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MSc Applied Animal Behaviour and Training

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Animal Sciences


Master's Degree (Level 7)

Study Mode



1 year full-time/2 years part-time

Start Date

September 2024

The course

Develop and apply your knowledge of animal behaviour and training with this master's degree. It has been designed to allow you to develop a critical understanding of the factors influencing animal learning, as well as 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 develop critical awareness of the ethical, legal and welfare issues related to animal management that are essential when working within the animal industry, helping you to select humane behaviour modification and management techniques.

PLEASE NOTE: This programme is currently undergoing a refresh with the University of Hull to ensure you get the best experience and opportunity to achieve as an employment-ready graduate. The learning outcomes, modules, the teaching and learning strategy, contact hours and assessment strategies may change. Full details of the newly refreshed programme will be available later in the year and will be communicated to all applicants at the earliest opportunity.

Course Information

  • Give you analytical and comprehensive understanding of animal behaviour research,
  • learning theories and the complex ethics surrounding these.
  • Allow you to select and apply appropriate and humane techniques for the training and
  • behaviour modification of animals, which is underpinned by current theory
  • and accurate mechanical skills.
  • Enable you to be independent thinking and able to communicate confidently
  • and effectively within a professional and research context.
  • Develop your analytical and systematic thought processes, as appropriate for working
  • and researching within the animal and related industries.
  • Welfare and Ethics (20)
  • Animal Behaviour Theories (20)
  • Human and Animal Interactions and Psychology (20)
  • Animal Behaviour Consulting (20)
  • Learning Theories and Training Methods (20)
  • Research Methods (20)
  • Research Project (60)

You will need:

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 your first language is not English, or a Tier 4 student visa to study is required and GCSE English at grade 4/C or equivalent is not held, you will need to evidence your English language proficiency level, such as International English Language Testing System (IELTS) 6.0 overall (with a minimum 5.5 in each skill).

This programme is delivered with a variety of learning and teaching approaches to include all students' learning styles and preferences.

For all modules, theory lectures are delivered that aim to deliver the core content and provide the underpinning knowledge. Using the webinar software, staff are able to monitor engagement to ensure participations.

To complement all theory lectures, you will have asynchronous seminars that are used to reinforce concepts delivered theoretically. Online webinars focus on facilitating a student-centred approach to enhance the independent learning that takes place outside of the webinar lecture sessions.

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. This includes approximately 12 hours class time per week to, encompassing 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. Dates for the 2023/24 academic year are as follows:

Thursday 14th - Saturday 16th September 2023

Saturday 7th & Sunday 8th October 2023

Saturday 13th & Sunday 14th January 2024

Saturday 3rd & Sunday 4th February 2024

Thursday 23rd May 2024 (afternoon/evening online)

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

Part-Time: You will study two modules per semester except for the final semester when the focus is on completion of the independent research project. This includes approximately six hours class time per week, encompassing 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. Dates for the 2023/24 academic year are as follows:

Thursday 14th - Saturday 16th September 2023

Saturday 3rd - Sunday 4th February 2024

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

Relevant extra-curricular activity and/or work experience is encouraged to enhance your learning.
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. Staff aim to return assessed work within a 20 working day timeframe (not including holidays) so that you can most benefit from the feedback.
  • Regular access to a computer with a reliable 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. To book, call 01964 553138 or email Payment for the boarding kennels is required if you decide to bring your 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.
  • On successful completion of the programme, you will have the opportunity to graduate at a ceremony wearing formal dress. The hire of the formal dress is an additional cost.
Those who wish to continue their studies can do so by taking a PhD.
Upon graduating from this programme you 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.

Validated by University of Hull

We are proud to collaborate with University of Hull on the validation of this course.

This includes transforming our programmes to ensure that we meet the evolving needs of the sector, giving you the best opportunities for success when you graduate by having a competence-based focus. Find out more about competence-based higher education.

View the policies and procedures you would be agreeing to comply with by registering for this programme. This encompasses University of Hull Quality and Standards, including a Guide for Collaborative Provision students.

Financial Information

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

Careers this course could lead into

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