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MASTER OF SCIENCE in Canine Life Sciences

The Master of Science in Canine Life Sciences degree program and class schedule is specifically designed to allow students to participate in classes with minimal disruption to their employment and home life.


The mission of the Master of Science in Canine Life Science degree program is to advance the competencies and expand the vision of post-baccalaureate canine professionals and enthusiasts with the expectation that as graduates they will further evolve and develop canine business and assistance dog roles, enjoy expanded job opportunities and mentor the relationship between humans and canines.

The program is designed to fuel students' thirst for more development in the theoretical and applied studies of human-canine relationships, expand their awareness of issues and concepts, enhance problem-solving abilities, and promote appreciation for the subject matter from a more knowledgeable context. The program focuses on the dog's usage and abilities to assist humans in differing capacities with the expectation that graduates will further evolve and develop this field. Students also study the human-dog relationship from legal, historical, and developmental points of view.

Visionary, futuristic, discovery-based canine scholarship is juxtaposed against cutting-edge science-based academic educational offerings preparing the student to help shepherd in the dog's future as they develop critical thinking skills, moral and ethical awareness, managerial competence, an international perspective and a momentum that will inspire them to contribute to the next rung in the human-canine evolutionary ladder.  The unique relationship between human and dog has exploded into a billion dollar business. The partnership of individuals with disabilities and assistance dogs has grown into a worldwide phenomenon. Each requires the expertise, the leadership abilities, the decision-making and problem-solving skills of these graduates to help guide it.


Overview of Master's Program Structure

The Master of Science in Canine Life Science degree program is designed to accommodate the time constraints of the working professional while simultaneously providing an in-depth comprehensive graduate program. The Master's program is comprised of ten (10) three-credit courses for a total program consisting of 30 credits scheduled over three (3) trimesters, which is equivalent to one year. Each trimester is sixteen (16) weeks in length. Students are not required to be on campus during the entire trimester. Instead they attend a two-week Master's Session held onsite at Bergin University during the Fall, Spring, and Summer trimesters. During the onsite Sessions students are required to participate in lectures and discussions with faculty who are prominent in the fields of canine research and the human-canine relationship. At the conclusion of each two-week session, students return home and continue their studies for the remainder of the trimester by completing assigned readings, research, and projects, as well as practice the skills acquired in applied dog-training sessions. While at home, students communicate with instructors and each other by phone, email, and social media. The Master's program requires students to complete a thesis or culminating project, which may necessitate an additional year to complete.


This Master's degree requires 30 Master's credits (500 level courses).

LIF 505 The Emotional Lives of Dogs and Other Animals (3 credits)
LIF 510A, B, C Introduction to Scholarly Inquiry and Research Methodology  (1 credit per trimester = total 3 credits)
LIF 515 Human-Canine Cognition and Communication Compared  (3 credits)
LIF 520 Ethical, Moral and Legal Perspectives of Canine Training, Use and Ownership  (3 credits)
LIF 535 Evolution and Innovations of Dog-Human Partnerships  (3 credits)
LIF 540A, B, C Theories of Canine and Human Learning (1 credit per trimester = total 3 credits)
LIF 565  Behavioral Ecology of Predators and Prey  (3 credits)
LIF 570A, B, C  Advances in Canine Health and Well-Being  (1 credit per session = total 3 credits)
LIF 580 Canine Behavioral Problems: Symptoms and Treatments  (3 credits)
LIF 590 Thesis/Culminating Project  (self-directed research) (3 credits)

Note: The LIF 510, LIF 540, and LIF 570 course curricula are sequenced over the three trimesters in one-credit increments.

Master's Program and Dogs

Master students train Bergin University dogs during each two-week onsite Session. Therefore, students do not bring their own dog to the on-site Master Sessions. When a student returns home after the Session, a student must have access to a dog in order to continue dog training for the remaining fourteen weeks of the trimester. The dog the student trains at home may be the student's dog or from another source. The University does not provide dogs for students to take home with them during the 14-week off-campus portion of the semester.