Animal Welfare & Behavior


Undergraduate and Graduate

Undergraduate and graduate students complete courses in the science of animal behavior and welfare. Coursework is taught in the classroom, on the farm and online to actively engage students in the learning process.


Animal welfare is a complex issue with implications traversing a broad range of societal concerns. Professionals in animal-related industries, including veterinarians and animal scientists, are being called upon to assess the welfare of animals, but few are adequately trained to do so. To address the growing need for professionals trained to evaluate animal welfare, the Michigan State University (MSU) Animal Behavior and Welfare Group (ABWG) designs and teaches undergraduate and graduate level courses in animal welfare applied animal behavior and contemporary issues.

Student Clubs and Teams

The Michigan State University Animal Welfare Club (MSU AWC) is a Registered Student Organization dedicated to making animal welfare science more accessible. MSU AWC's mission is to improve animal welfare and support humane animal use through education and outreach. Club members work with professionals from academia and industry to foster a diverse, open-minded community and develop long-lasting relationships. Learn more by following @MSUAWC on Facebook and Instagram.

The Animal Behavior and Welfare Group (ABWG) also provides practical experiences for students. Through the Intercollegiate Animal Welfare Judging and Assessment Contest, students assess animal welfare in a friendly yet competitive environment.

Through independent study or sponsored undergraduate research, students can develop and carry out their own research projects area of animal welfare and behavior.


The Animal Behavior and Welfare Group (ABWG) at Michigan State University (MSU) examines the impact of housing and management practices on the quality of life for animals and works to provide a scientific foundation for animal welfare standards.



Generally accepted agricultural and management practices (GAAMPs) are written standards providing uniform, science-based standards and acceptable management practices. Producers can compare their current management routines to the GAAMPs or use them as a guide for improving management practices.

Additional Resources

We have collected a number of behavior and welfare resources from MSU, other universities, government, societies, associations, and expert sites.