Clinical Animal Behaviour

Key Information


12 months full-time, 29 months part-time

Start Date

September 2024

Typical Offer

See More


Brayford Pool

Academic Year

Course Overview

Clinical Animal Behaviourists work on veterinary referral, helping the owners of companion animals resolve behavioural problems through diagnosis of the problem behaviour and application of individual behaviour modification programmes.

This Master's degree follows an evidence-based approach, which aims to develop students' theoretical knowledge and practical skills for the management of problem behaviour in companion animals. It is headed by a team of experts, including Europe's first veterinary behaviour professor, European and Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons specialist, Professor Daniel Mills.

Teaching is informed by research and practice, and students have the opportunity to gain experience through material used in teaching from real cases seen in the Department of Life Science's veterinary behaviour clinic. The curriculum is closely aligned to the research conducted in the Department's Animal Behaviour Cognition and Welfare Group. Students are encouraged to develop research skills and may have the opportunity to work alongside academics on high profile projects, many of which are funded by research councils, charities, and commercial bodies.

Due to the popularity of this course, we encourage you to apply as soon as possible. It is likely that applications received after April 2024 will be placed on a waiting list for consideration for the following academic year's entry.

Why Choose Lincoln

Takes an evidence-based approach

Led by a team of experts including Professor Daniel Mills

Accredited by the Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour

Informed by research and practice including real cases

Complete an MSc thesis under the guidance of experienced researchers

A cat being assessed at an animal behaviour clinic

How You Study

The taught sessions for the MSc run on Mondays and Tuesdays throughout the academic year. If you are studying the course full-time, sessions will run on both Mondays and Tuesdays for full days (typically 9am-5pm) with time for a lunch break. Any off-site trips will occur within the typical day and on the same day as the module it relates to.

For students wishing to study part-time, in the first year taught sessions will take place on a Monday. In the second year, taught sessions will then take place on a Tuesday. After completion of the taught sessions in the second year, data collection for the thesis will usually occur. Therefore, the part-time course will take you just over 2 years to complete if you include the taught sessions and the thesis module.

The thesis module (data collection and write up) for full-time students typically takes place between the end of the taught sessions and September of the same year. For those on the part-time route the thesis module (data collection and write up) will run from the end of the taught sessions until January the following year. During the thesis module it is important for you to meet with your supervisor, however, meeting are usually booked at mutually convenient times.

Formal teaching is supported by a range of personally directed study and peer-to-peer activities, which aim to improve practical and cognitive problem-solving skills. Role play workshops are utilised in the delivery of this programme and peer-to-peer discussion is encouraged through the University's virtual learning environment.

Students who enrol on the full-time programme should expect to receive 12 hours of contact time per week for the duration of the taught element of this course. Part-time students should expect to receive six hours per week.

As a general rule we advise allocating at least 15 hours per week for additional study per day you attend taught sessions. Therefore, if you are taking the full-time route, we would advise allocating at least 30 hours of your time away from taught sessions to complete further study (includes reading around the subject and preparing for assignments).


† Some courses may offer optional modules. The availability of optional modules may vary from year to year and will be subject to minimum student numbers being achieved. This means that the availability of specific optional modules cannot be guaranteed. Optional module selection may also be affected by staff availability.

