The Major and Minor

This week’s featured program is the major and minor in Animal Studies at Eckerd College. Animal Studies is an interdisciplinary field of study that is distinct from the more common, STEM-based field of Animal Sciences. From the website:

Animal Studies is a truly interdisciplinary major at Eckerd, drawing from the natural sciences, the social sciences, and the humanities to trace the history and consequences of human relationships to animals. These relationships are interdependent; while humans have certainly had a tremendous impact upon the lives of non-human animals, non-human animals have also shaped human thought, culture, and economic production—even our very understanding of what humanity is—since our earliest origins.

Students majoring in Animal Studies take five foundational courses (two lower-level and three upper-level), including a practicum; three other courses (Science; Humanities, Society, & Culture; Application); and two electives. Students minoring in Animal Studies take three required courses and three electives. 

Two Interesting Courses

AZ 217S: Animals and Popular Culture

Examines how our representation of animals reflects popular cultural values and affects animal lives. Explores practices like hunting, pet-keeping, farming, and animals in entertainment through critical examination of television, movies, the Internet, and other media.

AZ 325: Conservation Education: Zoos & AquariumsExamine techniques that zoos and aquariums use to engage their guests, connect people to animals, and inspire conservation action.

Five Possible Complementary Majors/Minors at Eckerd College

Unique Opportunities within the Major/Minor

Students at Eckerd have access to exclusive internship opportunities:

ZooTampa Behavioral Internship

This internship is designed to introduce interns to applied research techniques in the field of informal education and its evaluation. Interns will learn and implement a variety of research methods to collect data and analyze results to evaluate educational programming and its goal to invite, inform, and inspire the guests of ZooTampa to promote conservation.

SPCA Tampa Bay Animal Welfare Internship

Students rotate through the various departments within SPCA-Tampa Bay including Veterinary Services, Enrichment, Training, and Adoptions. Interns gain an understanding of the variety of services for animals available to the community of Pinellas County. There is exposure to emotionally challenging interactions with internal and external stakeholders. Interns gain an understanding of the different skill sets required by the various departments and opportunities for employment in the animal welfare field.

Students can also participate in a course with a short-term study abroad component:

The Role of the Modern Zoo is a Spring into Summer course that examines the history of zoos as well as their present goals for animal welfare and conservation. Over the years, this International Education class has traveled to London, Edinburgh, San Diego, Seattle, and Vancouver, Canada.

See the description of the Summer 2023 version of this course:

In recent years, zoos and aquariums have been subjected to much criticism.  However, many people believe that zoos play a vital role in education and conservation.  This Spring-into-Summer course will examine the role of zoos and aquariums in these efforts.  During the spring semester, students will examine local zoo facilities around Tampa Bay.  This includes a two-day intensive program at Busch Gardens Tampa where students meet with zoo staff, researchers, and conservationists.  Students even work for a morning as a zookeeper!  The course culminates with a travel component to Vienna, Austria where we will visit the oldest zoo in the world, as well as other zoological facilities in the area. The ultimate goal of this course is to come away with a better understanding of the role of the modern zoo both in the US and abroad. 

Sample Similar Programs