Two monkeys at the zoo
MRes, Postgraduate Diploma, Postgraduate Certificate


Typical offer: 2:1 honours degree (2:2 applicants considered individually)

Duration: 1-3 years; full-time and part-time options

Awarding body: Hartpury University

Apply for this course here:


Course overview

This research-focused degree is ideal for those who want to develop and discover new scientific expertise around the wide and varied area of human and animal interaction.

You'll be supported to build on existing expertise in anthrozoology through research, preparing for PhD study or advancing your career.

You’ll gain a deeper insight into the role of animals in society, as well as how humans and animals co-exist from a historic and contemporary perspective. You’ll also explore the role of animals in healing and their role in cultures and religions.

Research-active lecturers and professors will support you to advance knowledge gained from your first degree or employment. You’ll learn how to develop practical solutions for existing and emerging challenges in human-animal interaction, focusing your research on your interests and career aspirations.

You’ll have access to a diverse range of species from our own animal collection – domestic animals, exotics, invertebrates and amphibians – as well as a wealth of wildlife across our 360-hectare conservation-style site. We’re also home to equine and canine therapy centres, as well as specialist dog agility activities and expertise.

Our strong industry connections with human-animal experts, animal therapists, animal trainers and zoos will further enhance your experiences and extend your professional networks. Delivery is flexible and often provided at weekends to fit around your work or other commitments.

Apply now Contact us: +44 (0)1452 702244

What you'll study

What you'll study


This degree will equip you with the expertise needed to develop practical solutions for existing and emerging problems centred around animal-human interactions.

You’ll explore how humans co-exist and impact on animals through conservation, exploitation and as companions, as well as debating the ethical issues surrounding anthrozoology. Key topics include the human-animal bond, wildlife conflict and contemporary issues surrounding human-animal interaction.

Taught modules have been designed to advance your skills in critically evaluating current research, and develop your abilities in research design and statistical analysis.

These skills, along with one-to-one support, will allow you to understand and apply current scientific thinking to welfare issues, enabling you to evaluate and develop new ideas to improve real-world practice.

The practical and theoretical skills you will gain will enhance your career prospects and can be applied in future scientific research and applied areas of human-animal interactions, including education, legislation, working with animal charities, zoos and conservation organisations.

Your dissertation project, which provides opportunities for academic publishing, will be a piece of original research that will make a valuable contribution to the field of anthrozoology.

This project is highly flexible, providing freedom for you to research your chosen topic in line with your interests and career aspirations.

You’ll also be encouraged to attend industry conferences, with opportunities to present research in key areas – this provides a great foundation for you to develop your knowledge and reputation, as well as industry networks.

Postgraduate Certificate and Postgraduate Diploma

These qualifications form part of and are at the same level as the full master’s degree. They provide the ideal opportunity for you to develop your professional expertise via shorter qualifications, whilst allowing flexibility to progress each qualification through to the next level, including the full master’s degree.


Below you’ll find the compulsory modules for this course. You’ll also be able to choose from a range of optional modules to suit your interests and career goals. Optional modules change each year in line with student, industry and research demands.

Compulsory modules

An introduction to ethical and philosophical principles, providing underpinning concepts for the applied aspects of the programme. Topics covered include human evolution and animal domestication, theories and principles of human psychology, and the impact of the human-animal bond on animal behaviour and welfare.

Optional for PG Dip and PG Cert.

Discuss research methodologies and applications, as well as strengths, weaknesses and limitations of different methods.

Develop and undertake a detailed and independent research project on a topic of your choosing, related
to your Master of Research degree.

Analyse contemporary areas of welfare concern including evidence for sentience and positive welfare
states. Explore appropriate solutions to overcoming the barriers to improving animal welfare in the real

Optional for PG Dip and PG Cert.

Explore the industries for companion animals and equines, covering a range of topics, from how animals
are sourced (eg pet shops and breeders) to their use in sporting disciplines, therapy animals, animals in education and military / police animals.

Optional modules

Explore zoological institutions as well as areas surrounding performance animals, pest control, population management and game rearing. This module will touch on important international legislation, such as CITES.

