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Masters Degrees (Companion Animal Behaviour)

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The two-year MSc programme Animal Sciences is a continuation of a BSc in Animal Sciences or an equivalent programme in the field of livestock, companion animals and wildlife. Read more

MSc Animal Sciences

The two-year MSc programme Animal Sciences is a continuation of a BSc in Animal Sciences or an equivalent programme in the field of livestock, companion animals and wildlife.

The focus is to deliver skilled professional animal scientists who are well equipped to tackle problems related to sustainable livestock development as well as to the management of livestock and companion animals. The animal-human interaction plays an important role in this study programme. Themes like animal nutrition, animal health, animal welfare, levels of management, genetic diversity and socio-economic factors are all widely discussed.

Programme summary

Humans interact with animals in many different ways, ranging from raising livestock for food to keeping pets for companion. Animal husbandry and livestock development are not only constrained by technical factors, such as feed supply, animal health, management and genetics, but also by infrastructural and socio-economic factors. Consequently, today’s animal scientists need in-depth scientific training combined with a critical attitude towards all factors that limit the sustainable development of animal husbandry. Our individually tailored programme trains students to become expert animal scientists, well-equipped to tackle relevant issues of livestock and animal management.

Specialisations

Within the MSc Animal Sciences you can choose from various specialisations. Each of the specialisations trains you to become an expert in the field. The specialisations in MSc Animal Sciences are:

Animal Breeding and Genetics
Understanding how genetic differences work and how they can be used in a sustainable manner in a wide range of species plays a central role in this specialisation. Students learn how breeding and genetics can contribute to safe and healthy food from animal origin and how it contributes to the health and welfare of animals.

Animal Nutrition
This specialisation deals with the interaction between animals and their nutrition. Students learn about the way animals digest and convert food by studying the nutrient flows and the physiology of the animals in relation to the composition of feeds. They also learn about the effect of feed in relation to health, welfare and behaviour of the animal.

Applied Zoology
Understanding the relationship between structure and function of all systems within the body is the main focus of this specialisation. Students look at organ structures, hormones, bone structure or the immune system of animals and learn how these systems respond to external influences.

Animal Health and Behaviour
Knowledge of the adaptive capacity of animals is required to be able to determine how to keep an animal healthy and how changes affect the animal. Students learn to study behaviour, stress or immune parameters or energy metabolism to determine e.g. which housing system or feed regime is best for animal health and welfare.

Animal Health Management
How can the risk of transmission of infectious diseases be quantified between and within groups of animals? And which factors are of influence on this process? In this specialisation, students learn to combine animal health management at population level with socioeconomic aspects by studying aspects of veterinary epidemiology.

Animal Production Systems
In this specialisation, students will look at animal production systems in relation to the environment worldwide. Students learn about human and animal interaction. They will also study the environmental, economical and social impact that animal production has on the world.

Professional Tracks and International Programmes
In addition to a specialisation, students can choose a professional track that leads to a specific type of career. You can focus on Research, Education, Communication & Policy, or Business & Management. We also offer international programmes that lead to a double master degree, i.e. in Animal Breeding & Genetics, Sustainable Animal Nutrition & Feeding, European Animal Management, or Animal Welfare Assessment.

Your future career

Our graduates work as nutritionists, policymakers, breeding specialists, advisors, managers, researchers or PhD students. They work for feed manufacturing companies, pharmaceutical companies or breeding organisations but also within regional and national governmental organisations, non-governmental organisations or research institutes and universities.

Alumna Linda van Zutphen.
"I work as a Communication Officer for the Research & Development and Quality Affairs department of Nutreco. This company is a global leader in animal nutrition and fish feed. I am involved in marketing and group communication about innovations, quality and sustainability. During my MSc Animal Sciences, I did my internship at Nutreco’s research facility in Spain. The MSc programme provided me with multidisciplinary knowledge on animal production and the skills to apply this. My job gives me the opportunity to combine my scientific background with my passion for communicating about the applications of our research in products for animal health."

