Australian and New Zealand University Courses

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For information on international Animal Studies courses see the Society & Animals Institute website or H-Animal


The University of Melbourne

Animals and Society 1: Introduction (ANSC10001)

This course is designed to encourage students to begin to think about how and why animals are so integral to human society. Utilising case studies of current hot topics in animal welfare, we examine human-animal relationships; how they originated, the process of domestication, changing attitudes throughout time and humankind’s moral and ethical obligation to animals. This subject contains presentations from international experts to compliment lectures and tutorials exploring the diverse roles of animals as pets, pests, wildlife and food.

Animals and Society 2: Humans and Animals (ANSC20004)

This subject is designed to encourage students to continue to think about how and why animals play such an important role in our society. Nearly two third of Australian households contain a pet, and these pets are often considered part of the family.  Animals in Society 2 (Humans and Animals) covers the different roles of animals in our society and the special bond between humans and animals, including the history and ethical consideration. This unique bond between humans and animals provides many benefits to both, but also comes at a cost. Utilising case studies of current hot topics in animal welfare we examine human-animal relationships and emphasize the complex roles and responsibilities, and ethical requirements in human contact with animals.

Animals and the Law (LAWS50122)

The subject examines the law as it affects non-human animals and their relations with humans in historical, social and ecological context. The subject covers a range of different ways in which private and public law impact on animals including as property to be owned, potential dangers to be controlled, companions to be shared, having rights and interest to be protected, as workers in a variety of fields and as resources that are used in industry, science and entertainment, as unwanted pests and as inhabitants of the wild, vulnerable to climate change, disaster and biodiversity loss.

Animal Law and Policy (LAWS90168)

This subject provides an introduction to the large and amorphous field of law referred to as ‘animal law’. Students will survey areas of the law that affect non-human animals and their treatment by humans in particular. Beginning with some larger definitional and philosophical questions about animals, the subject then covers different contexts in which animals encounter the law: as victims of crimes, as human companions, as research subjects, as sources of entertainment, and as sources of food. The jurisdictional focus of the course is the U.S. and Australia with some attention to other jurisdictions and to international law.

La Trobe University

Humans and Animals: Anthropological Perspectives (ANT2ANI)

Human and animals relations are basic to society; across all walks of life and in all cultures humans and animals have formed diverse and enduring relationships, and animals have long been used to tell us about what it means to be human. This subject will explore historical, cross cultural and contemporary anthropological perspectives on human and animal relations in small scale societies, in agriculture, in industrialised societies and in leisure culture. In doing so, it will investigate themes such as totemism, animal utility, animal companionship, endangered animals, the human/animal divide and post-humanism. Contact: Ray Madden (


Australian National University

Social Animals: Anthropological perspectives on animal-human relationships (ANTH2133)

This course explores animal-human relationships from multiple theoretical perspectives to explore the various positions that animals occupy in human society (as pets, food, friends, enemies, beings with rights, organ donors and spectacles of nature). It also introduces students to some of the theoretical cornerstones (and classic readings) of the discipline of Anthropology.

Animals, Plants and People (ARCH3108)

The course examines the relationships between the human and the plant and animal worlds. Particular attention will be given to the concept of domestication, to the wild precursors of domesticates, and to the exploitation, manipulation and transformation of selected plant and animal species.


Griffith University

Animal Law (5069LAW)

Animal Law introduces the law relating to non-human animals, with an emphasis on the relationship between law and the ethics of animal protection. Students critically examine prevailing regulation of the protection of non-human animals in a range of settings. The course also addresses international developments in animal protection law, and students have the opportunity to explore the different ways in which lawyers engage with animal law. Cross-institutional study is an option.  Contact: Steven White (

Bond University

Animal Law (LAWS13-538)

