Dog shaking a student's hand in Hartpury lab
BSc (Hons)

Human-Animal Interaction with Psychology

UCAS Code: D3C8

Typical offer: 104 UCAS tariff points or equivalent

Duration: 3 or 4 years full time; part-time available

Placement year: Optional

Awarding body: Hartpury University

Apply for this course here:


Course overview

Understand the fascinating and essential human-animal bond and the science behind it. Explore the role of animals as pets, in zoos, on farms, in therapy and in conservation.

Our Human-Animal Interaction degree is the first of its kind in the UK. Animals play a central role in our lives and we have a huge impact on their wellbeing, as they do on ours.

You’ll explore this relationship and learn how to manage, protect and promote our mutual bond to enhance people’s lives, animal welfare and the environment. Our 70-species Animal Collection will provide opportunities to interact with different animals and observe this relationship first-hand.

You’ll explore the human-animal bond in terms of human psychology, and consider the complexities of our interactions with animals; which range from using animals as resources to improving our mental and physical wellbeing. You’ll study the fundamentals in animal health, behaviour and welfare, to understand the needs of animals.

The human-animal bond is key to success in so many industries, and so your career options are excitingly diverse.

Graduates can confidently apply their knowledge of psychology, animal behaviour, and anthrozoology to the ethical and sustainable practice of interactions between humans and animals from small scale practical management through to wider impacts on both people and animals within society.

How to apply Contact us: +44 (0)1452 702244

What you'll study

What you'll study

This course is comprised of both compulsory and optional modules, which you'll be able to choose from to suit your interests and career goals.

You’ll gain an in-depth understanding of the key topics in the field of human-animal interaction. Core subjects will range from psychology, animal behaviour and welfare, and anthrozoology, to biology and animals in society.

Optional modules change each year in line with student, industry and research demands - you'll find recent topics studied below. You can attend introductory sessions for optional modules before deciding which ones to study.

Level four (year one)

Your first year will give you a fundamental understanding in a wide range of areas, including animal behaviour and welfare, health and disease, animal biology and human psychology. Having this foundation will help you to succeed in your studies.

Compulsory modules

An introduction to the fundamental principles and concepts of human psychology and how these relate to the human-animal bond. This includes social, developmental, cognitive and abnormal psychology.

The study of interactions and relationships between humans and animals.

Examine the anatomy and physiology of animals.

Understand how diseases affect animals. Learn how to apply informed decision making to maintain health across a range of animals.

Gain a fundamental understanding of the key factors affecting animal behaviour, stress, abnormal behaviours, the influence of management systems on animal welfare, and legislation.

Develop key academic and professional skills and the personal attributes needed to be successful in a career in the animal industry.

Develop key academic and vocational skills and the personal attributes needed to be successful in a career in the animal industry. This module includes a requirement to undertake work experience with a pre-approved provider.

Optional modules

There are no optional modules during this year. Your learning is focused on compulsory modules to ensure you have a thorough understanding of key topics to prepare you for module choices in your subsequent years.

Level five (year two)

You’ll explore how animals are used in different human-animal interactions and how their wellbeing can be ensured. You’ll delve deeper into human psychology and start to consider research ideas for your final year dissertation. Choose optional modules that match your interests and goals, whether that’s the use of animals in the classroom, their training, or the nuances of equine behaviour.

Compulsory modules

The application of psychology to human-animal interactions; such as abnormal, consumer and evolutionary psychology.

Appreciate and apply the principles of how we can positively influence human behaviour in relation to animals and the environment.

Explore the contexts, such as therapy, the legal and ethical frameworks, and critically evaluate the evidence for the effects of such interactions on humans and animals.

Design and implement studies that measure animal behaviour. Learn a range of methods supporting measurement in a variety of contexts, such as captive and wild.

This module introduces students to the process of academic research, methods of research and analysis,
helping to prepare them for reading research literature and conducting research projects in the future.

You will learn the roles that animals can play in educational settings, both formally and informally. You will evaluate the evidence base for their use, and analyse how their welfare can be safeguarded.

Optional modules

Professional Experience in the Animal Sector 1

This module will examine the behaviour and psychology of the domestic dog and cat and our ability to train these animals to meet our own needs. This module will investigate the role of training in the daily training for obedience, enrichment and husbandry practices. This will include evaluation of the different approaches to training of such animals, the ethical considerations and the justification of methods used.

