The Department of Animal & Avian Sciences Campus Farm Revitalization Project The University of Maryland College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

About The Department



The Department of Animal and Avian Sciences was formed in 1997 through the merger of the Animal Science, Dairy Science and Poultry Science Departments. Animal science is the study of domesticated animals used for food, biomedical research and leisure. Our department fulfills a tripartite mission of research, education and extension.
Departmental research programs are focused in three areas –

  1. Animal Genetics and Cell Biology
  2. Nutrient Utilization and Management
  3. Animal Reproduction and Development
  4. Pathobiology & Infectious Diseases

The Animal Science graduate program offers advanced training in each of these research focus areas. Our undergraduate program offers five options to prepare students for their chosen career. Graduates of our program go on to graduate or professional schools, or go directly to work in the fields of animal biotechnology or animal management in the equine, laboratory animal, livestock or poultry industries. Opportunities are available, both on-campus and off-campus, for hands-on experience with small and large animals. Our location in the Washington DC metropolitan area offers a wealth of other opportunities for internships and collaborations for undergraduate and graduate students with government agencies such as the USDA, EPA, FDA, and National Zoo. Our University of Maryland Extension efforts provide educational materials and non-degree training for the families and companies working in animal agriculture throughout the State of Maryland. Additional information on all of our efforts and programs can be found through the links on this web page. If you don’t find what you’re looking for or you’d like further information, then I invite you to contact us.

Thank you for your interest in the Department of Animal and Avian Sciences at the University of Maryland.

For further information, browse this website or contact me at:

Tom E. Porter, Ph.D. - Professor and Chair
Department of Animal and Avian Sciences
1413 Animal Sciences Center
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742
Phone: (301) 405-1366

Historical Timeline


Maryland Agricultural College founded by Maryland General Assembly on land donated by plantation owner, Charles Calvert. The University of Maryland's 1st Animal Science Professor is George C. Schaeffer, Professor of Agriculture.


President Lincoln signs the Morrill "Land Grant" Act providing federal support for state colleges to teach agriculture, mechanical arts and military tactics. According to formula, Maryland receives 210,000 acres of "Western" land under this legislation.


Congress passes Hatch Act creating federally funded agricultural experiment stations. Maryland Agricultural Experiment Station established using The Rossborough Inn as its first headquarters.


Departments of Poultry Science and Animal Husbandry founded through the Maryland Agricultural Experiment Station. Separate departments of Animal Husbandry and Dairy Husbandry evolved in 1914.


Smith-Lever Act encourages land-grant colleges to establish community education programs in agriculture and home economics. Results in formation of the Maryland Cooperative Extension Service.


Turner Laboratory constructed, nicknamed "The Shirt Factory." Renovated in 1938 to conform with campus architecture, renamed in 1954 for Philip C. Turner, member of the Board of Regents. Home of "University Dairy" where milk was processed until 1991, Permanent home of Dairy Science Department until 1969.


New campus livestock facilities constructed through Depression era "Works Progress Administration Program." The last remaining buildings form the current "Campus Farm."


Dr. Mary Shorb, Poultry Science Professor develops lactobacillus Dorner assay for the anti-pernicious anemia factor in liver that leads to the discovery of Vitamin B12 in conjunction with Merck scientists. "Shorb Lecture in Nutrition" featuring world renowned nutritional scientists, is held annually in her honor.


First Maryland Nutrition Conference for Feed Manufacturers hosted by the Animal, Dairy and Poultry Science Departments. Hosted annually, this is the second longest running conference of its type in the U.S.


Jull Hall constructed. Named after Dr. Morley Jull, world renowned poultry scientist and chair of the Poultry Science Department from 1931 to1954. Home of Poultry Science Department until 1969.


Animal Sciences Professor, Dr. Willard Green, begins performance and linear measurement testing with Wye Angus Herd in Queenstown, MD. This 35-year collaborative relationship leads to owner Arthur Houghton's donating of the Wye Angus Herd, valued at $3.8 million, to the University of Maryland in 1978. Animal Sciences department faculty continue to conduct research and extension programs at the Wye Beef Research Center.


Dairy Science Department supports development of Maryland Artificial Breeders Cooperative (MABC) founded on College Park Campus. MABC is one of 10 founding cooperatives that form Select Sire, an international dairy artificial insemination bull Stud


Poultry Science Professor, Dr. Gerry Combs develops the nutritional principle of calorie: protein ratio and later calorie: amino acid ratios for use in commercial broiler diets. Rapid adoption of this principle along with the use of least cost diet formulation spurs the development of the poultry industry on Maryland's Eastern Shore.


Dairy Science Professor, Dr. Mark Keeney, studying factors affecting dairy product flavors, discovers trans fatty acids produced during rumen biohydrogenation of unsaturated fatty acids; Leads to discovery of trans fatty acid's role in "Milk Fat Depression" and the department's first U.S. Patent in 1995.


"Phase I" (office and research labs) of the Animal Sciences Building constructed housing Animal Science, Dairy Science, Poultry Science and Veterinary Medicine Departments until 1985.


"Phase II" of Animal Science Building completed; includes new classrooms, offices, laboratories, Animal Research Ring, Food and Pilot Plant. Current Home of Animal Sciences Department.


Departments of Dairy Science and Animal Science consolidated to form the Department of Animal Science in 1985. Poultry Science merged with Animal Science in 1997 forming current Animal and Avian Sciences Department.

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