MAPP Curriculum

All students in the M.S. in Animals and Public Policy (MAPP) program take core courses that examine the changing roles of animals in society, teach students how to effectively evaluate research and policy arguments, and polish their communication skills. Students follow either a "research track" or an "applied track" and pursue their own interests by choosing from a flexible menu of electives and completing an individualized capstone project.

Applied Track students acquire a strong understanding of animal issues and the communication skills needed to implement and advocate for practices that enrich human-animal relationships and improve the health and well-being of people and animals. The capstone exercise for students in the applied track is a three-month mentored externship. Students work closely with an organization involved in animal issues, and reflect on their experience by preparing a research paper and participating in other scholarly and reflective activities.

Research Track students acquire research skills, sensitivity to the political, social, and ethical issues that drive research into human-animal relationships, and a sophisticated understanding of how policy and science interact. Autumn and spring classes in research methods and statistics prepare them for their capstone exercise, an independent research project that focuses on an area of interest shared by MAPP core faculty or faculty fellows.

Courses

Core Courses
Electives
Methods Courses
Capstone Activities

Course Descriptions

Animals & Society I & II
Drawing on Cummings School faculty and outside speakers, Animals & Society uses lectures, discussions, student presentations, and written assignments to survey contemporary issues regarding animals and how those issues play out in public policy and community practices toward animals. These issues are explored through five modules: public policy, companion animals, research animals, farm animals, and wildlife. Each module examines the historical, social, ethical, political, legal and economic frameworks that influence how we perceive and treat animals.
Animal Law
Until recently, animals were treated as nothing more than property in courts of law. In this course, students explore how the changing status of animals is (or might be) reflected in case law, as well as the implications of specific state and federal laws (such as animal cruelty laws, the Animal Welfare Act, and the Endangered Species Act) for the legal status of animals.
Communicating Policy Positions
The course requires students to draft and revise documents targeted at diverse audiences, including letters to the editor, blogs, op-eds, fact sheets, legislative testimony, and formal comments on draft regulations and other proposals for government actions, and to develop skills in making presentations to the public, legislators, legislative hearings, and other forums.
Independent Research Project
For their capstone activity, students in the research track work independently with individual mentors to complete their research projects, with the expected outcome being an article that is potentially publishable in a peer-reviewed journal, or other scholarly product the dissemination of which will advance and inform animal policy or practice.
Introduction to Human-Animal Interactions
This interdisciplinary course explores human-animal relationships as a context for promoting health and well-being for humans, animals, and communities. The course focuses on integrative research and application in human-animal interaction, and will cover a range of topics such as the role of animals in promoting positive human development, animal-assisted therapy, animals in the family setting, and animals in educational and programmatic contexts. Additional context is provided in the form of class sessions on humane education and the role of animals in literature and art.
Mentored Externship
Students in the applied track complete their program by working at a government agency, legislative office, non-profit organization, or other entity that influences, makes, or implements animal policy or advances human-animal relationships. The students will analyze and synthesize their experiences in a substantial research paper and an oral report to classmates and Center faculty.
Principles of Animal Behavior
This lecture/discussion/hands-on class will stress general principles of behavior, including ethology and the evolution of behavior, behavior genetics, learning, cognition, and physiology. Illustrations and case studies will be drawn from companion animals, wildlife, farm animals, and laboratory animals.
Public Policy Analysis
This course focuses on the theories, analytical approaches and techniques of public policy analysis and provides students with an opportunity to critically examine theoretical frameworks in the context of animal policy. The course explores policy process, elements of policy design, and the relationship between social movements and political institutions. Through in-depth research in animal policy areas of interest to them, students will gain skills in policy analysis and familiarity with research resources. For the course, students will write a policy analysis case study and policy memos among other assignments.
Research Methods I
This discussion course will focus on critical reading of the quantitative and qualitative research literature on human-animal relationships. Students will read and present assigned papers, lead and participate in discussions, conduct literature searches, prepare a literature review, and write a research proposal in an area of interest.
Research Methods II
This course provides more in-depth exploration of survey design, content analysis, and qualitative techniques such as interviews, ethnography, and focus groups. All students will produce a research proposal, which for research track students will lead directly to their capstone research project.
Service: Animals in the Community
Students may receive elective credit for participating in a variety of community-service oriented activities, including animal shelter visitation, community cat clinics, support for the Tufts at Tech Community Veterinary Clinic, Tufts Paws for People, and the Tufts Pet Loss Hotline. Academic exercises matched to the service activities help illuminate the policy and practice context of the students' work.
Statistics I
This course introduces students to the basics of statistical methods and research design. Students learn to state hypotheses, evaluate sampling procedures, create and manage data sets, and carry out basic statistical testing. Examples are drawn from research in veterinary medicine, animal science, human-animal relationships, and animal ecology.
Statistics II
Intended for advanced research track students and tailored to their interests, this course will focus on experimental design and analysis of survey data, exploring the use of analysis of variance (ANOVA) and regression models, factor analysis, and other advanced techniques using SPSS or an equivalent statistical package.
The Study of Animal Welfare
This course blends readings, lectures, practical experience, discussion, and student projects to develop student understanding of various perspectives and definitions of animal welfare, methods for scientific study and evaluation of animal welfare, the effect of policy and markets on shaping of practices, and current welfare issues in areas such as animal agriculture, sport, science, and education. Students will consider aspects of assessing welfare, including stress, physical health, mental states, and quality of life and will be introduced to methods of conducting welfare assessments.
Wildlife in Captivity
This lecture/discussion class examines the ethical, welfare, health, conservation, and policy issues surrounding the keeping of wildlife in captivity. Particular attention is paid to wildlife in zoos and aquariums, but wild animals in sanctuaries, backyards, research facilities, circuses, and other forms of entertainment also receive attention. The course features outside speakers, faculty- and student-run discussions, and weekend field trips to zoos and other facilities.