Human-Animal Studies Courses in Great Britain

This is a list of colleges and universities in Great Britain that provide courses in Human-Animal studies.  This includes the name of the college, the name of the course, who is teaching the course, and brief description of the course that the instructor will be covering.


Bath Spa University

Reading Animals

Greg Garrard, English

Goldsmiths, University of London

Sex, Gender. Species

Lynn Turner, Visual Cultures

This course asks how animal and sexual differences matter in a range of contemporary art, films and literature. Recent years have shown a surge of interest in what Derrida’s late writings name ‘the animal question’, that is to say, the philosophical tendency to divide ‘man’ from ‘animal’ and for this difference to allow for a ‘non-criminal putting to death’ of the latter. This course provides an in depth investigation into the ‘logics’ that erect this critical division while also addressing what is a frequent gap in critical animal studies: the interface with gender and sexuality. Thus this course will also include study of works by new feminist materialists (Alaimo, Haraway, Hird, Braidotti). These will enable the ways that ‘the feminine’ is problematically figured in relation to both ‘the animal’ and to a supposedly neutral and human ‘subject’ to come into view. It will also consider how the sexual locates a key intersection with species and may open paths to new ones. In opening new paths between or within species the course points to what some are now calling the posthumanities.

Keele University

Animals and Society

Daniel Allen, Geography

Non-human animals interact with humans on a daily basis as wildlife, livestock, food, clothing, companions, beasts of burden, entertainment and therapy. Geography has had a pivotal role in shaping these everyday lives and deaths, and influencing these human-animal interactions and identities. `Animals and Society’ draws from research in animal geographies to explore and understand these complex relationships across space and time. The main aims are to (1) further student knowledge and comprehension of the concepts and debates in animal geographies; and (2) demonstrate how critical geographic understandings of human-animal interactions contribute to historical, socioeconomic and cultural understandings of society.

Lancaster University

Animals, Science and Society 

Richard Twine, Sociology

This module aims to examine the ways in which contemporary developments in science and technology impact upon ethical and social relationships between humans and other animals, and to consider the novel ethical and social aspects of such new developments. It situates these novel aspects against an account of the social history of human/animal relations. This option draws upon the emerging literature in the sociology of human/animal relations, cross-disciplinary Critical Animal Studies, including complimentary literature from geographers and feminists.

Middlesex University

Representing Animals in Fiction 1877 to the Present

Erica Fudge

Animals are central to our lives, and are central to the ways in which meaning is made in many literary texts. But the presence of animals in literary texts also allows us to see in new ways how those literary texts work. This module looks at a number of ways in which some modern writers have represented animals in fiction, and concentrates on two kinds of representation: the ‘animal life’ and contemporary scientific ‘fables’. Alongside some key literary texts – including Black Beauty, Lassie Come-Home, and The Island of Doctor Moreau – you will read materials from a range of areas – literary theory, philosophy, history, art history – and will be asked to think about what it means to represent; how representation can work in an ethical way; how literature can respond to, and act upon, wider political debates. Ultimately, you will be asked to think about the question, in what ways can the novel offer its readers a way into a new, possibly ethical relationship with animals? This module takes as its focus a number of literary texts and asks students to analyse them in the light of current theoretical and philosophical discussions of the place of animals. Divided into two sections, the module looks first at issues of subjectivity and the representation of animals; the second at three modern ‘fables’ and at questions of metamorphosis and morality. In the conclusion it uses Yann Martel’s Life of Pi as a way of thinking about why it is we represent animals.

Queen Mary University of London

Ecocinemas: Nature, Animals, and the Moving image

Anat Pick

This advanced final year option module examines the intersections of film studies and the emergent fields of critical animal studies and ecocinema. We explore some of the historical, formal, political and ethical aspects of the relationship between cinema, the natural world, and nonhuman animals. The recent environmental and ‘animal turn’ in film forges new ways of understanding cinema, its theorization, production and reception in a broadly ecological context. Building on existing approaches to film (such as cinematic realism, film’s industrial context, or film as a tool for social change), we will look at film not simply as representing the world in image and sound, but as part of the world: film as an environmental practice in its own right, or as a vehicle for addressing—and even transforming—humans’ relationship to ourselves and our fellow creatures. Our focus will be on the act of looking at, and constructing, ‘the animal’ and the natural world in film. We begin with the historical role of animals in the development of the cinematic medium and continue to films that place animals and the natural world at their centre. Along the way, we will debate cinema’s environmental impact, and film as a tool for reflection and advocacy in an age of ecological crisis.

