Texas A&M introduces new equine options for students

A review of the equine science curriculum offered in the Department of Animal Science has resulted in an enhanced curriculum and greater educational options for Texas A&M students.

The introduction of a Master of Equine Industry Management, a Certificate of Equine Science and several new equine courses will strengthen the education available for Texas A&M students interested in a career in equine science or the equine industry.

“Texas A&M has been successfully training students in equine science for decades. Now with the enhanced curriculum and new master’s degree and certificate program, we are raising the bar and giving students recognition for completing the coursework,” said Dr. Russell Cross, head of the Department of Animal Science.

“We are one of the few universities in the United States to offer a Certificate of Equine Science and the only university with a Master of Equine Industry Management. We are setting the stage for Texas A&M to become a premier institution for equine education.”

The Master of Equine Industry Management will be structured similar to many Master of Business Administration programs. Students will work through two years of coursework as a cohort, allowing them to benefit from each other’s varied experiences and areas of expertise.

Coursework requirements draw equally from graduate level equine science classes, leadership and communication courses, and business courses. Additionally, students will be required to participate in two high-quality internship and/or research experiences.

“We are excited about what this program will mean for students who are looking to enter the equine industry in leadership positions,” said Dr. Jim Heird, Glenn Blodgett Equine Chair and Executive Professor for the Equine Initiative.

Recruiting for the first Master of Equine Industry Management class will begin in spring 2015.

In addition to the new master’s program, the Department of Animal Science now provides a structured curriculum for undergraduate students with interest in equine science. Students can obtain a Certificate in Equine Science by completing 22 credits in select equine courses.

“Many of the courses included in the Certificate of Equine Science were already in place at Texas A&M. Our goal in establishing the certificate was to give students with equine interest credit for a body of coursework that will help them as they pursue leadership positions in the equine industry,” Cross said.

Students who pursue the certificate take several recently established equine courses, including Equine Industry and Career Preparation, Equine Disease and Epidemiology, and Issues in the Equine Industry. Completion of the certificate signifies that students have gained knowledge in equine nutrition, reproduction, disease, handling, management, career preparation and industry issues. Also, each student is required to complete an internship as a part of the certificate requirements, giving students hands-on experience in the industry.

The Certificate in Equine Science became available in the fall of 2012 with the first student graduating with the certificate in May 2013. Most recently, five students earned the certificate upon graduation in May 2014 and the program continues to grow in popularity.

In addition to the newly structured master’s degree and certificate programs, the Department of Animal Science worked closely with the Equine Initiative to conduct a comprehensive review of the equine science courses to ensure the appropriate classes were available to support the two programs. The new courses will be taught by faculty in the Department of Animal Science, the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences and the Equine Initiative, drawing upon the combined excellence of faculty experts in each equine program.

“Recommendations of the review committee resulted in modification of some existing courses and development of new equine courses to enhance the equine curriculum,” said Dr. David Forrest, associate head for academic programs in the Department of Animal Science.

Curriculum changes resulting from the review include:

  • Content modifications for Equine Behavior and Training, and Equestrian Technology;
  • The Advanced Stock Horse Training course was moved into a Directed Studies credit for students interested in the Stock Horse Team;
  • An Equine Handling and Safety course was developed to provide experiential learning for students with limited horse background;
  • An undergraduate Equine Exercise Physiology and Equine Reproduction courses will be offered for the first time in Fall 2014;
  • An Equine Marketing and Development course is now approved for International Cultural Diversity credit;
  • A new Sales Management course will provide students with experience in all facets of preparing and conducting a horse sale.
  • An Equine Disease and Epidemiology course is now taught through Veterinary Large Animal Clinical Sciences to address control and prevention of selected equine infectious diseases and epidemiological principles applied to equine health.
  • A sophomore-level course was developed to prepare students for the multiple career paths available in the equine industry.
  • A capstone course called Issues in the Equine Industry now provides students an opportunity to integrate skills, concepts and information to demonstrate critical thinking and problem-solving ability relative to current issues affecting the equine industry.

For more information regarding the Master of Equine Industry Management, contact Anna Morrison at (979) 845-6098 and for the Certificate of Equine Science, contact Donna Witt at (979) 845-7616.


 For more information regarding news from the Department of Animal Science, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Texas A&M University, please contact Courtney Coufal at cacoufal@tamu.edu or (979) 845-1542.

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