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Programme Specification for the 2019/0 academic year

MA Anthrozoology DL

1. Programme Details

Programme nameMA Anthrozoology DL Programme codePTA1HPSHPS68
Study mode(s)Distance Learning
Academic year2019/0
Campus(es)Streatham (Exeter)
Programme start date


NQF Level7 (Masters)

2. Description of the Programme

The MA in Anthrozoology Distance-Learning Programme at the University of Exeter is unique in its anthropological focus on the many and varied ways in which humans perceive, engage, compete and co-exist with non-human animals in a range of cultural contexts. An understanding of human interactions with other animals is of paramount importance in the contemporary world where human lives and sustainable futures are inextricably linked with the fate of the nonhuman world.

This Distance-Learning MA covers a diverse range of themes, including pet-keeping, animal domestication, environmental conservation, eating animals, animal assisted therapy, zoonotic disease, cruelty to animals, representations of animals and animal welfare. These topics are subjected to rigorous theoretical analysis, and the anthropological approach facilitates cross-cultural comparison of seemingly contradictory attitudes and practices.

The degree is expected to attract students from diverse disciplinary and professional backgrounds, including vets, veterinary nurses, primatologists, conservationists, environmental scientists, animal trainers and behaviourists, animal welfare officers and academics who wish to further their knowledge of the human-animal bond to help them in their professional development. Indeed, the MA in Anthrozoology is especially relevant in terms of Continual Professional Development for individuals who are involved with the care of non-human animals in a professional capacity, 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. Many students may also want to join the programme because of personal interest in the subject matter, and to gain a deeper appreciation of the human-animal bond. The distance learning format is sufficiently flexible to enable students to fit it in around existing professional and personal commitments.The lead academic for this programme won the 2010 Humane Society of the United States Animals and Society Distinguished Course Award. This award recognizes excellence in courses concerning the human-animal bond, human obligations toward animals, the status of animals, and related topics and is issued by the Humane Society of theUnited States, the largest animal protection organisation in theUS, in association with the Animals and Society Institute.

3. Educational Aims of the Programme

The aims of the MA in Anthrozoology are:

1. to provide a supportive yet challenging learning environment within which students can explore and critically interrogate the many and varied ways in which humans think about and interact with nonhuman animals.

2. to encourage students to think reflexively about their own attitudes towards and interactions with nonhuman animals.

3. to encourage students to question and reflect on taken for granted assumptions about what it means to be human through a reflexive engagement with a wide range of human-animal interactions.

4. to provide the tools, knowledge and academic support to empower students to engage in innovative independent and theoretically grounded research in the field of anthrozoology.

5. to improve the welfare of human and non-human animals by raising awareness of anthrozoological scholarship.

6. to demonstrate the importance of anthrozoology to the anthropological agenda.

7. to facilitate a wider awareness of the interconnections which exist between humans, non-human animals and their respective environments and the implications of these interconnections within the context of global environmental crisis.

4. Programme Structure

The MA Anthrozoology programme is a 12 month programme when studied full time at National Qualification Framework (NQF) level 7 (as confirmed against the FHEQ).  The programme is divided into units of study called ‘modules’ which are assigned a number of ‘credits’. The credit rating of a module is proportional to the total workload, with 1 credit being nominally equivalent to 10 hours of work.

Interim Awards

In extraordinary circumstances you may exit this award with a Postgraduate Certificate where you have achieved 60 credits or a Postgraduate Diploma where you have achieved 120 credits.

You may take Elective Modules up to 30 credits outside of the programme as long as any necessary prerequisites have been satisfied, where the timetable allows and if you have not already taken the module in question or an equivalent module.   Please be aware that the vast majority ofUniversity of Exeter M Level Modules are not offered on a distance-learning basis and would therefore need to be taken in attendance at the University if selected under the modularity scheme.

5. Programme Modules

The following tables describe the programme and constituent modules. Constituent modules may be updated, deleted or replaced as a consequence of the annual programme review of this programme.

The inter-disciplinary study of human & animal interactions

The MA in Anthrozoology will be 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.

The Distance-Learning MA Anthrozoology is especially relevant in terms of Continual Professional Development for individuals who are involved with the care of non-human animals in a professional capacity (eg, 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 distance learning format is sufficiently flexible to enable you to fit it in around your existing professional and personal commitments.

