The University of Guelph offers formal training in animal welfare via graduate studies and a variety of undergraduate courses. Some courses offer content that is exclusively behaviour and welfare related, some include components of the topic, while others offer students the flexibility to explore a topic of their choosing. The Campbell Centre has compiled a list of of undergraduate level, veterinary, and graduate level courses.


Graduate Training

At the graduate level, students have the option of completing a thesis-based M.Sc., a course-based M.Sc. or a Ph.D. specializing in animal welfare. Graduate students entering the animal welfare program typically have a background in animal science, animal biology, zoology, psychology, or veterinary medicine. If you are interested in an M.Sc. in Animal Welfare and Behaviour, please review these Frequently Asked Questions.

Specific information on the course-based M.Sc. program curriculum can be found here.

Interested in applying? Minimum requirements for admission to graduate studies at the University of Guelph can be found on the Graduate Program Services Webpage. If interested in a thesis-based program, you are strongly advised to contact the faculty member whose work most closely aligns with your interests to learn if they are at capacity.

Please see the Available Graduate Student Positions.


Undergraduate Training

While majoring in animal welfare is not an option at the undergraduate level, interested undergraduate students are encouraged to take courses that emphasize animal welfare. Students interested in pursuing original research have the option of taking an independent study course during their last year of study. These include Research in Animal Biology – (ANSC*4700 & 4710), or Research Projects in Agriculture (AGR*4450 & AGR*4460), wherein students complete a major paper on a specific animal welfare topic. Both courses provide excellent research experience prior to undertaking graduate studies in animal welfare.

Opportunities for undergraduates also include working on research projects through the work-study or summer student program, and participating in outreach, seminars and discussion groups by joining the CCSAW Student Chapter. Valuable experience can also be gained by representing the University of Guelph at the annual Animal Welfare Judging Competition held at Michigan State University. More more information on any of these opportunities, please contact us.


Undergraduate Level Courses

ANSC*1210 Principles of Animal Care and Welfare

Students will be introduced to the major ethical theories that deal with humanity's duties to animals. The relationship of ethics to science will be discussed. Factors that contribute to the quality of life of animals will be considered and methods of assessing animal welfare will be described. Common causes of reduced animal welfare will be covered. The course will also deal with how different cultures approach animal welfare and attempt to regulate it.

ANSC*4090 Applied Animal Behaviour

The team-taught course deals with why farm animals behave as they do with reference to causation, function, ontogeny and phylogeny. Basic principles are illustrated by examples taken from agricultural, lab, companion and zoo species. Ways in which animal keeping systems may be improved by applying behavioural knowledge are discussed, and strategies for designing animal facilities and management procedures to suit the behaviour of the animals are also considered.

ANSC*4100 Applied Environmental Physiology & Animal Housing

This is a fourth year undergraduate course that addresses how various aspects of the physical environment affect an animal's biology. It covers basic concepts of stress physiology, thermoregulation and energy balance and how animals respond to light. We discuss how these concepts apply to animal housing and management in a variety of animal-keeping systems, with an emphasis on agricultural species. Other aspects of the physical environment, such as air quality, space allowance, equipment design and flooring that impact on animal health and well-being are also covered.

ANSC*4350 Experiments in Animal Biology

This is a team-taught fourth year undergraduate course that provides an opportunity for hands-on projects involving live animals and laboratory techniques using pigs and poultry. Group projects involve developing hypotheses, designing an experiment to test those hypotheses and collecting data on behaviour and physiology. Students collect samples, validate and run hormone assays, then summarize and interpret their results in the format of a scientific article. This course requires pre- or co-requisites of environmental physiology (ANSC 4100) and applied endocrinology (ANSC4490). Approval of the ABIO Faculty Advisor must be obtained before course selection.

ANSC*4700 & 4710 Research in Animal Biology

This course is an opportunity for those students potentially interested in postgraduate studies to work with a committed faculty advisor to research a problem, analyse data and/or design experiment(s) that address a solution. Evaluation of the course requires a substantive literature review and/or data analysis. Selection of a faculty supervisor and approval from course coordinator must be obtained before course selection.

AGR*4450 & 4460 Research Projects in Agriculture

These independent study courses are designed to encourage senior undergraduates to conduct research in Agriculture and Animal Biology. They involve participating in meetings organized by the coordinator, working with a faculty advisor to develop a research project, formulating hypotheses, designing and carrying out experiments to test the hypotheses. Students carry out independent library research, complete experimental work, prepare a written report and make presentations of the research plan and final results

ZOO*4070 Animal Behaviour

An introduction to the theories and principles of the behaviour of animals. The course will be a comparative study of learning, socialization, social interaction, and other components of animal behaviour.