Related programmes:
MSc Biology
MSc Forest and Nature Conservation
MSc Aquaculture and Marine Resource Management
MSc Biosystems Engineering
MSc Organic Agriculture.

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The overall objective of this online distance learning programme is to provide knowledge and an understanding of animal welfare science, with a focus on the international issues arising from animal use in all its forms. Read more

The overall objective of this online distance learning programme is to provide knowledge and an understanding of animal welfare science, with a focus on the international issues arising from animal use in all its forms.

The programme is delivered by researchers and teachers from both the Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education (within the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies) and the Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) with a series of guest lecturers from around the world.

The programme offers courses in a variety of areas, including:

  • history, culture and concepts of animal welfare
  • animal behaviour
  • animal welfare assessment
  • animal ethics
  • recommendations and policy
  • legislation, regulation and enforcement
  • science communication
  • applied animal welfare - production, companion and captive wild animals

Learn more about why you should study with us:

This programme is affiliated with the University's Global Health Academy:

Online learning

Our online learning technology is fully interactive, award-winning and enables you to communicate with our highly qualified teaching staff from the comfort of your own home or workplace.

Our online students not only have access to Edinburgh’s excellent resources, but also become part of a supportive online community, bringing together students and tutors from around the world.

Programme structure

A blend of online learning methods are utilised, such as discussion forums, podcasts and live tutorials. The programme is modular, allowing us to offer a flexible student-centred approach to the choice of courses studied.

Students may choose to study to certificate, diploma or masters level.

Students can take up to 6 years to complete the full MSc programme and there is also the option to graduate with either an International Animal Welfare, Ethics and Law postgraduate certificate or diploma.

Year 1: certificate

You will take two compulsory courses - International Animal Welfare Science and Animal Ethics, Policy and Law - plus an optional course.

Year 2: diploma

You can choose up to 60 credits of optional courses, which include:

  • Production Animal Welfare
  • Cat and Dog Welfare
  • Captive and Free-ranging Wild Animal Welfare
  • Animals in Research, Testing and Education
  • Clinical Animal Behaviour
  • Equine Behaviour and Welfare
  • Equitation Science
  • Anthrozoology (new for 2017)

Year 3: masters

You complete a dissertation of between 10,000-15,000 words which can be a research project or an extended systematic review of the literature in a topic of Animal Welfare Science, Ethics or Law.

Postgraduate Professional Development

Postgraduate Professional Development (PPD) is aimed at working professionals who want to advance their knowledge through a postgraduate-level course(s), without the time or financial commitment of a full Masters, Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate.

You may take a maximum of 50 credits worth of courses over two years through our PPD scheme. These lead to a University of Edinburgh postgraduate award of academic credit. Alternatively, after one year of taking courses you can choose to transfer your credits and continue on to studying towards a higher award on a Masters, Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate programme. Although PPD courses have various start dates throughout a year you may only start a Masters, Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate programme in the month of September. Any time spent studying PPD will be deducted from the amount of time you will have left to complete a Masters, Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate programme.

Career opportunities

Graduates can use their qualification to enhance their career prospects in academia, research, governmental and non-governmental organisations and consultancies.



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This is an advanced course for students who want to develop an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the biology, welfare and conservation of domesticated and wild animals managed for production or leisure. Read more

Overview

This is an advanced course for students who want to develop an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the biology, welfare and conservation of domesticated and wild animals managed for production or leisure.

Course Modules

The MSc programme is delivered over 1 year on a full-time basis during two teaching blocks (semesters one and two) and a period of supervised and independent study (summer). It may also be completed over a two-year period on a part-time basis. The first two semesters (15 weeks each) include 4 taught modules. The dissertation is studied during the subsequent 20 week period in the summer. Each taught module is worth 15 credits whilst the dissertation is 60 credits.

