Anthrozoology Catalog

College of Arts & Sciences
Anthrozoology (MS)

Program Director: Joshua Russell, PhD

Faculty: Robin Foster, PhD; Joshua Russell, PhD; Malini Suchak, PhD.
Adjunct Faculty: Kelsea Brown, PhD; Inga Fricke, JD; Maya Gupta, PhD.; Sue Margulis, PhD; Sheryl L Pierre, PhD; Ren Pruitt; Kristin Stewart, JD, PhD; Zazie Todd, PhD; Yvonne Widenor

Degree: Master of Science


This program is conducted in a “modified online” format.  The generic formula is one in which students taking courses during a particular term meet together with the faculty on the Canisius College campus for an intensive four-day sequence of course orientations, planning sessions, classroom meetings, and special seminars by invited speakers.  Following this “On Campus Component” (OCC), coursework for the remainder of the term is conducted in a vibrant online learning community maintained throughout the semester. In other words, except for a single, “extended-weekend” visit to the campus each semester, this program can be completed online from any geographic location.  It is hoped that this formula will allow students to participate with minimal disruption to their present employment and/or living conditions.


Admission to the Anthrozoology Master’s Program is selective and competitive.  Admission is based upon the applicant’s perspective on the discipline expressed in the application material, and on evidence of past academic excellence.  A previously completed bachelor’s degree (in any major discipline) is required.  The ordinary expectation is a past undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher.  Submission of GRE scores is optional.

It is recognized that an applicant’s background and experiences can greatly enhance their prospects for graduate studies.  Applicants are encouraged to include any relevant information and letters of reference with the application form.

Eligible students may enter the program only in fall semesters.  Because of the OCC, all anthrozoology students must be  immunized against measles, mumps, and rubella.  Students must either be immunized against meningitis or sign a waiver.

Mission Statement

Our program focuses on humanity’s relationship with other species. Major emphasis is given to an examination of science-based knowledge about our fellow living beings, cultural differences, the extraordinary relationships between people and companion animals, interactions with and attitudes toward wildlife, the roles of zoos and sanctuaries, policies and laws that permit instrumental and industrialized uses of nonhuman animals, and many related environmental and conservation issues. The program embraces the value of human-nonhuman interactions by focusing on the many benefits that accrue to humans by including other animals in their lives, as well as benefits and protections provided to nonhumans by humans. The program utilizes an interdisciplinary approach that promotes critical thinking skills anchored in natural science and social science investigations, philosophical considerations, religious and cross-cultural perspectives, ethical and humane education insights, and humanities-based work on topics such as animals in the arts. Students are also encouraged regularly to examine the intersection between animal protection and environmental protection and the special relationship that exists between these two worldwide movements. Students can tailor their coursework, internships and research projects so that their own topics of interest can be explored in depth. 


In total, the Canisius College Master’s Degree in Anthrozoology requires students to complete a total of 36 credit hours. This will involve the completion of 10-12 courses, depending on the size and scope of the capstone.

Required Introductory Course (must be taken during the first semester in the program):
ANZ 501Introduction to Anthrozoology3
Breadth Requirements - Select one course from each of the following areas to ensure sufficient breadth in the discipline
Natural Science (select one of the following)3
ANZ 506
Animal Behavior and Conservation
ANZ 507
The Mental Lives of Animals
ANZ 526
Animal Welfare
Humanities (select one of the following)3
ANZ 502
Animal Ethics
ANZ 503
Religious Perspectives on Animals
ANZ 504
Animals, Public Policy, and the Law
ANZ 512
Writing the Animal
ANZ 517
Animal Protection as a Social Movement
ANZ 534
Animal Geographies
ANZ 535
Framing the Animal
Social Science (select one of the following)3
ANZ 518
Psychology of the Human-Animal Bond
ANZ 531
Cross-Cultural Anthrozoology
ANZ 532
Human Dimensions of Wildlife Conservation
ANZ 533
Children and Animals
ANZ Electives - Select remaining credits from any ANZ elective 121
Capstone Experience (select one of the following three capstone options) 23
ANZ 601
Anthrozoology Internship
ANZ 602
Independent Research: Quantitative
ANZ 603
Independent Research: Qualitative
ANZ 604
Capstone Research Proposal
Total Credits36

Please note, the number of electives required to complete the program will be less if completing more than 3 credit hours for Capstone Course(s).


The capstone can be completed for 3 or 9 credit hours, depending on the student’s level of engagement. ANZ 601 and ANZ 604 must be completed during one’s final semester. ANZ 602  and ANZ 603 are completed over multiple semesters, but cannot commence until the student has completed taken ANZ 505 and at least 18 credit hours overall. If taking more than 3 credit hours for the capstone, it will decrease the number of electives required for program completion.