PHIL*2030 Philosophy of Medicine

Medicine is a philosophical, not merely a practical, empirical enterprise. This course covers philosophical concepts which are widely used to evaluate health and health-practices include: autonomy, consent, mind, will, rights, harm, fairness, dignity, truth and even `health' itself. Issues central to health and health care practice include: the nature of professional-client relationships, genetic counseling, passive and active euthanasia, pharmacology and behaviour modification, resource allocation, and the special set of issues raised by reproductive technologies.

PHIL*4040 Advanced Philosophy of the Environment

This course is an exploration in detail of central debates in environmental philosophy. Possible topics include: genetic modification of plants and animals, duties to future generations, obligations to distant global others, the ethics of encounters, animal welfare, trans-species communication, restoration and conservation projects, aesthetics, virtue ethics and stewardship.

PSYC*2330 Principles of Learning

An introduction to the basic principles and concepts of classical and instrumental conditioning paradigms of learning, via lectures, demonstrations and student projects. Some student projects may involve laboratory practice on animal conditioning.

AGR*2350 Animal Production Systems, Health and Industry

This course is designed to introduce the student to the Agri-food system in Ontario, nationally and internationally. All major animal industries will be covered starting from the grocery store and working back to the primary producer. Companion and exotic animals will also be covered. Topics include food, health and wellness (domestic animals and human), nutrition, housing, genetics, reproduction, husbandry practices and processing. . The course includes laboratories and animal production unit tours.

AGR*4450 Research Project in Agriculture I

Independent study of a current topic in Agriculture designed to encourage senior undergraduates to conduct research in Agriculture. The course includes participation in meetings organized by the coordinator, work with a faculty advisor to develop a research project, formulate hypotheses, design and carry out preliminary experiments to test the hypotheses. Students will carry out independent library research, begin experimental work, prepare a written report and make a presentation to other students in the course of the research plan and preliminary results. Students must make arrangements with both the faculty supervisor and the course coordinator at least one semester before starting the course. Open to students in semesters 6, 7, and 8 of the B.SC. (Agr.) degree program. This course will normally be followed by AGR*4460 to provide 2 semesters to complete the research project.

AGR*4460 Research Project in Agriculture II

Independent study of a current topic in Agriculture designed to encourage senior undergraduates to conduct research in Agriculture. The focus of this course will be the completion of the research plan developed in AGR*4450 by the student in consultation with a faculty advisor. The course includes participation in meetings organized by the coordinator and meetings with a faculty advisor to review research progress. Students will carry out independent research, prepare a written report of the research findings in a scholarly style and make a presentation to other students in the course of the research results. Open to students in semesters 7 and 8 of the B.SC. (Agr.) degree program.

Phil*2070 Environmental Philosophy

This course offers a sustained, critical examination of one of the major sub-areas of 'environmental philosophy': the 'nature' and the ethico-political status of non-human animals, compared and contrasted with the 'nature' and ethico-political status of human animals. Students study how this philosophical distinction figures in practical arguments about which duties we might have to particular sorts of non-human creatures in which particular contexts (scientific research, farms, meat, household pets, hunting, key species in ecosystems). An overall aim of this course is to provoke a deeper understanding of our own animality and how we react and respond to it..via our 'survey' of a broad field of interactions and practices involving not only animals and how we treat them and use them in our contemporary cultural practices.


Veterinary Studies

VETM*3400 Health Management I

Health management is the promotion of health and prevention of disease in animals within the economic/business framework of the animal owner/industry, while recognizing the issues of animal welfare, human safety and environmental impact. In this course students are presented with an integrated approach to the disciplines of medicine, epidemiology, ethology, public health and animal husbandry. Students develop skills in finding and critically appraising information, problem solving, and calculating and interpreting quantitative measures. This mandatory course is based on the DVM 2000 Professional Competencies of Canadian Veterinarians.

VETM*3410 Health Management II

This course is a continuation of the Phase 1 course Health Management I. Previously presented concepts are explored in greater depth and complexity and new material addresses three main themes: epidemiologic principles in clinical decision making, applied ethology and public health. Emphasis is placed on relevant epidemiological tools for understanding disease causation, evidence based medicine and critical appraisal of the literature, surveillance and outbreak investigation. The public health section focuses on regulatory matters, food safety and zoonotic disease issues. Problems associated with animal behaviour and welfare are presented in a species/industry context.