Examine the use of animals within scientific contexts, from research to authorisation and licensing of both human and veterinary medicines, and how animal use is justified through a cost-benefit framework.

Explore the drivers of and solutions for human wildlife conflict.  In the module you will discuss and debate the ecological, social, and economic impacts of wildlife conflict and conservation.

Anthrozoology is the study of human‐animal interactions, exploring the impact animals have on our lives,
and the impact they have on ours.

You will contextualise your understanding of behaviour and welfare to animals kept as companions (e.g.
dogs, cats, horses), exploring how variation in the human‐animal bond has impacted on their welfare.
Furthermore, you will explore how animal welfare can be practically assessed and positive changes
enacted in these real‐world contexts.

Please visit our document library for more module information.

Further module information

How you'll study

How you'll study

We're committed to supporting you to fulfil your unique potential while you're here so that you can achieve your personal and professional goals. This course will be delivered through a mixture of weekend and weekday onsite delivery, but some of the modules will be delivered entirely online.

Your support network

You'll benefit from a strong support network from day one. This will range from your lecturers, supervisors and personal tutor to our specialist academic (Achievement and Success Centre), employability (Innovation, Careers and Enterprise) and wellbeing teams.

Your learning experiences

You'll experience a range of teaching methods to strengthen your understanding of topics, including lectures, workshops and practical sessions.

Further details

One year, full-time

You can study each of these qualifications full-time and subsequently complete each within one year.

Two-three years, part-time

Alternatively, we offer flexible part-time options to help students to manage their studies alongside other commitments. These options can be tailored to suit your own needs, enabling you to complete your qualification in two or three years. Please enquire for further details.

Upon successful completion of your modules you’ll gain academic credit that accumulates towards your award. The marks you gain may contribute towards your final qualification differential award (pass, merit or distinction).

The modules contain a mixture of scheduled learning – lectures, workshops and practical sessions – alongside independent learning. Students are expected to dedicate at least two to three hours of independent study per contact hour. Your course may also include work placement learning as part of some modules.

Contact learningPlacement learningIndependent learning
MRes degree12%0%88%
Postgraduate Diploma20%0%80%
Postgraduate Certificate21%0%79%

Teaching contact time and method will vary depending on the optional module that you choose to study.

You’ll be assessed through a mixture of written exams, practical exams and written assignments.

Many of the modules will be marked based on a mixture of assessment types, whilst others will be based solely on one type of assessment. Feedback will be given verbally, in writing and during taught sessions.

Written examPractical examCoursework
MRes degree4%17%79%
Postgraduate Diploma6%16%78%
Postgraduate Certificate12%20%68%

The full-time MRres programme is taught over three semesters, normally consisting of 12 weeks of scheduled teaching in semesters one and two, then assessment weeks. For the postgraduate certificate and diploma, your teaching will primarily be in semester one, with some teaching potentially in semester two.

The bulk of taught content will be completed on weekends in semester one, with taught content also taking place in semester two, but the primary focus in semesters two and three will be your research project.

A timetable overview is below:

  • Scheduled teaching generally takes place across block weekends (Friday – Sunday)
  • Delivery on the teaching weekends is normally scheduled between 9.00am – 5.00pm
  • Attendance dates and timetables are available before enrolment to support the arrangement of annual leave where required


Professional practice

Some optional modules require you to reflect on your current professional practice, so if you are currently working in a role in the animal industry (voluntary, paid, full or part-time), this will be an ideal supplement to your studies.

Field trips

The optional Wildlife Conflict module includes a 10-day residential stay on a game reserve in South Africa, studying the relationships between wildlife and local populations. The field trip has an associated cost (see fees section), but represents a fantastic opportunity to study this unique human-animal ecosystem with our expert academic staff. Places for this field trip are limited.

Graduate destinations

The research component of this degree makes it ideal for those wishing to undertake more significant academic research via a PhD or those who wish to advance a specific area of their professional practice.

Students have gone on to undertake their doctorate, as well as securing professional roles or progressing existing roles working within the animal and human sectors (zoos, domestic animal organisations, human therapy and care centres).

