Pennsylvania Courses

Delaware Valley College

Animal Science

People and Animals
Companion Animals
Animal Assisted Activities and Therapy

The course explores the use of AAA and AAT in different fields including education, psychology and physical therapy. By exploring the different areas, students will learn how to develop, present and implement an AAA/AAT program and gain an understanding of the responsibilities that go along with such programs.

Duquesne University Humane Leadership Major

This major is designed specifically for individuals working in, or who want to work in, animal care and protection. It provides specific knowledge that will support career goals in animal advocacy and shelter management. Students come from a variety of professions including animal control officers, humane educators, shelter managers, veterinary technicians and animal care volunteers. The humane leadership major combines a foundation in nonprofit management with a grounding in the history, philosophies, and issues related to animals. The program provides targeted, specific knowledge that will support career goals in shelter management, animal control, or animal advocacy.

Courses include:

CEHL 100 Cruelty to Animals and Interpersonal Violence
CEHL 205 Fundraising Basics and Financial Management
CEHL 206 Fundraising Philanthropy and Resource Development
CEHL 207 Studies in Humane Education
CEHL 208 Animal Health and Behavior in Shelter Environment
CEHL 303 Human Resource and Volunteer Development
CEHL 304 Compassion Fatigue
CEHL 305W Strategic Planning and Org Effectiveness
CEHL 306 Animal Protection as a Social Movement
CEHL 401W Marketing and Public Relations
CEHL 403 Nonprofit Boards of Directors
CEHL 404 Current Topics in Animal Sheltering

Other courses include:

Philosophy of Animals

Faith Bjalobok

This course examines the moral status of non-human animals in the western philosophical tradition. We will read such philosophers as Aristotle, Aquinas, Kant, Bentham, and Singer. The course also looks at the mercy perspective developed by Primatt and Scully.

Edinboro University of Pennsylvania


Social and Ethical Considerations

Irene Fiala

This course examines how human society is structured through interaction with non-human animals.  Topics include the ways in which human society has classified animals, how humans have exploited animals, how animals serve human needs and the consideration of ethical issues surrounding the use of animals for human purposes.  The content of this course will be grounded in the three main sociological perspectives: Functionalist Theory, Conflict Theory and Symbolic Interactionist Perspective.  Additionally, this course will examine how a socially constructed view of, and practices with, animals reinforce and perpetuate stratification rooted in inequalities such as racism, sexism and social class.


Elizabethtown College


Animal Ethics

Alexandria K. Poole


Harcum College

Animal Assisted Therapy

Phil Arkow

Distance Learning Course in Animal Assisted Therapies. This 10-week course, taught by internationally renowned human-animal bond and AAT author Phil Arkow, offers a Certificate of Completion; this Certificate may be eligible for employer reimbursement and Continuing Education Units depending upon the requirements of the student’s employer and/or professional association.

Lafayette College


Humans and Other Animals in Twentieth Century Literature and Culture

Carrie Rohman

This course investigates the ways in which non-human animals are situated within literary and cultural discourse and examines the more specific issue of “rights” for those animals.  We will seek to understand how various animals are valued and used in our culture, what ideas underlie such distinctions, and how these ideas have been challenged by recent work in animal rights philosophy.  The course begins with a broad introduction to the ways animals have been theorized within our own (Western) intellectual tradition and then engages the primary critical positions within animal rights debates.  These readings prepare us for the final segment of the course which examines representations of the human/animal boundary in (mostly) twentieth-century literature.  In our early discussions, we will look at questions of empathy and anthropocentrism (Walker, “Am I Blue?”) alongside philosophical and theoretical elaborations of the human/animal relationship (Freud and Bataille).  Our second unit examines classic philosophical work by Singer and Regan, and also looks at more contemporary critiques of that work (Slicer).  Among our literary considerations will be the role of Enlightenment rationality in relation to science and humanism at the turn of the twentieth century (Wells, The Island of Dr. Moreau), the reversal of traditional humanist hierarchies in science fiction texts (Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?), and questions of human and animal agency, suffering, and mourning (Coetzee, Disgrace).  As part of the course you will participate in animal-related service work in the Easton area and will use our readings and discussions to contextualize that experience.  Service-learning courses aim to give you hands-on experiences, outside the classroom, that enrich and complicate your in-class studies.  Service courses also involve you in the community and allow you to examine questions and problems from a new perspective, developing your own experiential “text” that you can analyze and critique.


