MSc Animal Welfare Science, Ethics and Law

MSc Animal Welfare Science, Ethics and Law at Winchester critically reflects upon contemporary uses of animals, and provides the academic skills and expertise needed to protect animals and advance their welfare.

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MSc Animal Welfare Science, Ethics and Law at University of Winchester

Entry requirements

Normally a first or second-class Honours degree incorporating a related subject in the life or health sciences or humanities, or professional experience in the area of study (for example, within animal welfare charities, the veterinary profession, or as a Council Animal Welfare Officer.

There are additional entry requirements for Distance Learning programmes - please view the Distance Learning Policy online at www.winchester.ac.uk/publicdocuments

If English is not your first language:

IELTS 6.5 (including 6.5 in academic writing) or equivalent

Degree duration 

Full-time: 1 year

Part-time: 2/3 years

Start date: September

Distance learning only

Fact: The academics involved in this programme possess specialised skills and knowledge in each of the realms of animal welfare science, animal ethics and animal law. Strengths include significant experience in examining and critiquing contemporary social uses of animals, through both academic and popular media, and in working within both Non-Governmental Organisations and professional realms such as veterinary and legal practice, to advance animal welfare within wider society.

Fact: For any veterinarians pursuing specialist qualifications in animal welfare, this programme is partly based on the theoretical syllabus required for the European and US qualifications.

Course Tuition Fees and Additional Costs

UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man

September 2017 Entry Full-time  | £5,000
September 2017 Entry Part-time | £2,500 p/a (no fees in year 3, for the 3 year part-time option)

Total cost | £5,000

International Students

September 2017 Entry Full-time  | £5,000
September 2017 Entry Part-time | £2,500 p/a (no fees in year 3, for the 3 year part-time option)

Total cost | £5,000

Additonal Costs

Optional

  • Core texts: Some core Texts are available from the University Library; however some students prefer to purchase their own copies. Core Texts can be bought second hand, or as an ebook which can often reduce this cost. Cost £100-£200. 

To find out what general costs are included or excluded in the course fees, such as textbooks and travel expenses, please click here

Terms and Conditions

For more information about the University of Winchester's terms and conditions click here

Personal Computing Requirements 

Note - these requirements are reviewed annually by ITS and the Head of Technology Enhanced Learning. They were last updated in February 2016. Any currently enrolled student who has concerns should contact their Programme Leader in the first instance.

Any computer or mobile device purchased within the last 5 years should be sufficient. If in doubt, or for older devices, the following minimum specifications will ensure that a workstation performs to a reasonable standard:

Operating System: Windows 7, 8.1 or 10 | Mac OS X
Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster | 2 gigahertz (GHz) or faster
Memory (RAM): 2GB | 2GB
Hard Disk: 80GB* | 80GB*
Optical Drive (DVD/CD-ROM or Writer)**: Optional | Optional
Sound***:  Yes | Yes

* Considerably more disk space will be needed to store large amounts of personal files.
** May be required to install additional software if supplied on DVD/CD-ROM and can be an externally attachable one, e.g. USB
*** Required if the programme requires media which has sound. Most modern computers and mobile devices have integrated sound.

Computer Hardware Explained

a) Processor
This is the main component which will determine the speed of the computer. Intel processors are currently labeled Core i3, i5 and i7 with the latter being the most powerful and most expensive. Other brands such as AMD have equivalent models.

b) Memory (RAM)
This component is also very important to the overall performance of a PC. RAM stores files related to the operating system and programs which are running while the computer is turned on. Every program requires a certain amount of memory to run, so if too many programs or large files are run at the same time, the computer may run out of memory and begin running very slowly.

c) Hard Disk
Hard disk is the permanent means of storage and is where all the files such as Docs, Music, Pictures and the Operating System files are stored. It is important to have enough hard disk space to serve your storage needs. If a hard disk becomes very full it can negatively impact the overall computer performance.
For further advice on specification when purchasing a new computer, seek guidance from your preferred reseller.

d) Screen
When buying a new computer a screen size of at least 17” is recommended but sizes these days are routinely far larger and in wide screen format. Screen size for mobile devices such as laptops and tablets will generally be smaller than 17” but should be selected at a sufficient size for comfortable use.

e) Printer
There are currently no printer specific requirements for Distance Learning programmes.


Mobile Devices and Tablets

This heading covers the increasingly popular Smart Phone and Tablet devices such as the iPhone/iPad, Android , or Windows-based phone/tablet devices. Most of the University online systems work on these mobile devices. However we do not guarantee that all systems will be problem free. There is also a dedicated and fully supported University app available, UoW mobile app, which contains useful information and services and is available on Apple App Store, Google Play as well as a browser based version.


Workstation Health & Safety

From a health and safety point of view, staff and students are advised to use a conventional workstation for long periods of study rather than laptops and mobile communication devices. As these more portable devices have become more popular there has been a corresponding increase in the number of people suffering from upper limb disorders and back problems. Please refer to the Health & Safety pages on the Intranet of Setup Help Guides and Workstation Exercises.

Computer Software requirements

a) Operating System

Microsoft Windows 7, 8.1 or 10, or Mac OS X are recommended and supported by our services. We are unable to support Linux or other less mainstream operating systems.

b) Other Software
The following software will be required for distance learning:

  • i) Microsoft Word or an equivalent word processor which can save documents in the format .doc or .docx.
  • ii) Other Microsoft Office products such as Excel or PowerPoint may be required by some courses
  • iii) Access to an email service - the Unimail email system is provided by the University through the Microsoft Office 365 service.
  • iv) A supported web browser - Microsoft Internet Explorer (version 11 or above) or the latest versions of Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, or Apple Safari.
  • v) Free downloads such as Adobe Reader may be required to open online material
  • vi) A form of Malware/Virus Protection
  • vii) Adobe Flash Player

From time to time Microsoft offer deals to University staff and students. Details of any currently available deals will be posted on the Intranet by ITS.

