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Master's of Science in Companion Animal Behavior Analysis and Counseling

63 Credit Hours



The MS CABAC clinical graduate degree program for professionals is the first of its kind offered by a U.S. college or university. The program employs a scientist/practitioner model following the principles of applied behavior analysis (ABA) and evidence based practice. It uses a blended-learning course delivery model consisting of Internet-based courses (both synchronous and asynchronous), 5-day residency lab courses with animals, real-world practicum in the student’s community, and a capstone empirical research project (thesis) designed to fills gaps in the companion animal scientific literature. The program is specifically designed for the working adult who might not otherwise be able to attend a traditional campus-based program.


Graduates are trained to work as companion animal behavior analysts in leadership positions and as part of a behavior management and intervention team that includes the behavior analyst/counselor, the family or facility veterinarian, and the animal’s caregiver(s). Graduates may be employed by animal-related organizations including animal shelters, animal sanctuaries, veterinary practices, animal behavior businesses, humane societies, SPCAs, NGOs, educational institutions, wildlife parks, government animal control organizations, health departments or other such organizations.


Graduates may also enter the profession as self-employed animal behavior professionals and consultants, and as  forensic consultants/expert witnesses in animal injury litigation matters; college, university or vocational school adjunct instructors, media consultants and alike.


Veterinarians will be capable of expanding their practice services to include companion animal behavior consulting and treatment. Veterinary technologists will be able to utilize additional skills in their current practice or in private practice working from their homes.


The curricula explores companion animal behavior and behavior change including learned and heritable behavior, species-specific behavior, functional behavioral assessment and the analysis of behavior problems, measurement and graphing of behavior using quantifiable methodologies, development of positive behavioral intervention plans, psychopharmacological intervention when prescribed by a licensed veterinarian, caregiver counseling and ethical/best practice. Graduates should come away from the program with an understanding of the societal value of the human-animal bond, the value of the companion animal in the family unit, as well as the cultural and ethical issues related to companion animal welfare. This prepares graduates to become powerful behavior change agents for the animal and within the society and community in which they live. 


Species Specialization- In addition to the core courses, students will elect to study three (3) species, e.g. canine, feline, equine and/or avian. Each species will require a classroom course designed to provide students with a foundation in understanding the species, a 5-day residency lab course with animals and externship practicum. 

Program Outline
Master of Science - Companion Animal Behavior Analysis Counseling
ANS 6000 Animal Learning and Behavior Analysis I 3
ANS 6001 Animal Learning and Behavior Analysis II 3
ANS 6002 Animal Learning and Behavior Analysis III 3
ANS 6003 Exploration of Animal Behavior 3
ANS 6007 Companion Animal Husbandry and Wellness 3
ANS 6009 Psychopharmacology for Animal Scientists 3
ANS 6015 Companion Animal Nutrition 3
ANS 6030 Qualitative and Quantitative Statistics 3
ANS 6031 Research Methods in Animal Science 3
ANS 6151 Canine Behavior and Intervention 3
ANS 6152 Feline Behavior and Intervention 3
ANS 6153 Equine Behavior and Intervention 3
ANS 6154 Avian Behavior and Intervention 3

***ACADEMIC RESIDENCY LAB ELECTIVES** CHOOSE 3 OF 4 COURSES - (Lab elective courses must match online course electives)

ANS 6201 Canine Behavior Residency Lab (5-day course) 3
ANS 6210 Feline Behavior Residency Lab (5-day course) 3
ANS 6214 Equine Behavior Residency Lab (5-day course) 3
ANS 6220 Avian Behavior Residency Lab (5-day course) 3
ANS 7001 Master's Thesis I 4
ANS 7002 Master's Thesis II 4
ANS 7003 Master's Thesis III 4
ANS 7999 Continuing Project * -
ANS 7501 Master's Externship Practicum I 3
ANS 7502 Master's Externship Practicum II 3

* This course is required for students who are unable to complete their thesis project within the normal 3-semester time period. Registering for ANS 7999 allows students to remain in the program, have access to their thesis committee, the library and student services. Students are responsible for 3 credit hours of tuition and the course registration fee for each ANS 7999 course registration. Students may register for ANS 7999 for a maximum of four semesters. Additional time requests require the student to petition the Academic Affairs committee.


Technical and Physical Requirements
Students enrolled in this program are required to work with certain animal species associated with the curricula, e.g. dogs, cats, horses, and birds in academic residency, field project or externship courses. Working with animals requires certain physical requirements including, but not limited to, responding quickly to animal movement, bending, use of hands to hold leashes, food reinforcers, and clicker signaling devices; restraining an animal such as a large dog on a leash, donning and removing training equipment used with the animal’s training, placement and removal of animals into cages or carriers, etc. Students should be confident that they are capable of performing these physical tasks, with or without accommodations, prior to enrolling in a program. If a student has questions about their ability to perform these physical tasks, it is advised that they seek the guidance of their personal physician before applying.