Animal Law is an elective subject in undergraduate programs offered by the Faculty of Law. Students enrolled in this subject will examine the ethical and legal issues arising out of the commercial use of animals and animal products. The subject introduces a range of practical and theoretical perspectives on the way in which we think about animals, with a focus on legal regulation animal industries and ethical theories of animal rights. Some of the key topics covered in the subject include Scientific Experimentation and Biotechnology, Intensive Farming Practices, Animals in the Entertainment Industry (Circuses, Rodeos and Television), Wildlife Protection and Endangered Species, Indigenous Approaches to Animal Welfare, Companion Animals, and Agribusiness (Environmental Regulation, Husbandry Practices, Road Transport, Feedlots, and Live Export). Attention will also be given to international developments and students will explore practical ways in which lawyers may advance the interests of animals. Contact: Tanya Merrotsy (

University of the Sunshine Coast

Animals and Society (GEO350)

This course introduces you to the interactions between animals and people at different places, spaces and scales. You will explore forms of human-animal interaction and their interactions with nature and culture.  You will learn about these concepts though this reading course and subsequent workshop discussion and online activity. You will also apply these concepts in diverse workplace contexts such as companion animals, animal protection, and a Field Trip to Australia Zoo.  Animal geography is part of the broader field of Animal Studies which is important for many disciplines and professions. Contact: Jennifer Carter (


Macquarie University

Animal in the Ancient World (AHIX350)

This unit explores the role of animals in cultures of the ancient Mediterranean region. All taxonomic classes are considered, including mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish and invertebrates. The topics to be covered range from the use of animals in agriculture, hunting, warfare and entertainment, to their significance in religion, philosophy, symbolism and art. Through an assessment of artefacts, images, and texts, students investigate the ways in which both wild and domesticated species influenced the minds and behaviour of ancient peoples.  Contact: Linda Evans (

University of Sydney

Society and Animals (SCLG2022)

Society and Animals presents sustained exploration of sociology of science approaches to the role of animals in modern western societies. It traces historical changes in the enactment of animals. The unit considers the animal in contemporary social life including: everyday life, fashion, art, food; gender, ethnic and class distinctions; modernization and urbanization; science and environment; sociological methodology and social theory.  Contact: Dinesh Wadiwel (

University of New South Wales

Animal Law (LAWS3144 or JURD7444)

Law plays a substantial role in the ways in which our society relates to animals. As our society increasingly accepts that the protection of animals from cruelty and other forms of mistreatment is important, the study of legal matters relating to animals, ie animal law is important. This course looks at the ethics and jurisprudence on the way humans think of and treat animals, the historical and present status of animals as property, the law and science underpinning our approach to animal welfare, standing to represent the interest of animals, and the laws and codes of practice relating to the use of animals for food, research, and entertainment.  Contact:

University of Wollongong

Animal Law (LLB 366)

This subject commences with a critical examination of the status of nonhuman animals as property and the various theories that underpin the distinction between animal welfare and animal rights. Against this background, State and federal laws in relation to animals are reviewed, with a focus on the complex regulatory framework that governs animal welfare. The enforcement of animal welfare laws is also explored, including the strengths and weaknesses of a charitable organisation, the RSPCA, acting as the main law enforcement body. Although the emphasis is on Australian law, some overseas developments are considered.  Contact: Keely Boom (

 Animals and Ecology in Literature and Film (ENGL 381)

Susan McHugh asks: “[h]ow do animal agents appear in literature, and with what material effects on the world around them?” This subject examines the the representation of non-human animals and the natural world in order to ask questions about representation itself. When we think about nonhuman animals we are asking questions about the human and its beyond, drawing in questions of race, gender class and the politics of difference. Asking questions about nonhuman representation asks us to consider the material effects of literary techniques from allegory to realism. The subject might examine these questions through prose fiction, poetry, drama, the literary essay and film texts from the early modern period to the twenty-first century. Similarly, the subject might address philosophical and ethical writings about the ethics and politics of the nonhuman and the refraction of these texts in literary terms. Contact: Mike Griffiths (

Southern Cross University

Animal Law (LAW10487)

Considers the legal and philosophical assumptions relating to human-animal interactions, the history and present status of animals as property, and the legal regulatory frameworks governing a variety of human-animal interactions in Australia. Acceptance that the protection of animals from cruelty and other forms of exploitation is important, an understanding of the application of legal frameworks relating to animals is crucial. Predicated on the view that current protections relating to animals are inadequate, there is a strong emphasis on law reform and activism and upon practical ways in which concerned animal advocates may advance the interests of, and legal protections provided to, animals.  Contact: Ann Leverett (

