Throughout the course you explore crucial questions about human relationships with other animals. How do we understand them? What are our responsibilities to them? Should we eat them? Why do we develop emotional attachments to them? Why do we vilify some animals and not others? An essential element of the course is how humans relate to other animals, and what it means to be human.
This interdisciplinary course engages with scholarly work from the arts and humanities, social sciences and natural sciences in order to examine how humans may reconsider their relationship with animals. The broad scope and thought-provoking content enables you to discover and explore your areas of interest.
The course is both classroom-based and field-based. Through internships and other work-placement opportunities you are able to experience working with animals and/or are organisations associated with animal issues.
What you need to know
Course start date
On campus, Winchester
- 3 years full-time
- 6 years part-time
From £9,250 pa
- Develop high level knowledge of animal behaviour, training, welfare, and conservation
- Study at the University’s Centre for Animal Welfare and utilise its partnerships with major animal welfare organisations
- Gain hands-on practice and learn how to perform welfare assessments in the field
- Kick-start a career in diverse areas such as teaching, veterinary work or seek accreditation as an animal behaviourist
Field work and internship opportunities are a central element of study for all students on the degree.
In the first year of study there will be one or more field trips to study animal welfare and behaviour in zoos and/or other settings.
Learning and teaching
Our aim is to shape 'confident learners' by enabling you to develop the skills needed to excel in your studies here and as well as onto further studies or the employment market.
You are taught primarily through a combination of lectures and seminars, allowing opportunities to discuss and develop your understanding of topics covered in lectures in smaller groups.
In addition to the formally scheduled contact time such as lectures and seminars etc., you are encouraged to access academic support from staff within the course team, your personal tutor and the wide range of services available to you within the University.
Over the duration of your course, you will be expected to develop independent and critical learning, progressively building confidence and expertise through independent and collaborative research, problem-solving and analysis with the support of staff. You take responsibility for your own learning and are encouraged to make use of the wide range of available learning resources available.
Your overall workload consists of class contact hours, independent learning and assessment activity.
While your actual contact hours may depend on the optional modules you select, the following information gives an indication of how much time you will need to allocate to different activities at each level of the course.
Year 1 (Level 4): Timetabled teaching and learning activity*
Teaching, learning and assessment: 288 hours
Independent learning: 912 hours
Year 2 (Level 5): Timetabled teaching and learning activity*
Teaching, learning and assessment: 264 hours
Independent learning: 900 hours
Year 3 (Level 6): Timetabled teaching and learning activity*
Teaching, learning and assessment: 168 hours
Independent learning: 960 hours
*Please note these are indicative hours for the course.
Taught elements of the course take place on campus in Winchester.
All class based teaching takes places between 9am – 6pm, Monday to Friday during term time. Wednesday afternoons are kept free from timetabled teaching for personal study time and for sports clubs and societies to train, meet and play matches. There may be some occasional learning opportunities (for example, an evening guest lecturer or performance) that take places outside of these hours for which you will be given forewarning.
Our validated courses 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.
We ensure 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 on the course you are interested in can be found on the course page, by attending an Open Day or Open Evening, or contacting our teaching staff.
Percentage of the course assessed by coursework
The assessment balance between examination and coursework depends to some extent on the optional modules you choose. The approximate percentage of the course assessed by different assessment modes is as follows:
Year 1 (Level 4)*:
13% written exams
13% practical exams
Year 2 (Level 5)*:
15% written exams
33% practical exams
Year 3 (Level 6)*:
0% written exams
8% practical exams
*Please note these are indicative percentages and modes for the programme.
We are committed to providing timely and appropriate feedback to you on your academic progress and achievement in order to enable you to reflect on your progress and plan your academic and skills development effectively. You are also encouraged to seek additional feedback from your course tutors.
For more information about our regulations for this course, please see our Academic Regulations, Policies and Procedures.
Please note the modules listed are correct at the time of publishing. The University cannot guarantee the availability of all modules listed and modules may be subject to change. The University will notify applicants of any changes made to the core modules listed. For further information please refer to winchester.ac.uk/termsandconditions
This module introduces students to the ways that human and nonhuman animal lives intersect. It examines how relationships with nonhuman animals both reflect and shape social life and culture, and how humans think about themselves. It explores the myriad and contradictory positions that nonhuman animals occupy in society and will begin to deconstruct the social origins of these seemingly natural categories by exploring classical and contemporary social theories. Animal industries, policy makers and animal protection organizations point to strong needs for professionals with expertise in animal welfare and this module also introduces students to animal welfare theory, and how theoretical concepts may be used to contemplate issues of veterinary medicine and animal care. The module provides a forum in which the issues can be debated and subjected to scrutiny.