Literature & Human Experience

Carrie Rohman

This course investigates how non-human animals are situated within literary and cultural discourse.  The course begins with a broad introduction to the ways animals have been theorized within our own (Western) intellectual tradition, and then engages with representations of animals and the human/animal boundary in twentieth-century literature.  We will therefore be reading a wide variety of texts that help us understand the ways animals are figured in literature.


Writing Seminar: Representing Animals

Bianca Falbo

Animals are our companions, our scientific “models,” our evolutionary kin, our food, our genetic playthings, our fashion statements. We experience animals at home, in zoos, in the grocery store, in labs, in the “wild” and throughout the spectrum of popular media such as television and film. This course will investigate how animals are represented in language and the value systems that underwrite those representations. Among our chief considerations will be what our descriptions of animals say about us; the intersections of gender, race, and animality in language; and the question of animals “talking back.”


Representing Animals

Carrie Rohman


The Dog Course

Bianca Falbo


Penn State University


Ethics and Social Issues

Evelyn B. Pluhar

This course examines a number of ethical issues, including the ways in which humans use animals for their own benefit or convenience. Arguments for and against such use are explored to help determine whether or not they are justified. Independent thinking and discussion are strongly encouraged, and students are evaluated on how well they can back up their views with clear, careful reasoning.

Other courses include:

  • Ethics and Animals
  • Introduction to Agricultural Ethics
  • Introduction to Bioethics
  • Philosophy and Agriculture
  • Introduction To Ethics

Penn State University – Fayette


Introduction to Environmental Philosophy


Saint Joseph’s University Animal Studies Minor

Saint Joseph’s University offers an interdisciplinary undergraduate minor in Animal Studies. The Animal Studies minor exposes students to courses focusing on human and animal relations and interactions, animal biology/physiology, animal behavior and cognition, and the role played by non-human animals in the larger world around them. The selection of courses is designed to yield a greater knowledge of and appreciation for animals and our relationship with them.

Courses include:

  • Human-Animal Relations
  • Comparative Anatomy
  • Systemic Physiology
  • Animal Behavior
  • Biological Bases of Behavior
  • Comparative Animal Behavior
  • Anatomy/Physiology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Ecology
  • Invertebrate Zoology
  • Evolution
  • Love, Sex, Conquest: Classic Myth
  • First Year Seminar 2
  • Nature Writing in America
  • Writing and Reading Animals
  • The Environment
  • Exploring the Earth
  • American Environmental History
  • The Roles of Animals in Healthcare
  • People, Animals, and Ethics
  • Food and Justice
  • Philosophy and Evolution
  • Environmental Politics in Am
  • Biological Bases of Behavior 3
  • Animal Learning and Memory


Slippery Rock University

Animal Assisted Social Work Certificate

The increased knowledge of the benefits of human-animal interaction has led to greater demand for skilled practitioners who can address the many psychosocial needs of children and adults utilizing animal-assisted interventions. Through specialized instruction, students will be prepared to utilize therapy and crisis response dogs in their professional practice settings to enhance functioning of those they serve. The certificate courses can also be applied to the MSW degree if students later decide to complete the required course requirements. SRU’s MSW program offers this certificate for those currently enrolled in the MSW program or for practicing professionals and non-degree seeking individuals who wish to enhance their knowledge and expertise of animal-assisted interventions:

Required courses (3):

  • SOWK 740: Animal-assisted social work practice
  • SOWK 744: Animal-assisted crisis response
  • SOWK 742: Animal-assisted social work with kids
    • OR
  • SOWK 743 Animal-assisted social work with seniors

Temple University


Animal Welfare & Human-Animal Community

Dan Featherston

Our communities include not only humans but also nonhuman animals. Unfortunately, more than 30,000 nonhuman animals are surrendered each year to shelters in our local communities and over 60% are euthanized. This community-based learning (CBL) course will focus on companion animals, working in collaboration with our community partner, the Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PSPCA). Based on a learning model of interaction and reciprocal exchange, we will combine class work with community work at the PSPCA, exploring animal welfare issues that impact the lives of humans and animals in our community. Drawing on the interdisciplinary field of human-animal studies, including rhetorical, cultural, and philosophical studies of “the animal,” nonhuman animals and human-animal relations in literature and literary theory, and the history of animal welfare and animal law, students will explore companion animal issues and conduct community projects pertaining to companion animals in the hopes of helping both humans and nonhuman animals in our community. Written work will include three major essays in which students will investigate human-animal studies, including nonhuman animals in rhetoric and literature, and the interface between human-animal studies and community-based learning.