Roehampton University

Animals, Culture and Society

Garry Marvin, Anthropology

Humans share their social and cultural environments with a wide variety of animals and for a wide variety of purposes. Animals are domesticated and used for food, clothing, and transport; hunted for subsistence and sport; worshipped, sacrificed, tabooed, and vilified in religions; represented in art, literature and film; incorporated into homes and families as pets; used as models for humans in a range of experimental situations; they are anthropomorphised; put on display in zoos and natural history museums and made to entertain in circuses; are the focus of debates about human nature in moral philosophy and theology; and they are studied in a wide range of scientific practices. This course explores the spaces which animals occupy in human social cultural worlds and the interactions humans have with them. Central to this course will be an exploration of the ways in which animal lives intersect with human societies in a cross-cultural examination of how different human groups construct a range of identities for themselves and for others in terms of animals.

Ruskin College, Oxford

Animals and Humans: Whose History?

Hilda Kean, History

This module develops students thinking on the nature of history – and the subjects of history. It explores the way in which human history is taken as a given and seeks to explore the historical and cultural position of animals in society both as a way of understanding but also challenging set ideas of human history. After having successfully completed this module students will be able to:  1.  Demonstrate critical understanding of the way that the past has been constructed as simply a human past; 2. Understand the limits of knowledge in the development of  historical and cultural understandings which acknowledge the role of non- human animals in human pasts; 3. Critically analyse  information which might be obtained through re-visiting ‘given’ pasts through the lens of animals; and 4. Evaluate the appropriateness  of  applying historical concepts and those from other subjects to the study of animals’ history.

Southampton University

Perspectives of Human-Animal Interactions

Anne McBride

The aim of this module is to introduce students to the diverse and multidisciplinary study of human-animal interactions. It will draw on the student’s understanding of animal behaviour and human psychology, in particular their knowledge of development, attachment, communication, attitudes and beliefs and learning theory. A special feature is the emphasis on critical thinking and analysis; debate and discussion, challenging of one’s own currently held views.

University of Bristol

Society and Nature

Maggie Studholme, Sociology

Animal Planet

Andy Flack

Animal Studies is an emergent field which embraces insights from across the Arts and Sciences. The study of human relationships with nonhuman animals offers an opportunity to investigate the human place in a more-than-human world. The period from 1800 to the present day has seen important transformations in the way in which humans have interacted with animal life. The rise of zoos and safari parks, alongside the increased inclination to welcome animals into families as pets has resulted in animals occupying parts of the human world which they had not inhabited before. Moreover, the treatment of animals and their habitats as resources, the development of scientific knowledge of animal bodies, the more recent positioning of animals in a seemingly threatened natural world, and ways of representing animals through film and television show that animals can be looked at, understood and treated in an astonishing diversity of ways. Central Thematic concerns will include: How do the relationships between humans and other animals reflect the human relationship with the rest of the natural world? What do changing ideas about animals, and changing relationships with animals, reveal about larger historical transformations? What can we tell about the nature of power and domination from the study of human-animal relationships? How can animals impact upon the ‘human’ world? Why is it important to understand the contradictions inherent in our relationships with animals?

University of Chester

Theology and Religious Studies

David Clough and Celia Deane-Drummond

The Department of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Chester has an active research programme focussed at the interface between Christian theology and animals with a small group of PhD students.

University of Edinburgh

Masters in Animal Welfare, Ethics and Law

International concern for animal welfare continues to grow with increasing demand for measures to protect animals and improve animal quality of life. In a number of surveys, eight out of ten respondents believe that animal welfare is a key priority for a civilized society. Animals are a hugely important part of our world, relied upon for food, used as research models, companions, working animals, for sport and in recreation. Understanding and enhancing animal welfare is necessary for protecting not only animal health – but also human health and environmental protection. The University of Edinburgh has a long-standing reputation for the delivery of gold standard research led teaching and the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies has extensive staff expertise in animal health and welfare, which has been strengthened further by the development of the JMICAWE and their continued collaboration with the SRUC Animal and Veterinary Sciences Group, now housed within the Easter Bush Research Consortium. Students on the programme come from a variety of backgrounds including: Veterinary science, zoology, biological science, pharmacology and animal/equine science. Students also come from various parts of the world, for example: UK and Ireland, Europe, USA and Canada, South Africa etc.

