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Master's in Animal Behavior: Programs & Universities

Jun 12, 2019

There are a few schools in the United States offering a master's degree in animal behavior. Consider the program types, lengths, and requirements for these programs.

Animal behavior is an interesting topic, but only a few colleges in the country have a master's program in animal behavior. A Master of Science and a Master of Arts degree is available. The admission requirements for these programs can be tough to attain.

Schools Offering Master's Programs in Animal Behavior

Bucknell University

Bucknell University, in Pennsylvania, offers a Master of Science in Animal Behavior. This is a two-year program that consists of several courses in topics like behavior ecology, amphibian biology, neuroethology, and primate behavior. A total of eight courses must be completed to earn the master's degree. The final component of the program is a research thesis. The goal of the M.S. in Animal Behavior program is to prepare students for animal-related careers and develop the skills needed to work in these jobs, including field research, laboratory research, and conservation biology. The best way to be successful in this program is to take undergraduate courses in biology or psychology.

University of California - Davis

The University of California in Davis offers a Master of Science in Animal Behavior that students can earn by signing up for the school's Ph.D. in Animal Behavior. There is no direct entry into the master's program, but students can request the degree after completing course requirements. The master's program consists of 20 units of core courses in areas such as animal behavior fundamentals and animal behavior from a scientific approach. There is also a required 16 units of elective courses in research and a chosen area of interest. At least 12 units must be taken per quarter to maintain full-time status. The final component of the master's program is the comprehensive exam, which is evaluated by a committee of university faculty members. The master's program can be completed in one to two years. A graduate advising committee is available to guide new students in their course selection and other requirements.

Hunter College

New York's Hunter College offers a Master of Arts in Animal Behavior & Conservation that can be completed in one to two years. This is a 36-credit program consisting of various graduate-level courses in animal behavior including research methods and statistical methods in psychology. There are several electives available to students as well, such as courses related to animal thinking and communication. One more topic that is worth mentioning is animal welfare and issues related to animals held captive in common places such as zoos, farms, and laboratories. A final thesis must be presented before a committee, and a comprehensive exam must be taken to complete the master's program.

Program Admission Requirements

Students usually complete a bachelor's degree to be considered for admission into these master's programs. Undergraduate coursework should consist of core biology courses and statistics. Most universities require GRE scores and some insist on subject exams in biology and psychology. Also, a letter of recommendation and personal statement may be requested by some colleges. One more factor used by admission offices is the student's undergraduate GPA, which should be above 3.0.

There are at least three colleges that have a master's program in animal behavior. The topics in a graduate-level course range from research methods to behavior ecology. Students must meet the admission requirements before applying.


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