Animal Welfare 2024-25BIO9004Level 72024-25This module provides students with the opportunity to develop the skills that are necessary for the assessment of animal welfare. The module involves the discussion of the different approaches to welfare assessment (i.e. are animals psychologically healthy, and do they have what they want?), evaluation of a range of physiological, behavioural and cognitive indicators of welfare, and training in the design and interpretation of studies to assess contemporary welfare problems. The welfare of animals is placed within a biological context with respect to their potential for experiencing both positive and negative emotional states. The law relating to interactions with animals is also reviewed.CoreClinical Skills for Animal Behaviour Management 2024-25BIO9006Level 72024-25This module provides students with an opportunity to apply the scientific approach developed at Lincoln for inferring motivation and emotion in the field to produce intervention programmes for problem behaviour situations that are both specific and individualised. This module also brings together previous learning with the aim of ensuring students can become confident decision makers who can manage their own case-load upon graduation. Considerable time is given over to the processes involved in the evaluation of differential diagnoses and the use and limitations of adjunctive procedures in the management of a given problem. Students have the chance to benefit from the extensive and international expertise of the tutors leading most sessions throughout this module.CoreDevelopment and Regulation of Behaviour 2024-25BIO9003Level 72024-25This module provides students with the opportunity to develop an advanced understanding of the processes affecting the development and regulation of the behaviour of vertebrate species. An introduction to the psychobiological approach is taught which is then the basis for building further understanding in later modules. Hands on experience in training animals is included in this module so that students have the chance to put into practice the process of planning, implementing, recording and assessing an intervention.CoreDomestic Animal Behavior and Cognition 2024-25BIO9002Level 72024-25This module provides students with the opportunity to develop an advanced understanding of domestic animal behaviour by using a synthesis of ethology, psychology and neurobiology to aid the study of this subject. Students are introduced to a systematic procedure (the psychobiological approach) for making inferences about the emotion underlying a behaviour . This approach has been developed at Lincoln to provide a more scientific approach to clinical animal behaviour management practice. Assessment involves the application of these skills to clinical case material, which is supported by clinical observational work based around real cases relating to a range of commonly seen presenting complaints.CoreHuman-Animal Interactions 2024-25BIO9001Level 72024-25This module is designed to introduce students to the study of interactions between humans and non-human animals and the processes underlying different types of relationships. This includes reviewing the range of relationships that exist between humans and non-human animals in a variety of settings, such as sport, pet-keeping, research, farming, and conservation, and exploring how these are viewed through different attitudinal and cultural lenses. The module uses lectures, discussions, exercises and role playing to examine the development of human attitudes towards animals.CoreMSc Thesis (MSc Clinical Animal Behaviour) 2024-25BIO9007MLevel 72024-25The aim of this module is to develop the skills necessary to design, conduct and report on a piece of research relevant to the Clinical Animal Behaviour. The module provides students with the opportunity to plan, implement, analyse, interpret, and write up a substantial a piece of empirical work, under the guidance of experienced researchers. Research subjects are typically offered by staff but students are also encouraged to develop their own research questions. The assessment of the MSc projects consists of a written research report, a video presentation of research methodology and a poster presentation.CoreResearch Methods (Clinical Animal Behaviour) 2024-25BIO9010Level 72024-25This module introduces major themes related to the application of research methods and some of the key philosophical constructs around which scientific knowledge is based. It is designed to underpin the development of the skills and knowledge necessary for students to assimilate, judge, and create scientific knowledge commensurate with this level of postgraduate study. Students can be guided in their development of the skills required to critically search and evaluate the scientific literature as an integral part of the research process, and particular emphasis will be given to the importance and practical application of hypothesis testing, experimental design, data collection, statistical analysis, and data presentation.Core

What You Need to Know

We want you to have all the information you need to make an informed decision on where and what you want to study. In addition to the information provided on this course page, our What You Need to Know page offers explanations on key topics including programme validation/revalidation, additional costs, contact hours, and our return to face-to-face teaching.

How you are assessed

There are a variety of different assessment types on the course (spoken and written exams, coursework, and presentations). Assessments take place during both the first and second term. Assessments in the form of exams also take place at the end of each term. For the first term, exams occur towards the end of January/beginning of February. Exams for the second term usually occur towards the end of May/beginning of June, after the completion of the taught element.

How to Apply

Postgraduate Application Support

Applying for a postgraduate programme at Lincoln is easy. Find out more about the application process and what you'll need to complete on our How to Apply page. Here, you'll also be able to find out more about the entry requirements we accept and how to contact us for dedicated support during the process.

How to Apply
A student listening in a seminar

Interview Support

Some of our postgraduate courses may require you to attend an interview before we can make you an offer to study with us. To support you with preparation, our expert Careers Service is delivering a Postgraduate Interview Advice Webinar on Tuesday 19 March which will provide you with an overview of our interview process, as well as helpful advice.

Book Your Place

Application Guidance

Applications typically open in September each year. You can apply for the course at any point throughout the year. However, when you apply may influence which year your application is considered for. For example, if you apply in October, your application will be considered for entry the following September/October. If you apply in February, if there are still places available, you will be considered for September/October of the same year.

You should apply online. Current students who are studying at the University can apply through Blackboard. Once reviewed, you will then be notified as to the outcome of your application and if you are being invited to interview. It is important that this course is right for your career development and also for you as an individual. Studying at Master's level requires a higher level of understanding, development of specialised knowledge, and greater independence in studying compared to undergraduate level.