Eco-Literature: Human-Animal Community

Daniel Featherston


University of Pennsylvania

Veterinary Medicine

Veterinary Ethical Issues

James Serpell

A core course for first year vet students that addresses/introduces the peculiar ethical dilemmas encountered by practicing veterinarians. Combines both didactic and case-based teaching methods; the latter focusing primarily on “real-life” ethical conflicts of interest between veterinarians, their clients, and their patients.

Animals, Veterinarians and Society

James Serpell

This third year elective course aims to introduce veterinarians to the current debate on animal use and includes the following topics: history of ethical concerns about animal use; development of contemporary attitudes to animals; animal consciousness and sentience; animal rights; animal welfare science; animals and the law; welfare problems in companion animals; and various recent areas of discussion and debate ( e.g., cloning/bioengineering).

University of Pennsylvania Online Graduate Certificate in Animal Welfare and Behavior

The University of Pennsylvania is pleased to announce an exciting new initiative. Beginning this Fall 2019, Penn Vet will be launching our Online Graduate Certificate in Animal Welfare and Behavior.  Our Certificate program is the first online academic program offered by our School, and as a faculty member in the program, I’m especially looking forward to sharing my passion and expertise with a broader audience. Our certificate program is comprised of four graduate level courses, namely: Animal Welfare Science, Fundamentals of Animal Behavior, Applied Animal Welfare and Behavior and Animals and Society.


Ursinus College

Animals & Society

Jonathan L. Clark

This course examines human-animal relationships in the contemporary United States. Some of the issues we’ll discuss this semester may make you uncomfortable, and confronting them may even force you to begin questioning how you’ve been living your life. I’m well aware that, simply by teaching this course, I’m raising questions that many people would prefer not to discuss, particularly right before breakfast. So let me be clear from the outset about my goals and expectations. I’m not trying to bring you around to my way of thinking, and I don’t want you to tell me what you think I want to hear. What I want is for you to develop your own answer to what I regard as one of the most fundamental questions we face: What does it mean to be human, and how should we live our lives, in a more-than human world?


West Chester University

The Human-Animal Dynamic

Page Buck

This  course  focuses  on  the  role  of  domestic  animals  in  the  lives  of  the  individuals  and  families,  with  a  focus  on  four  primary  dimensions  of  the  human-animal  dynamic:  animal-assisted  interventions,  pet  loss,  animal  hoarding  and  animal  cruelty.  Social  workers  have  long  recognized  the  importance  of  human–‐animal  interactions.  A  strong  bond  can  support  resilience  and  recovery,  while  a  lack  of  empathy  towards  animals  is  associated  with  anti–‐  social  behaviors.  Domestic  animals  play  an  important  role  in  the  lives  of  many  people,  to  the  extent  that  some  make  important  decisions  based  on  their  relationship  with  pets.  This  may  include  their  willingness  to  get  inpatient  care  or  seek  out–‐of–‐home  support.  Animal–‐assisted  therapies  (AAT)  are  rapidly  becoming  mainstream  in  medical  and  therapeutic  settings.  This  course  will  provide  students  with  the  history  and  evidence  behind  AATs,  as  well  as  hands–‐on  experiences.  Students  must  be  willing  to  travel  in  their  own  vehicles  during  the  course,  must  be  able  to  tolerate  interactions  with  domestic  animals  such  as  dogs  and  horses.

Criminal Justice

Animals and Crime

Cassandra L. Reyes

This course is designed to provide an intensive examination of the relationship between animal cruelty and the criminal justice system. It will cover the commission of animal cruelty within circumstances such as child abuse, interpersonal violence, and juvenile delinquency. This course will also cover the ethical analysis of animal cruelty and it is designed to develop oral communication skills.  The final goal of the course is to offer students an understanding of the impact that animal cruelty has on society and the criminal justice system.

Wilson College

Wilson College Minor in Animal Studies

A minor in animal studies will introduce students to the field of animal studies and allow them to focus on three of the species-specific courses.

Required Courses:
Contemporary Biology
General Biology I
General Biology II
Introduction to Animal Studies

And choose three of the following five courses:
Animal Studies: Equines
Animal Studies: Canines
Animal Studies: Felines & Exotics
Animal Studies: Wildlife
Animal Studies: Farm Animals

