Animal Behavior

Bachelor of Science with a major in Animal Behavior

College of Arts and Sciences

Department of Psychology

Dr. Linda Morrison (Chair)


The Department of Psychology offers students a broad-based liberal arts education with an emphasis on community, social and individual approaches to understanding human behavior.  Students are thus exposed to a combination of theoretical, scientific and practical approaches to solving human problems.  Issues of gender, race, class and culture are emphasized in courses throughout the curriculum.  As a result of required course work and internship experiences, the department graduates students with marketable skills that prepare them for entry-level positions in social services or for graduate study in related areas.  As part of this mission, the Department of Psychology offers four majors: psychology, neuroscience, animal behavior and psychology and social relations.

Animal behavior involves the investigation of how an organism relates to its environment - comprised of both physical and social factors - and includes a wide variety of topics, from finding food to achieving dominance, that all influence an organism's ability to survive and reproduce. It is by its very nature interdisciplinary, drawing on techniques and concepts from multiple diverse fields such as psychology and neuroscience. Through the use of expertise in psychology (the study of behavior and mental processes) and biology (the study of the living world), we can understand how animals behave, how these behaviors develop and the mechanisms, explanations and consequences of these behaviors. Answers to the mechanisms of behavior include not only how external stimuli in the environment affect behavior but also how the internal hormonal and neural mechanisms mediate behavior. The study of the development of behavior focuses on the way behavior changes over an individual's lifetime as a result of both genes and experience. Investigations of the explanations of behavior examine immediate effects of a particular behavior on an animal, and ultimate effects such as a behavior's value in helping a species survive and reproduce successfully and that behavior's evolution over time.

The mission of animal behavior, as an interdisciplinary science that combines both psychology and biology, is to examine the complicated question of how and why animals behave the way they do by using techniques and concepts from multiple fields.  By the time they graduate, animal behavior majors will know how to think like scientists. This will include a mastery of the basic skills that underlie the fields of psychology and biology - from critically observing the world around them to formulating basic hypotheses - as well as an understanding of concepts central to the disciplines and how these concepts interact and interrelate. In order to enable students to attain these goals, they will be actively involved in the scientific process. Through active involvement, students will gain an appreciation of not just animal behavior but psychology and biology as a whole.

One of the things that makes the University of New England a unique institution is its focus on learning by doing. The psychology faculty is wholly supportive of this approach as indicated not only by strong student-faculty relationships but also by requiring an internship experience. The animal behavior major further embraces this philosophy by providing research experiences within and outside the classroom learning environment. Research experience is as critical a component of a well-rounded degree as content mastery and provides students with skills that are beneficial throughout their careers after graduation. Through these hands on experiences, students will discover their talents, hone their skills, achieve their goals and become independent, critical thinkers that understand their role in not just the work force but the community in general.

Major Description

Animal Behavior is an interdisciplinary major offered jointly by faculty from the Department of Psychology and the Department of Biological Sciences. Animal behavior is the scientific study of not only everything an animal does but why it does it. This major is designed for students who are interested in understanding why animals act the way they do on a proximate and ultimate level. An animal behavior major can lead to employment in national parks, research laboratories, veterinary clinics, animal shelters, aquariums or zoos, or academia. Students who are planning on attending a graduate program in this field should be prepared not only to maintain an appropriately high GPA but also to conduct research in a laboratory on campus or at another institution.

Transfer Credit

Courses previously completed at another accredited college can be transferred to this degree program. Transferred biology and psychology courses must be reasonably close in scope and content to the biology and psychology courses offered at UNE in order to count as exact equivalents. Otherwise, they will transfer as general electives. All Science/Math courses previously completed must be no older than five years. Other restrictions apply. See Undergraduate Admissions also.

Program Academic and Technical Standards

A minimum grade of "C-"  must be achieved in all courses used to fulfill the requirements for the Animal Behavior major. See Undergraduate Academic Policy also.

Curricular Requirements

CAS Core Requirements

Program Required Courses 50-59
PSY 105 - Introduction to Psychology 3
BIO 105/105L - Biology I: Ecology/Evolution w/Lab 4
BIO 106/106L - Biology II: Cellular/Molecular w/Lab 4
CHE 110/110L - General Chemistry I w/Lab 4
CHE 111/111L - General Chemistry II w/Lab 4
PSY 225 - Psychology Statistics 3
PSY 275 - Introduction to Tech/Animal Behavior  
PSY 285 - Research Methods 3
BIO 322 - Comparative Animal Physiology or BIO 245 General Principles of Anatomy, Physiology & Pathophysiology 4
or BIO 335 - Animal Behavior/Behavioral Ecology 3
BIO XXX - Organismal Topic* 3
PSY 362 - Animal Cognition 3
PSY 365 - Biological Bases of Behavior 3
PSY 382 - Animal Learning and Behavior 3
PSY 425 - Advanced Methods in Animal Behavior 3
PSY 495 - Animal Behavior Internship/Research or BIO 495 - Advanced Biological Internship 3-12
Animal Behavior Electives (see below)  
*Organismal Topics Include: MAR 250 Marine Biology; MAR 252 Natural History of Marine Mammals; BIO 319 Ornithology; BIO 330 Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy; MAR 331 Biology of Fishes, MAR 355 Biology of Marine Mammals; PSY 406 Spec Topics Psychobiology.   
Minimum Required Total Credits 120
Note: Curricular Elective Detail:
Three electives are required for the animal behavior major if the internship is 3-4 credits. If the internship is 5 or more credits, then only 2 electives are required. Other courses may be applied as electives with the approval of the animal behavior program advisor.
Animal Behavior Electives 3
ANT 101 - Anthropology    3
BIO 200 - Genetics   5
BIO 295 - Biological Internship 3-4
BIO 333 - Evolution 3
BIO 345 - General Prin Anat/Phys/Pathophys 5
ENV 318 - Advanced Methods in Avian Ecology 4
ENV 356 - Terrestrial Wildlife and Ecology 4
PHY 110/PHY 111 - Physics     4-8
PSY 205 - Abnormal Psychology     3
PSY 235 - Health Psychology   3
PSY 245 - Evolutionary Psychology 3
PSY 330 - Psychology of Stress   3
PSY 406 - Spec Topics in Animal Behavior 3
PSY 440 - Sensation and Perception 3
Learning Outcomes