Animals have evolved a remarkable array of behaviours in response to selection pressures of many kinds. This module reviews many of the behaviours found in non-domesticated and domesticated species, such as social, communicative and migratory behaviours, and explores the factors that have led to their existence. Students will become familiar with the ways scientists study animal behaviours, and will learn to develop ethograms.
Next we review a broad range of animal welfare issues, examining the effects of various uses of animals on their welfare status and behaviour. This module will equip students with a broad understanding of a wide range of problematic practises which cause pain, stress and suffering in animals. Regarding companion animals, this includes breed standards that perpetuate hereditary disorders, and issues associated with pet overpopulation and its management. The use of animals for entertainment, e.g. in circuses, zoos and organized animal fighting, will be reviewed, along with animal abuse, neglect and cruelty. Students will also learn about different farming systems (e.g. conventional or free range) for the most commonly farmed species, and the welfare concerns associated with these. For farmed animals especially, transportation, conventional, and religious slaughter will be discussed as they impact welfare considerably. Welfare issues associated with the killing of animals are, however, also important with regard to companion and laboratory animals (i.e. euthanasia), as well as practises like hunting, angling and whaling. Students will also learn about animals used in scientific and educational animal use, and about alternative research and teaching methodologies. Animals less commonly-considered, such as ‘pest’, ‘feral’, alien or introduced species and invertebrates will be discussed. Some important and emerging global issues will also be introduced, including climate change, biodiversity loss, and the adverse impacts of the livestock sector in these areas.
This module (combined with Research Methods 2) prepares the student for their dissertation. By developing understanding of qualitative research methods and word-based data analysis skills, the student will be able to effective critique published research on animal welfare and society which will help them understand set readings for all other modules in the BA Animal Welfare and Society. Additionally, the student will be able to plan robust qualitative research having completed this module. Given the human-animal studies critical focus of the degree, this module helps the student to appreciate the value of word-based data and qualitative methods.
This module introduces the student to core topics in species conservation. Based broadly in Conservation Biology, the module will also span many other academic disciplines including environmental activism, zoo biology, conservation educational studies. It is increasingly recognised in academia and beyond that conservation and animal welfare, protection and advocacy are interconnected and mutually deterministic. To examine the interplay between welfare and conservation is at the forefront of study today. The student will learn about conservation of individual animals, species and also human societies and core values. Exploring topic like applied zoo biology but also conservation education and training programmes in host countries. This is a holistic approach to conservation.
This module introduces students to animal advocacy as a modern social movement. How do contemporary animal protection organisations campaign for animals? How has the animal protection advocacy movement evolved since the establishment of the first organisations in Britain in the early nineteenth century? Modern animal protection organisations use the internet and social media to reach as wide an audience as possible. They have goals including promoting welfare, animal rights and abolition of animal use, and the conservation of endangered species. The module explores how advocacy groups advance the interests of animals in theory and practice. Social movements such as civil rights, feminism, and environmentalism also inform the module.
This module provides an opportunity for students to consider a range of issues associated with nonhuman animals in society using film texts/documentaries. The objectives are to encourage students to develop a critical imagination when thinking about the wider structural issues explored in the films and documentaries and to consider the place and significance of visual media in contemporary thinking about nonhuman animals. Students will undertake a close reading of key texts in the field and related disciplines that are thematically linked to the films and documentaries screened. They will identify the key arguments and concepts in these texts and relate them to issues raised in the films and documentaries. This will provide them with the analytic resources required to achieve a more effectively structured exploration and analysis of the issues addressed in the films and documentaries and allow them to reflect on the impact of visual media in contemporary views about nonhuman animals.
