Opening New Opportunities with a Certificate in Animal Genetics

Dr. Raluca Mateescu smiling while petting a brahman cow
Dr. Mateescu’s research is motivated by recent advances in the animal genomics field, which hold great promise for improving animal production efficiency and enhancing animal products for improved human health.

Written by Raluca Mateescu, Professor of Animal Genetics and Genomics, Department of Animal Sciences, University of Florida


The Department of Animal Sciences at the University of Florida is the first US institution to offer a Certificate in Animal Genetics. This program will represent a unique opportunity for Animal Science majors, non-majors, non-degree-seeking students, and students from minority-serving institutions, and other land grant schools. This certificate will also benefit representatives of animal science-related fields, such as animal healthcare professionals, breed association representatives, livestock or companion animal breeding consultant, pharmaceutical companies, zoos, and research labs.

Advances in genomic technologies revolutionized the field of animal genetics, and this certificate will prepare and train students for future academic and employment opportunities. The program will develop students who understand the complexities of agricultural systems and are educated about the innovation, diversity, and technological advances characterizing this field. This will place the Department of Animal Sciences and the University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences at the forefront of animal genetics education in the nation.

It is expected that students enrolling in this certificate program will have an academic background in Animal Sciences. Students interested in companion animals and agricultural science will develop expertise in applying emerging technologies in genomics, computational biology, and system biology in genetic improvement programs addressing current and future challenges facing livestock industries. No completely online option exists right now for students and professionals to study animal genetics.

Competitive advantages under the Certificate Program

In 2019, a consortium led by the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and the National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA) published the “Genome to Phenome: Improving Animal Health, Production, and Well-Being – A New USDA Blueprint for Animal Genome Research 2018–2027” which serves as a guiding document for research and funding in animal genomics. This Blueprint concludes that animal genome technologies will become part of mainstream agricultural production strategies used to improve animal health, well-being, production efficiency, and product quality in ways that meet the demands of growing global populations. Our certificate is the only Animal Genetics Certificate in the nation, which will provide the basic knowledge and skills to help prepare the next generation of graduate students and researchers to work in interdisciplinary teams.

The world demand for animal-based food products is anticipated to increase by 70 percent by 2050. Meeting this demand with a minimal impact on the environment will require the implementation of advanced technologies, and methods to improve the genetic quality of livestock are expected to make a significant contribution. The University of Florida is uniquely poised to address these challenges by increasing the knowledge about animal genetics among undergraduate students, catalyzing and coordinating genetics and genomics education to achieve advances that generate societal and environmental benefits. This proposed Animal Genetics certificate provides students a background in Mendelian, population, and quantitative genetic inheritance, in-depth knowledge of genetic improvement and management programs, and the application of genetic principles towards the improvement of the health and production of livestock and domestic animals.

What will the certificate provide?

Real-life examples and practical applications will be key components of this program in order to appreciate the intricacies of genetics and the future of genomic research for the improvement and management of animals. Completion of the certificate will enable students to think critically and apply principles and knowledge of animal genomics, computational biology, molecular and cell biology, and quantitative genetics to develop animal production systems and alternative strategies to maximize animal, human, environmental, and economic health. Students will gain knowledge to evaluate genetic diversity, develop and critically evaluate selection schemes for implementing genetic improvement in livestock and domestic animals. Students will acquire knowledge about the adoption of new technology and innovative practices in genetic improvement programs while maintaining sustainability. This program provides a solid foundation for those planning careers in medicine, agriculture, and the pharmaceutical industry in diverse public and private settings. Students can also combine their studies of genetics with related fields such as business or public policy, with a view to managerial positions in biotechnology fields, or positions in government or law.

Required Coursework

ANS 4382 Equine Genetics 2
ANS 4383 Genetic Analyses of Complex Traits in Livestock 3
ANS 3384C Genetics of Domestic Animals 3
ANS 4388 Canine and Feline Genetics 3
Total Credits   11

Apply now!

Non-UF Students apply here.

Currently Enrolled UF students apply here.


Find more information about the UF/IFAS Animal Sciences Animal Genetics Certificate on our website.  Any questions or inquiries regarding the Animal Genetics Certificate should be directed toward Dr. Raluca Mateescu at


Savannah Linzmaier
Posted: November 2, 2022

Category: Agriculture, Livestock, UF/IFAS Teaching
Tags: Animal Genetics, Animal Genetics Certificate, Animal Science, Animal Sciences, Ans, Genetics, Undergraduate

Subscribe For More Great Content

IFAS Blogs Categories