Develop an understanding of behaviour of horses and the neurological pathways resulting in the development of these behaviours.

Integrated placement year (optional)

An optional integrated placement year between your second and final years allows you to put your knowledge and skills into practice and gain valuable industry experience. You could work within a zoo, rescue centre or laboratory, to learn more about how humans and animals interact.

You’ll also spend time working on your dissertation project. It’s a substantial research project exploring a topic of your choice. Placement opportunities within schools are often utilised to work collaboratively on projects relating to your dissertation.

If teaching is your goal, you’ll also use this year to start applying for teaching training routes, including PGCE’s. We’ll run a mock-PGCE interview day to support you through this process. You can also use this year to tailor your studies to suit a career outside teaching, if that’s what you prefer.

Level six (final year)

Your final year allows you to focus on areas of particular interest for your future career. You’ll undertake a research dissertation project, which enables you to experience being responsible for planning, implementing and reporting on a specialist topic. You’ll be exposed to contemporary challenges in the field of anthrozoology, build on your understanding of psychology, and can opt to study animal psychology.

Compulsory modules

This module involves independent research and analysis in an animal or agriculture‐related field with one
to‐one support from an academic.

Current developments in the field of anthrozoology such as human-animal interactions, animal-assisted therapy, animal-assisted interventions and animals in education.

Advanced concepts in psychology such as forensic psychology, neuropsychology, clinical psychology and positive psychology.

Undertake a period of volunteering within the sector to apply the theory learnt to date into practice.

Optional modules

Develop the ability to critically evaluate the evidence supporting cognitive abilities in non-human animals.

Students will build their knowledge of ethical philosophy and key equine welfare contributors/research to enable discussion of contemporary industry issues.

Enhance your knowledge of the welfare assessment and safeguarding of animals kept as companions (e.g. dogs, cats, horses), exploring how variation in the human-animal bond has impacted on their welfare.

Furthermore, you'll 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.

Your support network

You'll benefit from a strong support network from day one to be the best you can be. This will range from your personal tutor and specialist academic support team (our Achievement and Success Centre) to dedicated wellbeing and employability (Innovation, Careers and Enterprise) centres.

Your learning experiences

You'll experience a range of teaching methods to strengthen your digestion of topics, including lectures, workshops and practical sessions, as well as supported work placement learning as part of many courses.

Your career

Each year of your course will be made up of two semesters, within which you’ll study compulsory and optional modules on different industry-focused topics, enabling you to develop your own unique portfolio of knowledge, skills and experience, ready for your career.

Further details

You’ll have your own personal tutor while you’re here who will support you to succeed in your studies. You’ll also have access to our academic and wellbeing support teams who run regular workshops and one-to-one sessions on campus and online.

Alongside this, we have a comprehensive bank of online study skills resources to help you make the most of your qualification.

On successful completion of your modules you’ll gain academic credit that accumulates towards your award. The marks you gain in your second and third years may contribute towards your final degree classification.

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.

The course is taught in English.

YearContact learningPlacement learningIndependent learning
Level four (year one)29%1%70%
Level five (year two)23%0%77%
Placement year (optional)1%80%19%
Level six (final year)15%0%85%

You will 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 via a mixture of written bullet point-style feedback and/or oral feedback.

YearWritten examPractical examCoursework
Level four (year one)28%35%37%
Level five (year two)6%25%69%
Integrated placement year (optional)0%0%100%
Level six (final year)0%29%71%

Each year of this course is taught over two semesters, normally consisting of 12 weeks of scheduled teaching and then assessment weeks, with an overview below:

  • Scheduled teaching takes place between 8:30 to 20:30 Monday to Friday
  • Wednesday afternoons are normally reserved for sports and cultural activities
  • Work placements may entail different days and hours
  • Part-time students may need to attend learning activities five days each week, depending on modules selected
  • Timetables are available during enrolment week


Your career

Industry opportunities on this course are diverse to ensure you develop the skills, experience and connections needed for your graduate career. Many of our students secure graduate roles with their work placement employers.

Work placements and experience

These form part of compulsory modules, alongside an optional integrated placement year. We’ll support you to secure a placement with a UK-based or international employer, to match your interests and career goals – you’ll undertake coursework. Placements can be paid or unpaid, depending on the position. Students have worked with organisations such as the Blue Cross, West Midlands Safari Park, Guide Dogs for the Blind and BSAVA.

