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JoAnna Lou
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First-Ever Animal Policy & Advocacy Degree
New Humane Society University to fosters understanding of our relationships with animals.

Dogs have lived alongside humans for ages, but in many ways we know little about them. For decades our understanding of animal-human relationships has been largely limited to anecdotal stories. Institutions such as Harvard’s Canine Cognition Lab and the American Humane Endowed Chair at the University of Denver would’ve been unthinkable until just a few years ago.

Recently, the possibilities for research in this field has expanded even further. The Humane Society of the United States’ newly licensed university has begun accepting student applications for matriculation in the fall, making it the first in the nation to offer bachelor degree programs in animal studies and the first in the world to offer a bachelor’s degree in animal policy and advocacy.

Applicants must complete 60 college credits, equivalent to at least two years of an average college degree program. Those who already have bachelor's degrees from other institutions can enroll in graduate certificate programs in animal studies, animal policy and advocacy, and humane leadership. The program is run out of their facility in Washington D.C., but also includes online study options.

I’m most excited about the studies in animal policy and advocacy. The graduates from this program are sure to have a significant impact on how animals are represented and understood in our society. Makes me want to go back to school!

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JoAnna Lou is a New York City-based researcher, writer and agility enthusiast.

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