Taught courses

You will take five courses to complete the taught component of the degree.

Cows in a field

The taught component of the degree consists of five courses and is worth 120 credits.

Each course contains a mixture of lectures, seminars, practicals and visits. You will be expected to spend a large proportion of time in 'out of class' study.

Introduction to Applied Animal Behaviour and Animal Welfare (20 credits)

We will discuss:

  • How the study of behaviour can be applied to animal welfare.
  • How an understanding of animal behaviour can be applied to common practical problems.
  • The basis of current issues relating to animal welfare.
  • The development of UK/EU animal welfare legislation in a global context.
  • Animal welfare from an economic perspective and in the context of global trade issues.
  • Issues such as ethics, climate change and welfare in developing countries.

Biology of Suffering (20 credits)

Key points covered:

  • How the principles of endocrinology and neuroscience relate to behaviour.
  • The impact of genes, genetics and breeding on behaviour expression.
  • How the environment, as well as experience, may affect behavioural biology and how different biological factors integrate to produce different behaviours.
  • What is meant by stress and the relationship between stress and animal welfare.
  • The physiological and behavioural responses to a range of stressors, particularly pain.
  • How these responses are measured scientifically and how this can be used in animal welfare assessment.

Animal Cognition and Consciousness (20 credits)

The areas of motivation, learning and cognition underpin the study of animal behaviour and welfare. You will be presented with the scientific basis of these areas, with particular reference to animal welfare. We will also focus on current and historical interpretations of the concept of animal consciousness as well as experimental approaches. The implications of the study of animal consciousness for models of animal welfare will be studied alongside basic moral principles of animal use.

Scientific Methodology (20 credits)

Topics include:

  • scientific methodology
  • experimental design
  • statistical software
  • data summary and distribution
  • parametric and non-parametric statistical methods
  • oral and written communication

At the end of this course, you will be able to apply scientific and statistical methods to real research projects. You will also be able to discuss reasonably complex statistical issues with a statistician.

Animal Welfare Applications (40 credits)

This course will bring together all the knowledge you have gained so far and demonstrate how it can be applied to real situations. Issues such as environment, breeding and euthanasia will be considered in relation to farm, zoo, companion, laboratory and wild animals.

We will consider the ethics of keeping animals for different uses and discuss where animal welfare issues arise. The knowledge gained in scientific methodology will be applied to assess welfare in real-life situations.

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