The MA has won a Humane Society of the United States Distinguished Course Award and the Programme Director is the winner of the Association of Social Anthropologists' Award for Excellence 2011 and has recently published a core textbook on Anthrozoology.

Overall, the MA Anthrozoology programme consists of 180 credits and will normally occupy 12 months for full time students and 24 months for part-time students.

Students will take a total of 120 credits as compulsory modules.  A further 60 credits will be made up from four 15 credit modules.

The distance learning format is sufficiently flexible to enable you to fit it in around your existing professional and personal commitments.

The full-time variant is studied over three terms. The taught components of the programme are delivered in the first two terms; you then have a three-month period in which to undertake your Dissertation. The entire programme is offered via distance learning and does not require any physical attendance on campus. The part-time variant follows the same pattern as the full-time, but is studied over 24 months. Where the programme is taken part-time students will normally take at least 90 credits in the first year and 90 credits in the second year. Where taken over a longer time period, students will discuss their learning programme with their tutor or the Course Director.

The programme comprises 180 credits in total: taught modules worth 120 credits in total, and a dissertation worth 60 credits. These credits are broken down as follows.

Please note that the modules offered are subject to change depending on staff availability, timetabling and student demand.

Stage 1

Core modules (60 credits) and Dissertation (60 credits) to be taken, plus a choice of 60 credits from the following list of optional modules, up to 30 of which may be taken in appropriate modules from other programmes within the institution. 

Compulsory Modules

CodeModule Credits Non-condonable?
ANTM102 Anthrozoology: Theory and Method 30No
ANTM103 Applied Anthrozoology 30No
ANTM904 Dissertation 60Yes

Optional Modules

CodeModule Credits Non-condonable?
ANTM100 The Animal Mirror: Representations of Animality 15No
ANTM101 Animals, Health and Healing 15No
ANTM104 Family Hominidae and Other Primates 15No
ANTM105 Humans and Wildlife: Conflict and Conservation 15No
ANTM106 Representation of Animals Through Religion 15No
ANTM107 Anthrozoology Residential 15No
ANTM111 Animal Ethics 15No
Total Credits for Stage 1


6. Programme Outcomes Linked to Teaching, Learning and Assessment Methods

Intended Learning Outcomes
A: Specialised Subject Skills and Knowledge
Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)
On successfully completing this programme you will be able to:
Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) will be...
...accommodated and facilitated by the following learning and teaching activities (in/out of class):...and evidenced by the following assessment methods:

1. Demonstrate a systematic understanding of knowledge, and a critical awareness of current problems relating to human-animal interactions along with new theoretical and methodological insights, much of which is at, or informed by, the forefront of anthrozoological scholarship.
2. Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of techniques applicable to your own anthrozoological research or advanced anthrozoological scholarship, and the associated ethical, practical and theoretical issues associated with researching humans and their interactions with other animals.
3. Demonstrate originality in the application of anthrozoological knowledge (both from practical experience and published scholarship), together with a practical understanding of how established techniques of research and enquiry are used to create and interpret anthrozoological knowledge.
4. Demonstrate a conceptual understanding that enables you to evaluate critically current research and advanced scholarship in anthrozoology
5. Evaluate methodologies and develop critiques of them and, where appropriate, to propose new hypotheses.

The MA is a distance-learning programme, and as a result, every effort will be made to provide students with a supportive and flexible learning environment, with activities to enable them to achieve the programme ILOs. Because lectures will be recorded in advance and posted for the students as podcasts, there will not be opportunity for direct engagement with the lecturer and other students ‘in-class’ as there would be in a residential context. However, during the recorded podcast lectures (and accompanying powerpoint presentations), questions and points of discussion will be posed or raised for students to reflect upon. These will link to set readings (also posted on the VLE) and will form the basis of a series of formative (non-assessed) exercises, whereby questions which arise during the lecture are posted onto the VLE discussion forums. Where relevant, practical tasks will accompany these questions to create a situation in which students can reflect on key issues and discuss them with the lecturer and their peers, thus replicating as closely as possible a seminar format within the limitations of a virtual environment. The structure of the forum means that students can return and comment on their own and others’ posts, creating a valuable dialogue which, unlike a face to face discussion in the ‘real world’ classroom, is documented. This provides students with a means by which they can chart and assess their own learning and development, as well as enabling the module tutor to monitor students’ progress and levels of knowledge and understanding. The questions encourage students to incorporate readings from the module reading list and beyond.