On this course there is a large emphasis on peer-to-peer learning throughout. Given the range of different backgrounds and experiences of those who typically enrol on the course, there are many opportunities to learn from one another, for example, from sharing of experiences and perspectives on a topic. This means it is essential that those applying for this course enjoy learning from others in this type of environment and have the skills to participate.

Personal Statements

We suggest you cover the following in your personal statement:

  • What attracted you to apply for this course in particular, and what specifically do you hope to gain from completing the course?
  • What attributes do you feel support your application for studying at postgraduate level?
  • Can you give us an example where you have participated in peer to peer learning and how you feel about this type of learning environment.
  • Whilst working in the field of companion animal behaviour it is not uncommon to come across individuals who may have conflicting views to you. Tell us what you would do in this type of situation.
  • Tell us about when you have taken part in presentations or other activities such as role plays in front of others, and how you feel about these types of activities?
  • Explain your understanding of critical evaluation and utilising scientific principles within a situation. Tell us why these are important considerations within the field of clinical animal behaviour.


Enrolment usually occurs in September or October. The first term of taught sessions runs from enrolment through to mid January. The second term of taught sessions then starts in February and runs through until end of May/Beginning of June. The data collection of the thesis module starts in the second term and will run until the end of the summer for full-time students or until December/January for part-time students. This means that for full-time students the course will take around 12 months to complete, and for part-time students, the course will take just over 2 years to complete (including taught sessions and thesis).

Entry Requirements 2024-25

Entry Requirements

First or upper second class honours degree in Life Sciences or equivalent experience.

Students do not need an animal related degree in order to apply for this course. A good first degree regardless of the subject is important as this demonstrates ability as an independent learner. However, a good grounding in biology, biological processes, and an understanding of scientific research methods and statistical methods is also important. These skills are often achieved through a science-based degree but can also be obtained through other routes. If you are unsure please contact us.

If you have studied outside of the UK, and are unsure whether your qualification meets the above requirements, please visit our country pages for information on equivalent qualifications.

Overseas students will be required to demonstrate English language proficiency equivalent to IELTS 6.0 overall, with a minimum of 5.5 in each element. For information regarding other English language qualifications we accept, please visit the English Requirements page.

If you do not meet the above IELTS requirements, you may be able to take part in one of our Pre-session English and Academic Study Skills courses. These specialist courses are designed to help students meet the English language requirements for their intended programme of study.

Course Fees

You will need to have funding in place for your studies before you arrive at the University. Our fees vary depending on the course, mode of study, and whether you are a UK or international student. You can view the breakdown of fees for this programme below.

Course Fees

The University offers a range of merit-based, subject-specific, and country-focused scholarships for UK and international students. To help support students from outside of the UK, we offer a number of international scholarships which range from £1,000 up to the value of 50 per cent of tuition fees. For full details and information about eligibility, visit our scholarships and bursaries pages.

Funding Your Study

Postgraduate Funding Options

Find out more about the optional available to support your postgraduate study, from Master's Loans to scholarship opportunities. You can also find out more about how to pay your fees and access support from our helpful advisors.

Explore Funding Options
Two students working on a laptop in a study space

Career Development

Our graduates are provided the opportunity to develop their practical, critical, and independent thinking skills alongside specialist knowledge of the development, diagnosis, and management of behavioural disorders and conflicts in companion animal species, in particular dogs and cats.

Postgraduate study is an investment in yourself and your future. It can help you to further or completely change your career, develop your knowledge, enhance your salary, or even prepare you to start your own business. Postgraduate students at the University of Lincoln benefit from inspirational teaching combined with high-quality facilities and learning spaces, great industry links, and unique research opportunities, all of which are designed to help you stand out from the crowd and make the most of your time with us. 

Why Postgraduate Study?

Academic Contact

For more information about this course, please contact the Programme Leader.

Dr Ambrose Tinarwo

Postgraduate Events

To get a real feel for what it is like to study at the University of Lincoln, we hold a number of dedicated postgraduate events and activities throughout the year for you to take part in.

Upcoming Postgraduate Events
A group of students sat around a table, working together on a project
The University intends to provide its courses as outlined in these pages, although the University may make changes in accordance with the Student Admissions Terms and Conditions.