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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
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Key facts

  • Award Masters / MSc, Postgraduate Diploma, Postgraduate Certificate, MA
  • Start date September
  • Duration MSc full-time: 12 months, MSc part-time: 27 months
  • Mode of study Part-time, Full-time, Campus based

This Masters in Human Animal Interaction will introduce you to interdisciplinary approaches and a diverse range of methods used to research our relationships with other species. It 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 quantitative or qualitative 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

    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, the others being Birkbeck, Royal Holloway, Sussex, Essex, St Andrews and Bangor (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.

  • 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.

  • English language requirements

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

    • IELTS: 6.0 with 5.5 minimum in each skill
    • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE): Grade C or above
    • Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE): Grade C or above
    • Pearson Test of English (Academic): 54 with 51 in each component
    • IBT TOEFL: 80 with no subtest less than 17

    More information on our 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.

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, or audit with the agreement of the Course Coordinator.

In addition, 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 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 details given below are subject to change as the University regularly revises and refreshes the curriculum of our taught programmes. The modules outlined below represent those offered in 2018/19 on this course of study.

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Course Details

  • Teaching

    Teaching is delivered in a number of ways, including 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

    Course director

    Professor Hannah Buchanan-Smith

    Course secretary

    Linda Cullen

    +44 (0) 1786 466854
    linda.cullen@stir.ac.uk

  • Fees and costs

    Fees shown are per year (fees are different for each course)

      2018/19 2019/20

    Home/EU Students

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

    If you’re domiciled in Scotland, you may be eligible to apply to the Students Award Agency for Scotland (SAAS) for a loan of up to £10,000 to cover your tuition fees and associated living costs. Students domiciled in the EU can also apply for tuition fee support, although may not be eligible to receive funding to support living costs.

    If you're domiciled in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, you should be eligible to apply for a loan from your regional body.

    English students apply for a loan of up to £10,609 per year as part of the UK Postgraduate Loan Scheme, Welsh students can apply for a non-means tested loan of up to £13,000 from the Welsh Government and Northern Irish students are eligible to apply for support of up to £5,500.

    *Fees for students who apply for a Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate will be paid on a pro-rata basis.

    If the course is taken over two years then the fee will be split evenly over the two years. Fees are not pro-rated for students who enrol on a Masters course and decide to exit with a Postgraduate Diploma - the full fee is charged.

    £6,300 TBC

    Overseas (Non-EU) Students

    Fees shown are for full-time, one-year Masters course. Fees for students who apply for a Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate will be paid on a pro-rata basis.

    If the course is taken over two years then the fee will be split evenly over the two years. Fees are not pro-rated for students who enrol on a Masters course and decide to exit with a Postgraduate Diploma - the full fee is charged.

    £15,250 £15,950

    Please note: You will be liable to pay tuition fees for every year you’re in attendance, and your fees will be held level upon entry. If you need to extend your period of study, you may be liable for an additional fee.

  • Scholarships

    There are typically five £1,000 competitive bursaries to contribute towards fees or maintenance costs for students beginning a taught Masters course. All students, including international 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. That’s why we offer a wide range of scholarships and funding opportunities available.

    To explore our scholarships and learn more about funding opportunities, use our scholarship finder.

  • Additional costs

    If you choose to attend your graduation ceremony, you will be liable for an additional charge. There is no charge if you wish to graduate in absentia. Learn more about additional fees.

  • 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.

    EU 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

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.

The MSc Human Animal Interaction course is a brilliant and unique opportunity, the first of its kind in the UK.
Gillian Cross
MSc Human Animal Interaction
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The breadth of topics covered by the course, and the vast array of speakers that have led a seminar throughout the year has been phenomenal
Jill Shearer
Northern Ireland MSc Human Animal Interaction
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This MSc is a great foundation for anyone looking to work in therapeutic human-animal interactions or for those already working in this area, and it also opens up opportunities for working in human animal interaction more generally.
Hannah Turrell
MSc Human Animal Interaction
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