Skip Navigation
search: People Opens New Window | Departments Opens New Window | Penn State Opens New Window | Web Opens New Window
Penn State mark
Penn State mark
University Bulletin
Undergraduate Degree Programs

These course descriptions are not being updated as of August 1, 2016. Current course descriptions are maintained in LionPATH.

Animal Science (AN SC)

AN SC 215 (GS) Pets in Society (3) Introduction to the varied roles that companion animals play in human society and their impact on human activity and well-being.

AN SC 215 Pets in Society (3)

Companion animals have far-reaching influence on many aspects of human society. How humans relate to pets varies from individual to individual and is influenced by many factors. The field of human-animal interactions is quickly evolving and is supported by a variety of disciplines and empirical research.

This course provides a broad introduction to the varied roles and influences of pets on human life and society. Topics of discussion include the historical, social, economic, scientific, legal and political roles of pets in American society. The influence of companion animals on human development and mental health throughout the lifespan and in the case of disability is examined from a social science perspective Genetics, breed, physical, and environmental influences play obvious and important roles in the development of canine and feline behavior and are used as examples of the multiple causes of behavioral development and expression. Learning theory and operant conditioning are discussed as they relate to training. Newly discovered risks and benefits of animal ownership on human health are discussed, including the influence of pet ownership on cardiovascular disease and allergy development. Issues of responsible pet selection and owner ship are discussed in relation to animal welfare and societal responsibility.

Because of the emerging nature of human-animal interaction research, an important goal of the course is to instruct students on the scientific method and recognition of research methodologies. Critical evaluation of theoretical models and empirical research in class and small group discussions is used to show how these questions can be addressed scientifically. Throughout the course, students have the opportunity to gather information from various sources and make informed decisions on controversial topics and to understand the impact of individual actions and decisions on broader society.

General Education: GS
Diversity: None
Bachelor of Arts: None
Effective: Summer 2013

Note : Class size, frequency of offering, and evaluation methods will vary by location and instructor. For these details check the specific course syllabus.


Look up course abbreviations

Course descriptions are stored in LionPATH, the University-wide student information system. Please visit the LionPATH Course Catalog to access current course descriptions. At that point, you will be leaving the University Bulletin website.

Skip Popular Searches
  1. Bachelor of Arts Degree Requirements
  2. General Education: United States Cultures and International Cultures
  3. Course Index
  4. Graduate Degree Programs Bulletin
  5. General Education: Arts
  6. General Education: Humanities
  7. General Education: Health and Physical Activity
  8. General Education: Natural Sciences
  9. General Education: Social and Behavioral Sciences
  10. General Education: Writing/Speaking