Animal Welfare Assessment BIOL5116

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • 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 state and resource use in both wild and captive animals, including applied aspects relevant to conservation and to monitoring the health, welfare and reproductive state of individuals in the wild.


Twelve hours of lectures, 2h of tutorials and an external visit over 2-3 weeks.

Requirements of Entry

A second class Honours degree or equivalent in a relevant subject. Professional experience may be taken into account.

English language

If your first language is not English, the University sets a minimum English Language proficiency level. See English Language Requirements

Excluded Courses



Key Research Skills (Semester 1)

Animal Welfare Science (Semester 1), Animal Ethics (Semester 2), and Animal Legislation and Societal Issues (Semester 2) for specialisation in Animal Welfare Science.


Students are asked to write a report to critically assess how an animal is kept in captivity with reference to a specific zoo exhibit of their choice. In the report, they are asked to make a justified assessment of the welfare state of the animal based on behavioural observations carried out during the site visit and to evaluate whether the enclosure and resources available to the animal meet its needs. The word count of the report is 2000 words.

Course Aims

The aim of the course is to provide students with an evidence-based and critical understanding of methods and techniques used to assess the welfare state of animals using a variety of approaches.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

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

■ Critically analyse, evaluate and synthesise methods and techniques that can be used to monitor positive and negative welfare states in captive and wild animals

■ Critically analyse and evaluate the principles of physiological and behavioural states of an individual with respect to welfare and ethics

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

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits