Animal Welfare Science, Ethics and Law at Winchester critically reflects upon contemporary uses of animals, and provides the academic skills and expertise needed to protect animals and advance their welfare. Winchester is a world leader in terms of the values held and discussed, such as compassion and social justice, which are central to the ethos of this course.
You consider animal rights and the ethics around using animals for food, sport, and scientific research. How should society reflect those rights and ethics in our law-making and public policies? We scrutinise the many forms of animal use in different settings, such as farming, transportation and slaughter, laboratories, homes, zoos and various other entertainment locales, and about free-ranging animals in natural environments. As you progress through the programme, you master the skills and knowledge involved in assessing and ensuring the welfare of animals using a range of data and sound scientific processes.
The course is different from other comparable programmes in part because of the range of animals covered, including wild, free-ranging animals, invertebrates, pest animals, and the welfare problems associated with them. You are encouraged to develop communication skills in a range of styles, including posters, blogs, and multimedia presentations, and to share ideas about animal welfare outside of the academic setting.
Modules include Animals and Society, Animal Interests, Capacities and Ethical Considerations, Animal Behaviour and Psychological States, and a 15,000-word dissertation on your chosen topic. Classes are taught using the online virtual learning platform, in the form of core notes with additional readings, videos and lecture notes, making this course accessible to students anywhere in the world.
Graduates work as animal behaviourists, within animal welfare and advocacy organisations, zoos, sanctuaries and other organisations requiring knowledge of animal management and welfare, with governmental departments working on animal issues, with agencies aiming to uphold welfare standards, and with commercial organisations seeking to introduce such standards to their agricultural suppliers.
For any veterinarians pursuing specialist qualifications in animal welfare, this programme is partly based on the theoretical syllabus required for the European and US qualifications.
Graduates may enter careers within animal advocacy, welfare and conservation organisations; zoos, sanctuaries and other organisations requiring knowledge of animal management and welfare; governmental departments working on animal issues; assurance, inspection and enforcement agencies; and commercial organisations seeking to implement and monitor the animal welfare standards of their agricultural suppliers.
If you study a Bachelor Honours degrees with us, you will be pre-approved to start a Masters degree at Winchester. To be eligible, you will need to apply by the end of March in the final year of your degree and meet the entry requirements of your chosen Masters degree.
UK, EU, World
Modules are taught using online core notes with additional readings, videos and lecture notes provided. Students may participate in online seminars, and are guided in the creation of communication media such as academic and popular publications, Powerpoint and poster presentations, and online blogs.
The academics involved in this programme possess specialist skills and knowledge in each of the realms of animal welfare science, animal ethics and animal law. Strengths include significant experience in examining and critiquing contemporary social uses of animals, through both academic and popular media, and in working within both Non-Governmental Organisations and professional realms such as veterinary and legal practice, to advance animal welfare within wider society. Tutorials and other support is offered by these highly qualified, enthusiastic and internationally renowned scholars.
This programme is distance learning only.
Our validated courses may adopt a range of means of assessing your learning. An indicative, and not necessarily comprehensive, list of assessment types you might encounter includes essays, portfolios, supervised independent work, presentations, written exams, or practical performances.
Assessments include written assignments, Powerpoint and poster presentations, online blogs, participation in discussions, and a 15,000-word dissertation on a topic of interest to the student, chosen in consultation with a supervisor.
We ensure all students have an equal opportunity to achieve module learning outcomes. As such, where appropriate and necessary, students with recognised disabilities may have alternative assignments set that continue to test how successfully they have met the module's learning outcomes. Further details on assessment types used on the course you are interested in can be found on the course page, by attending an Open Day or Open Evening, or contacting our teaching staff.
We are committed to providing timely and appropriate feedback to you on your academic progress and achievement in order to enable you to reflect on your progress and plan your academic and skills development effectively. You are also encouraged to seek additional feedback from your course tutors.
For more information about our regulations for this course, please see our Academic Regulations, Policies and Procedures.
Moral problems occur in all areas of life: professional, personal, political. Should banks impose strict criteria on clients to promote corporate social responsibility? How to allocate fairly the benefits and burdens of climate change policy options? Do you believe it is ethical for us to use biological enhancement technologies to make us better, rather than simply well? Such problems require careful reflection on the facts – but also on our basic moral values.
The Applied Ethics Master’s programme offers you an in-depth focus on the interaction between moral practice and ethical theory, allowing you to explore ethical theories in relation to actual practical dilemmas. At the end of your studies, you’ll possess a thorough theoretical background in ethics, including important methods and debates in applied ethics. You will also understand the implications of legal and political frameworks for ethical argumentation.
Our interdisciplinary approach offers you multiple avenues of investigation into applied ethics. In addition to studying philosophy, you’ll learn about the contexts in which moral problems arise and the different types of analysis that may be needed in various contexts. You’ll also examine how viewpoints from different disciplines can strengthen ethical reflection and argumentation.
This English-taught Master’s programme attracts international and Dutch students with diverse disciplinary backgrounds (for example, philosophy, medicine, law, international studies, economics) as well as people with professional experience (for example, health care professionals, lawyers, veterinarians, management consultants in corporate social responsibility & business ethics, or journalists). This unique student body provides a wide range of cultural viewpoints through which you can explore ethical dilemmas. The programme offers the opportunity to do an internship with a national or international organisation or NGO, and to participate in elective Master-level courses abroad.
The Master’s programme in Applied Ethics is embedded in Utrecht University’s Ethics Institute, a research-driven organisation that focuses on human dignity and human rights, education ethics, animal ethics, sustainability ethics, public health ethics, and bioethics.
During your studies in this programme, you’ll develop the necessary skills to analyse important current ethical issues. You’ll learn to critically propose possible solutions as well as to engage professionals and other concerned individuals in reflection on the moral dimensions of their practice. After completing the programme, you’ll have the skills to:
There are various career opportunities after graduating with a degree in Applied Ethics. A recent survey shows that around 30% of our graduates work at a university today, either as teachers or as PhD students. After finishing the programme, you are also able to teach ethics to professionals or to work as a consultant in governmental and diplomatic services. Some of our alumni work in journalism or in various NGOs or banks. Read more about possible career prospects.