University of Newcastle

Bachelor of Natural History Illustration

Natural history illustration is a flexible and diverse discipline that seeks to observe, record and visually interpret the environment. Bringing together three main subject areas – art, science and the environment – natural history illustration is an opportunity for you to combine your interests in these areas and launch a rewarding career. Art: Natural history illustration uses a combination of traditional illustration techniques, multimedia and visual imaging to represent the natural environment in creative and innovative ways. Central to this is sketching, photographing and collecting specimens in the field, and the development of the drawing and technology skills required to work as a professional illustrator. Science: The difference between natural history illustration and other art forms lies in the meticulous attention to detail and scientific accuracy that the discipline demands. Whether observing a specimen in the field or studying it under a microscope in the studio, natural history illustrators must produce an accurate representation of the subject as well as a beautiful image. This commitment to scientific truth makes natural history illustration uniquely suited to visually support the sciences.Environment: With the increasing awareness of global environmental issues, there has never been a time when the recorders and interpreters of the natural environment are most needed. Natural history illustrators support the role of scientists by clarifying and communicating scientific findings visually, allowing the information to reach a far wider audience.  Contact: Andrew Howells (


Flinders University

Animals, Nature, Environment and Society (SOCI2023)

This topic introduces students to the study of human relations with the natural world. It provides students with the opportunity to question taken for granted assumptions about nature, the environment and the roles of animals in society. Students explore historical and modern contexts within which human-animal relations and images of nature have developed. Through a critical inquiry into the ways in which we conceive of nature, the environment and other animals, students are introduced to a broad variety of sociological theories.  Contact: Nik Taylor (

Loss, Grief and Trauma Counselling: Human-Animal Interactions (SOAD8012)

Animals provide a great raft of benefits to humans, including humans in grief, managing diseases and disabilities, and those who have been abandoned, abused, traumatised and/or alienated. For practitioners across disciplines, roles, fields and modes of practice, human-animal interactions offer many exciting possibilities to connect with clients. For counsellors, there are many ways to think about animals and incorporate human-animal interactions into practice. The aim of the topic is to advance the knowledge and skills of students from relevant professional backgrounds about human-animal interactions with those experiencing loss, grief, abuse and trauma. This includes reviewing trends in human-animal interactions relating to loss, grief, abuse and trauma research and knowledge development, focusing on implications for counselling interventions.  Contact: Carol Irizarry (

University of Adelaide

Principles of Animal Behaviour, Welfare & Ethics (ANIML SC 1016RW)

This unit addresses human-animal interactions (eg. the association between stockperson behaviour and animal production and the role of societal attitudes in animal welfare issues). Students enrolled in the Bachelor of Science (Animal Science) are offered a course called Companion Animal & Equine Studies. The Head of the Veterinary School, Professor Gail Anderson, is keen to integrate human-animal interactions into their program. Veterinary courses include topics such as the euthanasia of animals, recognising the strength of the human-animal bond and how to help people deal with the loss of their animal.  Contact: Susan Hazel (


University of Western Australia

Animal Ethics and Welfare (ANIM2208)

This unit analyses critically, through a philosophical approach, the use of animals by human society. In particular it examines the use of animals in scientific research, agricultural production and natural resource management, and considers community attitudes relating to use of animals for food, and in sport and recreation. The unit provides students with the knowledge and skills to conduct a fair assessment of current and future problems arising from human animal interactions. The students examine current ideologies and scientific research that attempts to understand and improve animal welfare. Contact: Dominique Blache (

Art and Life Manipulation – VISA2249, Aesthetics Crossovers in Art and Science – VISA2214 and Master in Science (Biological Arts) 51570.

