Postgraduate taught 

Animal Welfare Science, Ethics & Law MSc

Animal Welfare Assessment BIOL5116

  • Academic Session: 2022-23
  • School: School of Biodiversity One Health Vet Med
  • Credits: 10
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course will provide students with an evidence-based understanding of the assessment of physiological state and resource use in both wild and laboratory reared animals used for scientific research, for an applied aspect of conservation relevance or monitoring the health, welfare and reproductive state of individuals in the wild.


Three hours of lecture per week over 5 weeks.

Excluded Courses



Key research skills (Semester1)

Animal ethics (Semester1) for specialisation in Animal Welfare Science

Welfare science (Semester2) for specialisation in Animal Welfare Science

Legislation related to animal welfare (Semester2) for specialisation in Animal Welfare Science


Students will be assessed on a written essay reflecting on strength and weaknesses of existing welfare assessment tools. They will choose one technique and thoroughly assess it. The essay should include the following: (i) a critical appraisal of what this technique/method is doing, (ii) reviewing the literature for application of this method to welfare and non-welfare-related questions, (iii) rigorously critique the application of methods in the reviewed papers with respect to their suitability to its aims, (iv) discuss the limitations of the technique and (v) conclude how well the method works and what will be its relevance for welfare assessment. The word count of the essay is 2500 words and contributes 100% to the mark

Course Aims

The aim of the course is to provide students with an evidence-based understanding of methods and techniques used to assess physiological state of wild animals and provide them with the competence to identify the health state of wild animals

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ Comprehensively discuss the relevance of concepts from behaviour and physiology to welfare assessment with reference to key literature

■ Critically analyse, evaluate and synthesise methodologies and techniques that can be used to monitor the welfare state of captive and wild animals

■ Demonstrate knowledge and critical awareness of what factors contribute to the wellbeing of individuals and populations

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits