Teaching at the Messerli Research Institute


Schedule Summer Term 2017

Schedule Summer Term 2017 [Link 2]




Admission Procedure 2016/17

Application for 2017/18 will be open from 15 May 2017 to 15 June 2018.

Further information on the procedure [Link 3]


Interdisciplinary Master in Human-Animal Interactions

Find additional information on the website of Vetmeduni Vienna:

Curriculum Interdisciplinary Master in Human-Animal Interactions [Link 4]

General information

The new interdisciplinary Master's program started in October 2012. Organized by the Messerli Research Institute and in cooperation with the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna, the Medical University of Vienna and the University of Vienna, it offers a comprehensive, research-oriented training in the various fields of human-animal interactions.

By imparting theoretical and methodological expertise in relevant disciplines of natural sciences and humanities and developing critical reflection and argumentation, the program will contribute to improve the complex relationship between humans and animals. The interdisciplinary research on questions of social and ethical relevance is novel and therefore a challenge for the students.

Graduates will find opportunities both in the academic environment and in socially relevant fields of human-animal interactions. The program aims to train experts who will assume responsibility in human-animal interactions on a scientific basis and after ethical reflection.

Structure and duration of studies

The program comprises 4 semesters and 120 ECTS. It is composed of 4 compulsory modules, 2 elective modules and one Master's thesis.

Compulsory modules - 78 ECTS

  • Animal behaviour and Cognition
  • Comparative Medicine
  • Animal husbandry and welfare as well as the legal foundations of human-animal interactions
  • Philosophy, philosophy of science and ethics

Elective modules – 12 ECTS

  • General scientific abilities and soft skills
  • Courses to accompany the Master's thesis

Master's thesis – 30 ECTS

Professional fields

Graduates will find opportunities in the following fields:

  • Academic careers (PhD) in Life Sciences
  • Managerial positions in institutions related to husbandry (zoos, game parks, pet shops, sanctuaries, animal shelters, animal hostels, institutions that house laboratory animals, animal breeding facilities)
  • Coaching for animal keepers, both private persons and persons attached to institutes
  • Managerial positions in companies offering products or services related to animals
  • Positions in authorities, commissions, counselling centers and animal-related organizations
  • Positions in various associations and societies
  • Trainers of animal trainers

Why apply for this Master's program?

Social relevance

Against the background of the changing role of animals in society, research on human-animal interactions becomes more important.


The Master's program is mainly in English and takes up international research results on human-animal interactions. A special emphasis is on international networking.


  • Detailed knowledge and understanding of fundamental issues (compulsory modules)
  • Ability to cope with different scientific practices, languages and traditions
  • Ability to participate in interdisciplinary research projects
  • Specialized knowledge of one field of human-animal interactions
  • Ability in ethical evaluation and systematic reflection of topics of human-animal interactions that are relevant to society
  • Independent conduct of research projects

Individual supervision

A limited number of students allows for an intensive supervision.


The program aims to train experts who will assume responsibility in human-animal interactions on a scientific basis and after ethical reflection.


A (Bachelor's) degree in a related field, comprising at least 180 ECTS, is required.

We recommend the following books for your preparation for the admission test:

1.) Biology

Biology by Campbell, Reese et al. (2008, 8th edition). Pearson Education Inc.

  • Chapter 22 Descent with Modification: A Darwinian View of Life (25 pages 452–467)
  • Chapter 40: Basic Principles of Animal Form and Function (30 pages 852–874)
  • Chapter 50: Sensory and Motor Mechanisms (41 pages 1087–1119)
  • Chapter 53: Population Ecology (8 pages 53.1, 53.2 1174–1181)

2.) Animal husbandry and welfare

Biology by Campbell, Reese et al. (2008, 8th edition). Pearson Education Inc.

  • Chapter 41: Nutrition (23 pages 875–897)
  • Chapter 51: Animal Behavior (25 pages 1120–1144)

The Ethology of Domestic Animals by Jensen, P. (2009, 2nd edition)

  • Chapter 1: The study of animal behavior and its applications

3.) Human and veterinary medicine

Clinical Pathophysiology Made Ridiculously Simple by Aaron Berkowitz

  • Pages 1-5, 14-21, 22-24, 35-40, 47-51, 64-70, 71-81, 88-93, 106-110, 118-128.

Molecular Biology of the Cell by Bruce Alberts, Alexander Johnson und Julian Lewis. Taylor & Francis (2008)

  • Pages 88-123, 125-140, 197-201, 968, 978-979, 994-995

Molecular Biology made simple and Fun (4. Edition, David B. Clark)

  • Chapter 4 (page 25-34)
  • Chapter 7 (page 63 - 82)

Pathologic Basis of Veterinary Disease (5. Edition, by James F. Zachary, M Donald McGavin)

  • Chapter 1 (page 2-59
  • Chapter 3 (page 91-95)
  • Chapter 6 (page 698-734)

4.) Essays on Animal Ethics

Armstrong, S.J./Botzler, R. (eds.) (2008): The Animal Ethics Reader (2nd edition). London/New York: Routledge

  • Pages 1–13: General Introduction – Animal Ethics: A Sketch of How it Developed and Where it is Now (by Susan Armstrong and Richard Botzler)
  • Pages 19–26: The Case for Animal Rights (by Tom Regan)
  • Pages 303–307: The Case for Animal Rights – Laboratory Studies (by Tom Regan)

Singer, Peter: Animal Liberation. New York: Harper Collins

  • Pages 1–23: All Animals are Equal (by Peter Singer)


Courses in Ethics and Human-Animal Studies [Link 5]
Courses in Comparative Medicine [Link 6]
Courses in Comparative Cognition [Link 7]
Scripts & Literature [Link 8]
Graduates [Link 9]

Office hours for students

Jennifer Bentlage, MSc.

    +43 1 25077-2681