University of Exeter

Masters and PhD in Anthrozoology

The MA in Anthrozoology is of interest to anyone who would like to investigate the many and varied ways in which humans perceive, engage, compete and co-exist with non-human animals in a range of cultural contexts. It will be especially relevant in terms of CPD for individuals who are involved with the care of non-human animals in a professional capacity (e.g. vets, veterinary nurses/technicians, animal trainers, dog wardens, zoo keepers, conservationists, charity workers etc.), as well as for students who have completed social science undergraduate degrees or who have a science background and would like to expand their research interests into the social sciences. The Anthrozoology MA is available either residentially or by way of blended (distance) learning.

Geography: Animal Geographies.

Henry Buller

Applied Anthrozoology

The aims of the module are to: 1) enable students to explore and critically reflect upon the applied dimension of anthrozoological research;  2) offer students already employed in a related profession to put what they are learning in the classroom into practice and consider how their anthrozoological knowledge might be utilised to improve human-animal interactions in their working environment; and 3) provide students who are hoping to pursue a career in a related field to engage in work experience which will enable them to put what they have learned in the classroom into practice and provide them with valuable transferable skills for future employment.

Anthrozoology: Theory and Methods

Samantha Hurn

This module (and the MA in Anthrozoology more generally) is grounded in socio-cultural anthropology, and therefore prioritises a cross-cultural, comparative approach to anthrozoology. As a result, you will be encouraged to think about unfamiliar as well as familiar ways of being with animals, which will often require you to set aside any ‘cultural baggage’ or preconceptions, and adopt a reflexive approach to emotive issues such as blood sports and animal sacrifice. While an anthropological approach to anthrozoology has numerous advantages, the traditional focus of anthropologists on the human animal also raise some significant theoretical and methodological issues which must be confronted in pursuit of an anthrozoological agenda. For example, are humans the only cultured species? What are the ethical implications of classifying humans in opposition to other animals? How can we begin to understand and interpret inter- or multi-species interactions? What are the risks and gains of bringing animals into the social sciences? These issues and many more besides will be explored via a selection of ethnographic case studies and a close reading of a range of seminal texts and the resulting theoretical discussions.

University of Leeds

Human/Animal Machine

Postcolonialism, Animals and the Environment

Graham Huggan, English

University of Liverpool

At the University of Liverpool we offer an online Module at Masters level called “Animals and Society” which will commence 2nd September 2019 for the term and is open to anyone. The aim of this course is to introduce the role of social sciences in the study of animal health and of the impacts of animals in society (focusing on contemporary issues in Europe and Africa). It covers key concepts and qualitative research methods related to the application of social sciences to animal health issues. It also explores issues related to the roles of animals in different societies, differing scientific paradigms and the role of research in policy and decision-making. Themes include:

• Human-Animal Interactions (which includes societal views on health, animals as risk and the interplay between human and animal health);
• Science, Evidence & Policy (which includes Science, uncertainty & decision-making, Animal disease control and Animal health controversies);
• Animals & Livelihoods (which covers Engaging communities, Animals & international development and Animal Care in low and middle income countries).

The teaching and learning strategy allows students to study at a distance in an online forum that encourages interaction between professional peers as well as the teaching staff, while maintaining flexibility to be available to working professionals on a part time basis. The module comprises introductory lectures and tutorials that enable debate and reflection and uses guided and self-directed preparatory reading. Assessment is through contribution to tutorials, the online learning log, and an essay.

