to aid in or complete their own research projects. 

I-Dairy Students will also have the chance to be a part of the Illini Dairy Judging and Dairy Challenge teams. Both programs allow students to represent the University of Illinois at collegiate contests around the United States. The Illini Dairy Judging Team competes in three contests in which the team evaluates dairy cattle for their phenotypic traits related to animal health and longevity. Dairy Challenge is a contest unlike any other in which participants learn how to evaluate production farms and provide strengths and opportunities to farmers about their operation.


The courses offered in the I-Dairy program are structured to help students succeed in a wide array of dairy science and livestock production fields, whether that be working in the industry or attending graduate school or veterinary school. Courses also provide unique experiences unlike any other at the University of Illinois.

Required courses:

  • ANSC 201: Principles of Dairy Production; 3 credit hours, offered Spring
  • ANSC 400: Dairy Herd Management; 3 credit hours, offered Fall

Elective courses (choose at least two; minimum of 4 elective credit hours):

  • ANSC 215 (Section C): Intro to Animal Evaluation; 2 credit hours, offered Spring
  • ANSC 398*: Dairy Challenge; on-campus or off-campus internship, undergraduate research; 1-2 credit hours, offered Fall, Spring, and Summer
  • ANSC 314: Advanced Dairy Cattle Evaluation; 2 credit hours, offered Fall
  • ANSC 322 Livestock Feeds and Feeding; 3 credit hours, offered Fall
  • ANSC 420: Ruminant Nutrition; 3 credit hours, offered Fall
  • ANSC 435: Milk Quality and Udder Health; 2 credit hours, offered Fall (online)
  • ANSC 438: Lactation Biology; 4 credit hours, offered Spring
  • ANSC 499: Dairy Cattle Nutrition and Diet Formulation; 2 credit hours, offered Fall (online)

*ANSC 398 experience must be dairy-related and approved by Dr. Derek Nolan. A maximum of 2 hours of ANSC 398 credit hours can be applied to the certificate.

Start Certificate
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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
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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 Contact

Dr. Derek Nolan
Teaching Assistant Professor, Extension Faculty Specialist
Dr. Derek Nolan