Wilson College Major in Animal Studies

A Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Studies is an interdisciplinary liberal arts major that prepares graduates for sustainable employment in animal-related fields or for entrance to graduate school. The animal studies courses in the major emphasize critical and creative thinking in the areas of: animal behavior, the animal-human bond, animal-human interactions, animals in service, ethical standards of practice, ethical treatment, environmental impact, training and handling methods, and current events, as these topics relate to canines, equines, farm animals, felines and exotics, and wildlife. Breadth of knowledge is critical in the animal studies major. This breadth is achieved through the student’s choice of an interdisciplinary concentration in one of the following: biology/psychology, English/communications or environmental science. The concentrations are designed to focus and develop additional occupational skills and prepare for graduate-level coursework, while enhancing the core curriculum. Students will demonstrate depth of understanding in the advanced seminar and senior thesis in animal studies.  Through experiential learning, observation, internships or research, students will identify specific areas of interest that will prepare them for employment or graduate school.  The student’s capstone experience will culminate with the submission of a thesis or oral presentation. Required Courses:

  • Introduction to Psychology
  • Introduction to Animal Studies
  • Animal Studies: Equines
  • Animal Studies: Canines
  • Animal Studies: Felines & Exotics
  • Animal Studies: Wildlife
  • Animal Studies: Farm Animals
  • Animal Studies Advanced Seminar
  • Senior Thesis

In addition, the student must fulfill the requirements for one of the following concentrations:

Concentration in English and Communications

  • Contemporary Biology
  • OR
  • General Biology I
  • AND
  • General Biology II
  • Writing About Literature and Environment
  • Technical Writing
  • Journalism
  • Internship

Concentration in Environmental Science

  • Contemporary Biology
  • OR
  • General Biology I
  • AND
  • General Biology II
  • Conservation Biology
  • Intro to Environmental Science I

Two of the following four courses (at least one at the 300 level)

  • Intro to Environmental Science II
  • Environmental Law
  • Stewardship of Watershed Ecosystems
  • OR
  • Stewardship of Watershed Ecosystems
  • Environmental History
  • OR
  • Environmental History
  • Agroecology

Concentration in Biology/Psychology

  • General Biology I
  • General Biology II
  • Animal Behavior
  • Biopsychology
  • Evolutionary Psychology
  • Ecology

Other courses at Wilson College include:

Thinking About Animals

David True

This seminar examines prominent interpretations of animals in philosophical, scientific, and religious traditions, in conversation with recent revisionist interpretations.  Central to the seminar is the relationship between animals, human beings, morality, and religious understandings of the divine.  Questions to be considered include: What are the origins of our interpretations of animals?  What, if anything, distinguishes human beings and animals?  How should animals be treated?  Should we continue to ride horses, eat meat, and experiment on animals?

York College of Pennsylvania

Philosophy and Literary Studies

The Borders and Boundaries of Humanity

Colbey Reid

The Senior Seminar for Literature and Philosophy majors will address the topic of “Borders and Boundaries,” which is also the topic for the 2010-2011 Humanities Lecture Series. The title is abstract, but it captures the variety of intrinsically interesting mixed forms regularly manufactured by culture and biology: cyborgs, monsters, and other “freaks of nature.” Borders are made for crossing, and the ordinary combinatory actions we daily witness and enact include the fantastical transgressions of science fiction as well as the banal mixtures occasioned by conversation, immigration, evolution, and sexual intercourse. The human composition of the Seminar—its students and faculty—enacts another mode of border-crossing. We are an interdisciplinary crew, ourselves smudging the boundary between literary and philosophical representations and methodologies. We’ll try to understand what modes of inquiry define literature and philosophy in order to undermine and mingle them. Both theoretical and aesthetic concepts, like post-humanism and narcissism, metaphor and collage, will help us to understand the stakes and means of transgression. Four major boundaries will structure our texts and discussions this semester. These include the borders between humans and animals, humans and machines, humans and monsters, and an array of divisions within the self or of the self from other humans (and god). Essentially, this class is about all the figural limits and moral taboos humans generate—our lawmaking activities—and understanding why we want (need) them. It’s equally about why we like to systematically violate taboos—our lawbreaking activities. Freud argues in “Negation” that every “no” can be seen as a way of guaranteeing our enjoyment of “yes” when it inevitably occurs. Of course, he also argues elsewhere for the primary masochism of human beings: our seemingly perverse pleasure in generating “no’s” in order to affect self-discipline, often to the point of self-annihilation. Our class is about both strange, and fundamentally human, impulses. Thus the course begins with a warning: the content is designed for mature audiences, and it can be disturbing. At least, we hope it is. Disturbing things make us stop and think: about what’s natural, and what’s not. About what’s permissible, and what’s not. About whether we can still tell the difference.

First-Year Seminar

Animal Rights and Human Responsibility

Valerie L. Houghton

The course covers the ethical aspects of speciesism and how it is reflected in nearly every facet of society. The course focuses on those areas where humans and animals intersect most obviously: factory farming, animal experimentation, and the animal entertainment industry.

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