Tutors Include:

  • Dr Carri Westgarth Lecturer in Human-Animal Interaction, UoL
  • Dr Gina Pinchbeck Reader in Veterinary Epidemiology UoL
  • Dr Sophia Latham Lecturer in Epidemiology and AXA Research Fellowship UoL
  • Dr Andrew Stringer DirGlobal Health Education &Dir Global Health Initiatives, North Carolina State University
  • Prof Rob Christley Honorary Professor UoL

For more information about the course: E-mail: Tel: 0151 7946016 Web:

University of Sheffield

Sheffield Animal Studies Research Center

The Sheffield Animal Studies Research Centre aims to become the preeminent location internationally for research in the Arts and Humanities and Social Sciences (and these areas’ interactions with other fields of research) that considers nonhuman animals and human–animal relations. The Centre is led by Dr. Robert McKay, Dr. John Miller (English) and Dr. Alasdair Cochrane (Politics).

Humans, Animals, Monsters and Machines: From Gulliver’s Travels to King Kong

John Miller, English

Since the last decade of the twentieth century, the emerging critical fields of posthumanism and animal studies have approached the ‘human’ as an increasingly unstable and contested term. For posthumanists, technoscientific advances (genetic engineering and artificial intelligence, for example) have contributed to new modes of being for which conventional notions of ‘humanity’ are inadequate. At the same time, animal studies, arising out of concerns at the fate of other species in our industrial age, has questioned whether humans can really be considered ethically and biologically exceptional from other animals. The common result of posthumanism and animal studies is that ‘human’ may no longer mean what we thought it meant. Although these debates often focus on contemporary culture, the eighteenth, nineteenth and early twentieth centuries are seminal periods for thinking through the complexities and ambiguities that surround understandings of ‘the human’. Industrialisation, urbanisation, technological innovation, Empire, Darwinism and the rise of environmental and animal welfare movements all had radical impacts on the way that ‘humanity’ was perceived and represented. This module, therefore, examines imaginings of the ‘human’ in relation to machines and animals (and those monsters that are neither one thing nor the other) throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and into the twentieth. We will focus for the most part on prose fiction (with one week on poetry), its historical and cultural contexts and on selected readings from the period’s key thinkers of human being (including Rousseau, Marx and Freud), alongside more recent theories of humans, posthumans and animals. The module’s aim is to encourage critical engagement with this key issue and to facilitate a deeper appreciation of the period’s literature, culture and politics, including the relationship of discourses of technology and species to discourses of class, gender and race.

Darwin, Evolution and the Nineteenth-Century Novel

John Miller, English

Darwin’s work comprises one of the most far-reaching and radical upheavals in nineteenth-century thought with an impact that extended far beyond natural history, permeating into politics, religion, literature and popular culture. Terms such as ‘natural selection’ and ‘survival of the fittest’ (in fact a phrase of Herbert Spencer’s) quickly became cultural commonplaces, serving a range of ideological and imaginative purposes, often through their intimate association with later developments in the century including eugenics, Social Darwinism and degeneration theory. Taking these contexts as a starting point, this course examines the multifaceted influence of evolutionary theory on nineteenth-century fiction while also considering the ways in which natural history writing was itself a significant literary genre. Consequently, we will pay close attention to issues of both biological and textual form, and to one of the Victorian period’s fundamental questions: what does it mean to be human?

No Animals were Harmed in the Making of this Module.

Robert McKay, English

Animals have played a crucial role in the development of film as an artistic medium, from the literal use of animal products in film stock to the capturing of animal movement as a driver of stop-motion, wide-screen and CGI film technology. In terms of content and form, the wish to picture animals’ lives, whether naturalistically or playfully, has led to the establishment of key genres such as wildlife film and animation. By analysing a range of key animal films in relation to the literary texts that inspired them, the module will look at and beyond these major aspects of animals in film to consider: animals’ role in different film genres from arthouse to documentary to horror; the range of literal and symbolic ways animals appear in film; animals in the film star-system; animal lives and the ethics of film-making; adaptation and the different challenges of filmic and literary representation of animals.

Theory, Animals and the Environment

Robert McKay, English

This course will offers answers to the question: if language is fundamentally “human”, what happens when we think about literature from a perspective beyond humanity’s? Even while real animals and untouched natural spaces disappear at an increasing rate from the world, their representations resurface everywhere in cultural life. Of course, there are many well-established discourses for thinking and debating about animals and the environment, from natural history and popular science to green politics and the philosophy of animal rights. However, the very different questions about the meaning and value of “nature” that are raised by twentieth-century literature and theory are rarely heard. There will be a course pack and we will relate the theory material to three literary texts: Margaret Atwood’s Surfacing, and J. M. Coetzee’s The Lives of Animals, and Barry Lopez’s Arctic Dreams. Students will also be encouraged to apply the discussion to literary texts from core courses (e.g. Restoration, Romantic, or Victorian literature) and the course will provide valuable contexts for studying Modern Literature and Contemporary Literature.