Programme

Semester One (September to January)
Animal Physiology / Comparative Animal Nutrition / Wildlife Resources / Research Methods
60 Credits

Semester Two (January to May)
Animal Ethics and Welfare / Animal Protection and Habitat Conservation / Behaviour / Current Issues in Animal Science
60 Credits

Summer (May to September)
MSc Dissertation
60 Credits

The full MSc degree course consists of 120 compulsory taught credits plus 60 core credits from the dissertation. The Postgraduate Diploma (PG Dip) can be awarded with 120 taught credits. Whilst a Postgraduate Certificate (PG Cert) can be awarded on the successful completion of any 60 taught credits. Credits obtained from the dissertation can also be used when considering whether a postgraduate diploma can be awarded. Before progressing onto the Masters dissertation from the Diploma, students would need to complete the Research Methods module or its equivalent as a prerequisite.

Entry Requirements

Applicants will normally hold a good BSc Honours degree (2.2 or above) from a recognised university in a related science subject such as animal science, agriculture, biological sciences, zoology, veterinary or bioveterinary science or other appropriate life-science degree. Applicants with a BSc (Hons) 3rd class pass, with extensive industrial experience may also be considered for the Masters programme. Applications from non-UK students are particularly welcome. All applications received will be reviewed and decisions for admission to the programme will be made on individual merit. Applicants may be interviewed if there is some doubt over the extent of academic qualification or linguistic skills.

Applicants for whom English is a second language are required to demonstrate a level of competence that enables them to study at a postgraduate level. A test score of 6.5 is required in the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) tests.

Learning & Teaching Methods

The teaching methods are a mixture of lectures, seminars, tutorials, visits and student managed learning. The self-guided study takes place under the supervision of experienced staff from the Centre of Equine and Animal Science at Writtle University College. Students are assessed using a number of methods, for example written examination, reports, essays, seminars, debates, oral presentations, case studies and project dissertation.

The research project is an essential part of the MSc programme and provides the opportunity to carry out an independent piece research, critically analyse data and write a dissertation. The project will normally include hands-on practical experimentation to teach students how to gather and process data and problem solve. The project is supervised by an academic member of staff and takes place over an extended period during the spring and summer. The project can be based either at Writtle University College or other suitable external institution.

Potential areas for dissertation projects

Investigation of keeper-animal relationships in zoos
Animal behaviour and welfare research in collaboration with Colchester Zoo
Assessment of prevalence and risk factors for obesity in companion animals
Lameness detection and measurement in dairy cows
Estimation endangered wild animal population densities
Use of molecular biology techniques in conservation genetics of captive wild animals
Incidence of small mammals in agricultural landscapes
Diet selection and nutrient intakes in captive animals
Behavioural indicators of welfare and performance using different castration methods in lambs

Careers

Graduates are likely to use their award to secure management-level jobs and/or to improve their promotion prospects if they are already employed both in international and national organisations. Many opportunities exist in either government services or related agencies services: for example senior positions in DEFRA as quarantine officers or animal health inspectors. There are also numerous career opportunities in companies specialising in farm animal nutrition and pet food manufacturing, breeding and reproduction, veterinary medicines and pharmaceuticals. There also opportunities in charities engaged in animal welfare such as the RSPCA, zoos, animal rescue centres and safari parks. Also, independent wildlife agencies such as the RSPB, Scottish Natural Heritage, Natural England, and the Countryside Council for Wales would be interested in Animal Welfare and Conservation graduates. Some graduates may take up lecturing positions in universities and colleges or proceed to do further postgraduate study e.g. PhD.

Fees and Financial Support

Part-time student fees for each semester will be charged on a pro-rata basis. There are limited bursaries for part-payment of fees (for UK students only) from the Alice Noakes Memorial Trust. Applications for these bursaries can only be made via the course manager on admission to the course.

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The University of Lincoln’s MSc Clinical Animal Behaviour programme is headed by a team of experts and is accredited by the Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour. Read more
The University of Lincoln’s MSc Clinical Animal Behaviour programme is headed by a team of experts and is accredited by the Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour.

