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The inter-disciplinary study of human & animal interactions

The MA in Anthrozoology will be of interest to anyone who would like to investigate the many and varied ways in which humans perceive, engage, compete and co-exist with non-human animals in a range of cultural contexts.

The distance learning MA Anthrozoology is especially relevant in terms of Continual Professional Development for individuals who are involved with the care of non-human animals in a professional capacity (eg, vets, veterinary nurses/technicians, animal trainers, dog wardens, zoo keepers, conservationists, charity workers etc.), as well as for students who have completed social science undergraduate degrees or who have a science background and would like to expand their research interests into the social sciences. The distance learning format is sufficiently flexible to enable you to fit it in around your existing professional and personal commitments.

The MA has won a Humane Society of the United States Distinguished Course Award and the Programme Director, Professor Samantha Hurn, is the author of a core textbook on anthrozoology.

Programme structure

Overall, the MA Anthrozoology programme consists of 180 credits and will normally occupy 12 months for full time students and 24 months for part-time students.

Students will take a total of 120 credits as compulsory modules. A further 60 credits will be made up from four 15 credit modules.

The distance learning format is sufficiently flexible to enable you to fit it in around your existing professional and personal commitments.

The full-time variant is studied over three terms and the summer. The taught components of the programme are delivered over terms one, two and three; you then have a three-month period in which to undertake your Dissertation. The entire programme is offered via distance learning and does not require any physical attendance on campus, although there is an optional residential module which can be taken as an accredited module. The part-time variant follows the same pattern as the full-time, but is studied over 24 months. Where the programme is taken part-time students will normally take at least 90 credits in the first year and 90 credits in the second year. Where taken over a longer time period, students will discuss their learning programme with their tutor or the Course Director.

Compulsory modules include:

  • Anthrozoology: Theory and Method
  • Applied Anthrozoology
  • Dissertation

Optional modules can include:

  • The Animal Mirror: Representations of Animality
  • Animals, Health and Healing
  • Family Hominidae and Other Primates
  • Humans and Wildlife: Conflict and Conservation
  • Representation of Animals Through Religion
  • Anthrozoology Residential
  • Bioacoustics
  • Animal Criminology
  • The Horse-Human Dyad

The modules we outline here provide examples of what you can expect to learn on this degree course based on recent academic teaching. The precise modules available to you in future years may vary depending on staff availability and research interests, new topics of study, timetabling and student demand.

Learning and teaching

This is a distance learning programme, and as a result you will be expected to take responsibility for your own learning.

For every module you will be provided with access to the module page on Exeter's Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) where you will find detailed module descriptions, online discussion forums where you can share your thoughts with fellow students and the module tutors, audio lecture podcasts with accompanying powerpoint presentations and links to required and supplementary reading material. You will also be given the opportunity to participate in regular Skype, e-mail or phone tutorials (whichever is most convenient for you) with the module tutor where you can discuss particular issues and seek clarification on points of concern or interest. Some modules also require you to participate in practical activities including fieldwork. You will be given plenty of guidance on how to conduct fieldwork and will remain in regular contact with your tutor throughout the fieldwork process (which may be anything from a day to several weeks depending on your chosen project).


The different modules on the MA are assessed by a range of assessment types.

These include:

  • essays
  • research reports
  • posters and photo essays
  • reflexive journals and fieldwork diaries
  • presentations
  • reviews

You are also required to complete a range of formative (non-assessed) exercises which are designed to monitor your academic development and understanding of the subject matter. These formative assessments also help you to think through complex theoretical ideas and to plan your assessed assignments. They also enable you to interact with your peers and module tutors, participate in lively discussions and feedback on the work produced by other students. These activities create a sense of community between students studying at a distance, and helps to alleviate the sense of isolation which studying away from the campus can create.


The programme will give you an insight into the many and varied ways in which humans think about and interact with other animals in a range of cultural, historical and geographical contexts. You will acquire a range of transferable skills which will stand you in good stead for a career working with or thinking about nonhuman animals. Moreover, because every aspect of contemporary human life involves nonhuman animals in some capacity, from the food we eat, the clothes we wear and the medicines which sustain us, then regardless of your field of employment, you stand to gain new perspectives on life arising from a deeper understanding of the human-nonhuman bond. More information on the Careers page of the programme website.

Visit the MA Anthrozoology page on the University of Exeter website for more details!





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