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Masters Degrees (Companion Animal Behaviour)

We have 7 Masters Degrees (Companion Animal Behaviour)

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OVERVIEW. Designed for students aiming to work in research, education, and industry in the life sciences sector. Read more

OVERVIEW

Designed for students aiming to work in research, education, and industry in the life sciences sector. Specifically this MSc will provide you with an advanced understanding of current and emerging issues in the both Animal Behaviour and Animal Welfare and provide you with an extensive range of lectures in a variety of topics.

For further information email  or send us a message on WhatsApp

ANIMAL BEHAVIOUR AND WELFARE HIGHLIGHTS

CAREER DEVELOPMENT

  • Many of our graduates secure dream jobs around the world.

WORLD CLASS FACILITIES

INTERNATIONALLY RENOWNED EXPERTS

  • This course offers a unique opportunity to obtain a qualification in the fields of Animal Behaviour and Animal Welfare delivered by world class scientists.

STUDENT EXPERIENCE

  • In contrast to most MSc programmes at other UK universities, we will provide students with an extensive range of lectures in a variety of topics (for details see Programme Content).

COURSE STRUCTURE

Introduction

Animal Behaviour is the scientific study of what animals do, from single-celled organisms, invertebrates to vertebrates. It is one of the most exciting and interesting scientific disciplines, expanding rapidly over recent decades. Animal behaviour is key to understanding evolutionary processes, and there is a growing need to understand behaviour due to the impact of an increasing human population.

In addition, an understanding of animal behaviour is of fundamental importance to safeguard animal welfare. Thus, the study of animal behaviour provides the foundation for successful conservation and to increase and regulate the welfare of both domestic and wild animals. The course covers a wide range of animals, from insects to primates, taking in companion and farm animals. Thus, there is something of interest for everyone.

Throughout the course students will get fundamental training in Animal Behaviour, Animal Welfare, Experimental Design, Statistics, and Presentation Skills to succeed on the competitive job market. The content provided during the course will also be useful for those who wish to pursue a PhD in Behaviour, Behavioural Ecology, Conservation, Evolutionary Ecology, and Animal Welfare.

The course also offers the opportunity to undertake a work placement with a variety of organizations subject to availability of placements. The School of Biological Sciences has provided work placement opportunities to students for more than 10 years, through a dedicated team of Career and Work Placement Officers that work for our School.

The work placement module is optional: students will have the option to either complete the module Professional Development and Work Placement, or the module Research Project: Animal Behaviour and Welfare. 

The structure and contents of the programme are detailed below:

  • Animal Behaviour and Welfare (60 CATS). This module gives an in depth overview into different topics of Behaviour and Welfare, including Communication; Companion, Farm and Zoo Welfare; Conservation, Contests; Development; Hunting; Navigation; Sensory Systems; and Veterinary Welfare Issues.
  • Foundations for Research in the Biosciences (20 CATS). This module will provide you with the underpinning of research such as the scientific method, ethics in research, scientific communication, and impact of your research.
  • Key Skills in Animal Behaviour and Welfare (20 CATS). This module will introduce you to the principles, which will allow you to conduct animal behaviour and welfare research successfully. This module will improve your skills in terms of study design and statistical analysis and it will also improve your oral and written presentation skills.
  • Literature Review: Animal Behaviour (20 CATS). You will write an in-depth quality review in an area of Behaviour or Welfare to improve your writing skills.

One of the following:

  • Research Project: Animal Behaviour and Welfare (60 CATS). Projects run usually from April to August (inclusive) and allows a substantial piece of research to be produced and written in good publishable style.
  • Professional Development and Work Placement (60 CATS). Work placement usually take place from April until the end of August, and are undertaken in an organisation chosen among industry, the public sector and on governmental organizations in the area of animal behaviour and welfare. During the work placement, you will increase your ability to relate academic theory to the work environment, develop identified work related skills (cognitive, transferable and subject specific skills), enhance your career knowledge, be able to critically evaluate your learning from the placement to demonstrate its value to your future.

For further information email  or send us a message on WhatsApp



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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

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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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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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. 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.

WUC works in partnership with Colchester Zoo to support study tours and research activities in order to enhance our students learning experience.

Course Modules include:

  • Animal Genetic Resources
  • Nutritional Issues in Animal Welfare
  • Animal Ethics and Welfare
  • Animal Behaviour
  • Animal Protection and Habitat Conservation
  • Current Issues in Animal Science
  • Wildlife Resources


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. 

Examples of 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
  • 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.



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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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