Applications Open For New Penn Vet’s MSc in Animal Welfare and Behavior
Penn Vet is now offering a Master’s of Science in Animal Welfare and Behavior program.

iStock/Machine Headz

It has been a long time coming. After more than five years in development, a faculty-driven, thoughtful and careful planning process has yielded an on-line Master’s of Science in Animal Welfare and Behavior. This MSc offering reflects Penn Vet’s critical mass of faculty that have a unique expertise in animal welfare and behavior. Our successful launch of a Graduate Certificate program in this area last fall provides further evidence for the timeliness of continuing educational opportunities for working professionals in animal welfare and behavior.


Why Animal Welfare & Behavior?

One of the most remarkable aspects of Homo sapiens as a species is how extensively we have coaxed, co-opted or coerced other animal species on the planet to serve our needs. Since man first domesticated animals over 10,000 years ago, we have benefited from animals providing us protection, transport, power, food, clothing, entertainment and companionship.

However, animal use raises questions about what we owe these animals in return for our benefits. Societal views about how man interacts with animals continue to evolve, continue to be debated and will reflect temporal, socio-economic or cultural perspectives. Animal welfare is the academic discipline that addresses both philosophical and scientific aspects of societal concerns about animal. Animal behavior is complex and intriguing, but also useful tool for understanding and improving animal welfare.

Why Penn Vet?

While the overarching subject of animal welfare embraces both the humanities and the sciences, training programs that focus on the science of animal welfare are relatively less common. Coming from a veterinary school perhaps then it is not surprising that our program is both animal-centric and focuses animal welfare science. The program has been developed around faculty having expertise in both the physical and psychological health of animals as well as the naturalness of their lives and promise a unique educational experience. We believe that a profound understanding of the animal in animal welfare will benefit anyone interested in improving the quality of lives of animals.

Who Should Pursue Our MSc in Animal Welfare & Behavior?

Our target audience is working professionals and others seeking positions that impact the care and welfare of animals.A growing number of national and international stakeholders, including companies, NGO’s and academia are all seeking individual with expertise and a top quality education in animal welfare and behavior. Our online research Master’s degree program brings together renowned experts in animal welfare, animal behavior and veterinary medicine with students, animal enthusiasts and working professionals employed by veterinary practice, animal shelters, research labs, pharmaceutical companies, NGOs, agriculture, and food production.

About the MSc Program

The Master of Science in Animal Welfare and Behavior is designed as an online program with an option for on-site research. It can be completed as a full-time program in a two-year period or as a part-time program over a longer period. Please see below for details of the curriculum.All students enrolled in the MSc in Animal Welfare & Behavior complete core requirements. In addition, all MSc students are required to complete a capstone project, which must involve the generation of independent and original intellectual content. We offer two curricular options, which are related to the type of capstone research project you choose.

  • Option I: Requires original research and data collection in the field or laboratory.
  • Option II: Requires original analysis of current literature.

In each case, students choose a track:

  • One Welfare – generalist track, available Fall 2020
  • Species Specific tracks – available Fall 2021
  • Farm Animal Welfare
  • Shelter Animal Welfare
  • Companion Animal Welfare
  • American College of Animal Welfare track – available 2021, for veterinarians preparing to meet requirements for American College of Animal Welfare

Learn more about the MSc and see the curriculum here.

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