CPB Graduate Program in Animal Welfare and Human-Animal Interaction

Opportunities for Graduate Training

Programs of Study

Graduate students may opt to pursue their studies in either Animal Welfare or Human-Animal Interaction within the Department of Comparative Pathobiology. The objective of the training program is to prepare students for careers in research, teaching, extension/engagement and service related to the sciences of Animal Welfare and/or Human-Animal Interaction. The core aim of the Animal Welfare program is to facilitate the well-being of animals through understanding and applying concepts pertaining to animal ethology, physiology, psychology, husbandry and management, ethics and economics. The core aim of the Human-Animal Interaction program is to evaluate both the beneficial and adverse effects of interactions between humans and animals for both the human and animal counterparts. Related topics include: animal-assisted intervention, service animals, dog bite prevention, zoonotic diseases, and broken bonds between humans and animals. Employment following degrees in either or both areas may be in a variety of institutions, such as academia, industry, or private practice.


The training program is designed to attract students with diverse professional, cultural, and geographical backgrounds. We seek students with a range of expertise and interests, including animal behavior, ethics, biology, zoology, sociology, animal sciences, psychology, veterinary medicine, epidemiology, public health or other closely related fields. Applicants are required to have completed at least a BS or BA degree by the start of the position. All applicants should have a keen interest in strong research methodology and appropriate statistical analysis. Students must be willing to adapt to an interdisciplinary team approach involving animal- and/or human- focused researchers. Therefore, excellent interpersonal communication skills are essential.

Courses and Degrees

Students are encouraged to tailor their individual programs with appropriate coursework to meet their needs and required credit hours as advised by their graduate committees. Coursework may be chosen from a variety of academic disciplines to provide understanding and competence in the primary area of research. At minimum, students are expected to complete a class in animal welfare and ethics. Each program of study will include coursework in the Department of Comparative Pathobiology as well as external Departments, such as Animal Sciences, Biology, Zoology, Philosophy, Psychological Science, Child Development and Family Studies, Educational Studies, Statistics, and others. The faculty in these departments may also serve on the students’ graduate advisory committees.

The following list provides a sample of appropriate courses for students seeking to focus their graduate programs in Animal Welfare and Human-Animal Interaction.

  • CPB 48000 - Seminars in Animal Welfare and Human-Animal Interaction (3 credits)
  • CPB 58000 - Applied Animal Welfare, 3 credits
  • CPB 58000 - Seminars in Animal Welfare and Human-Animal Interaction (3 credits)
  • CPB 61800 - Ethical Issues in Biomedical Research (2 or 3 credits)*
  • CPB 62600 - Design and Analysis of Epidemiological Studies (3 credits)
  • CPB 69500 - Seminar in Epidemiology (1 credit)
  • CPB 69700 – CPB Research Seminar (0 or 1 credit) (required by department)
  • ANSC 59500 - Advanced Animal Welfare Assessment (3 credits)
  • BIOL 55900 - Endocrinology (3 credits)
  • BIOL 59200 - The Evolution Of Behavior (3 credits)
  • GRAD 61200 – Responsible Conduct of Research (1 credit)*
  • HDFS 61500 - Research Methods In Child And Family Study (3 credits)
  • PHIL 52400 - Contemporary Ethical Theory (3 credits)
  • PSY 50000 - Statistical Methods Applied To Psychology, Education, And Sociology (3 credits)
  • PSY 59100 - Hormones and Behavior (3 credits)
  • PSY 65300 - Social Development (3 credits)
  • STAT 50300 - Statistical Methods for Biology (3 credits)
  • STAT 51400 - Design of experiments (3 credits)

* CPB 61800/GRAD 61200 may be taken to satisfy the department’s ethics course requirement.

Centers of Research Excellence

All students in the program will be affiliated with the Center for Animal Welfare Science (CAWS) and the Center for the Human-Animal Bond (CHAB). Each center hosts leading experts in the associated field of study. Association with the centers promotes interdisciplinary collaboration and world-class mentorship in topics related to Animal Welfare and Human-Animal Interaction. Students will be encouraged to participate in other CAWS, CHAB, and departmental activities including: participation in the collegiate animal welfare judging competition, assistance with teaching of undergraduate courses and outreach activities, development of additional research questions related to the main project and travel to present research findings. Professional development opportunities are also available.


Salary Support

A limited number of university assistantships and fellowships are available to highly qualified students. Incoming and continuing students can also apply for individual pre-doctoral training awards from the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation. These fellowships provide 12-month support and fee remission and have award periods of up to 3 years. These fellowships require a separate application to the awarding agency by the student with a letter of support from the major professor. Additional information about the application process can be obtained directly from the agency:

For currently enrolled students, Purdue awards a number of Fellowship Incentive grants on a competitive basis (https://www.purdue.edu/gradschool/funding/) for students applying for extramural support from selected agencies or programs.

The American Psychological Foundation also offers a variety of awards and grants each year. The APA Science Council web page offers links to these opportunities and can be found at: http://www.apa.org/about/awards/index.aspx.


Candidates interested in applying to the graduate program in Human-Animal Interaction should send an email to cpbgradc@purdue.edu  or a letter of inquiry to:

Graduate Program Coordinator 
Department of Comparative Pathobiology
Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine
VPTH Building, 725 Harrison Street
West Lafayette, IN 47907-2027
Office Phone: 765-494-7543
Fax: 765-496-2627

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