Human-Animal Studies: Courses in Animal-Assisted Therapy

Courses in Animal-Assisted Activities and Therapy Overview

This is a list of colleges and universities around the world who provide courses in Animal-Assisted Therapy in relation to the human-animal relationship. This includes the name of the college, the name of the course, who is teaching the course, and brief description of the Animal-Assisted Therapy course that the instructor will be covering.


California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

Animal Assisted Interventions and Education

Aubrey Fine

This class is a graduate class geared for educators and those working in schools.


Camden County College

Survey Course in Animal Assisted Therapies

Phil Arkow

The Survey Course in Animal-Assisted Therapy & Animal-Assisted Activities at Camden County College is a general orientation certificate course–the starting point for individuals seeking an introduction to the human-animal bond and its therapeutic applications. Students typically are people who have pets that they think might qualify to be therapy animals, people seeking new career and volunteer opportunities, and professionals in such fields as health care, allied health, humane and human services, social work, and a wide array of therapies.


Delaware Valley College

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. Prerequisites: SA2001 People and Animals. Spring semester. 3 hours Lecture and Discussion – 3 credits

People and Animals

Companion Animals


Harcum College

Distance Learning Course in Animal Assisted Therapies

Phil Arkow

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.


Humane Society University

Understanding the Human-Animal Bond

Aubrey Fine, Bernie Unti

This course provides an interdisciplinary examination of the human animal relationship. Topics include relationships with pets, psychological and physiological benefits of companion animals, concern for animal rights and animal welfare, the role of animals in children’s lives and in schools, and demographic differences in people’s relationships with animals.

Animal Assisted Interventions for Youth-At-Risk*

Aubrey Fine

Animal assisted activities and animal assisted therapy programs may have the capacity to improve social and cognitive skills, to improve awareness of animal care needs, and to reduce aggression and other problem behaviors among emotionally troubled, economically disadvantaged, adjudicated and other youth-at-risk. Shelter-based dog training programs also may have the capacity to improve adoption chances and reduce relinquishment. The course examines the convergence of theories of human-animal bond and the analysis of the risk and protective factors related to youth violence. Specific animal assisted programs for youth-at-risk, mechanisms of change, best practices, program-related animal welfare issues, and program outcomes will be examined.

Introduction to Animal Assisted Interventions*

Aubrey Fine

Animal assisted interventions and animal therapy programs have the capacity to improve empathy, self-esteem, and animal care knowledge. This course will review theories animal assisted interventions, and specific therapeutic techniques as they apply to several different populations will be discussed. Dog training, mechanisms of change, and program outcomes will also be examined. Students will have an opportunity to observe an actual animal assisted intervention, interview the animal handler involved, and integrate newly gained knowledge of theories, practice, and evaluation of these programs.

The Role of Animals in the Lives of Children*

Aubrey Fine

The literature is filled with commentaries and research findings attesting the value of animals in the lives of children. This course will review theories of human-animal bond and animal assisted interventions for children in therapeutic environments and in the home. Specific animal assisted programs for children with physical and developmental disabilities will be explored. Attention will be given to best practice approaches in developing AAI programs and methods for program evaluation. The role of animals in schools and humane education will also be discussed. Students will have an opportunity to write a proposal for an animal assisted program for children integrating newly gained knowledge of theories, practice, and evaluation of these programs.

  • The above courses are offered as part of HUS’s Animal Assisted Interventions Graduate Certificate. This certificate (a program of the Humane Leadership Department) focuses on the integration of animals within the context of therapy. In the last decade there has been a proliferation of therapeutic programs where animals assist people in reaching developmental and/or restorative achievements. However, the formal training necessary to safely maximize these benefits is limited. This Graduate Certificate offers aspiring and seasoned clinicians alike a specialization in the emerging field of animal assisted therapies.


University of New Hampshire

Animal Assisted Activities and Therapy

Jerilee A. Zezula

Course explores the human/animal bond in specifically goal directed activities and therapeutic interventions. Covers human/pet volunteer training; animal selection; animal assisted therapeutic applications; and animals in institutions, residential facilities, and classrooms.

Training Programs (Certification or Degree) in Animal Assisted Therapy

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