Animal Behavior & ConservationAbout the
Certificate Program

The Animal Behavior & Conservation Advanced Certificate program provides formal recognition of the training in Animal Behavior & Conservation for students who already possess a baccalaureate or graduate degree in another area, and, by virtue of prior educational or practical experience in animal behavior and conservation, are qualified for the additional training described in this program.

A dolphin uses an underwater touchscreen

Animal Behavior & ConservationCertificate Program
Degree Requirements

Students who do not have an adequate background in statistics and/or research methodology will be required to take such courses in addition to those required for the certificate.

Courses taken for the certificate may be used as credits towards the Animal Behavior & Conservation MA program, if a student applies and is accepted.

Close-up of a cichlid fish underwater
Students sit around a table in a lecture roo, listening to a presentation by an ABC faculty member

Research Project

Although a thesis is not required for non-degree students, the ability to conduct research in the Animal Behavior & Conservation area must be demonstrated either through prior experience or completion of a research project while in the Certificate program.

A student records data in front of a fish tank

Animal Behavior & ConservationCertificate Program Curriculum

15 credits, 5 courses

  • The Animal Behavior & Conservation (ABC) Advanced Certificate Program consists of two required courses and three elective courses.
  • Each course carries three credits.
  • All required, and most other courses, are offered after 5:30 pm, enabling students to complete the requirements while working.
  • Not all courses listed are scheduled every year and may vary by semester.

Required Coursework6 credits, 2 courses

PSYCH 71700 - Animal Behavior and Conservation in Captivity and the Wild
Semester: Fall (only)
Hours: 3 hours including conference
Department: Psychology
Introduces concepts and techniques of wildlife biology and comparative psychology, with contributions from researchers in social behavior, reproductive biology, wildlife conservation, captive breeding, and animal cognition and communication.
*PSYCH 64100 - Comparative Psychology
Credits: 3.00
Semester: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer
Hours: 45 hrs including conference
Department: Psychology
Development and evolution of the behavior of various species, major theoretical issues, classic experiments, and contemporary research and theory.
*PSYCH 71600 can be taken in lieu of PSYCH 64100, though taking PSYCH 64100 is generally recommended.

Elective Coursework9 credits, 3 courses

Animal Behavior Electives

PSYCH 64100 - Comparative Psychology
Credits: 3.00
Semester: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer
Hours: 45 hrs including conference
Department: Psychology
Development and evolution of the behavior of various species, major theoretical issues, classic experiments, and contemporary research and theory.
PSYCH 68066 - Urban Animals
Credits: 3.00
Semester: All terms
Department: Psychology
Urban Animals
PSYCH 71600 - Animal Behavior I: Mechanisms of Behavior
Credits: 3.00
Semester: Fall (only)
Hours: 45 including conference
Department: Psychology
History of approaches to animal behavior; behavior development; proximate causation of behavior (motivation, neuroethology, and biorhythms); animal orientation and communication; cognitive ethology and culture.
PSYCH 71700 - Animal Behavior and Conservation in Captivity and the Wild
Credits: 3.00
Semester: Fall (only)
Hours: 45 including conference
Department: Psychology
Introduces concepts and techniques of wildlife biology and comparative psychology, with contributions from researchers in social behavior, reproductive biology, wildlife conservation, captive breeding, and animal cognition and communication.
PSYCH 71751 - Field Study in Animal Behavior and Conservation
Credits: 3.00
Semester: Fall (only)
Hours: 45 including conference
Department: Psychology
Observation and study of the behavior of animals in their natural environment and application of techniques of observation and data analysis.
PSYCH 71800 - Ethology (Animal Behavior II – Behavioral Ecology)
Credits: 3.00
Semester: Fall (only)
Hours: 45 including conference
Department: Psychology
Examines behavioral genetics, which covers the importance of single-gene effects, polygenic behavioral traits, and the utility of the concept of heritability; behavioral evolution, which covers the methods of elucidating the phylogeny of behavior when fossil evidence is not available; behavioral ecology, which focuses on mating systems, territorial behavior, feeding strategies, antipredatory behavior, and sociobiology.
PSYCH 73900 - Research Methods in Animal Behavior
Credits: 3.00
Semester: Fall (only)
Hours: 30 hrs lecture, 30 hrs lab
Department: Psychology
Designed to develop skills required for the study of animal behavior, such as procedures for obtaining data in laboratories or in captive and natural environments; includes observational techniques, single-subject designs, issues of reliability and external validity, non-parametric statistics.
PSYCH 75048 - Behavioral Ecology: Applications to Wildlife Conservation in our Changing World
Credits: 3.00
Semester: Fall, Spring
Department: Psychology
Behavioral Ecology: Applications to Wildlife Conservation in our Changing World
PSYCH 75096 - Cultural Conflicts in Conservation
Credits: 3.00
Semester: Fall (only)
Hours:
Department: Psychology
PSYCH 75400 - Applied Animal Welfare & Behavior
Credits: 3.00
Semester: Fall (only)
Hours:
Department: Psychology
Fundamental principles of animal behavior discussed in context of their applications to captive animal management (in laboratories, farms, zoos, aquariums, and shelters), animal welfare, and conservation. Programmatic approaches to animal care (e.g. enrichment and training) and animal welfare assessment tools will be described and evaluated.
PSYCH 75700 - Animal Thinking and Communication
Credits: 3.00
Semester: Fall (only)
Hours:
Department: Psychology
Prerequisite: PSYCH 71700 or permission of instructor or of Animal Behavior and Conservation Coordinator
This course focuses on animal cognition and communication from the perspectives of communication theory, animal behavior, cognitive ethology and comparative cognition. Research on chimpanzees, dolphins, elephants, parrots and other animals will be covered.
PSYCH 75800 - Conservation Biology/Psychology
Credits: 3.00
Semester: Fall (only)
Hours: 30 hrs lecture, 30 hrs lab
Department: Psychology
This course provides an understanding of biodiversity, human impacts on biodiversity, the theory and practice of maintaining biodiversity in a developing world, and the social psychology of motivating action to protect nature.

Animal Behavior & ConservationCertificate Program Admissions Criteria

Students must demonstrate research skills, either through relevant work outside of the program or by the successful completion of an independent research or field project.

Applicants will be ranked according to grade point average, two letters of recommendation, personal statement, as well as course work and experience relevant to animal behavior and conservation.

Application Checklist

You must meet the following minimum requirements in order to be considered for admission. Meeting these minimum requirements does not guarantee acceptance to the program.

  • A bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution comparable in standard and content to a bachelor’s degree from Hunter College.
  • Minimum undergraduate grade point average of 3.0.
  • A statement of purpose of approximately 500 words describing your objectives in undertaking graduate study. In reviewing applications, considerable importance is placed on the applicant’s interest in and commitment to advanced study and professional development.
  • Two letters of recommendation from appropriate academic or professional sources.
  • Applicants whose native language is not English and who have taken all or part of their undergraduate education in a country where English is not the native language are required to submit scores on the TOEFL/IELTS. The following minimum scores must be obtained:
    • TOEFL iBT: 80/ Paper Based Test: 550/ Computer Administered Test: 213
    • IELTS; 6.5 Overall Band Score

Apply Now

Hunter College Online Application
To access an existing application, please visit the applicant login portal.

Application Deadline

May 1, 2023

Contact

Nicolina Steinhoff, Acting Graduate Advisor
gr_psych@hunter.cuny.edu
212-772-5550

Hunter College Graduate Admissions