Examples of questions and practical tasks might include: ‘Discuss the relevance of Milton’s ‘egomorphism’ for the anthrozoological study of non-human animals’ or ‘Why do we prioritize the conservation needs of some species over others?’ or ‘I wondered if any of you had first-hand experiences of nonhuman primates in either 'wild' or 'captive' situations? and if so, how your experiences had influenced your attitudes towards the particular primates in question?’ or ‘What are the issues facing anthrozoologists who wish to incorporate nonhuman animals in studies employing qualitative research methods?’ or ‘While Newton's article discusses sexuality, many of the issues she raises are valid if we substitute sex/sexuality for other aspects of an ethnographer's 'persona' - i.e. as anthrozoologists we have certain biases relating to animals (e.g. ideas about how they should be treated) - what are your anthrozoological biases and how might they influence or impact upon your planned research?’ or ‘Before doing the readings for this session, go for a walk. It doesn't matter where, but make notes as you go and think about: how is the space ordered? who is responsible for the layout? why has it been ordered in that manner? what is the weather like? do you meet anyone else (human or nonhuman)? how do they react to you and their surroundings?’

 Students are also asked to conduct some fieldwork and in the process engage with, and evaluate a range of methodological approaches. Again, space is provided on the VLE forums for discussion, in addition to Skype tutorials with the module tutor.

Formative exercises: A selection of questions  and practical exercises posted on the VLE discussion forums. The questions are worded in such a way as to elicit responses which will enable students to demonstrate their knowledge, understanding, critical awareness, originality, and evaluative skills [1, 2, 3, 4] 

Reflexive journal: Requires students to demonstrate a reflexive awareness of the research process and the situations and issues which they are engaging with, incorporating relevant theoretical perspectives and comparative data [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]

Fieldwork diary: Encourages students to take a systematic approach to the process of ethnographic fieldwork, and requires them to maintain a diary of their fieldwork period as an exercise in good practice to facilitate reflection and critical analysis at a later date [1, 2, 5]

Review: Requires students to undertake a critically analytical review of an event, exhibition or piece of scholarly work, thereby developing synoptic and analytical skills. Reviews of this sort are standard items in academic journals and so by including them as assessments, students are encouraged to engage with and in academic scholarship [1, 4]

Photo-essay: Allows students to be more creative and original than is possible with conventional written essays. Given that the module in question is concerned with the representations of animals, a photo-essay provides students with the tools to express complex ideas or to illustrate theoretical points visually, whilst accompanying the visual content with written analysis, thereby demonstrating knowledge and understanding [1, 2, 3, 4]

Project proposal: Encourages students to think through and plan a proposed piece of research from an early stage, thereby assessing student knowledge and understanding of theory and method. By submitting a formal proposal for tutor comment and peer review, students are given the opportunity for feedback and to develop and refine their initial ideas, leading to a more coherent piece of research [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]

Research paper: The research paper differs from a traditional essay in that one of the requirements is for students to tailor their research question and writing style to fit with the style guidelines and aims of a relevant academic journal. This encourages students to engage with another key area of scholarly activity; the preparation of empirical research for publication [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]

Essay: Provides students with the opportunity to engage with a topic in detail, placing emphasis on theoretical analysis [1, 3, 4]

Oral presentation: Conducted over Skype, requires students to formulate and deliver a presentation which clearly and concisely summarises the key points relating to their research or a specific topic of anthrozoological interest [1, 2, 4]

Poster presentation: As per oral presentation, this assesses student’s knowledge and understanding, and their ability to critically evaluate data [1, 2, 4]

Intended Learning Outcomes
B: Academic Discipline Core Skills and Knowledge
Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)
On successfully completing this programme you will be able to:
Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) will be...
...accommodated and facilitated by the following learning and teaching activities (in/out of class):...and evidenced by the following assessment methods:

6. Deal with complex issues both systematically and creatively, make sound judgements in the absence of complete data (especially in relation to the internal states of research subjects), and communicate conclusions clearly and convincingly to specialists and non-specialist audiences.
7. Demonstrate self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems, and act autonomously in planning and implementing tasks at an advanced and, where relevant, professional level.
8. Continue to advance your knowledge and understanding, and develop new skills to a high level.

