MSc Clinical Animal Behaviour

The Course

The University of Lincoln’s MSc Clinical Animal Behaviour programme is headed by a team of experts and is accredited by the Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour.

This Master’s degree follows an evidence-based approach, which aims to develop your theoretical 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 Surgeon's specialist Daniel Mills.

Teaching is informed by research and practice and you have the opportunity to gain experience of actual cases through access to the School of Life Sciences’ veterinary behaviour clinic. The curriculum is closely aligned to the research conducted in the School’s Animal Behaviour Cognition and Welfare Group. You will be 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.


  • Development and Regulation of Behaviour
  • Domestic Animal Behaviour and Cognition
  • Human Animal Interactions
  • Animal Welfare
  • Research Methods
  • Clinical Skills for Animal Behaviour Management
  • MSc Thesis.

This programme has accreditation for the theoretical component of the clinical companion animal behaviourists accreditation process from the Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour.
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 will 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 6 hours per week.

You will need to be prepared to make an extensive time commitment to pursue self-directed study. Full time students should allow for between 20-30 hours of self directed study per week and part time students should expect to undertake between 15 - 20 hours on a weekly basis.

Animal Welfare (Core)
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Animal Welfare (Core)

This 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.

Clinical Skills for Animal Behaviour Management (Core)
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Clinical Skills for Animal Behaviour Management (Core)

This 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.

Development and Regulation of Behaviour (Core)
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Development and Regulation of Behaviour (Core)

This 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. Both normal and abnormal behaviours are considered in this regard. 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.

Domestic Animal Behavior and Cognition (Core)
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Domestic Animal Behavior and Cognition (Core)

This 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 for making inferences about the motivation underlying a behaviour and associated emotional state of the subject. 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 group work based around real cases relating to a range of commonly seen presenting complaints.

Human-Animal Interactions (Core)
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Human-Animal Interactions (Core)

This module is designed to introduce students to the study of the range of interactions that occur between humans and non-human animals and the processes underlying different types of relationship. 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, conservation, pest, differing cultures and differing religions. The module uses lectures, discussions, exercises and role playing to examine the development of human attitudes towards animals.

MSc Thesis (MSc Clinical Animal Behaviour) (Core)
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MSc Thesis (MSc Clinical Animal Behaviour) (Core)

The 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.

The written report provides training for preparing manuscripts for publication in scientific journals. The assessment of the MSc projects consists of an oral presentation of the initial thesis plan, a research report written in the style for submission to a professional journal and a poster presentation of research undertaken.

Research Methods (Clinical Animal Behaviour) (Core)
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Research Methods (Clinical Animal Behaviour) (Core)

The aim of the module is to provide an opportunity to develop practical skills and explore the nature of research methods in a wide variety of scientific applications. This module introduces major research issues 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 at a level consistent 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. Particular emphasis will be given to the importance of hypothesis testing, experimental design, data collection, statistical analysis and data presentation.

† 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.

Assessment is conducted though coursework, case material assessment, examinations including written and viva voce, together with a final thesis that will include a poster presentation.

Assessment Feedback

The University of Lincoln's policy on assessment feedback aims to ensure that academics will return in-course assessments to you promptly – usually within 15 working days after the submission date.

Interviews will take place in the spring, with further interviews in the summer, subject to place availability. Early application is encouraged, but applicants will not receive offers before interviews have taken place.
 2019/20 Entry*
Home/EU £7,400

(including Alumni Scholarship 20% reduction )**

International £16,000
(Including International Alumni / Global Postgraduate Scholarship £2,000 reduction)**
 Part-time Home/EU £41 per credit point
 Part-time International £89 per credit point

* Academic year September- July
** Subject to eligibility


A Postgraduate Master's Loan can help with course fees and living costs while you study. Individuals** will be able to borrow up to £10,906 for the purpose of completing an eligible postgraduate Master's qualification. The amount available will depend on the start date of your course.

- £10,906, if your course starts on or after 1 August 2019
- £10,609, if your course starts between 1 August 2018 and 31 July 2019


As a postgraduate student you may be eligible for scholarships in addition to those shown above.

Guidance for Part-time Postgraduate Fees

To complete a standard Master's Taught programme, you must complete 180 credit points.

Full time students will be invoiced for the programme in full upon initial enrolment.

For part-time students, tuition fees are payable each credit point enrolled. To calculate your part-time fees, multiply the part-time fee per credit point by the number of credits you intend to complete within that academic year. This is usually between 60 and 90 credit points per year.

For example, if the fee per credit point for your programme is £38, and you enrol on 60 credits, the tuition fee payable for that academic year will be £2280.

Fees for enrolment on additional modules

Tuition fees for additional activity are payable by the student/sponsor and charged at the equivalent £ per credit point rate for each module. Additional activity includes:

- Enrolment on modules that are in addition to the validated programme curriculum

- Enrolment on modules that are over and above the full credit diet for the relevant academic year

- Retakes of modules as permitted by the Board of Examiners

Exceptionally tuition fees may not be payable where a student has been granted a retake with approved extenuating circumstances.

For further information and for details about funding your study, scholarships and bursaries, please see our Postgraduate Fees & Funding pages [].

Other Costs

For each course you may find that there are additional costs. These may be with regard to the specific clothing, materials or equipment required. Some courses provide opportunities for you to undertake field work or field trips. Where these are compulsory, the cost for travel and accommodation will be covered by the University and so is included in your fee. Where these are optional, you will normally be required to pay your own transport, accommodation and general living costs.

With regards to text books, the University provides students who enrol with a comprehensive reading list and you will find that our extensive library holds either material or virtual versions of the core texts that you are required to read. However, you may prefer to purchase some of these for yourself and you will be responsible for this cost.

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

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.

Learn from Experts

Throughout this degree, students may receive tuition from professors, senior lecturers, lecturers, researchers, practitioners, visiting experts or technicians, and they may also be supported in their learning by other students.

Lynn Hewison

Academic Contact

Your Future Career

Career and Personal 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.

Careers Services

The University Careers and Employability Team offer qualified advisors who can work with you to provide tailored, individual support and careers advice during your time at the University. As a member of our alumni we also offer one-to-one support in the first year after completing your course, including access to events, vacancy information and website resources; with access to online vacancies and virtual and website resources for the following two years.

This service can include one-to-one coaching, CV advice and interview preparation to help you maximise your future opportunities.
The service works closely with local, national and international employers, acting as a gateway to the business world.

Visit our Careers Service pages here


At Lincoln, we constantly invest in our campus as we aim to provide the best learning environment for our students. Whatever the area of study, the University strives to ensure students have access to specialist equipment and resources, to develop the skills, which they may need in their future career.

Minster House, adjacent to the laboratories, provides specialist facilities for the study of animal behaviour. Our links with local, national and international partners may provide postgraduate students with opportunities for further collaboration with scientists in industry, government and academia.

Our School of Life Sciences' courses are based in The Joseph Banks Laboratories and Minster House, the first buildings of the Lincoln Science and Innovation Park. These are in addition to our fantastic purpose-built Science Building, and is a direct example of our growth as a School over recent years.

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.