Our animal-related activities on campus also offer opportunities for students to gain industry experience ready for their careers – either on work placements or as part of voluntary roles. Alongside this, we’ll encourage you to find a voluntary role with a local organisation such as an animal rescue shelter, wildlife rehabilitation centre or a zoo.

Field trips and guest lecturers

Field trips and industry professionals in lectures form an important part of your learning, enabling you to experience different businesses, careers and best practices.

Recent field trips have included  places such as Guide Dogs for the Blind, Sequani Research Facility, Jamie’s Farm, Dogs for Good as well as others. Several field trips do not come with associated costs but there are some optional visits which do – please see the fees tab.

Recent guest lecturers have included conservationists, dog training professionals and zookeepers as well as those working within research in the field of Anthrozoology.

Study Internationally

Our Study Abroad programme means you can make the most of the opportunities to study a semester or full year of your degree at one of our partner institutions, while achieving credits towards your degree.

Graduate destinations

As a Human-Animal Interaction graduate, you may go on to work in zoos, aquariums, wildlife parks, rescue, conservation or welfare centres. You’ll also have the transferable skills you need for other graduate careers. Our careers team can support you to find and prepare to secure your perfect role. Recent graduate destinations have included:

  • Working within the charity sector for organisations such as Guide Dogs.
  • Working with education as lecturers or supporting staff.
  • Working within the zoo and wildlife sector as animal keepers.
  • Working within pet and related industries in animal welfare roles.
  • Working within allied veterinary industries.
  • Studying a master's degree.


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. Alongside lecture halls and workshop spaces, these include:


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.

Animal Collections

We have a variety of animal collections including both domestic and exotic species. Activities within these areas include handling, management and welfare assessments. Technologies to enhance our understanding of animals include thermal imaging and biomechanics analysis, as well as a range of behavioural measurement tools.

Canine and Equine Therapy Centres

Our commercial canine and equine therapy centres offer opportunities for students to gain industry experience ready for their careers.

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.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

  • UCAS | A typical offer for this course is 104 UCAS tariff points or equivalent.

  • GCSE | A minimum of five GCSEs at grade 9 to 4, (or A* to C grades if relevant) or equivalent, to include English Language, Mathematics and a Science.

  • A-Level | Typical offer is BCC or equivalent. This must include a minimum of two A Levels.

  • Vocational Award | Typical offer is a DMM in an Extended Diploma in a relevant subject.

  • Access | Typical offer is 104 UCAS tariff points in an Access to Higher Education

  • IB | Typical offer is 104 UCAS tariff points in an IB Diploma, to include a minimum of two Highers at H3 or above.

    This must also include Maths and English Language at a minimum of Standard Level S3 if equivalent GCSEs have not been obtained.

  • Scottish Highers | Typical offer is 104 UCAS tariff points in Scottish Highers. This must include a minimum of one  Higher and one Advanced Higher.

  • Irish Leaving Certificate | Typical offer is 104 UCAS tariff points in the Irish Leaving Certificate. This must include a minimum of two Highers. This must also include Maths and English Language at a minimum of Ordinary Level.

  • OCR Cambridge Technical | Typical offer is a DMM in a Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma in a relevant subject.

  • T Level | Typical offer is Merit in your T Level overall grade in a relevant subject.

  • The minimum academic entry requirement for this programme is 80 UCAS tariff or equivalent providing this is combined with relevant experience.

  • We welcome students with equivalent qualifications. Please contact us to discuss.

  • We may interview mature applicants and those with non-traditional qualifications to ensure this is the right course for you.

  • Previous learning towards a university-level qualification or relevant work experience may count as credit for this course.

  • Please contact us for further information:

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.

Below, you'll find extra costs associated with studying this course.

Clothing and footwear (circa £100)

You’ll need to purchase appropriate clothing and footwear before you enrol, or during enrolment week. We’ll let you know exactly what you need to purchase in your enrolment guide – everything is available from our supplier’s online shop for approximately £100.

Optional field trips (up to circa £150)

Many of the additional learning opportunities are included in the course fees. However, there are some modules where additional cost will be occurred.

  • Final year optional module, Wildlife and Zoo Management, offers an optional residential trip to a UK zoo costing around £150.

Accommodation and living costs

Please visit our student accommodation page for details.

We're rated gold

Did you know that Hartpury University is rated Gold in the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF). That means we're rated among the best in the UK for teaching quality.

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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.

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 who graduated in 2021.