Lectures, interactive seminars and group discussions, completion of a range of formative exercises on VLE discussion forums, practical exercises, fieldwork, independent study (reading and desk research)

As above, the students are provided with audio lecture podcasts, accompanying powerpoint presentations and access to a range of relevant readings. The lectures provide students with a base-line, introducing and discussing key concepts and a range of case studies. Students can then demonstrate self-direction in terms of how they engage with the remainder of the teaching materials. For example, a selection of key readings are provided on the VLE, but students are also expected to engage with much wider reading which they can demonstrate by drawing on these sources in their posts on the VLE forums and in their assessed coursework submissions.

The opportunity to conduct fieldwork, which is supported by Skype discussions with the module tutor, provides students with empirical data and exposure to a range of methodological approaches.

Formative exercises: As above, and in addition to providing students with an opportunity to demonstrate knowledge and understanding, these formative exercises focus on student-centred learning. Students must take the initiative to engage with the discussions and act as peer-reviewers for each other’s posts [7, 8]

Reflexive journal: Again, this provides students with opportunity for problem solving and demonstrating self-direction as they reflect on the process of fieldwork and incorporate theoretical and empirical data [6, 7, 8]

Fieldwork diary: Encourages students to reflect on their learning and the fieldwork process [7, 8]

Review: Here students have the opportunity to show self-direction and originality, as well as synoptic and analytical skills as they decide what to review and the way in which the subject matter should be approached and analysed [6, 7, 8]

Photo-essay: This provides students with the opportunity to deal with complex issues creatively, and communicate with a range of audiences [6, 7, 8]

Project proposal: Preparing a proposal in advance of embarking on research enables students to demonstrate self-direction and originality, and act autonomously in planning research, whilst also providing opportunity for feedback and improvement in the planning stage [7, 8]

Research paper: By conducting research and presenting it in a published paper format, students are able to demonstrate an ability to deal with complex issues, communicate their conclusions clearly, self-direction and originality (in terms of choice of topic, methodology and theoretical analysis), advance their knowledge and understanding and develop proof reading and editing skills [6, 7, 8]

Essay: Assesses students’ ability to deal with complex issues and communicate conclusions in addition to self-direction, originality, problem solving and skill development [6, 7, 8]

Oral presentation: Particularly useful for helping students develop skills (as most are lacking confidence in public speaking)and communicating conclusions clearly and convincingly [6, 7, 8]  Poster presentation: Assesses ability to deal with complex issues creatively, self-direction, originality, autonomy, communication of conclusions and development of new skills [6, 7, 8]

Intended Learning Outcomes
C: Personal/Transferable/Employment Skills and Knowledge
Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)
On successfully completing this programme you will be able to:
Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) will be...
...accommodated and facilitated by the following learning and teaching activities (in/out of class):...and evidenced by the following assessment methods:

9. Demonstrate the ability to exercise initiative and take personal responsibility.
10. Demonstrate an ability to make decisions in complex and unpredictable situations.
11. Demonstrate independent learning required for continuing professional development.

Lectures, interactive seminars and group discussions, completion of a range of formative exercises on VLE discussion forums, practical exercises, fieldwork, independent study (reading and desk research)


Formative exercises: Participation in the forum discussions demonstrates student ability to take initiative and personal responsibility for their learning and academic progress. They are given the opportunity to start new discussion threads in addition to contributing to established threads and commenting on posts made by their peers and tutors [9, 11]

Reflexive journal: Proivides opportunity to reflect upon the process of fieldwork, which will include decision making in complex and unpredictable situations [9, 10, 11]

Fieldwork diary: As above. Also encourages students to take responsibility for their research [9, 10, 11]

Review: Enables students to show independent learning (through the incorporation of wider reading) [11]

Photo-essay: Can assess all of the ILOs in this section, depending on how the students approach the essay, so, for example, by discussing ethical issues associated with the use of visual imagery they would meet ILO 9, but at very least can show independent learning as above [9, 10, 11]

Project proposal: Enables students to take personal responsibility for their research, and prepare for the unpredictable nature of fieldwork by encouraging them to think through the implications of the research at an early stage [9, 10]

Research paper: Encourages students to engage with academic writing and publishing as an aspect of CPD [11]

Essay: Provides students with the opportunity to exercise initiative (through the choice of topic and title, which they can devise themselves), and take personal responsibility (if it proves to be a bad choice – they have to make it work). Also shows independent learning as it is expected the essays will go beyond what has been covered in the lectures and key reading [9, 11]

Oral presentation: Particularly useful for demonstrating an ability to respond to complex and unpredictable situations (during the Q&A following the presentation) [10, 11] 

Poster presentation: Another transferable skill, as posters are increasingly common features of academic conferences [11] 

7. Programme Regulations

University Regulations on the number of credits to be taken and at what level for each stage of the programme can be found in the Credit and Qualifications Framework.