Students may choose from any ANZ courses to fulfill credit hour requirements. Current electives include:

ANZ 502Animal Ethics3
ANZ 503Religious Perspectives on Animals3
ANZ 504Animals, Public Policy, and the Law3
ANZ 505Research Methods in Anthrozoology3
ANZ 506Animal Behavior and Conservation3
ANZ 507The Mental Lives of Animals3
ANZ 509Animal Assisted Interventions3
ANZ 510Animals in Humane Education3
ANZ 512Writing the Animal3
ANZ 513Critical Animal Studies1
ANZ 516Understanding Indifference and Animal Abuse3
ANZ 517Animal Protection as a Social Movement3
ANZ 518Psychology of the Human-Animal Bond3
ANZ 520Animal Nonprofits1
ANZ 524Shelters, Rescues, & Pounds3
ANZ 525Anthrozoological Perspectives on Zoos3
ANZ 526Animal Welfare3
ANZ 531Cross-Cultural Anthrozoology3
ANZ 532Human Dimensions of Wildlife Conservation3
ANZ 533Children and Animals3
ANZ 534Animal Geographies3
ANZ 535Framing the Animal3
ANZ 538Animals in Popular Culture1
ANZ 539Community Outreach Strategies for Generating Social Change1
ANZ 540Communicating Anthrozoological Research to the Public1
ANZ 541Anthrozoology Field Course1
ANZ 542Compassion Fatigue in Animal-Related Professions1

Additional Considerations

  • In order to complete the degree, students must complete the curriculum with a minimum average grade of 3.0 (B).
  • All courses must be completed at Canisius College; the Anthrozoology Master’s Program at Canisius does not accept transfer credits from other universities.
  • Students can enroll in a maximum of 10 credit hours per semester.
  • Once enrolled, a student must complete this degree in no more than four years.


Academic Standing

The Anthrozoology program follows the College of Arts and Sciences on students' academic standing.

Matriculation and Continued Program Enrollment

The Anthrozoology program follows the Canisius College policy for matriculated students that expects students to maintain a continuous program of academic work.

Registration and Credit Hours

Anthrozoology students must be registered for at least 4.5 credits per semester to maintain eligibility for financial aid (if they are eligible).  A full load is 9 credit hours.  No student may register for more than 10 credit hours in any semester.

Learning Goals & Objectives

Learning Goal 1

Students will exhibit strong critical thinking skills in their study of the interactions between humans and nonhuman animals and of the roles of nonhuman animals in human society.

Students will:
  • Objective A: Synthesize interdisciplinary information as it relates to anthrozoology.
  • Objective B: Identify strengths and weaknesses in arguments regarding human and nonhuman animals.
  • Objective C: Construct a literature review that evaluates a subset of scholarly anthrozoological publications.

Learning Goal 2

Students will proficiently communicate anthrozoological information.

Students will:
  • Objective A: Deliver an oral presentation on an anthrozoological topic.
  • Objective B: Construct a written, evidence-based argument on an anthrozoological topic.


ANZ 501 Introduction to Anthrozoology 3 Credits

An engagement with the fundamental issues of the field of Anthrozoology by evaluating the history of human/nonhuman interactions, the categories into which human have sorted animals, and a variety of science-based and value-based approaches to humans' inevitable intersection with other living beings. To achieve this end, this course immerses students in the processes of critical thinking, interdisciplinary approaches, science-based literacies, ethics-focused evaluations, and cross-cultural inquiries.

ANZ 502 Animal Ethics 3 Credits

Analysis of different approaches to ethics as this key human ability has been discussed in different domains and throughout history as applying to human-nonhuman issues.

Prerequisite: ANZ 501.

ANZ 503 Religious Perspectives on Animals 3 Credits

Views and treatments of nonhuman animals in the world's religions (both large and small) are analyzed as significant factors in a majority of humans' thinking and valuing of other living beings.

Prerequisite: ANZ 501.

ANZ 504 Animals, Public Policy, and the Law 3 Credits

An exploration of both American and other national approaches to public policy and law as factors impacting modern societies' views and treatment of nonhuman animals. Particular emphasis is given to issues involving companion animals, wildlife, research animals, and food animals.

Prerequisite: ANZ 501 (concurrent registration allowed).

Offered: fall of even-numbered years.

