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MRes Animal Behaviour and Welfare


The science of animal behaviour is a rapidly evolving discipline with much practical application. Welfare issues are a key concern for animal production, zoos and wildlife centres, the pet trade and veterinary sector, and are the subject of much regulation. Understanding animal behaviour underpins our approach to the welfare of wild, domestic and captive animals.   

This Masters programme will teach you key practical skills in the study of animal behaviour in order to meet a demand for personnel skilled in rigorous methods of behavioural assessment. This programme focuses on sampling procedures and skills, and the analysis, interpretation and reporting of behavioural data.

Students should consult the Fees office website for information on College and Bench Fees


Programme Requirements

The MRes in Animal Behaviour and Welfare is a full-time programme running over 12 months from the date of first registration for the programme. The programme consists of (a) a major research thesis (70 credits) and (b) taught modules (20 credits) on generic and transferable skills, with an emphasis on scientific writing, oral presentations, and general research skills.

The major component of the programme is a research thesis, the subject of which will be agreed between the student and supervisor. The focus of research topics can range from domestic animals in a production or companion setting, exotic animals in a managed park, to native or introduced wild animals. The School of BEES works closely with colleagues at Fota Wildlife Park and Teagasc (Moorepark) and research may be carried out at these nearby locations.  There is a diverse range of staff at the School of BEES available to supervise the research thesis component, allowing for all interests to be covered.

Examples of taught modules available for selection include the following 5 credit modules:

BL6019 Ecological Applications of Geographical Information Systems;

BL6024 Quantitative Skills for Biologists using R;

AP3039 Evolutionary Psychology;

BL4004 Frontiers in Biology;

BL3004 Research Skills in Biology;

ZY4021 Evolutionary Ecology.

 Future prospects for MRes graduates include jobs relating to the production and regulation aspects of the agricultural sector, the pet sector, zoos and wildlife parks; veterinary practices and further research (e.g. PhD).

Entry requirements

Candidates must hold at least a Second Class Grade II Honours Degree in a Biological Sciences area or an equivalent or related degree OR have reached an equivalent standard through completion of a relevant postgraduate qualification.

Candidates must contact the proposed MRes supervisor to discuss and agree a research proposal prior to application. In addition, applicants will be interviewed with the proposed supervisor and Head of Discipline prior to application via (PAC code: CKS84)


Please contact potential supervisors to discuss projects. The following project(s) are currently on offer:

MRes Lactation housing and pig behaviour

Further information

Contact Dr. Fidelma Butler, School BEES, UCC.

School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences

An Scoil Eolaíochtaí Bitheolaíocha, Domhaneolaíocha agus Comhshaoil

Distillery Fields, North Mall, University College Cork, Ireland , T23 N73K.