As anyone who has spent any time around horses knows, the equestrian world is unlike any other industry. Having a master’s degree can often mean better opportunities, more money, and better overall working conditions.
Exactly what a master’s degree in equine studies looks like varies from school to school. While some are general in nature, others focus on something specific, like equine business management, equine physiology, or equine behavior, among other things. Schools offering degrees vary dramatically as well. While some offer a master’s degree in equine studies as part of a bigger animal sciences program, others offer master’s students complementary horse-related activities like a competitive equestrian team. So which master’s degree in equine science is better?
To find the best equine studies master’s programs, we considered everything from the selection of concentrations offered, to campus and facilities, to affordability, and came up with the 15 best universities for a master’s degree in equine studies.
California State University, Fresno
California State University, Fresno is one of the go-to places on the West Coast when it comes to equine studies. While Fresno’s master’s degree is a Master of Science in Animal Science, students can choose a focus from a number of options, including a research emphasis in equine science. The 30-unit program can be completed in two years, and culminates with a thesis or comprehensive exam.
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, Colorado
Like CSU Fresno, Colorado State University offers a research-intensive Master of Science in Animal Sciences degree. Students can choose from a number of areas of study, including equine nutrition and equine reproduction. In both cases, students will work closely with an advisor on a research emphasis of their choice, while simultaneously working closely with horses and gaining direct hands-on experience.
Ithaca, New York
Cornell University offers both Master’s and Ph.D degrees in Animal Science. From there, students can choose to focus on a variety of concentrations, including nutrition and physiology of the horse. This degree is far more theoretical and science-based than others on this list, and would be most appropriate for those looking into opportunities in the fields of food science and technology, nutrition, and molecular and integrative physiology.
Kansas State University
Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas offers a Master of Science degree in Animal Science. The program is devoted to cutting-edge research, teaching, and hands-on activities, and students determined to focus on equine studies can choose to do so. Research seminars and short courses are always changing, but at the time of this writing included such interesting topics as Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Equine Physiology, a Probiotic Approach to Preventing Laminitis, and The Glycemic Effect of Various Feeds in the Equine, among others. The Kansas State Horse Teaching and Research Unit also maintains a herd of Quarter Horses as part of a unique breeding program.
Louisiana State University
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Louisiana State University’s School of Veterinary Medicine includes the Equine Health Studies Program, which offers various Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees through three departments: Comparative Biomedical Sciences, Pathobiological Sciences, and Veterinary Clinical Sciences. Each department offers different concentrations, but all include research and internship opportunities having to do with equine health.
Meredith Manor International Equestrian Centre
Waverly, West Virginia
Meredith Manor International Equestrian Centre, an equine-centered institution in West Virginia, does not offer master’s degrees, but does offer master’s programs and certifications that are faster than an entire degree program and designed for those looking to work directly with horses. The Riding Master Program is a 12-week course designed to produce professional riders and trainers, while the Equine Science Master Program is designed for those interested in careers having to do with equine management, teaching, equine massage, and more. Finally, the Farrier Program prepares students to work professionally as a farrier.
Michigan State University
East Lansing, Michigan
Michigan State University’s Department of Animal Science offers Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in a wide variety of disciplines, including horses. Students choose a research specialization and dissertation topic, and can also take part in a stipend and credits-earning assistantship with faculty members. This master’s degree is designed to provide students with a solid foundation in biological sciences, plus the technical skills necessary to pursue a career in animal and equine sciences.
Middle Tennessee State University
Unlike most of the schools on this list, which provide equine studies as a concentration rather than a degree in itself, Middle Tennessee State University offers a Master of Science degree in Horse Studies. Students choose one of three concentrations — Equine Education, Equine Physiology, or Industry Management — to prepare for a hands-on career in the horse world. Most classes take place at the university’s 154-acre equestrian complex so students can get as much hands-on experience with horses as possible.
St. Andrews University
Laurinburg, North Carolina
St. Andrews University, home to one of the premiere equestrian programs in the country, offers an MBA for the Equine Professional. This unique program allows students to tailor their master’s degree to fit their career goals. For example, students interested in managing an equine facility will take both business classes as well as hands-on practicums to best prepare them to blend their career interests with their love of horses. Tuition discounts are given to members of national equestrian associations, and prospective students may be happy to know that St. Andrews is home to a 300-acre state-of-the-art equestrian facility right on campus.
College Station, Texas
Texas A&M offers a whole range of horse-centered animal science programs, including its Master of Equine Industry Management. Designed for prepare students for a variety of careers in the equine industry, this program provides students with necessary core skills and a wide-ranging curriculum with classes on equine sciences, marketing, management, public affairs, communication, and leadership. Students can even take part in internships based on their desired career path.
University of Connecticut
The Master of Science degree in Animal Science at University of Connecticut is full of options. Students can choose from two different plans, one of which requires a research thesis, in a variety of topics relating to horses and other animals. The thesis-based program is the perfect base for students intending to continue on to earn a Ph.D, or for those interested in the research and development side of the equine industry. We like this program because it is one of the few animal science programs in the country that allows students to focus almost entirely on horses.
University of Florida
University of Florida in Gainesville offers a Master of Science degree in which students can choose to focus on the equine. The degree can be completed in two-and- half years, and consists of 30 credit hours from a wide variety of course options, as well as a research project on a topic of the student’s choice. This degree is an especially good option for students who want to tailor their degree towards particular interests, as students must develop a degree plan to be approved by the graduate coordinator.
University of Kentucky
Where better to earn a master’s degree in equine studies than Lexington, Kentucky, the horse capital of the world? While the University of Kentucky does not offer a stand-alone equine graduate program, it does offer a long list of specialized fields in which students can earn either a master’s or doctorate. One such program is the Veterinary Sciences program, in which students can specialize in pathology, virology, microbiology, parasitology, immunology, genets, reproductive physiology, pharmacology, and musculoskeletal sciences — all relating to the horse! The program can also prepare students for veterinary school.
University of Louisville
Located just down the street from Churchill Downs, the most famous racetrack in the world, is University of Louisville. While most universities offer their equine-related degrees through their science departments, U of L actually offers its program through the College of Business. Students taking part in U of L’s Equine Industry Program can work towards a post-graduate certificate in equine business through classes like Horse Industry Overview, Equine Commercial Law, and Equine Marketing.
West Texas A&M
The College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences at West Texas A&M offers an Equine Industry Program for graduate students seeking both a Master of Science degree and further hands-on training in equine science or business-related topics. As students take classes and participate in various research programs, co-ops, and internships, they work closely with professionals from all facets of the equine industry, including breeding, racing, showing, and recreation.