MSc Applied Animal Behaviour and Welfare* -

MSc Applied Animal Behaviour and Welfare*

This postgraduate degree course will further your career in the animal behaviour and welfare community, combining classroom and vocational learning. *Subject to validation for 2023 entry

Course Details

  • Department

    Animal Management
  • Qualification

    Level 7
  • Course Type

    Part Time
  • Length

    2 Years
  • Location(s)


Course at a glance

This postgraduate degree will further your career in the animal behaviour and welfare community, combining classroom and vocational learning. Final Award: MSc, Intermediate Awards: Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma.

Application Information

No UCAS Code for MSc, Students apply direct to UCAB.

Study around your job

2022-23 teaching block dates

Week 1 – 17th October 2022

Week 2 – 16th January 2023

Week 3 – 20th  February 2023

Week 4 – 22nd May 2023

** Dates may be subject to change. Website will be updated regularly with key information.

The MSc programme in Applied Animal Behaviour and Welfare is open to applicants who are due to graduate or have graduated in a related subject area. Alternatively, you may be employed within the animal industry with significant experience and would like to develop higher level skills relating to clinical behaviour in animals.

Animal welfare is increasingly becoming a focus in all animal related industries, with demand for clinical behaviourists and trainers across the UK and internationally.

Key organisations such as the RSPCA and the Dogs Trust are requiring more behaviour and welfare specialists as the industry moves towards increased regulation.

This postgraduate degree will further your career in the animal behaviour and welfare community, combining classroom and vocational learning.

Final Award: MSc, Intermediate Awards: Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma.

Additional key reasons to study:

  • On-site accommodation available during your study weeks.
  • Assessments are designed in relation to tasks that you would be expected to perform in employment.
  • University Centre Askham Bryan can offer you a flexible way to gain an MSc:
  • A part time MSc programme delivered over 2 years

Modules will be delivered in four week blocks (4-5 days) at our main York Campus. Each module (with the exception of the postgraduate project) will be studied over a one week block.

There will be four weeks per year which students will be expected to attend.

* Postgraduate student loans, details available at:


Modules of study include:

• Postgraduate Project

This module is designed to allow students to undertake a significant piece of research which will culminate in a written article prepared according to submission guidelines of a chosen tutor-approved journal. Students will choose a research project relevant to their area of study and will involve a literature review, hypothesis-testing, original data collection and analysis of results. Students will develop high-level research and analytical skills and contribute to the existing knowledge base.

• Applied Learning Theory

This module facilitates an exploration of the theoretical concepts associated with animal learning processes and appraises these in relation to behaviour modification and training practices. It is intended to support individuals working in practice and those who are working towards becoming a professional companion animal trainer and/or behaviourist.

• Research and Analysis

This module will ensure students can produce work that is of a level 7 standard as well as further their skills in quantitative data analysis. Students will gain an appreciation of how scientific research is conducted and reported in their field. Methods of evaluating what students read and how information from the literature is synthesised and assembled to give new insights will be considered. Software to analyse quantitative data will be introduced to the students. Students will be encouraged to find out about statistical tests themselves to continue life-long learning. This will help them complete research projects during their degree and in their future careers.

• Applied Ethology

This module provides the learner with an in-depth theoretical understanding and practical awareness of both non-companion and companion animal ethology and allows them to explore the relationship between these groups of species and behaviour. Learners will develop skills in recording and analysing animal communication.

• Animal Welfare Science

This module aims to allow students to critically think about animal welfare in a range of situations. Students will be asked to identify a range of welfare concerns and to think deeply about the impact these concerns have on the animals and our interactions with them. Throughout the module, students will assess animal welfare issues and appraise a range of animal welfare assessments that can be used to identify poor welfare. Students will develop their observational skills by implementing a range of welfare assessments on a chosen species, and critically evaluating their usefulness in industry.

• Animal Ethics

This module will provide students with the chance to explore and understand a developing field of attitudes to animals and ethics. It is intended to allow students to develop critical thinking of how animals are seen and used in society by a wide range of people and how this impacts on welfare and behaviour. The module will arm students with the ability to challenge perceptions of how society views animals in a range of contexts. This module is intended to be current and relevant with strong links to animal care industries.

• Animal Health, Physiology and Behaviour

Students will widen their understanding of the role of animal health and physiology on animal behaviour. Students will explore how common conditions and medical diagnosis techniques influence and contribute to behaviour disorders. Reproductive and digestive physiology will be examined with a links to the endocrine and nervous systems as well as a range of different therapies including the role of psychopharmacological intervention in the treatment of common behavioural disorders.

• Principles and Practices in Behaviour Consultations

Recognising normal behaviour for a particular animal allows a practitioner to be able to assess whether an animal is displaying abnormal behaviour or exhibiting normal behaviour in an inappropriate context. This module intends to provide the students with deeper understanding and underpinning knowledge of human-animal interactions in relation to behaviour consultation. This module will also focus on behaviour consultation processes and practice with emphasis on relevant legal, safety and professional considerations in behaviour consultation

• Behaviour Modification and Therapy

This module will provide students with an understanding of how problem behaviours would develop in animals. Differentiating factors of various problem behaviours will be explored as well as a variety of different therapy options. It is intended to allow students to practice skills required to explore the history of an animal and be able to diagnose and develop structured treatment regimes in order to improve behaviour and welfare.

Key Information

Applicants would typically have a BSc (Hons) or BA (Hons) at a 2.1 classification or above in a related subject. Applicants with a BSc (Hons) or BA (Hons) 2.2 classification as above, postgraduate diploma in a related subject and/or with relevant industry experience may also be considered.

References will be requested.

Applicants who believe they may be eligible for Accreditation of Prior Certificated and/or Experiential Learning (APCL/APEL) will be considered on an individual basis. If you have any queries in relation to entry qualifications, then please contact the University Centre team directly.

Following the completion of this course you may be able to progress to PhD studies.

Or consider careers such as self employment as a clinical behaviourist or trainer, dog school coach, welfare specialist and research officer.

Fees: £4,000 per year

Postgraduate programmes will be eligible for a postgraduate student loan, details available at:

There is no requirement for students to undertake work experience as part of postgraduate study.

However, we would always encourage students to continue their professional development with undertaking experience in their own time.

There is a range of assessment methods used, including reports, case studies, presentations and exams

Typically each module involves two assessments.

In addition to tuition fees and accommodation if applicable, students will need to budget for extra costs as part of this course and will be responsible to cover them. Below is a list with approximate cost to help with your budgeting.

Optional course trips £20 – £2000 (Dependant on the trip/tour)

International Trip Opportunities

Our students get great opportunities for study trips abroad to experience some amazing places such as Borneo, South Africa, Bangkok, Tenerife and even sunny South Wales.


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