15 Best Universities for Master’s Degrees in Equine Studies 2018

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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

Fresno, California

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.

For more information: California State University

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.

For more information: Colorado State University

Cornell University

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.

For more information: Cornell University

Kansas State University

Manhattan, Kansas

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.

For more information: Kansas State University

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.

For more information: Louisiana State University

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.

For more information: Meredith Manor International Equestrian Centre

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.

For more information: Michigan State University

Middle Tennessee State University

Murfreesboro, Tennessee

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.

For more information: Middle Tennessee State University

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.

For more information: St. Andrews University

Texas A&M

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.

For more information: Texas A&M

University of Connecticut

Storrs, 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.

For more information: University of Connecticut

University of Florida

Gainesville, 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.

For more information: University of Florida

University of Kentucky

Lexington, 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.

For more information: University of Kentucky

University of Louisville

Louisville, Kentucky

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.

For more information: University of Louisville

West Texas A&M

Canyon, Texas

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.

For more information: West Texas A&M