Build a Career Working with Animals

Madonna’s Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Animal Studies degree provides a solid foundation in the biological sciences, including zoology and animal behavior. Coursework also aims to build knowledge in animal ethics and religious views on animals, law and policies, and animal-assisted therapies for humans.

The Animal Studies major is an ideal fit for anyone who loves animals and dreams of a career working directly with them, supporting their well-being and strengthening the human-animal bond.

Interdisciplinary, Hands-on Curriculum in Animal Studies

The BA in Animal Studies dives deep into a range of animal-related topics, reflecting the breadth of career possibilities available to students. Courses cover zoology, animal behavior, animal-assisted therapy, animal law, and much more. In addition to these animal-focused courses, students also build a strong scientific foundation through coursework in biology, statistics, psychology, and sociology.

Animal Studies students also are required to complete an internship to accent the curriculum and gain practical experience in the field at local zoos, humane societies, and wildlife conservation agencies.

Explore the complete list of courses in the degree’s curriculum.

Bachelor’s Degree Program Outcomes

The bachelor’s degree in Animal Studies equips students with both fundamental knowledge of zoology and animal behavior, as well as in-depth understanding of individual and societal issues regarding human-animal interactions. Under the guidance of experienced faculty, students examine these topics through the lens of academic fields such as ethics, law and public policy, and religious studies.

Students in the Animal Studies major are able to:

  • Understand ethical approaches and religious conceptualizations regarding non-human animals
  • Analyze individual and societal aspects of human-animal interactions
  • Explain the processes of creating animal laws and policies and their impact on the lives of animals
  • Analyze human impact on environment and propose sustainable solutions
  • Combine the scientific biological knowledge with the content of animal studies
  • Apply the theoretical knowledge of animal studies in a professional context

Minor Requirement 

All students within the BA in Animal Studies program are required to choose a minor that encompasses 20-32 semester hours. The minor provides an enriching complement to the bachelor’s degree, expanding the perspective of possible career paths within an animal-related field and increasing marketability to future employers.

Through internships at local zoos, humane societies, and wildlife conservation agencies, students gain practical skills needed for a broad range of professional employment opportunities in animal-related non-profit and governmental institutions.

Students are able to choose from the following minors: 

Minors not listed here can be selected with required advisor approval.

Career Outlook with an Animal Studies Degree

Madonna’s BS in Animal Studies degree provides a well-rounded academic experience that positions students for future career success in roles such as:

  • Animal caretaker at zoos, wildlife rehabilitation centers and sanctuaries
  • Animal Cruelty Investigation Officer
  • Administrative coordinator at zoos, wildlife rehabilitation centers and sanctuaries, humane societies, animal control facilities, and animal-related governmental agencies (state departments of natural resources, Federal Wildlife and Fish Administration, etc.)
  • Community organizer for animal causes
  • Documentary film maker for animal welfare and animal protection organizations
  • State or Federal Park Ranger (additional training and/or exams may be required)
  • Graphic designer, communication specialist, or spokesperson for zoos, animal welfare/animal protection organizations, and animal-related governmental agencies

In addition, the Animal Studies major is a perfect first step to pursuing a career in rapidly growing fields, such as animal law, animal science, or academic animal studies.

Admission Requirements

Students seeking admission into Madonna University’s Animal Studies bachelor’s degree program need to submit the following items:

  • Completed online application for undergraduate admissions
  • Official high school transcript (final transcript after graduation with graduation date posted)
  • ACT/SAT score(s)
  • AP, IB test score(s) (if applicable)
  • Dual Enrollment/college transcript (if applicable)

Review the complete first-year student admission requirements.

Create a Rewarding Career Working with Animals

Through an engaging interdisciplinary curriculum and internship experience, Madonna University’s Bachelor of Arts in Animal Studies degree guides you on your path to a rewarding career working with animals.

Take the first step by requesting more information or starting your application!

Faculty Bios

Andrew Domzalski

Animal Studies Program Director
MATESOL and Co-Director of Humane Leadership Program

M.S., Warsaw University, Warsaw, Poland

M.A., Marygrove College

Ph.D.,  Oakland University



Andrew Domzalski

Dr. Andrew Domzalski is the contact person for the undergraduate program in Animal Studies. He also directs MATESOL (Master of Arts in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) Program and co-directs the Master of Science in Humane leadership Program. He joined full time faculty of Madonna University in 1999, the same year he completed his Ph.D. in Reading and Language Arts at Oakland University. He holds an MS in Psychology from Warsaw University and an MA in Pastoral Ministry from Marygrove College. His interests encompass topics in both TESOL and Animal Studies.

In Animal Studies, his research focus has been on religious conceptualizations of animals and on applications of humane education across disciplines. Dr. Domzalski has presented and published in both areas of his interest in Animal Studies as well as in TESOL. He teaches undergraduate courses in Animal Studies, Eastern Religions, and graduate courses in linguistics and ESL pedagogy.

For nearly nearly fifteen years he has been involving students in service learning through collaboration with the Detroit Zoo.

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Michelle M Proctor

Sociology Program Director
Co-Director of Humane Leadership Program

B.S.W. & M.S.W., University of South Florida

Ph.D., Wayne State University



Michelle M Proctor

Dr. Proctor’s career includes work as a medical and gerontological social worker, community organizer, and applied sociologist. Having served as Chair of the Sociology Department since 2007, she now serves as Program Director of the Social Work and Sociology Department and Co-Director of the Humane Leadership Program). She has guided the Sociology Program to become one of the few Applied Sociology Programs in Michigan with an emphasis on community-based service-learning campus initiatives.

Dr. Proctor’s research areas include social inequality, social and environmental justice, environmental sustainability, and animal welfare. In addition to teaching students at the Livonia campus, she teaches Haitian Students in the MU Haiti Educational Leadership Program (HELP). Her work is aimed at engaging students in community service and research. She has secured grants enabling numerous student-faculty research projects, many of which have resulted in student-faculty presentations at local and national professional conferences, including the American Sociological Association (ASA). She previously served as Chair of the Animals and Society Section of ASA. Her favorite courses are those that engage students in community-based learning.

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Boguslawa Gatarek, Ph.D.Adjunct Associate Professor
Co-Director, Humane Leadership Program

Ph.D., University of Windsor

M.A., Warsaw University



Boguslawa Gatarek, Ph.D.

Dr. Gatarek is one of the co-designers of the M.S. in Humane Leadership (previously Humane Studies). She has taught in this program since its inception in 2012. More recently she has assumed a role of one of the program's co-directors.

To her teaching and scholarship, Dr. Gatarek brings her educational background  in humane education, psychology, research methodology, and philosophy.

Her current research interests include animal ethics, humane education, and research methods in social sciences.

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Elizabeth Peckham, Ph.D.Associate Professor of Biology 
Program Director, Biology

Ph.D., University of Michigan

B.S., Ashland University



Franciscan Center S217-V

Elizabeth Peckham, Ph.D.

Elizabeth Peckham is an Associate Professor of Biology and Program Director for Biology.  She is an Ohio native who moved to Michigan for graduate school and fell in love with the Great Lakes State. She joined the faculty of Madonna University in 2020.  In the Animal Studies program, she teaches Animal Behavior and Zoology.  She is also the advisor for the Biology and Health Sciences Club.

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