Animal Behavior


Bachelor of Science with a major in Animal Behavior
College of Arts and Sciences (CAS)


Dr. Teresa Dzieweczynski


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 three majors: psychology, neuroscience, and animal behavior.

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 through the use of 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 with students taking courses in a variety of departments to gain an appreciation of the discipline from multiple perspectives. 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.

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 OR MAR 105/105L 4
BIO 106/106L - Biology II: Cellular/Molecular w/Lab OR MAR 106/106L 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 3
PSY 285 - Research Methods 3
BIO 322 - Comparative Animal Physiology or BIO 245 - General Principles of Anatomy, Physiology & Pathophysiology 4
PSY 335 - Comparative Animal Behavior 3
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 3-12
Animal Behavior Electives - 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 director or the department chair. 6 or more
Minimum Required Total Credits 120
Animal Behavior Elective Options  

BIO 232 - Microbiology   


BIO 332 - Vert Neuroanatomy


BIO 333 - Evolution


BIO 345 - General Prin Anat/Phys/Pathophys


BIO 350 - Ecology


BIO 421 - Topics:  Conservation Ecology Carribbean 3
ENV 208 - Climate Change 3

ENV 250 -Environ Policy Compar Perspect


ENV 318 - Advanced Methods in Avian Ecology


ENV 319 - Practicum in Field Ecology Squirrels 1

ENV 356 - Terrestrial Wildlife and Ecology


MAR 237 - Marine Mammal Policy


MAR 250 - Marine Biology


MAR 252 - Nat His Marine Mammals


MAR 428 - Marine Conservation 3

PHY 110/PHY 111 - Physics    


PSY 205 - Abnormal Psychology    


PSY 226 - Motivation & Emotion 


PSY 245 - Evolutionary Psychology


PSY 325 - Psychology of Aging


PSY 330 - Psychology of Stress  


PSY 370 - Drugs, Society, Behavior


PSY 383 - Memory & Cognition


PSY 406 - Spec Topics in Animal Behavior


*Organismal Topics courses must be 200-level or higher and include a hands on component. These courses include: BIO 222 Finfish/Shellfish Culture Tech; BIO 255 Entomology; BIO 223 Health Nutrition Feeding of Cultured Organisms; BIO 305 Mammology & BIO 305L Mammology Lab; BIO 319 Ornithology; BIO 330 Comp Vert Anatomy; ENV 318 Adv Research Methods Avian Ecol; ENV 356 Terrestrial Wildlife Eco/Cons; MAR 320 Invert Zoology; MAR 331 Biology of Fishes; MAR 355 Biology Marine Mammals; MAR 375 Biology Sharks, Skates, Rays; MAR 451 Topics: Galapagos; PSY 406 Spec Topics Animal Behavior. 


Students in this major can participate in the pre-health graduate school preparation tracks.

Academic and Technical Standards

A grade point average of 2.25 is necessary to be approved to add a major in Psychology, Animal Behavior, or Neuroscience, and to add a minor in Psychology, Animal Behavior, Neuroscience, Art Therapy, or MHRT/C.   Double majoring or majoring and minoring within the Department of Psychology may be possible for a student.  However, students interested in this option should do so with close consultation of their academic advisor to ensure that a substantial degree of overlap between the two areas does not occur.

A minimum grade of C- must be achieved in all courses used to fulfill the requirements for the Animal Behavior major.  Students must also complete the University Core mathematics requirement by the end of the first year.  The department strongly recommends that students take PSY 225 and PSY 285 in their sophomore year.  The department requires that PSY 225 and PSY 285 be completed by the end of the junior year.  See Undergraduate Academic Policy also.

Learning Outcomes

At the completion of their Bachelors Degree Program in Animal Behavior, students will be able to:

1. Exhibit critical and integrative thinking skills

2. Demonstrate ability to communicate scientific information in both oral and written formats

3. Demonstrate knowledge of key concepts in animal behavior

4. Exhibit quantitative research skills (or demonstrate ability to perform all parts of the scientific method)

5. Demonstrate ability to think flexibly and apply knowledge to new problems


A student with GPA of at least 2.25 and a major at UNE may minor in Animal Behavior with the approval of the Psychology Department Chair.  Declarations must occur prior to the completion of the first semester of the junior year. Major programs of study with significant course overlap with animal behavior minor requirements may be disallowed by the chair.  Students declaring a minor in animal behavior will not be allowed to double-dip credits across the minor and either major or core requirements (unless no other options are provided by the major, minor, or core requirements). A minimum of eighteen hours of approved course credit with a minimum grade of "C-" in each course 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

Honors Program

We offer qualified students the option of graduating with Honors. This includes significant research, scholarship or creative activity under the direction of a faculty member. Interested students should consult with their major advisor. 

Transfer Credit

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


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.

Notice and Responsibilities Regarding this Catalog

This Catalog documents the academic programs, policies, and activities of the University of New England for the 2019-2020 academic year. The information contained herein is accurate as of date of publication April 26, 2019.

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.