Students will acquire the following skills as they complete their 
Bachelors of Science Degree in Animal Behavior at UNE: 
1. Quantitative skills 
1.1 Ability to represent information in a quantitative format 
1.2 Ability to analyze and interpret quantitative information, including graphs and 
1.3 Ability to quantitatively manipulate data and information 
2. Critical and integrative thinking skills 
2.1 Ability to critique and develop experimental designs and methodology 
2.2 Ability to integrate findings from diverse fields to address a research question or 
develop a testable hypothesis. 
2.3 Ability to read and analyze a primary research paper 
3. Research skills 
3.1 Ability to develop a hypothesis and design experiments to test this hypothesis 
3.2 Ability to collect, analyze, and interpret data 
3.3 Ability to perform multiple techniques related to animal behavior research (specific 
techniques may vary, but include: observational learning, biochemical techniques, 
behavioral studies, etc.) 
4. Communication skills 
4.1 Ability to present information orally in an organized and understandable manner 
4.2 Ability to communicate scientific information in written format for scientific 
4.3 Ability to communicate scientific information to the lay public in both oral and 
written format 
5. Independent critical thinking skills 
5.1 Ability to defend unique views/approaches/answers to well established phenomenon 
and theories based upon objective evidence 
5.2 Ability to overcome barriers/impediments to learning/research. 
5.3 Ability to find answers to questions that may not be specifically addressed in a course 



Skill 1

Skill 2

Skill 3

Skill 4

Skill 5

Use of the information

MCAT or GRE Exam

scores for Animal 
Behavior majors who 
anticipate applying to 
medical or graduate 

X (sort of)

X     X

Data are 
reported to 
annually in 
aggregate and 
students are 
given their 
scores. All data 
are reviewed as 
part of program 
review every 
four years

All students are 
required to complete 
an PSY 425: 
Advanced Methods in 
Animal Behavior and 
complete a grant 
proposal as a final 


Data are 
reported to 
department in 
an annual 
meeting in 
aggregate and 
used as part of 
program review

Graduating student 
survey administered in 
early May of senior 


Data are 
reported to 
department in 
an annual 
meeting in 
aggregate and 
used as part of 
program review

Internship Evaluation 
Form for all students 
in required ANB 
internship experience 


Data are 
reported to 
department in 
an annual 
meeting in 
aggregate and 
used as part of 
program review


The Department of Psychology offers qualified students the option of graduating with Honors in the Research Track. The department does not offer the Scholastic option. See details on the Honors homepage.

Psychology Honors Research Requirements 

Complete requirements for major

Maintain GPA of 3.50 or higher

HONR 180 - Introduction to Research Across the Disciplines

HONR 480 - Senior Honors Research Seminar

Honors elective (1) offered by Psychology Department

Honors elective (1) offered by any department

Honors Thesis and public defense

Presentation at CAS Research Symposium

Dr. Linda Morrison, Chair of Department,


A student with a major in another area may minor in Animal Behavior with the permission of their academic advisor and the Chair of the Psychology Department. A minimum of eighteen hours of approved course credit with a minimum grade of "C-" is required for the minor in Animal Behavior as follows:

Minimum Credits 18
PSY 105 - Introduction to Psychology 3
PSY 335 - Comparative Animal Behavior 3
PSY 365 - Biological Bases of Behavior 3
BIO XXX - One Organismal Topic (see above) 3-4
Animal Behavior Elective (see above) 3-4
PSY 382 - Animal Learning and Behavior 3
Financial Information

Tuition and Fees

Tuition and fees for subsequent years may vary. Other expenses include books and housing. For more information regarding tuition and fees, please consult the Financial Information section of this catalog.

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Notice and Responsibilities Regarding this Catalog

This Catalog documents the academic programs, policies, and activities of the University of New England for the 2013-2014 academic year. The information contained herein is accurate as of date of publication August 12, 2013.

The University of New England reserves the right in its sole judgment to make changes of any nature in its programs, calendar, or academic schedule whenever it is deemed necessary or desirable, including changes in course content, the rescheduling of classes with or without extending the academic term, canceling of scheduled classes or other academic activities, in any such case giving such notice thereof as is reasonably practicable under the circumstances.

While each student may work closely with an academic advisor, he or she must retain individual responsibility for meeting requirements in this catalog and for being aware of any changes in provisions or requirements.