Internet Connection

Distance learning programmes all require extensive access to online resources. As such, a broadband connection of at least 1Mbps is recommended. Higher speed services would be advantageous due to the reduced load times for online resources. A dial up connection is not recommended.

Electronic submissions for assessment

These should be word-processed documents in Microsoft Word format (either .doc or .docx). Students can submit assignments prepared using a Mac, running their preferred word processor and a standard web browser, as long as they submit work in one of these formats.

Computer Security and Disaster Recovery

Keeping the PC secure and ensuring coursework can be recovered in the event of a disaster is extremely important. Computer and printer failure cannot be used as a reason to be granted an extended deadline for an assignment.

To try and ensure the PC is kept as secure as possible staff and students should:

a) Use strong virus protection:

  • i) Microsoft offer Security Essentials for Windows 7, which is free for home use, if there is no other protection in place. Windows 8 and 10 come with Windows Defender already installed but you may wish to choose a different solution for your protection.
  • ii) Ensure the virus protection is kept up to date
  • iii) Run scans for viruses at least once per month

b) Use strong passwords:

  • i) Use numbers
  • ii) Upper and lower case letters
  • iii) Do not use common words or names
  • iv) Do not use the same password for everything

c) Be aware when using the computer that most threats can be eliminated by taking the following precautions:

  • i) Take care what links you click on in emails and online
  • ii) Be careful what email attachments you open
  • iii) Be careful where you browse on the internet
  • iv) Be careful what you say yes to when a dialogue box appears
  • v) McAfee SiteAdvisor is a free download which can help you to determine where it is safe to browse

d) Make sure the operating system and software is kept up to date using services such as Windows Update

e) Use a Firewall: Windows has a firewall built in which is more than adequate in most cases.

It is very important that work can be recovered in the event of a PC based disaster, the following can help:

  • a) Save your work regularly
  • b) Save your work in versions, especially large assignments to minimise loss of work in the event of a file corruption
  • c) Backup your work regularly to CD, Memory Stick or using an online service such as Dropbox or Microsoft OneDrive which is part of your Office 365 services as a student. You could also email assignment backups to yourself
  • d) Make sure you have your computer's recovery disk available in case it needs reinstalling as a result of failure

For more information, please see the Distance Learning Policy online at www.winchester.ac.uk/publicdocuments

This course provides a strong grounding in animal welfare science, ethics and law. Students gain the necessary skills to develop a scientifically rigorous assessment of the welfare state of animals in a diverse variety of settings, and master the main ethical theories concerning our relationships with other animals.

In recent years there has been a rapid evolution in the social status of animals. Cognitive and behavioural studies have revealed previously unknown characteristics in many species which has led to an increasing focus on our complex, multifaceted relationships with them.

Students learn about the diversity of settings in which animals live or are used, including farming, transportation and slaughter, laboratories, homes, zoos and various other entertainment locales, and about free-ranging animals in natural environments.

All students learn key transferable academic skills - such as the design and conduct of a research project and communication of the results to an academic standard - as well as the use of modern communication channels suited to more general audiences.

For any veterinarians pursuing specialist qualifications in animal welfare, this programme is partly based on the theoretical syllabus required for the European and US qualifications.

  • Animals and Society
  • Animal Interest, Capacities and Ethical Considerations
  • Animal Behaviour and Psychological States
  • Animal Welfare Issues I
  • Animal Welfare Issues II
  • Research Preparation and Development
  • Dissertation

Modules are taught using online core notes with additional readings, videos and lecture notes provided. Students may participate in online seminars, and are guided in the creation of communication media such as academic and popular publications, Powerpoint and poster presentations, and online blogs.

The academics involved in this programme possess specialist skills and knowledge in each of the realms of animal welfare science, animal ethics and animal law. Strengths include significant experience in examining and critiquing contemporary social uses of animals, through both academic and popular media, and in working within both Non-Governmental Organisations and professional realms such as veterinary and legal practice, to advance animal welfare within wider society. Tutorials and other support is offered by these highly qualified, enthusiastic and internationally renowned scholars.

Programme Leader

Assessments include written assignments, Powerpoint and poster presentations, online blogs, participation in discussions, and a 15,000-word dissertation on a topic of interest to the student, chosen in consultation with a supervisor.

At the University of Winchester validated programmes may adopt a range of means of assessing your learning. An indicative, and not necessarily comprehensive, list of assessment types you might encounter includes essays, portfolios, supervised independent work, presentations, written exams, or practical performances. The University is committed to ensuring that all students have an equal opportunity to achieve module learning outcomes. As such, where appropriate and necessary, students with recognised disabilities may have alternative assignments set that continue to test how successfully they have met the module's learning outcomes. Further details on assessment types used in the programme you are interested in can be found on the course page, by attending an Open Day/Evening, or contacting our teaching staff.

Graduates may enter careers within animal advocacy, welfare and conservation organisations; zoos, sanctuaries and other organisations requiring knowledge of animal management and welfare; governmental departments working on animal issues; assurance, inspection and enforcement agencies; and commercial organisations seeking to implement and monitor the animal welfare standards of their agricultural suppliers.

Course Enquiries and Applications

Telephone: +44 (0) 1962 827234
Send us a message

International students seeking additional information about this programme can email International@winchester.ac.uk or call +44 (0) 1962 827023.

  • Applications need to be submitted before the 31 May 2017. Late applications can be accepted throughout the remainder of the application year, for more information click here.
  • Applicants may be invited to attend an interview

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