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Professional Doctorate in Applied Animal Behaviour and Animal Welfare - MSc

About This Professional Doctorate

Course Description

Programme description

This programme has popular international appeal and is endorsed by many international organisations for its up-to-date understanding and application of the latest animal welfare methods and practices.

We provide students with an understanding of animal welfare that can be applied in animal research, management, care, production, inspection, assessment and preparation of legislation.

In addition to the core teaching team, we have many guest lecturers travel to Edinburgh each year to teach on the programme, allowing you to benefit from the experience and knowledge of professionals working throughout the animal behaviour and welfare community.

Our students benefit from the expertise of organisations such as:

Programme structure

The programme involves taught courses and your own dissertation.

Throughout the taught courses you will take part in many visits to farms and animal facilities and will study the following courses:

  • Introduction to Applied Animal Behaviour and Animal Welfare
  • Biology of Suffering
  • Animal Cognition and Consciousness
  • Scientific Methodology
  • Animal Welfare Applications
  • Read more about the taught courses

You can complete the programme over one, two or three years.


From March until August, you will work on a research project.

Career opportunities

Graduates move on to a variety of jobs such as research technicians, scientific advisors and lecturers. Many will also continue their study and enrol in a PhD.

Visit the Applied Animal Behaviour and Animal Welfare - MSc page on the University of Edinburgh website for more details!

(Student Profile)


I was thrilled to be admitted in the MSc as I always wanted to gain a qualification that would allow me to embark on a career helping animals. As I have a different educational background (Business Administration) than most of my classmates, the past year was challenging for me. At the same time however, the program was extremely stimulating and thought-provoking. I particularly enjoyed the lectures given by guest animal welfare experts from different fields as well as the multitude of trips to farms, the zoo, laboratories and livestock markets that helped give us an overall view of the current challenges and problems in animal welfare. The friendly and efficient administrative staff, the excellent teaching quality, the diversity of the students participating in the program and the fact that one gets to live in the beautiful Scottish capital, made the whole experience even more rewarding!

(Student Profile)


If anyone is thinking about applying for this course and is unsure, please just go for it! This course offers an amazing learning experience where you will be taught by excellent lecturers, have the opportunity to meet some of the best researchers in their field, participate in various practicals, and attend exciting seminars and visits! The course gave me an excellent understanding of the most up to date issues in the area of animal behaviour and welfare. Furthermore, you will not only gain an amazing education that has a strong international reputation..... you will also live in an amazing city with lots to offer (the cocktail bars and shops are great !) and have a chance to meet young students that come from various different countries around the world!"

(Student Profile)


I absolutely loved my year completing the MSc. The combination of a taught component and your own personal research project really gave me the opportunity to build both confidence and skills, and opened up the opportunities to meet so many interesting people and experience a wide range of current research and issues. This, added to the fact that students attending were from such an international range, provided me with many different view-points, that I otherwise would never have considered, and challenged any original preconceptions I may have had. I am now undertaking a four year PhD at the Royal Veterinary College, London, looking at 'the development of attitudes to and acquisition of knowledge on animal welfare', with particular emphasis on farm animal welfare, and primary/secondary school education. This is an issue I was already interested in, then further fuelled by my lectures in Edinburgh, and I am certain that completing the MSc was a huge contributing factor to me being given this opportunity".

(Student Profile)

Matthew Turner

I knew this MSc would give me an education in animal behaviour and welfare but I didn’t expect it to make me so aware of the challenges society faces in the future. Whether it’s reducing climate change, advancing medical science or trying to feed the world sustainably, animal welfare definitely has a role in ensuring solutions are achievable yet acceptable. This ethical/political dimension is something I never expected to enjoy so much and certainly sparked many interesting, sometimes heated discussions among classmates!

The MSc was definitely a worthwhile, enjoyable and stimulating course, and stretched me personally as well as professionally. However, I would think seriously about whether doing the MSc is right for you. It’s a big commitment, is challenging at times and doesn’t guarantee employment in a highly competitive field.

For me, it was 100% the right choice and has helped kick start a career in animal welfare.

[Matt currently works at the University of Bristol on a project investigating pet rabbit welfare.]

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Entry Requirements

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in animal science, biology, psychology, zoology or veterinary science. All applicants must also meet our English language requirements.

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Recipient: University of Edinburgh

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