SymbioticA is an artistic laboratory dedicated to the research, learning and critique of life sciences. SymbioticA’s alternative MBA is designed for art practitioners, scientists, and humanities scholars who wish to engage with creative bioresearch. The course focuses on recent advances in the Life Sciences, both in theory and practice. It also interrogates human/animal relations in the context of advances in biotechnologies.  Contact: Ionat Zurr (

Murdoch University

Postgraduate Certificate in Veterinary Conservation Medicine

Conservation medicine is an emerging discipline that involves the integration of veterinary medicine, conservation biology and public health in order to: advance biodiversity conservation; address issues associated with the interrelationships between human, animal and ecosystem health; and study the effects of global environmental change on these health interrelationships. There is increasing recognition that veterinarians have an important role to play within interdisciplinary teams working on environmental conservation projects.  Contact: Kris Warren (


University of Canterbury (Christchurch)

 From Bambi to Kong: Animals in Popular Culture (ENGL243 or CULT206)

This course provides an introduction to Human-Animal Studies as a field of scholarship. Students learn how to critically engage with popular cultural representations of animals and nature. Topics include the depiction of human-animal relationships in cinema and television (in particular, horror and science fiction genres); the environmental movement and marine mammals; dinosaur iconography; primatology in popular culture; cultural practices such as pet-keeping, dog-breeding and factory farming.  Contact: Annie Potts (

Reading Animals: Beast Fables to Graphic Novels (ENGL318 or CULT335)

This course explores the role of imagery, narrative and discourse in constituting historical and contemporary representations of nonhuman animals, human-animal relations and speciesism across a wide range of texts and media (including fables, bestiaries, wildlife documentaries, activist art, science fiction, popular gastronomy, graphic novels, and more). The lectures will move between focusing on representations of nonhuman animals in certain kinds of texts or media (e.g. fables, graphic novels, documentaries) to close readings of particular species in selected genres, stories or imagery. Human cultural practices involving nonhuman animals will also be explored through examination of fictional and nonfictional accounts. The course will be taught primarily using theoretical and methodological approaches derived from English, Cultural Studies and Critical Animal Studies.  Contact: Annie Potts (

Elephants and Empires: An Environmental History of Modern India (HIST 298 or HIST398)

This course emphasises the human/animal relationship as a primary factor in the environmental history of India. It focusses particularly on the environmental factors of disease, climate and health among both humans and animals in the shaping of India’s history from ancient to modern times. Contact: Jane Buckingham (

Intersectionalities: Humans, Animals and Otherness (ENGL411 or CULT418)

Intersectionality is a concept used to describe the ways in which oppressive institutions such as racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism and classism are interconnected and cannot be examined separately from one another. In this course, we engage with theory and examples from critical race studies, indigenous studies, feminist studies, queer studies, disability studies, and critical animal studies to examine how various forms of discrimination and marginalization intersect or connect. Importantly, we will also extend the theory of intersectionality to include analyses of the representations and treatment of other-than-human species. We will be examining various ‘texts’ including biographies, films, documentaries, advertising, activist and political campaigns, and also looking at actual practices. The work of intersectionality theorists such as Kimberle Crenshaw, Amy Breeze Harper, Dinesh Wadiwel, Richard Twine, Carol J. Adams and Pattrice Jones, will also be covered. All readings will be provided in class, and students will have the opportunity to research an essay topic they are personally passionate about. Contact: Annie Potts (

Multispecies Studies (SOCI410 or CULT421)

This course introduces a new subfield of anthropology concerned with the interconnectedness of humans and other life forms. Recognizing that the human condition cannot be understood in isolation, it considers the meaningful agency of nonhuman others and their entanglement with human lives, landscapes and technologies. The course introduces students to cutting-edge studies of mammalian interspecies intimacies, to intersections with insects, fish, fungi, and microbes, to issues of extinction and invasion, and to the implications of other species for human bodies, economies, foods and technologies.  Contact: Piers Locke (

PhD in Human-Animal Studies (HUAN790)

Students undertaking the PhD in Human-Animal Studies (PhD HUAN) at UC will work with supervisors drawn from our pool of over a dozen academic staff working in many different areas, and will be part of the lively and inclusive research culture of the New Zealand Centre for Human-Animal Studies.  Contact: Philip Armstrong (