Understand Different Elements of Animal Behavior
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Humans have been interacting with animals for millennia, observing them in homes, farms, zoos and labs. The more we understand about animal behavior, the more effective we can be at caring for them and improving their health and quality of life.
In this three-course certificate program, we’ll study different principles of animal behavior and learn to apply this knowledge to animal care. You’ll examine behavioral differences between animal species and how these reflect their evolution and habitat adaptation. Gain insights on evolutionary theory, learning theory and biology to provide better care for animals — particularly companion animals — and diagnose and treat a variety of behavior issues.
Professionals who study or work with animals and those who want to enter the field.
Applicants should have two years of college coursework or post-secondary education or training. An associate degree or higher is preferred. Those with work experience related to the field of study and some prior college-level coursework may be considered for admission.
If you're not a native English speaker, you’ll need to have at least basic English language skills to enroll. To learn more, see English Language Proficiency Requirements.
Because this offering is 100 percent online, no visa is required and international students are welcome to apply. For more information, see Admission Requirements for International Students.
Students must have access to a computer with a current operating system, reliable high-speed Internet connection, a current version of a Web browser, computer speakers and a computer headset with a microphone. Students' devices should be able to install and run Flash-based videos and presentations. Adobe Flash plugin 10.0 or higher is required. Check that your device can accept a Flash plugin, as some tablets are not Flash-enabled. Students should have access to Microsoft Office products including Word.
You earn the certificate by adhering to your progam's attendance policy and receiving a satisfactory grade in all required courses. If you are enrolled in the noncredit option, you must receive a grade of SC (successful completion) in each course. Students in the credit option must earn a grade of at least 2.0 in each course. For more information, see Earning the Certificate.
Instructor Renee Ha explains how a wide variety of professionals who work with animals can benefit from the Certificate in Applied Animal Behavior.
This program is part of the American Association of Veterinary State Boards Registry of Approved Continuing Education (AAVSB RACE). Veterinarians and veterinary technicians can earn nine continuing education units by completing the certificate.
By completing this certificate program, you can earn credit toward your bachelor's degree. Because policies vary, check with your intended degree program to make sure the credits will apply. Learn more about credit options.
Complete the courses listed below to earn the certificate. You may be able to take individual courses without enrolling in the certificate program; check the course pages for details.
Comparative Animal Behavior
Principles of Applied Animal Behavior
Applied Animal Behavior in Practice
Certificate in Applied Animal Behavior
Approved by the UW Department of Psychology.
View this program's advisory board.
Each of our programs uses an advisory board to review content, guide design and recommend updates to ensure the program remains current as the field of study evolves. By tapping the minds of the top thinkers, doers and leaders in the field, we offer a transformational learning experience. The following individuals serve as the advisory board for this program.
Ann Brudvik, DVM, Woodhaven Veterinary Clinic
Crista Coppola, Chair, Animal Behavior Society’s Board of Certification
Wendy Dahl, Animal Behavior Consultant and Small Animal Massage Practitioner, Dahl Animal Behavior and Massage
Saethra Jade Frtischer, Cat Behavior Specialist and Owner of Sleeping Tiger Consultations, LLC
James Ha, Primary Instructor for Applied Animal Behavior, UW Continuum College
Renee Ha, Primary Instructor for Applied Animal Behavior, UW Continuum College
Ann Howie, Therapist and Consultant, Human-Animal Solutions, PLLC
Carly Loyer, Graduate Student in Animal Behavior in the University of Washington Psychology Department
Kara Main-Hester, Certified Professional Dog Trainer, Ahimsa Dog Training
Sarah Mangold, Assistant Director, International & Academic Programs, UW Continuum College
Anne-Lise Nilsen, General Manager, Camp Canine Dog Daycare
Carrie Perrin, Academic Services Director for the University of Washington Psychology Department
Rachel Salant, Collection Manager of Ambassador Animal, Woodland Park Zoo
Amanda Schaffer, Staff Biologist, Point Defiance Zoo
Kathy Sdao, M.A., Bright Spot Dog Training
Lori Stevens, Canine Behavior and Training consultant, Seattle Touch LLC
Celeste Walsen, Executive Director of Courthouse Dogs Foundation
Stephen Zawistowski, Executive VP Retired, ASPCA
“To be able to learn from leading experts and to be surrounded by people who are also interested in what you’re interested in, it was just priceless.”
In this short video, Adam Winston explains how the program gave him invaluable knowledge and connections in this unique field.
Start and finish your program with the same group of students, with frequent opportunities to interact with your instructors and classmates along the way. Courses are 100 percent online, with set due dates for assignments but no class meetings. Learn More »
Research Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Washington
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