ANZ 505 Research Methods in Anthrozoology 3 Credits

This course exposes students to qualitative and quantitative research methods that they will encounter when reading about or conducting their own anthrozoological research. Students will have opportunities to read and evaluate peer-reviewed journal articles, to develop research questions and hypotheses, to practice collecting data, and to analyze and interpret data. This course is open to all ANZO students but is also a prerequisite for students desiring to enroll in ANZ 602 (Independent Research: Quantitative).

Prerequisite: ANZ 501.

ANZ 506 Animal Behavior and Conservation 3 Credits

This course provides a foundational overview of ecology, evolution, and conservation biology as they pertain to current issues in and research on the behavior of wild animals. The course includes investigation and critical analysis of current literature, emphasizing the application and importance of animal behavior in wildlife conservation and management. Topics may include the efficacy of protected areas, recreation ecology, invasive species, rewilding, reconciliation ecology, and the evolutionary ecology of de-extinction.

Prerequisite: ANZ 501.

ANZ 507 The Mental Lives of Animals 3 Credits

This course explores the unobservable mental processes of nonhuman animals. Topics covered range from basic processes, such as attention and perception, to more complex cognition, such as tool use and culture. The emphasis of the course is on critically thinking about the realities of other species.

Prerequisite: ANZ 501 (concurrent registration allowed).

Offered: every fall.

ANZ 509 Animal Assisted Interventions 3 Credits

This course examines the integration of non-human animals in therapeutic and educational settings. We will address the distinction among Animal Assisted Interventions (AAI), Animal Assisted Therapies (AAT), Animal Assisted Activities (AAA), and service and emotional support animals. Also addressed are the issues of the inclusion of companion, farmed and wild/exotic animals in assisted endeavors.

Prerequisite: ANZ 501 is a prerequisite but students can also take this course concurrently with ANZ 501.

Offered: occasionally.

ANZ 510 Animals in Humane Education 3 Credits

This course addresses the inclusion of nonhuman animals, animal themes and human and other animal social justice issues within our educational pursuits. We distinguish between broad and encompassing definitions of Humane Education, and those that are narrower. We investigate the roles of humane themed literature and focus on the basic building blocks of effective humane education lessons. We address issues in educating across the lifespan, from children to adults.

Prerequisite: ANZ 501.

ANZ 512 Writing the Animal 3 Credits

From stock figures and tropes to main characters with agency, animals abound in the literary imagination. Why are these fictional creatures there? What anxieties or potentialities do they introduce? What kinds of meaning do they make? This course introduces students to literature’s unique contribution to the study of human and animal relations. Readings will include novels (such as Barbara Gowdy’s The White Bone and H. G. Wells’ The Island of Dr. Moreau), short stories (like William Faulkner’s “The Bear” and Franz Kafka’s “A Report to the Academy”), and relevant critical scholarship. Throughout, we will consider how textual animals behave aesthetically, how they function in identity (de)construction, and how they might give voice to living animals.

Prerequisite: ANZ 501.

Offered: occasionally.

ANZ 513 Critical Animal Studies 1 Credit

Though we live with them, eat them, love them, and wear them, we give very little academic attention to the roles of animals in society. A relatively new field, Critical Animal Studies draws theory from a range of disciplines to better understand the complex human-animal relationships that permeate our lives. We will examine the most influential philosophic discussions around animals in society; conventional discourse around human-animal relationships; intersections between speciesism and other forms of oppression; and politics of various animal justice movements. The underlying theme of the course will be re-evaluating our understandings of animals and gauging the individual and collective responsibilities that we, as humans, must negotiate with non-human animals.

Offered: occasionally.

ANZ 516 Understanding Indifference and Animal Abuse 3 Credits

Exploration of the perspectives of the diverse group of stakeholders (from animal protection to human services) who are--or should be--involved in animal abuse prediction, prevention, and response. Application of psychological theories of both violence and indifference to the treatment of animals. Critical analysis of research on the link between animal abuse and other violent/deviant behaviors in children and adults. What best practices emerge from our findings? Where are the gaps in our knowledge, and where do media, laypeople, and even professionals misrepresent what we know? How can we cross disciplinary and agency barriers to include animal abuse in our coordinated community response to violence and to promote empathy as opposed to indifference?

Prerequisite: ANZ 501 (concurrent registration is allowed).

Offered: fall of odd-numbered years.

ANZ 517 Animal Protection as a Social Movement 3 Credits

This course looks at the animal protection movement as a broad social movement transforming social attitudes and human behavior around the globe. Accordingly, we consider international, historical and cultural developments in this course, as well as the relationship of animal protection movements to environmental protection.

Prerequisite: ANZ 501 (concurrent registration is allowed).

Offered: fall of odd-numbered years.