This Master’s degree follows an evidence-based approach, which aims to develop your theoretical and practical skills for the management of problem behaviour in companion animals. It is headed by an team of experts, including Europe’s first veterinary behaviour professor, European and Royal College of Veterinary Surgeon's specialist Daniel Mills, and European veterinary behaviour specialist Helen Zulch.

Teaching is informed by research and practice and you have the opportunity to gain experience of actual cases through access to the School of Life Sciences’ veterinary behaviour clinic. The curriculum is closely aligned to the research conducted in the School’s Animal Behaviour Cognition and Welfare Group. You will be encouraged to develop research skills and may have the opportunity to work alongside academics on high-profile projects, many of which are funded by research councils, charities and commercial bodies.

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[General Information]]. Applied Animal Biology offers opportunities for advanced study and research leading to M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in animal physiology, behaviour, welfare, and management of livestock, aquaculture, and wildlife species. Read more
[General Information]]
Applied Animal Biology offers opportunities for advanced study and research leading to M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in animal physiology, behaviour, welfare, and management of livestock, aquaculture, and wildlife species. Graduate training in applied animal biology normally involves a combination of courses in both basic and applied sciences, with research leading to a thesis or dissertation. Students are expected to publish their research results in relevant leading international refereed journals. Coursework selected in consultation with the student's supervisory committee includes graduate courses in areas relevant to each student's research.

The program is enriched through collaboration with colleagues in other UBC graduate programs such as Zoology, and with agencies such as Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Canadian Wildlife Service, and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

On-campus teaching and research facilities are located in the MacMillan Building. Off-campus research facilities available to students include: the UBC Dairy Education and Research Centre in Agassiz; shared research facilities at Fisheries and Oceans Canada at West Vancouver; and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.

Quick Facts

- Degree: Master of Science
- Specialization: Applied Animal Biology
- Subject: Agriculture and Forestry
- Mode of delivery: On campus
- Program components: Coursework + Thesis required
- Faculty: Faculty of Land and Food Systems

Applied Animal Biology is intended for students who want to study and/or work with animals. It provides students with fundamentals of animal behaviour, animal physiology and related fields as applied to farm, companion and other animals. It also exposes students to the role of animals in human society and the ethical, environmental and other issues that arise. It offers training in research skills needed for graduate work, and (with appropriate selection of courses) prepares students for admission to veterinary and human medicine. Students have various options to gain practical experience on farms and in laboratories, animal shelters and wildlife rehabilitation centres.

Potential career paths include veterinary medicine, human medicine, biomedical research, animal ecology, sustainable aquaculture, animal training, animal nutrition, wildlife rehabilitation, wildlife conservation, agricultural extension and animal welfare.

Facilities

On-campus facilities include laboratories in the MacMillan Building. Off-campus research facilities available to students include: the UBC Dairy Education and Research Centre in Agassiz; shared research facilities at the Department of Fisheries and Oceans at West Vancouver; Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada; and the Agassiz Poultry Centre, which includes unique poultry and quail stocks for biomedical and genetic research. Field research facilities for studies in wildlife productivity are also available.

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We start with a semester of formal lectures (2 x 5 week blocks) and assocaiated assignments covering. Read more
We start with a semester of formal lectures (2 x 5 week blocks) and assocaiated assignments covering: Behavioural development; Motivation and sensory systems; Evolution and behaviour; Pain, stress and welfare; Navigation; Cognition; Endocrines and pheromones; Communication and Welfare of farm, companion and zoo animals; Behaviour and conservation; Fear and sterotypies and Practical measures for enhancing welfare. We also have visits to Belfast Zoological Gardens, Castle Espie Wildfowl Centre and Farms. In semester two we cover practical topics that include defining and recording behaviour, experimental design and analyses, presentation of results in various formats and getting to grips with primary literature. That is a period in which students also focus on preparing for the project and they give a seminar onhow they intend to approach the research project. The latter is a 5-month, fully-supervised Research Project that can involve field work abroad, field work on UK farms, exerimental work in the labortaory or field. It can involve welfare or fundamental animal behaviour. We have a team of ten that currently offer diverse projects for this course and nine of these are involved in the delivery of lectures (check our web site). Project supervisors will also supervise a literature review in the broad area of the project. Knowledge gained form the course can be applied to fundamental scientific research and to practical areas such as conservation, animal husbandry and zoo environments. Formal teaching is on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, one year full time two years part time.

