The underlying aim of studying at this level goes well beyond the subject matter itself, it is not simply a case of greater detail than lower levels. The overwhelming purpose is to teach the student the skills required to gather information, to formulate opinion and communicate those opinions based on evidence. It is a mind-set that enables the student to engage at a fully professional level beyond that of those who have simply learned their subject by experience alone.
Module 1. Animal Aggression
This module examines the many factors that contribute to aggressive behaviour, it defines aggression and discusses aggression as an adaptive survival tool and the different approaches utilised by prey and predator. The effect and requirements of domestication and how breeding for temperament interacts with natural drives behind aggressive behaviour are examined along with the neurology of aggression.
Module 2. Human/Animal Bond
The human/animal bond has been the subject of much research and has proven to be a fundamental factor when examining behaviour. The therapeutic advantages of such a bond with companion animals are becoming more and more evident with advancing research and an in-depth understanding of the neurobiological mechanisms at work are essential part of the education of a behaviour specialist.
Module 3. Companion Animal Loss
Grief is a powerful emotion and companion animal loss inevitably represents the end of the bond examined in module 2. Different people react in different ways to grief and it is this process that is examined in this module.
Module 4. Attitudes and Ethics
How people develop attitudes, what influences their formation and who they choose to associate with through a common interest is often then reflected in society"s values and legislature. Strength of opinion can ultimately cause problems with cultural and religious differences with regard to the law and animal rights, it is therefore critical that the student is equipped with the knowledge to take account of how different people regard their animals.
Modules 5,6. Research Methods
In order to conduct research and fully understand published research papers the student must fully comprehend the methods applied to research design and data collection as well as how to present their own findings.
Modules 7,8. Research Project
This double module is a supervised dissertation, the student must propose their own topic and have it agreed before commencing. It culminates in a 10,000 word report that aims to demonstrate the writer"s ability to develop a clear line of thought in response to a central question. It shows a clear understanding of research methodology and an ability to work at independently at this level.
In this final module students are required to offer a critical analysis of two 'real' cases that were video recorded. Case notes and the video material is provided. Critical thinking is crucial skill for all behaviourists.