Postgraduate study

Clinical Animal Behaviour (Online Learning) MSc, PgDip, PgCert

Awards: MSc, PgDip, PgCert

Study modes: Part-time


Online learning

Funding opportunities

This programme provides flexible postgraduate study designed to specifically address the demand for online clinical animal behaviour teaching within a supported learning environment.

The programme will utilise an evidence-based approach to explore the potential motivations, management and treatment options for abnormal and/or problem behaviours commonly expressed by companion animal species living within a domestic environment.

The subject involves a multidisciplinary approach, drawing on knowledge and techniques from the fields of:

  • psychology
  • ethology
  • neurobiology
  • pharmacology
  • veterinary science.

This programme will contain teaching and learning that is aimed at your academic preparation for a professional career working with companion animals in a variety of settings, including clinical animal behaviour counselling.


Our MSc in Clinical Animal Behaviour has been formally validated by CCAB Certification Ltd.

The programme delivers the academic elements necessary for an individual to apply for recognition as a Certificated Clinical Animal Behaviorist (CCAB).

(Revised 29 June 2023 to update the accreditation body for this programme)

Our online learning technology is fully interactive, award-winning and enables you to communicate with our highly qualified teaching staff from the comfort of your own home or workplace.

As an online student, not only do you have access to Edinburgh's excellent resources, but you will also become part of a supportive online community, bringing together students and tutors from around the world.

Studying online at Edinburgh

Find out more about the benefits and practicalities of studying for an online degree:

This MSc programme is modular in structure, offering a flexible student-centred approach to the choice of courses studied. Please note that every 10 credits represents 100 hours of study time, and a time commitment of 20hrs per week when completing a 5 or 10 week course.

Mandatory course credits

You must complete a sufficient number of course credits to achieve the following awards:

  • Postgraduate Certificate: 60 credits
  • Postgraduate Diploma: 120 credits
  • Master of Science: 180 credits

Intermittent study

You may undertake this programme by intermittent study (flexible progression route), accruing credits within the following maximum time limits:

  • Postgraduate Certificate: 12-24 months
  • Postgraduate Diploma: 24-48 months
  • Master of Science: 36-72 months (this includes a maximum period of 12 months from the start of your dissertation to its completion)

Year 1: Certificate Courses

You will study Principles of Applied Animal Behaviour and Clinical Animal Behaviour along with either Anthrozoology (recommended for those continuing to Diploma/MSc and those wishing to pursue CCAB) or one of two other elective courses.

Year 2: Diploma Courses

You will study Clinical Animal Behaviour in Practice along with the 10 credit Research Methods and Data analysis (compulsory for those progressing to MSc) and a further 30 credits from a range of 20 and 10 credit elective courses.

Year 3: Masters

The dissertation element of the programme will allow further development of scientific skills and may take the form of a short research project, case studies relating to relevant professional experience or an extended literature review.

Postgraduate Professional Development

Postgraduate Professional Development (PPD) is aimed at working professionals who want to advance their knowledge through a postgraduate-level course(s), without the time or financial commitment of a full masters, postgraduate diploma or postgraduate certificate.

PPD credits and credit transfer

You may take a maximum of 50 credits worth of courses over two years through our PPD scheme. These lead to a University of Edinburgh postgraduate award of academic credit.

Alternatively, after completing one year of courses, you can choose to transfer your credits and continue studying towards a higher award on a masters, postgraduate diploma, or postgraduate certificate programme.

Starting PPD

Although PPD courses have various start dates throughout a year you may only start a masters, postgraduate diploma or postgraduate certificate programme in the month of September.

Any time spent studying PPD will be deducted from the amount of time you will have left to complete a masters, postgraduate diploma, or postgraduate certificate programme.

C1: Knowledge and Understanding

You will be able to demonstrate knowledge of the theoretical, methodological and biological concepts relating to the field of clinical animal behaviour, as well as demonstrate a critical understanding of the relevant professional, legal and ethical issues.

C2: Practice: applied knowledge, skills and understanding

You will be able to apply your knowledge of effective counselling, explore competing explanations for a behaviour problem or issue with the human-animal relationship and devise bespoke behaviour modification programmes or interventions as appropriate.

C3: Generic cognitive skills

You will be able to demonstrate how to critically evaluate the relevant literature, identify areas where research is lacking and design research projects to address these.

C4: Communication, ICT, Numeracy Skills

You will be able to use a variety of different media to effectively communicate relevant scientific concepts, ideas and advice to a range of audiences with varying levels of knowledge and expertise.

C5: Autonomy, accountability and working with others

You will be able to make informed judgements on ethical issues relevant to the field of clinical animal behaviour and will be able to critically reflect on all stages of the behaviour modification process, identifying where information is lacking or alternative actions are required to effect change.

Alongside the subject content, the programme will also enable you to gain a range of transferable skills. These include:

  • computer skills
  • report writing
  • giving online presentations
  • time and project management

This programme is designed to equip you with the academic skills necessary to succeed in careers that require an evidence-based approach to clinical animal behaviour and training.

Veterinarians and veterinary nurses will develop their ability and confidence to support and advise clients in the area of companion animal behaviour.

Graduates can also use the qualification to enhance their career prospects in academia, research, non-governmental organisations and animal welfare charities.

Want to find out how online learning works at the University? Watch our video to find out more:

Want to learn more about this programme? Watch one of our students talk about their experience:

These entry requirements are for the 2023/24 academic year and requirements for future academic years may differ. Entry requirements for the 2024/25 academic year will be published on 2 October 2023.

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, with a biological background, for example a degree in:

  • veterinary medicine/ veterinary science
  • biological sciences
  • zoology
  • psychology
  • animal/equine science

Entry to this programme is competitive. Preference will be given to those with grades above the minimum requirements. Demonstrable experience working with companion animals in a professional capacity is not required but may increase your chances of acceptance. Please make sure that you use the 'Personal Statement' and 'Relevant Experience' sections of your application to outline why you would like to join the programme and how this fits with your future career plans. Please also detail any relevant practical experience or additional courses that you have completed outside of higher education.

Students from China

This degree is Band D.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS Academic: total 6.5 with at least 6.0 in each component.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 92 with at least 20 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • C1 Advanced (CAE) / C2 Proficiency (CPE): total 176 with at least 169 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: total 62 with at least 59 in each component.

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, Trinity ISE or PTE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries (non-MESC).

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.

Find out more about our language requirements:

Application fee




Additional programme costs


Living costs

You will be responsible for covering living costs for the duration of your studies.

Tuition fees

UK government postgraduate loans

If you live in the UK, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan from one of the UK’s governments.

The type and amount of financial support you are eligible for will depend on:

  • your programme
  • the duration of your studies
  • your tuition fee status.

Programmes studied on a part-time intermittent basis are not eligible.

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education
  • Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies and The Roslin Institute
  • The University of Edinburgh
  • Easter Bush
  • Edinburgh
  • EH25 9RG

Due to high demand, we operate a number of selection deadlines for this programme.

Applicants who are not made an offer at a specific selection deadline will either be notified that they have been unsuccessful in securing a place on the programme, or that their application will be carried forward to the next selection deadline for further consideration at that time.

Round Application deadline Decision Date
1 27 January 13 February
2 7 April 24 April
3 30 June 24 July

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education
  • Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies and The Roslin Institute
  • The University of Edinburgh
  • Easter Bush
  • Edinburgh
  • EH25 9RG