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The Course

This programme has been designed to allow graduates to develop a critical understanding of the factors influencing animal learning and the dynamic interactions between classical and operant conditioning that form the fundamental basis for a competent and adaptive animal trainer or behaviour consultant. 

You will also develop critical awareness of the ethical, legal and welfare issues related to animal management that is essential for anyone working within the animal industry and aid you in selecting humane behaviour modification and management techniques. 

The programme has excellent success rates, with the latest DLHE survey showing 100% positive progression. 

Awarded by University of Hull

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View the policies and procedures that students registering on this programme would be agreeing to comply with.

Financial Information

Find the full details on the fees associated with this programme and the financial support available here.

  • What You Study

    Full Time Part Time Semester 1 Semester 2
    Year 1 Year 1 Welfare and Ethics (20) Learning Theories and Training Methods (20)
    Animal Behaviour Theories (20) Research Methods (20)
    Year 2 Human and Animal Interactions and Psychology (20) Research Project* (60)
    Animal Behaviour Consulting (20)

    *Students are permitted to begin preparation for the Masters level at any point during their studies but formal supervision is provided only during this semester.

  • Entry Requirements

    Applicants are required to have: 

    • Applicants should have a minimum of a 2.2 honours degree ideally in biological science subjects or equivalent
    • An appropriate academic reference
    • Life and/or experience of non-traditional students will be taken into account when considering applications. The successful completion of an entry task may be required when considering applications without the required formal entry qualifications
    • If first language is not English, or a Tier 4 student visa to study is required and GCSE grade C/4 English or equivalent is not held, English language proficiency level such as International English Language Testing System (IELTS) 6.0 overall (with a minimum 5.5 in each skill) will need to be evidenced.  
  • Contact Time

    Full Time:

    You will study four modules studied in the first semester and two in the second semester, alongside completion of the independent research project.

    Approximately 12 hours class time per week to include online webinars, directed study, extended reading, directed tasks and tutorials. Webinars run two nights per week.

    Attendance is required at five compulsory block sessions at University Centre Bishop Burton:

    • Thursday 15th to Saturday 17th September 2022
    • Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd October 2022
    • Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th January 2023
    • Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th February 2023
    • Thursday 25th May 2023 (day and evening for the independent research project presentation).

    Students are expected to complete a significant amount of private study in addition to class time (approx. 20-40 hours per week).

    Part Time:

    Two modules studied per semester except for the final semester when the focus is on completion of the independent research project.

    Approximately six hours class time per week to include online webinars, directed study, extended reading, directed tasks and tutorials. Webinars run one night per week. 

    In the first year, attendance is required at two compulsory block sessions at University Centre Bishop Burton:

    • Thursday 15th to Saturday 17th September 2022
    • Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th February 2023
    • Thursday 25th May 2023 (day and evening for the independent research project presentation).

    Second year dates will be published during the first year.

    There will be up to three block sessions in the second year, including the independent research project presentation; dates to be confirmed during the first year.

    Students are expected to complete a significant amount of private study in addition to class time (approx. 10-24 hours per week).

  • Learning and Teaching Approach

    A comprehensive understanding of training theory and techniques is required in order to effectively and humanely train/manage animals. Furthermore, it is important that such techniques are critically evaluated for their efficacy and applicability prior to use. The main aim of this module is to provide students with comprehensive understanding of the theories of learning and to apply this to practical situations as well as encouraging them to develop the ability to train animals.

  • How You're Assessed

    The programme incorporates a variety of assessment methods across each academic year. The mix of assessments will seek to challenge and evaluate your knowledge, understanding and skills. Assessments for this programme include written assignments, webinar presentations, oral presentations, practical reports and demonstrations, evaluations and role-plays.

    Tutors provide support for assessments in class. There will also be opportunity for formative assessment and feedback during the delivery of each module to monitor learning, and to support and prepare you for the summative assessments which make up the module. Feedback on your summative assessments will be given which will allow you to guide efforts and activities in subsequent modules.

  • Progression

    Those who wish to continue their studies can do so by taking a PhD.

  • Careers

    Students graduating from this programme could seek management positions in animal training, zoo keeping and education, environmental enrichment co-ordinator, education and lecturing, behaviour advisor/consultant, companion animal trainer, training animals for commercial work, animal rescue and rehabilitation, and assistance dog trainer.

  • Equipment Required / Additional Costs

    For your course, you will need:

    • Students will require regular access to a computer with a broadband Internet connection in order to participate in webinars, download learning materials, watch recorded webinars and submit assignments. A headset with microphone will be required for participation in webinars and on-line tutorials.
    • Appropriate software is required: Microsoft Office and OpenOffice (freeware) are the only office suites supported
    • Sturdy footwear suitable for practical sessions
    • The college has a strict policy of not allowing work boots inside college buildings – you will need to have alternative footwear (shoes or trainers) to attend lectures and tutorials
    • Roughly £100 to cover the costs of field trips and visits over the duration of your programme
    • Training equipment will be required (i.e. clicker and target stick) for the training related modules and you will need to have regular (several times per week) access to an animal for training for the practical training assessment
    • A wide range of resources are available for use both on and offsite for dissertation projects but it may not be possible to purchase/service all requests therefore students need to be aware that they may need to self-fund some elements
    • Students will need to fund their own travel, accommodation and food
    • Dogs are not required to attend the college for the programme and therefore are not permitted on the college campus. We understand that you may need to house your dog for the block sessions and the College has a commercial boarding kennels that can be contacted on 01964 553138 or email kennels@bishopburton.ac.uk. Payment for the boarding kennels is required if a student decides to bring their own dog to the block sessions. Block sessions are a compulsory element of the programme
    • For any student that requires the use of an assistance dog, prior arrangements must be made with the programme leader to ensure suitable facilities and provision is made.

      PLEASE NOTE: The College has a strict policy of not allowing dogs to be left in vehicles.
  • How To Apply

    Application is through our online application form.

  • Download Programme Guide

    Download our programme guide to find out more about studying the MSc Applied Animal Behaviour and Training programme.

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