For graduate students wanting to specialize in dairy cattle.

Students eligible: Current University of Illinois graduate students
Offered in: Spring, Fall semesters
Program length: 2 semesters (9 total credit hours)

The Illinois Dairy Science Certificate (I-Dairy) would be the first large animal production certificate in the Animal Sciences Department. By completing the certificate, students would receive a well-rounded education in current topics of the dairy industry. 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.

No dairy background or experience is needed to enroll.

Student with dairy cow.

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 and take class trips to dairy farms within Illinois. Classes at dairy farms will allow students to apply what they are learning in the classroom to real-world scenarios. 


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 continuing their professional school path. 

Courses in the I-Dairy program will allow graduate students in the thesis program to better understand the scientific nature of their research. The I-Dairy program will also provide insight to the impact their research will have not only to the dairy industry but all of animal agriculture. The overall goal of the I-Dairy program is to introduce students to dairy cattle and production.

Elective courses:

  • ANSC 400: Dairy Herd Management; 3 credit hours, offered Fall
  • ANSC 420: Ruminant Nutrition; 3 credit hours, offered Fall
  • ANSC 438: Lactation Biology; 4 credit hours, offered Spring
  • ANSC 499: Bovine Mammary Immunology and Milk Quality; 2 credit hours, offered Fall (online)
  • ANSC 499: Dairy Cattle Nutrition and Diet Formulation; 2 credit hours, offered Fall (online)
  • ANSC 522: Advanced Ruminant Nutrition; 3 credit hours, offered Fall
  • ANSC 593: Special Topics (*arrange with instructor); 1 or 2 credit hours, offered Fall and Springv

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