International Animal Welfare, Ethics and Law MSc, PgDip, PgCert, PgProfDev (Online Learning) The University of Edinburgh
The overall objective of this online learning programme is to provide knowledge and an understanding of animal welfare science, with a focus on the international issues arising from animal use in all its forms.
The programme is delivered by researchers and teachers from both the Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education (within the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies) and the Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) with a series of guest lecturers from around the world.
Students on this International Animal Welfare, Ethics and Law programme come from a variety of backgrounds including: veterinary science, zoology, biological science, pharmacology and animal/equine science.
- This programme is taught online between 2 and 6 years of part-time intermittent study
- The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies has extensive staff expertise in animal health and welfare
- This programme is affiliated with the University's Global Health Academy
What to expect at the University of Edinburgh
As a student within the College of Medicine & Veterinary Medicine, you will join more than 7,000 students studying a range of postgraduate programmes. Following the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021, our vet school and our medical school were both among the UK top five, ranked by research power (Times Higher Education, Overall Ranking of Institutions REF 2021).
Your postgraduate experience here will be supported and enhanced by the wealth of resources and opportunities we offer. We are committed to delivering high-quality, innovative teaching. The latest report from the Quality Assurance Agency awarded us the highest rating possible for the quality of the student learning experience.
The University of Edinburgh is currently ranked 15th in the World in the QS World University Rankings 2023.
You will aim to be able to:
- discuss the meanings and definitions of animal welfare. You will also be able to describe how the concepts of animal welfare have changed over time and in different parts of the world
- discuss how animal learning and motivation affects welfare. You will also be able to explain how animal cognition and consciousness affect animal quality of life
- describe the concepts of stress, pain and suffering and how these relate to animal welfare
- describe the present and likely future uses of animals in research, testing and education
- analyse how the principles of Replacement, Reduction and Refinement (three Rs) have been implemented in peer-reviewed scientific literature involving animal use and alternative methods
- describe the main welfare issues of animals in laboratories, and apply knowledge of appropriate methodologies to assess welfare
Ethics, policy and law
You will aim to be able to:
- discuss the animal welfare policy and recommendations made by governments and other groups. You will also be able to describe how economics affects animal welfare policy
- describe animal welfare law around the globe and discuss the enforcement issues
International and global issues
You will aim to be able to:
- describe the use of animals for food and discuss the patterns and changes in global animal agriculture over time
- explain the effects that different housing and husbandry systems have on animals and discuss the associated welfare issues
- discuss the welfare consequences of live animal transport, markets and slaughter of animals across the globe
- review the cultural, social and historical influences on our attitudes to dogs and cats
- discuss infectious disease control; rabies in Europe, India and the USA
- discuss the dilemmas that can arise from conflicting concerns for individual animal welfare and the conservation of species, populations or communities
Why study a Master in International Animal Welfare, Ethics and Law
Graduates can use their qualifications to enhance their career prospects in:
- governmental and non-governmental organisations and consultancies
How the University of Edinburgh can support you
We are committed to helping you to develop skills and attributes that will enhance your ability to compete in the job market, to progress your career, and to achieve your full potential within the global community. In addition to the provision of dedicated support through our award-winning Careers Service, we broker strategic partnerships between academics, industry specialists and other institutions, to enhance your personal and professional development and provide relevant career insights.
Our graduates are ranked 24th in the world by employers, making the University an excellent choice for a postgraduate education with prospects (QS World University Rankings 2023).
We use a blend of online learning methods, such as:
- discussion forums
- live tutorials
The programme is modular, allowing us to offer a flexible student-centred approach to the choice of courses studied.
You may choose to study for a certificate, diploma or master's level.
You can take up to 6 years to complete the full MSc programme, and there is also the option to graduate with either an International Animal Welfare, Ethics and Law postgraduate certificate or a diploma.
Year 1: Certificate
You will take two compulsory courses - International Animal Welfare Science and Animal Ethics, Policy and Law - plus an optional course.
Year 2: Diploma
You can choose up to 60 credits of optional courses, which include:
- Production Animal Welfare
- Cat and Dog Welfare
- Captive and Free-ranging Wild Animal Welfare
- Animals in Research, Testing and Education
- Clinical Animal Behaviour
- Equine Behaviour and Welfare
- Equitation Science
Year 3: Masters
You complete a dissertation between 10,000-15,000 words which can be a research project or an extended systematic review of the literature on a topic of Animal Welfare Science, Ethics or Law.
Postgraduate Professional Development
Postgraduate Professional Development (PPD) is aimed at working professionals who want to advance their knowledge through a postgraduate-level course(s), without the time or financial commitment of a full Master, Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate.
You may take a maximum of 50 credits worth of courses over two years through our PPD scheme. These lead to a University of Edinburgh postgraduate award of academic credit. Alternatively, after one year of taking courses, you can choose to transfer your credits and continue on to study towards a higher award on a Master, Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate programme. Although PPD courses have various start dates throughout the year you may only start a Master, Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate programme in the month of September. Any time spent studying PPD will be deducted from the amount of time you will have left to complete a Master, Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate programme.
Scholarships and Funding
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