MSc / MA Human-Animal Interaction

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Learn from our noted experts in human-animal interaction across a wide range of contexts, from pet owning to animal-assisted interventions, zoos, farms and conservation.

Human-Animal Interaction

Key facts

  • Award Masters / MSc, Postgraduate Diploma, Postgraduate Certificate, MA
  • Start date September 2022
  • Duration MSc full-time: 12 months, MSc part-time: 24 months
  • Mode of study Part-time, Full-time, Campus based, Stand-alone modules

Overview

Humans share this planet with other animals and our interactions are at the core of our everyday lives. We farm and eat animals, we keep them as companions and for work, as models for humans in laboratory research, in animal-assisted interventions for positive behaviour change, and in education, entertainment and ecotourism. Depending upon our perceptions and attitudes towards animals, and in relation to the impact they have on us and the environment, we may actively attempt to conserve them, domesticate them or eradicate them.

In this Masters in Human-Animal Interaction you will learn interdisciplinary approaches and a diverse range of methods used to research our relationships with other species. The Masters covers a broad range of topics and looks at human–animal interactions across a wide range of contexts – from pet owning to animal-assisted interventions, zoos, farms and conservation.

You'll learn about the importance of both human and animal behaviour in shaping human animal interaction, and the associated ethical issues, as well as learning to critically evaluate methods for measuring attitudes, interactions and their outcomes.

You'll carry out a practical placement and research project to get direct experience tailored to your individual career goals. You will also learn from our recognised experts in human–animal interaction, whose specialisms include:

  • the study of animal behaviour and animal welfare
  • animal-assisted activities and interventions
  • human and animal coexistence

This Masters course can be studied as an MA or MSc. It depends on whether your focus is on qualitative (MA) or quantitative (MSc) methodologies. Selected components of this Masters course count as continuing professional development for those already working in this area.

 

Top reasons to study with us

Work placements

You’ll carry out a placement and research project to gain direct experience tailored to your individual career goals. You may be able to undertake a placement or conduct data collection for your research project at suitable organisations outside the UK.

We have experience in delivering placement modules and we have excellent links with partners in industry and the third sector. Established partnerships with relevant organisations also offer research projects to students, within the Making the Most of Masters framework.

Flexible learning

If you’re interested in studying a module from this course, the Postgraduate Certificate or the Postgraduate Diploma then please email Graduate Admissions to discuss your course of study.

Faculty facilities

The Psychology department has outstanding laboratory space fitted with high-quality equipment. It has excellent computing infrastructure, and both research and teaching activities are supported by in-house technical staff with computing, programming, electronic and audio-video expertise.

Psychology Masters students have access to a dedicated suite of study and teaching rooms.

Research overview

Psychology at the University of Stirling has a vibrant research culture and is one of the leading psychology departments in the UK. It ranked in the top 20 in the recent research assessment (REF 2014). It was one of only seven non-Russell group universities to do so (source: Times Higher Education magazine).

Our quality of research publications ranked third in Scotland after Aberdeen and Glasgow. The relevance of our psychology research activity to society received the highest possible rating, which only four other psychology departments in the UK achieved (REF 2014 results).

As a postgraduate taught student you’ll be part of our lively research community, meeting up for weekly research seminars and informal specialist discussion groups.

Entry requirements

Academic requirements

A minimum of a second class honours degree (2.1 preferred) or equivalent in a relevant subject. Applicants without these formal qualifications but with significant appropriate/relevant work/life experience are encouraged to apply.

Other routes of entry

If you don’t currently meet the academic requirements for this course, INTO University of Stirling offers a variety of preparation programmes that can earn you the qualifications and skills you need for direct entry.

Explore INTO Stirling programmes to see the pathway and pre-masters routes available for this course and others at the University of Stirling.

English language requirements

Due to disruption in English Language testing caused by COVID-19, we are accepting alternative English Language tests (including online English Language Tests).

If English is not your first language you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your English language skills:

  • IELTS Indicator 6.0 with a minimum of 5.5 in each sub-skill 
  • Cambridge C1 Advanced (CAE) 169 overall with a minimum of 162 in each sub-skill
  • Cambridge C2 Proficiency (CPE) 180 overall with a minimum of 162 in each sub-skill
  • Pearson Test of English (Academic) 60 overall with a minimum of 59 in each sub-skill
  • IBT TOEFL 78 overall with a minimum of 17 in listening, 18 in reading, 20 in speaking and 17 in writing
  • IBT TOEFL Special Home Edition Test 78 overall with a minimum of 17 in listening, 18 in reading, 20 in speaking and 17 in writing
  • Trinity ISE II Pass overall with a Pass in each sub-skill, ISE III Pass overall and in all sub-skills, ISE IV Pass overall and in all sub-skills
  • Aptis (4 skills) CEFR B2 overall and B2 in all sub-skills
  • Duolingo 95 overall with a minimum of 90 in all sub-skills
  • LanguageCert International ESOL B2 Communicator -  Pass with minimum 33 in each sub-skill

Last updated: 1 February 2021

If you are from India, Bangladesh, Ghana or Nigeria please also check your country/region specific page for any additional, or changes to, English language requirements.

For more information on ways that you can meet our English language requirements, including options to waive the requirement, please read our information on English language requirements.

Pre-sessional English language courses

If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this course, our partner INTO University of Stirling offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for entry to this degree.

Find out more about our pre-sessional English language courses.

Course details

Psychology has powerful methods to help inform our interactions with animals. The course provides training in the fundamentals of research methods and how these apply to the study of human animal interactions.

MA students take a module on Qualitative Data Analysis instead of the Analysis Methods in Psychology module, and another module from a range of option (such as Child Development, Autism, Psychology of Faces or Evolutionary Psychology).