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Programme description. This programme provides flexible postgraduate study designed to specifically address the demand for online clinical animal behaviour teaching within a supported learning environment. Read more

Programme description

This programme provides flexible postgraduate study designed to specifically address the demand for online clinical animal behaviour teaching within a supported learning environment. The programme will utilise an evidence based approach to explore the potential motivations, management and treatment options for abnormal and/or problem behaviours commonly expressed by companion animal species living within a domestic environment.

The subject involves a multidisciplinary approach, drawing on knowledge and techniques from the fields of psychology, ethology, neurobiology, pharmacology and veterinary science. This programme will contain teaching and learning that is aimed at your academic preparation for a professional career working with companion animals in a variety of settings, including clinical animal behaviour counselling.

Online learning

Our online learning technology is fully interactive, award-winning and enables you to communicate with our highly qualified teaching staff from the comfort of your own home or workplace.

Our online students not only have access to Edinburgh's excellent resources, but also become part of a supportive online community, bringing together students and tutors from around the world.

Programme structure

This MSc programme is modular in structure, offering a flexible student-centred approach to the choice of courses studied. You must complete a sufficient number of course credits to achieve the following awards:

  • Postgraduate Certificate: 60 credits
  • Postgraduate Diploma: 120 credits
  • Master of Science: 180 credits

You may undertake this programme by intermittent study (flexible progression route), accruing credits within the following maximum time limits:

  • Postgraduate Certificate: 12-24 months
  • Postgraduate Diploma: 24-48 months
  • Master of Science: 36-72 months (this includes a maximum period of 12 months from the start of your dissertation to its completion)

Year 1: Certificate Courses

You will study Principles of Applied Animal Behaviour and Clinical Animal Behaviour along with either Anthrozoology (recommended for those continuing to Diploma/MSc) or one of two other elective courses.

Year 2: Diploma Courses

You will study Clinical Animal Behaviour in Practice along with two elective courses from a choice of 4.

Year 3: Masters

The dissertation element of the programme will allow further development of scientific skills and may take the form of a short research project, case studies relating to relevant professional experience or an extended literature review.

Postgraduate Professional Development

Postgraduate Professional Development (PPD) is aimed at working professionals who want to advance their knowledge through a postgraduate-level course(s), without the time or financial commitment of a full Masters, Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate.

You may take a maximum of 50 credits worth of courses over two years through our PPD scheme. These lead to a University of Edinburgh postgraduate award of academic credit. Alternatively, after one year of taking courses you can choose to transfer your credits and continue on to studying towards a higher award on a Masters, Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate programme. Although PPD courses have various start dates throughout a year you may only start a Masters, Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate programme in the month of September. Any time spent studying PPD will be deducted from the amount of time you will have left to complete a Masters, Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate programme.

Learning outcomes

Alongside the subject content, the programme will also enable the acquisition of a range of transferable skills, such as computer skills, report writing, giving online presentations and time and project management.

You will be able to:

  • consider how a scientific understanding of how biology and normal species specific behaviour can be applied in the management of problematic and/or abnormal behaviour in a range of companion animal species
  • develop a thorough understanding of the methods and approaches used for the management and treatment of common problematic behaviour in companion animals
  • gain an understanding of the scientific basis to a range of adjuncts used in the management of problem behaviour, including behavioural therapy, psychopharmacology and pheromonotherapy

Career opportunities

Students are expected to find work in the field of companion animal behaviour and welfare as well as working in education, or as advisors with non-governmental organisations and governments.



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