Our careers team can support you to find and prepare for employment. Potential graduate destinations include:

  • PhD study
  • Conservation sector (eg. public education)
  • Working to safeguard the welfare of companion animals in various sectors (pet, working)
  • Animal-assisted therapy centres/organisations
  • Starting your own business providing advice on human-animal wellbeing


Valegro on water treadmill in Hartpury Equine Theerapy Centre

World-class facilities

You’ll have access to a diverse range of facilities while you’re here, many of which are newly built and world class. Some teaching will take place around these areas to demonstrate the practical implications of the academic learning that you’re undertaking, but potentially you’ll also be able to use these resources for your research project.

Alongside lectures halls and workshop spaces, these include:

Animal collection

You’ll have access to Hartpury’s diverse animal collection, which includes domestic animals, exotics, invertebrates and amphibians, as well as a wide range of wildlife across our 360-hectare rural site, which provides a conservation area. We also have our own canine hydrotherapy centre and dog agility activities.

Equine Centre

We’re home to a modern Equine Centre that includes international competition arenas hosting equestrian athletes each week, a research-active equine therapy centre, as well as stabling for 230 horses.

Laboratory and specialist equipment

Our laboratories are modern and well equipped, providing the ideal spaces for scientific activities and research. Some are used for specialist microbiological culturing and analysis, others for biochemistry and physiology. In addition, we have specialist kit (eg. force plates) and spaces for use in the study of areas relevant to behaviour and welfare, such as biomechanics.

Home Farm and Agri-Tech Centre

Our award-winning livestock farm and agricultural technology centre are home to specialist data collection and research equipment. Many animal students choose to progress their studies here to enhance the science underpinning behaviour and welfare in related fields.

Study spaces

Our University Learning Centre has books, journals, ebooks, computers and breakout study spaces. In addition, we have a Study Lounge – an informal space with sports equipment, study booths and chill-out spaces to support both studying and relaxation. Postgraduate students also have a specially designated study area with 24-hour access.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements


2:1 honours degree in a relevant subject. Students with 2:2 and relevant experience will be considered on a case by case basis.


Students with non-relevant qualifications but with sufficient work experience or professional experience will be considered on an individual basis.


In addition to the academic qualification an IELTS 6.5 or equivalent is required.

Please contact us for further information:

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Fees and funding

Tuition fees and financial support

Please visit our student finance page for information on tuition fees and student loans, as well as non-repayable grants, bursaries and scholarships, eligible to different groups, to support with study costs.

MRes Bursary

You may be eligible for a £1,000 bursary to support your research project. Please visit our finance page for more details.

Below you'll find extra costs associated with studying this course, as well as costs associated with living and extra-curricular activities that might be of interest.

Clothing and footwear

A number of modules require clothing and footwear suitable to wear outdoors when working with animals, eg. long trousers and boots.

Hartpury University branded clothing is also available through our online shop, for those who wish to purchase it. However, this is not essential.

Optional field trips (circa £1,500)

The optional module Wildlife Conflict – optional at all levels – offers a field trip to South Africa to study conflicts that arise between local populations and wildlife and how these are positively managed. Places for this field trip are limited.

Accommodation and living costs

Please visit our student accommodation page for details.

Innovating for zoo animals

Our exciting research explores the important area of human-animal interaction in zoos, discovering how behaviour, health and welfare are affected in both the zoo animals and the humans they connect with in this setting.

We're improving mutual understanding and optimising wellbeing, so that both parties thrive. Our findings are influencing important guidance and pioneering innovative research in this area.

Get in touch

We would love to hear from you, so please get in touch. You can ask a specific question or simply pop your details in to be kept up-to-date with news and events.

A leading UK land-based university

Our lecturers are among the best in the field. Many are producing cutting-edge research that’s influencing best practice across industry, with interests ranging from conservation to canine training to human-animal relationships in zoos.

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Important information

Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of our published course information, however our programmes are reviewed and developed regularly. Changes or cancellation of courses may be necessary to ensure alignment with emerging employment areas, to comply with accrediting body requirements, revisions to subject benchmark statements or as a result of student feedback. We reserve the right to make necessary changes and will notify all offer-holders of changes as and when they occur.

*Reflects activities after 15 months for those full-time, two years students who graduated in 2019.