For both the MA and MSc alternative modules from the other taught MSc courses can also be taken for credit (and a fee), or audit (free) with the agreement of the Course Coordinator.

As noted above, there is an external placement module and an individual research project. The individual module components contribute towards 60 percent of the MA/MSc grade, with the research project dissertation contributing the remaining 40 percent. 

Students are encouraged to join the Behaviour and Evolution Research Group which meets weekly throughout the semester.

Modules

The module information below is intended only as an example of what you may study and features details for the current academic year (2021/22). Modules are regularly reviewed and are subject to future changes.

Course Details

Teaching

Teaching is delivered in a number of ways, including online materials, tutorials, demonstrations and practical classes, but the majority is seminar-based. Students are typically taught in small groups in specialist classes, or with first year PhD students or other postgraduate students (for example, in modules from other MSc courses).  

Assessment

A range of assessment methods are used across the programme, including:

  • research proposals
  • critical reviews
  • a logic model
  • reflective journals for placements
  • oral presentations
  • popular science articles
  • dissertation

Course director

Fees and funding

Fees and costs

  2021/22 2022/23
Students from the UK£9,350£9,850
Students from the Republic of Ireland£9,350£9,850
Overseas (non-EU) students£20,845£21,345
European Union students£20,845£21,345

Students from the UK

Course fees

Fees shown are for a full-time, one-year Masters course.

If you need to extend your period of study or repeat study, you will be liable for additional fees.

If you are studying part time, the total course fee will be split over the years that you study. The total fee will remain the same and will be held at the rate set in your year of entry.

For more information on courses invoiced on an annual fee basis, please read our tuition fee policy.

Tuition fee loans

Scottish students may be eligible to apply to the Students Award Agency for Scotland (SAAS) for loans of up to £10,000 to cover tuition fees and associated living costs.

English students can apply for a loan of up to £11,570 each year as part of the Postgraduate Masters Loan Scheme.

Welsh students can apply for financial support of up to £18,025 as a combination of grant and loan from Student Finance Wales.

Northern Irish students can apply for a postgraduate tuition fee loan of up to £5,500 from Student Finance NI.

Students from the Republic of Ireland

Course fees

Fees shown are for a full-time, one-year Masters course.

If you need to extend your period of study or repeat study, you will be liable for additional fees.

If you are studying part time, the total course fee will be split over the years that you study. The total fee will remain the same and will be held at the rate set in your year of entry.

For more information on courses invoiced on an annual fee basis, please read our tuition fee policy.

European Union students

EU Postgraduate Scholarship

Eligible EU students will automatically receive our EU Postgraduate Scholarship, which provides a 40% fee discount on full-time postgraduate degrees at the University of Stirling.

Course fees

Fees shown are for a full-time, one-year Masters course.

If you need to extend your period of study, you will be liable for additional fees.

If you are studying part time, the total course fee will be split over the years that you study. The total fee will remain the same and will be held at the rate set in your year of entry.

For more information on courses invoiced on an annual fee basis, please read our tuition fee policy.

Overseas students (non-EU)

We offer a range of funding options for overseas students.

Course fees

Fees shown are for a full-time, one-year Masters course.

If you need to extend your period of study, you may be liable for additional fees.

If you are studying part time, the total course fee will be split over the years that you study. The total fee will remain the same and will be held at the rate set in your year of entry.

For more information on courses invoiced on an annual fee basis, please read our tuition fee policy.

Additional costs

There are some instances where additional fees may apply. Depending on your chosen course, you may need to pay additional costs, for example for field trips. Learn more about additional fees.

Scholarships and funding

There are typically five £1,000 competitive bursaries to contribute towards fees or maintenance costs for students beginning a taught Masters course in Psychology. All students, formally accepted onto the MSc course are eligible to apply for these awards.

If you have the talent, ability and drive to study with us, we want to make sure you make the most of the opportunity – regardless of your financial circumstances.

Learn more about available funding opportunities or use our scholarship finder to explore our range of scholarships.

Cost of living

If you’re domiciled in the UK, you can typically apply to your relevant funding body for help with living costs. This usually takes the form of student loans, grants or bursaries, and the amount awarded depends upon your personal circumstances and household income.

European Union and overseas students won’t normally be able to claim living support through SAAS or other UK public funding bodies. You should contact the relevant authority in your country to find out if you’re eligible to receive support.

Find out about the cost of living for students at Stirling

Payment options

We aim to be as flexible as possible, and offer a wide range of payment methods - including the option to pay fees by instalments. Learn more about how to pay

After you graduate

The course is designed for those going on to do further research in the field of human-animal interaction. It would also suit those who want to pursue careers where it would be useful to understand the theoretical and practical aspects of this field.

The placement and research project enables you to gain direct experience tailored to your individual career aspirations.

What our students said

Kirsty-Marie Moran
Kirsty-Marie Moran
Scotland
MSc Human Animal Interaction
This course not only provided me with a place of belonging with friends of like-mindedness but it also provided me with amazing opportunities.
Read Kirsty-Marie's story
Michelle Stolte
Michelle Stolte
USA
MSc Human Animal Interaction
The core class, taught by very knowledgeable and accessible professors, allows for much group discussion and self-directed study in topics that interest the individual, as well.
Read Michelle's story
Ellie Berry
Ellie Berry
England
MSc / MA Human-Animal Interaction
All the reading, lectures and discussion was exactly what I was interested in. The idea of animal rights, that humans should respect other species, is quite new really - I learned so much.
Read Ellie's story

Changes at Stirling

Find out about important changes including how you'll be taught, start dates and how we're making campus safer.

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