Condonement is the process that allows you to be awarded credit (and so progress to the next stage or, in the final stage, receive an award), despite failing to achieve a pass mark at a first attempt. You are not entitled to reassessment in condoned credit. Regulations on condonement can be found in the Handbook for Assessment, Progression and Awarding for Taught Programmes.

Assessment and Awards

For undergraduate degrees assessment at stage one does not contribute to the summative classification of the award. Details of the weightings for each year of all programme lengths can be found in the Handbook for Assessment, Progression and Awarding for Taught Programmes.


Full details of assessment regulations for undergraduate and postgraduate taught programmes and the classification of awards can be found in the Handbook for Assessment, Progression and Awarding for Taught Programmes.

You can also read details of Generic Marking Criteria.

8. College Support for Students and Students' Learning

Personal and Academic Tutoring

It is University policy that all Colleges should have in place a system of academic and personal tutors. The role of academic tutors is to support you with individual modules; the role of personal tutors is to provide you with advice and support fo the duration of your programme, and this support extends to providing you with details of how to obtain support and guidance on personal difficulties such as accommodation, financial difficulties and sickness. You can also make an appointment to see individual teaching staff.

Information on the College Personal Tutoring system, library provision, ELE resources and access to College support services can be found on the College webpages for current students.

Student Staff Liaison Committee (SSLC)

SSLCs enable students and staff to jointly participate in the management and review of the teaching and learning provision.

9. University Support for Students and Students' Learning

Learning Resources

The University Library maintains its principal collections in the main library buildings on the Streatham and St Luke's campuses, together with a number of specialist collections in certain Colleges. The total Library collection comprises over a million volumes and 3000 current periodical subscriptions.

IT Services

A wide range of IT services are provided throughout the Exeter campuses, including open-access computer rooms, some of which are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Helpdesks are maintained on the Streatham and St Luke's campuses, while most study bedrooms in halls and flats are linked to the University's campus network.

Student Support Services

The University provides many support services including health and wellbeing, multifaith chaplaincy, family support, the Students' Guild and international student support.

10. Admissions Criteria

All applications are considered individually on merit. The University is committed to an equal opportunities policy with respect to gender, age, race, sexual orientation and/or disability when dealing with applications. It is also committed to widening access to higher education to students from a diverse range of backgrounds and experience.

Candidates for undergraduate programmes must satisfy the undergraduate admissions requirements of the University of Exeter.

11. Regulation of Assessment and Academic Standards

Each academic programme in the University is subject to an agreed College assessment and marking strategy, underpinned by institution-wide assessment procedures.

The security of assessment and academic standards is further supported through the appointment of External Examiners for each programme. External Examiners have access to draft papers, course work and examination scripts. They are required to attend the Board of Examiners and to provide an annual report. Annual External Examiner reports are monitored at both College and University level. Their responsibilities are described in the University's code of practice. See the University's TQA Manual for details.

12. Indicators of Quality and Standards

Certain programmes are subject to accreditation and/or review by professional and statutory regulatory bodies (PSRBs).

13. Methods for Evaluating and Improving Quality and Standards

The University and its constituent Colleges draw on a range of data to review the quality of education provision. The College documents the performance in each of its tuaght programmes, against a range of criteria on an annual basis through the Annual Student Experience Review (ASER).

Subject areas are reviewed every five years through a College Academic Audit scheme that includes external contributions.

14. Awarding Institution

University of Exeter

15. Lead College / Teaching Institution

College of Social Sciences and International Studies (CSSIS)

16. Partner College / Institution

Partner College(s)

Not applicable to this programme

Partner Institution

Not applicable to this programme.

17. Programme Accredited / Validated by


18. Final Award

MA Anthrozoology DL

19. UCAS Code


20. NQF Level of Final Award

7 (Masters)

21. Credit

CATS credits


ECTS credits


22. QAA Subject Benchmarking Group

23. Dates

Origin Date


Date of last revision