ANZ 518 Psychology of the Human-Animal Bond 3 Credits

Exploration of studies of human-animal relationships from four subfields of psychology (social, biological, developmental, and cognitive). Evaluation of the claim that human-animal relationships benefit humans.

Prerequisite: ANZ 501.

ANZ 520 Animal Nonprofits 1 Credit

Mini-course that addresses a wide range of issues arising out of the central role played by nonprofit organizations in contemporary animal protection efforts.

Prerequisite: ANZ 501 (concurrent registration is allowed).

Offered: occasionally.

ANZ 524 Shelters, Rescues, & Pounds 3 Credits

This course will expose students to a variety of animal sheltering models. Students will assess the advantages and disadvantages inherent in each type of model and will evaluate a variety of shelter adoption policies. Students will also take an in-depth look at why so many animals are relinquished to shelters and at the programs some shelters have established to help keep pets in their homes. We will work together to investigate how various shelter models are implemented across the country (and world!) and the programs shelters have established to meet the needs of their community.

Prerequisite: ANZ 501 (concurrent registration is allowed).

Offered: fall of even-numbered years.

ANZ 525 Anthrozoological Perspectives on Zoos 3 Credits

This course focuses on the relationships between visitors and non-human animals in the zoo, keepers and non-human animals in the zoo, and the role of zoos in conservation, education, research, and recreation. Students should expect to visit their local zoo (or any zoo) several times during the course.

Prerequisite: ANZ 501.

Offered: occasionally.

ANZ 526 Animal Welfare 3 Credits

This course explores the use of animal welfare science to assess and improve the welfare of nonhuman animals under human care. Examples discussed stem from a variety of settings including farms, zoos and aquaria, and shelters and companion animals. The emphasis of this course is on using the perspective of the individual nonhuman animal to recognize welfare problems and propose solutions.

Prerequisite: ANZ 501.

ANZ 531 Cross-Cultural Anthrozoology 3 Credits

Critical evaluation of human-animal interactions from the perspectives of anthropology and anthrozoology. Symbolic, economic, ecological, and social consequences of human/non-human animal interaction in a variety of cross-cultural contexts. A global perspective is used to help students better understand world trends regarding modernization and its consequences to animals and their habitats. The concept of animal as mediated by culture, and how belief systems contribute to current animal, human, and environmental social problems.

Prerequisite: ANZ 501 (concurrent registration is allowed).

Offered: fall of even-numbered years.

ANZ 532 Human Dimensions of Wildlife Conservation 3 Credits

An examination of human relations with wildlife from a primarily psychological point of view, but borrowing from a wide range of disciplines such as ethology, biology, ecology, anthropology, cross-cultural studies, psychoanalysis, and education. Topics include human-wildlife conflicts, mediation, conservation education and outreach, as well as grassroots conservation efforts and activism.

Prerequisite: ANZ 501.

ANZ 533 Children and Animals 3 Credits

A critical, interdisciplinary examination of child-animal relationships across theoretical frameworks and in material practices. Emphasis is on the roles animals play in child development, children's cultures, and even in the social construction of 'childhood,' as well as the ways children impact and influence animals' material lives and constructions of 'animality.'

Prerequisite: ANZ 501 (concurrent registration is allowed).

Offered: fall of even-numbered years.

ANZ 534 Animal Geographies 3 Credits

An interdisciplinary approach to the complex and meaningful ways in which humans and animals occupy both physical and theoretical 'spaces,' as well as place-based contexts of human-animal relationships. Emphasis given to features of actual lives, including animal subjectivities and geographical movements within individual and evolutionary time frames (zoogeography), and human impacts on animal bodies and landscapes through agriculture, domestication, captivity, hunting, resource extraction, urbanization, medicine, and technological innovation.

Prerequisite: ANZ 501 (concurrent registration is allowed).

Offered: fall of odd-numbered years.

ANZ 535 Framing the Animal 3 Credits

This course examines the influences on societal perceptions of nonhuman animals that stem from their use as visual symbols, fictional characters, icons, and/or as metaphors in works of art, mass media, and marketing. The course considers uses of nonhuman animals in modern and contemporary art, documentary, and film. Throughout the course, students are asked to consider the ethical potential and the underlying meanings that nonhuman animals possess in artistic representations of human culture.

Offered: occasionally.

ANZ 538 Animals in Popular Culture 1 Credit

This course looks at how the use and representation of animals in popular and mass-mediated culture--in genres like film and television, fiction, animation and comic books, art, and the Internet--shape and reveal cultural values. In addition, how animals are represented in popular culture in turn shapes how animals are treated in everyday society. By studying selected elements of popular culture, students will also look at how we understand and represent concepts like 'human,' 'nature,' and 'culture.'