Utilising ideas from modernism, post-modernism and post-humanism this module challenges current ways of thinking about nonhuman animals and their relationships with humans. The module encourages students to reflect upon taken for granted ways of conceptualising human relationships with nonhuman animals. Students engage with theories associated with the social science and humanities disciplines including sociology, anthropology, philosophy and social theory. The module will include consideration of ethics, (which is concerned with fundamental and practical questions about right and wrong, about moral duty, virtue and character, and the good of human beings, communities and societies) in respect of human nonhuman animal relations. This module explores a range of ethical theories and approaches to moral deliberation and practice. It investigates some of the ethical resources and approaches found in religious and theological traditions. It explores the interaction between ethical theory and moral practice, and engages with a range of practical ethical issues drawn from fields such as bio-medical, environmental, social and political ethics.
This module examines the historical and contemporary development of animal welfare legislation and public policy, and the processes by which these are created, applied, monitored and enforced. It reviews and compares British and key international animal welfare legislation and policies. Other important conventions (e.g. CITES), principles and Codes of Practice regarding animal welfare will also be reviewed. The potential and limitations of such legislative and policy instruments in upholding and protecting animal welfare will be considered. The module will also review some contemporary debates in the field of animal law and public policy, such as the legal status of animals as property, and the guardian/owner debate, and the merits of mandated reporting of suspected animal abuse by veterinarians and other professionals.
This module reviews the historical development and contemporary understanding of animal welfare, and highlights advancements in our understanding of pain, stress, suffering, and most recently, positive mental states. Students will learn about the physiological bases of and differences between pain, stress and suffering. The importance of positive psychological and social states for animal welfare will be discussed. Students will also learn about physiological, behavioural and other indicators of animal welfare. Pathological behaviours such as stereotypies will help students to connect this module with the other behavioural modules within this programme. The module will also introduce students to major animal welfare assessment frameworks (such as the Five Freedoms), and students will learn how to put these frameworks into practice by conducting welfare assessment of different species in different settings.
This module builds upon Research Methods 1. At level 4 students will focus on qualitative research methods, while in the current level 5 module, students will focus on quantitative research methods. Students will learn about theoretical underpinning of quantitative research methods, data collection and data analysis techniques using appropriate statistical software to aid in their use of descriptive and inferential statistics. Transferable skills associated with engaging with, synthesising and offering a critique of quantitative data as well as communicating research effectively are essential elements of this module. The module will help prepare students for the Level 6 Dissertation and help students interpret quantitative-based readings in natural sciences.
- Volunteering - 15 credits
- The Environment, Climate Change and Globalisation - 15 credits
- Religion and Spirituality in Contemporary Society - 15 credits
- Political Leadership and Communication - 15 credits
- Global Governance - 15 credits
This module facilitates the engagement of students with the world of work post-graduation. The module asks students to approach a range of groups associated with animals to negotiate a placement that helps them explore a real-world work interest that has arisen in relation to the curriculum followed in the BA programme so far. In doing so, students develop skills in real-world self-presentation; in negotiation; in understanding the expectations of employers, collectives, agencies, production companies or venues with regards to employment; and to explore specific roles and career goals in the general realm of animal welfare and protection in order to critically evaluate their own development needs and to understand the ladders of experience they wish to begin to climb in order to ‘make’ their ideal career(s) happen.
This module appraises the causation of abnormal behaviour and the principles of behavioural assessment and behavioural modification. Fundamentally, this module links behaviour to welfare and the ways in which behavioural techniques can be applied to promote good welfare. Having considered behavioural repertoires in wild and captive animals, and critically applying Tinbergen’s Four Questions to understand behaviour, common maladaptive behaviours in domesticated and non-domesticated species are discussed: redirected, self-injurious, compulsive and stereotypical behaviours, for example. The common causes of these behaviours are critically evaluated in detail, as are the behaviours’ biological or psychological functions. Humane strategies for alleviating or managing these behaviours are critiqued, including environmental enrichment, positive reinforcement training, genetic selection, stockmanship and pharmaceutical treatment.
The dissertation is an extended treatment of 8000 (+/-10%) words of a subject of the student’s choice (subject to approval). Study is primarily student-directed, with supervision supplied by tutors teaching/researching in the subject area. There will be a small number of general lectures to further provide guidance through the process. The dissertation proposal is an assessed element of the Level 5 module Quantitative research methods.