The Animal in Postcolonial Writing & the Writing of Race

Robert McKay, English

This module studies the literary representation of animals and human‐animal relations in twentieth century postcolonial fiction and writings of race. Perhaps the most visible legacy of colonialism is its impact on indigenous fauna and landscapes (both urban and rural). On the other hand, as Gayatri Spivak has pointed out, the colonial project was regularly legitimised by claims that indigenous peoples had not “graduated into humanhood”: they were, more or less, animals. Equally, the American theorist of race Marjorie Speigel has examined the “dreaded comparison” of blackness and animality in the discourses of race and slavery. On this module, we will study how writers have challenged these logics not by celebrating “the human” but by thinking about animal life and the ethical complexity of human‐animal relations in order to challenge understandings of human identity in a transnational world. Authors studied will include many from America and Canada as well as from South Africa and Australia, such as Margaret Atwood, Timothy Findley, Zora Neale Hurston, Yann Martel, Alice Walker and J. M. Coetzee.

Animal Writes: Beasts and Humans in Fiction

Robert McKay, English

It is an intriguing paradox that authors have so often used the very highest literary resources of language—the single defining factor that we usually think separates us from animals—to bridge the gap between us and the non-human. In this module we will survey a range of literary texts in which the animals, their lives and their minds, and humans’ relations with animals are central concerns. We will cover texts such as Orwell’s famous allegory Animal Farm, and other texts by H. G. Wells, Virginia Woolf, continuing up to contemporary novels by Yann Martell and J. M. Coetzee. Along the way we will explore questions such as: how have 20th Century writers re-written the animal fable form (one of the oldest literary modes)? Under what literary conditions does the most successful animal story appear? How does writing about animals alter in authors of different race, nation, or gender? And, perhaps most topically: does literary writing have any ethical potential to help us think about how humans relate to animals?

University of Sterling

Human-Animal Interaction Masters Program

This MSc will introduce students to interdisciplinary approaches and a diverse range of methods used to research our relationships with other species. This course introduces a broad range of topics and considers human-animal interactions across a diverse range of contexts from pet owning to animal assisted interventions, zoos, farms and conservation.

University of Winchester

Masters in Animal Welfare Science, Ethics and Law (ONLINE)

This 100% online program provides a strong grounding in animal welfare science, ethics and law. Students gain the necessary skills to develop a scientifically rigorous assessment of the welfare state of animals in a diverse variety of settings, and master the main ethical theories concerning our relationships with other animals. Students learn about the diversity of settings in which animals live or are used, including farming, transportation and slaughter, laboratories, homes, zoos and various other entertainment locales, and about free-ranging animals in natural environments. The core modules include:

  • Research Preparation and Development
  • Animals and Society
  • Animal Interest, Capacities and Ethical Considerations
  • Animal Behaviour and Psychological States
  • Animal Welfare Issues I
  • Animal Welfare Issues II
  • Dissertation


University of Warwick

The Question of the Animal

Jonathan Skinner
In an age of mass extinction, the meanings of human being and the uses of technology seem drawn into a circle bounded by the question of the animal. Through philosophical, artistic, literary, cultural, religious, and scientific studies, this module focuses on the trouble animals bring to human self-understanding. The investigation proceeds both as an inquiry from within the Western tradition, which locates humanity in an expulsion of the animal, and as an examination of traditions in which the differences between humans and animals are more varied and integrated. Themes include the wild and the tame, meat, religion, animal rights, sex and gender, race, languages, colonialism, companion animals, and animal representations and performances. Discussions focus around cultural cases drawn from literature, the arts, and contemporary media. The seminar aims both to cover some of the history of cultural relations to the animal and to help participants theorize the “animal” in their own engagement with humanist tradition. The seminar thus also includes a basic introduction to “posthumanist” theory, from Heidegger through poststructuralism to systems theory, feminist, postcolonial and science studies.

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