Prerequisite: ANZ 501.

ANZ 539 Community Outreach Strategies for Generating Social Change 1 Credit

This course will allow students to explore social change methodology as it relates to animal welfare. Students will learn about organizations that advance the care of cats and dogs through effective engagement of community resources, exemplary customer service, and programs that ‘meet people where they are’ on their individual journey toward better relationships with animals. Students will be encouraged to identify stakeholders in various scenarios that involve animals and think about ways to overcome the challenges that people, organizations, and communities face when attempting to provide appropriate care for companion animals.

Prerequisite: ANZ 501 (concurrent registration is allowed).

Offered: occasionally.

ANZ 540 Communicating Anthrozoological Research to the Public 1 Credit

This course focuses on strategies for communicating anthrozoological research to public audiences. Students will gain experience responsibly and accurately communicating information presented in an academic paper in a way that is accessible to the public and captivates public interest. Students will explore various forms this type of outreach can take (e.g. blog posts, podcasts, books) and identify ways to successfully reach their intended audience.

Prerequisite: ANZ 501.

Offered: occasionally.

ANZ 541 Anthrozoology Field Course 1 Credit

Students will complete an anthrozoology-focused field course led by a Canisius College faculty member. The course topic will vary but may include studies of human-wildlife conflict and associated conservation strategies, human-companion animal relationships, and/or ecotourism. Students must apply to enroll in this course, and a spot is not guaranteed. Additional fee required. Please contact the course instructor for current fees.

Prerequisite: ANZ 501.

Offered: occasionally.

ANZ 542 Compassion Fatigue in Animal-Related Professions 1 Credit

The interaction between humans and other animals, and the environments that support them, are sometimes traumatic. The trauma is not limited to the animals and environments; it can also impact those who study these interactions and may lead to compassion fatigue—a collection of symptoms that results from caring for traumatized others. This course will introduce and differentiate among compassion fatigue, burnout, and compassion satisfaction; draw on current literature on etiology and prevalence among those in animal-related professions; and introduce evidence-based strategies to prevent and overcome compassion fatigue.

Prerequisite: ANZ 501 has to be taken either before this course or concurrently with it. Corequisite: ANZ 501 has to be taken either before this course or concurrently with it.

Offered: spring of even-numbered years.

ANZ 601 Anthrozoology Internship 3-9 Credits

Field and workplace experiential learning in a variety of sites inside and outside the US where human-animal interactions are featured. Students will focus on completing an original project to benefit the host organization. This course can count for either 3 or 9 credits and must be completed during the student's final semester.

Prerequisite: ANZ 501.

Offered: every fall, spring, & summer.

ANZ 602 Independent Research: Quantitative 1-9 Credits

This capstone option is intended for students who would like to complete a 9-credit quantitative research project. Students who opt to enroll in ANZ 602 must write a research proposal and conduct independent research. The final product for ANZ 602 is a paper that reviews literature that provides the foundation for the student's research question, describes the methods the student employed, reports the study's results and provides an interpretation of the study's findings and contributions to the field of anthrozoology. Students completing ANZ 602 must submit a final paper that would be suitable for submission to a peer reviewed journal, and they must participate in an oral defense. ANZ 602 projects are typically survey-based but may also employ interviews, secondary data analysis, behavioral observation, and/or experimental methods. Students opting to enroll in 9 credits of ANZ 602 typically complete their project over two semesters.

Prerequisite: ANZ 501 & ANZ 505.

Offered: every fall & spring.

ANZ 603 Independent Research: Qualitative 1-9 Credits

This capstone option is intended for students who would like to complete a 9-credit qualitative research project. Students who opt to enroll in ANZ 603 must write a research proposal and conduct independent research. The final product for ANZ 603 is a paper that reviews literature that provides the foundation for the student's research question, describes the methods the student employed, reports the study's results and provides an interpretation of the study's findings and contributions to the field of anthrozoology. Students completing ANZ 603 must submit a final paper that would be suitable for submission to a peer reviewed journal, and they must participate in an oral defense. These projects employ qualitative methods from the social sciences or humanities. Students opting to enroll in 9 credits of ANZ 603 typically complete their project over two semesters.

Prerequisite: ANZ 501 & ANZ 505.

Offered: every fall & spring.

ANZ 604 Capstone Research Proposal 3 Credits

This course is for students who will complete a 3-credit research-based capstone project instead of a 9-credit thesis project. The research proposal capstone emphasizes an extensive literature review on an anthrozoological topic as well as a detailed research proposal.

Prerequisite: ANZ 505.

Offered: every fall & spring.