Students interested in a master's degree in animal behavior may earn that exact degree, may specialize in dogs or may earn a biology degree with a concentration in behavior. These programs range from 30 to 36 credits and while they are very different programs, they have similar admissions requirements.
Colleges in California with a Master's Program in Animal Behavior or a Related Field
University of California - Davis
A Master of Science program in animal behavior is offered by The University of California in Davis, but this isn't the primary graduate program available at the school. A student must request a master's curriculum after applying to the doctorate program. The master's program requires 36 credits of core courses and elective courses. It can be completed within two years. At least 12 units per quarter are required for full-time status designation. Some of the topics covered in the master's program include the fundamentals of animal behavior, statistical analysis, and evolutionary origins of animal behavior.
San Francisco State University
San Francisco State University has a Master of Science program in biology with a concentration in behavioral biology and physiology. This program consists of coursework, department seminars that require presentations, and a research project or thesis. Some of the topics covered in this program include behavioral ecology, animal physiology, and animal behavior. Student research can be in the laboratory or in the field and is followed by a culminating experience: either a research project or a master's thesis. Whichever the student chooses, he or she must present a final oral defense. Students must earn 30 credits to finish the master's program, which can be completed within two years.
Bergin College of Canine Studies
Bergin College offers a Master of Science program in canine life sciences. The campus is located in Penngrove, which is part of Sonoma County, California. This program focuses on the human-canine relationship and covers such topics as canine behavior problems, cognition, communication, and theories of canine learning. Students will be on campus for two weeks each semester and complete other work at home. The school will provide dogs for the on-campus portion, but students must have an available dog for the at-home work. Students can complete the 30-credit master's program within two years.
Program Admission Requirements
Students must complete a bachelor's degree to be considered for admission into a master's program. Schools typically require specific undergraduate coursework, such as biology, chemistry, physics, or statistics. Most universities require GRE scores. Also, a letter of recommendation and personal statement may be requested by some colleges. Some admission offices also factor in the student's undergraduate GPA; for example, students might need to have earned a 3.0 or higher in undergraduate science courses.
To summarize, there are at least three schools in California that have a master's program in animal behavior or a related field. Students must meet the admission requirements before applying.