Graduate Level Courses

ANSC*6100 Special Projects: the scientific assessment of animal welfare

In this graduate course, students explore the biology and validity of the various behavioural and physiological techniques used in welfare assessment: in particular, sympathetic activation, HPA functioning, stereotypic behaviour, and preference responses. For each topic, there will be a lecture by the instuctor, followed the next week by a discussion of 3-4 key papers, and rounded off in a third week by student presentaions of examples where the measure in question seemed to yield a valid index of welfare, and examples where it did not.

ANSC*6440 Advanced Critical Analysis in Applied Ethology

An in-depth review of classic papers and current topics in applied ethology. Discussions will include applications of methodologies and analyses used to conduct animal behaviour research.

ANSC*6700 Animals in Society: Historical and Global Perspectives on Animal Welfare

This graduate level course will review and discuss society’s relationship with animals. It will explore how animals are affected by the ways that human beings keep them, use them, and conflict with them. The main ethical theories that deal with humanity’s duties to animals will be introduced, traced through history, and their strengths and weakness discussed. The relationship of science to ethics will be considered and the importance of being able to justify a moral point of view will be emphasized. Various scientific approaches to animal welfare will be described and the crucial importance of sentience in these approaches will be discussed. The acceptance of sentience in animals through history will be considered and the problems associated with assessing subjective feelings will be discussed. Society’s attitudes to animals in Canada will be compared to elsewhere and cultural differences will be considered. Society’s willingness to pay for improved welfare will be discussed. The inadequacies of Canadian laws to protect animal welfare will be discussed. Finally, a variety of contemporary welfare problems will be described arising from the use of animals in agriculture, biomedical science, product testing, as service and working animals, and as animals in entertainment and sport and possible solutions will be explored.

ANSC*6710 – Assessing Animal Welfare in Practice

This graduate level course explores the underlying concepts and steps in developing animal care auditing/assessment schemes for industry and regulatory bodies. Lectures include an overview of assessment tools, and how the goals of the assessment (i.e., accreditation versus self-assessment) influence its structure. The advantages and disadvantages of using engineering versus animal-based standards will also be addressed. Various forms of assessment schemes such as indices, scores and questionnaires will be compared. Students will explore the validity, repeatability, feasibility of different measures in the field and will utilize knowledge of animal welfare assessment in the development of novel assessment schemes.

ANSC*6720 – Scientific Assessment of Affective States in Animals

Graduate students will explore the biology and validity of behavioural and physiological techniques used in animal welfare assessment of such phenomena as: sympathetic activation, HPA functioning, stereotypic behaviour and preference responses. A combination of lecture, instructor-led discussion and student-led discussion will explore these areas of animal welfare assessment.

ANSC*6900 – Major Paper in Animal and Poultry Science

A detailed, critical review of an area of study related to the specialization of students in the MSc by course work and major paper option that includes analysis and interpretation of relevant data.

UNIV*6030 Seminars and Analysis in Animal Behaviour and Welfare

This seminar-based course offers an interdisciplinary forum for the discussion
of broad topics in animal welfare and human-animal relationships. Students
analyze topics presented by visiting guest lecturers using perspectives from
various disciplines such as animal science, philosophy, history, psychology,
ethics, and biology.

POPM*6950: Special Topics in Population Medicine: Applied Animal Welfare

In this course, students develop a basic understanding of the ethical and scientific foundations of animal welfare, and knowledge about a variety of contemporary animal welfare issues. Students explore a contemporary animal welfare issue of their choice, reviewing scientific literature pertaining to the topic and how the issue may be addressed through policy, market forces or other mechanisms. Students develop skills to critique scientific manuscripts and to communicate concepts of animal welfare in oral and written formats.

For further information, visit www.uoguelph.ca/academics/

Online Courses

Equine Certificate and Diploma Courses

Equine Welfare Certificate
The Campbell Centre for the Study of Animal Welfare is excited to be in collaboration with the Centre for Open Learning and Educational Support, and Equine Guelph, in order to bring you the Equine Welfare Certificate. Offered as an extension of the award-winning Equine Science Certificate, the Equine Welfare Certificate provides students with the opportunity to explore animal welfare issues in the horse industry. More