This module explores political theory and animals. Major political philosophies such as utilitarianism, liberalism, communitarianism, Marxism and feminism are discussed in their relation to animals. Are nonhuman animals a part of the political community and do we owe animals justice? What is justice and what would it mean for nonhuman animals? How do political institutions consider animals and how should governments make policy on sentient species? Which political theories are better suited to incorporate animals in a theory of justice? In a world where societies routinely use animals on an industrial scale, how can the distinction between ideal and nonideal political theory inform the political representation of animals? Finally, the module will consider how the political representation of animals relates to that of other historically oppressed groups.
- Animals and the Arts 15 Credits
- Animals and Alternatives Within Research and Education 15 Credits
- Politics, Energy and the Environment 15 Credits
- Social Movements and Collective Action in the Internet Age 15 Credits
- Political Leadership and Communication 15 Credits
2024 Course Tuition Fees
|UK / Channel Islands /
Isle of Man / Republic of Ireland
|Optional Sandwich Year*||£1,850||£3,340|
|Total with Sandwich Year||£29,600||£53,440|
Additional tuition fee information
If you are a UK student starting your degree in September 2024, the first year will cost you £9,250**. Based on this fee level, the indicative fees for a three-year degree would be £27,750 for UK students.
Remember, you don’t have to pay any of this upfront if you are able to get a tuition fee loan from the UK Government to cover the full cost of your fees each year.
UK Part-Time fees are calculated on a pro rata basis of the full-time fee for a 120 credit course. The fee for a single credit is £77.08 and a 15 credit module is £1,156. Part-time students can take up to a maximum 90 credits per year, so the maximum fee in a given year will be the government permitted maximum fee of £6,935.
International part-time fees are calculated on a pro rata basis of the full-time fee for a 120 credit course. The fee for a single credit is £139.14 and a 15 credit module is £2,087.
* Please note that not all courses offer an optional sandwich year.
**The University of Winchester will charge the maximum approved tuition fee per year.
As one of our students all of your teaching and assessments are included in your tuition fees, including, lectures/guest lectures and tutorials, seminars, laboratory sessions and specialist teaching facilities. You will also have access to a wide range of student support and IT services.
There might be additional costs you may encounter whilst studying. The following highlights the mandatory and optional costs for this course:
In the first year of study there will be one or more field trips to study animal welfare and behaviour in zoos and/or other settings. Where these are mandatory, costs are covered by the Department.
Printing and Binding
The University is pleased to offer our students a printing allowance of £5 each academic year. This will print around 125 A4 (black and white) pages. If students wish to print more, printer credit can be topped up by the student. The University and Student Union are champions of sustainability and we ask all our students to consider the environmental impact before printing.
SCHOLARSHIPS, BURSARIES AND AWARDS
We have a variety of scholarship and bursaries available to support you financially with the cost of your course. To see if you’re eligible, please see our Scholarships and Awards.
Graduates gain employment in national and international animal advocacy; charitable, welfare and conservation organisations; and with animal-related Governmental departments and commercial organisations. Some may use this qualification as a gateway to other pathways such as teaching, veterinary specialisation in animal welfare, doctoral studies and research in related fields, or accreditation as an animal behaviourist.
The University of Winchester ranks in the top 10 in the UK for graduates in employment and further study according to the Graduate Outcomes Survey 2023, HESA.
Pre-approved for a Masters
If you study a Bachelor Honours degree with us, you will be pre-approved to start a Masters degree at Winchester. To be eligible, you will need to apply by the end of March in the final year of your degree and meet the entry requirements of your chosen Masters degree.OUR CAREERS SERVICE
How to apply for this course
We want your application process to be as simple as possible. Find out everything you need to know about the application process, how to apply, your offer and how to secure your place.
Programme Leader: Dr Steven McCulloch
Steven qualified as a veterinary surgeon in 2002 from Bristol University and holds a BA Philosophy from Birkbeck College, London University. He has a PhD from the RVC, London for his thesis ‘The British animal health and welfare policy process: accounting for the interests of sentient species’. Steven is a diplomat of ECAWBM and a recognised veterinary specialist in Animal Welfare Science, Ethics and Law.
View our Related Courses in Environment and Society
Take a look at all our courses within the subject areas of Environment and Society.
Information for International Students
Our international students come from all over the world and we understand that some things are a little different when applying and then arriving at the University. We have therefore provided a list of some of the countries we work in with specific information included on Entry Requirements, Funding Opportunities, Visas and other useful information.