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  are also required to complete an internship to 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 DomzalskiProfessor & Chair, Humanities
Director, Animal Studies Program

Ph.D.,  Oakland University

M.A., Marygrove College

M.S., Warsaw University, Warsaw, Poland



Andrew Domzalski

Dr. Andrew Domzalski is the director of the Bachelor of Arts in Animal Studies program. He also chairs the Department  of Humanities, in which the B.A. in Animals Studies is housed. 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 multidisciplinary topics centered on Animal Studies.

His current research focuses on religious conceptualizations of animals, particularly on Christian views regarding animal souls and redemption. Dr. Domzalski has presented and published in the areas of his interest. In the B.A. in Animal Studies program, he teaches Animals in Religion, Do Animals Matter? (an introductory course in anthrozoology), and he supervises internships.

For over fifteen years he has been engaging Madonna students in service-learning through collaboration with the Detroit Zoo

In the photo, he is featured with his rescued Papshund Sedona.

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Michelle M ProctorProfessor
Sociology Program Director

Ph.D., Wayne State University

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



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. 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.

Dr. Proctor's favorite courses are those that engage students in community-based learning. In the B.A. in Animal Studies program, she teaches Animal-Assisted Therapy and Human-Animal Bond.

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Boguslawa Gatarek, Ph.D.Adjunct Associate Professor
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), and has served as its director since 2021.  She has also taught in the Animal Studies program since its inception. To teaching and scholarship, Dr. Gatarek brings her educational background  in humane education, psychology, research methodology, and philosophy.

Her current research interests focus on the interface between animal ethics, humane education, and human interactions with urban wildlife, including community cats.

In the B.A. in Animal Studies program, Dr. Gatarek teaches Animal Ethics, Do Animals Matter? (an introductory course in anthrozoology), Human-Animal Conflicts, and Humane Studies.

In the photo, she is featured with her cat Elvis.

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Veronica Riha, Ph.D.Professor of Biology

Ph.D. Wayne State University

M.S. Oakland University

B.S. Oakland University



Franciscan Center S217-L

Veronica Riha, Ph.D.

Veronica Riha is a professor of Biology. She joined the Faculty of Madonna University in 2002. She teaches General Biology, Microbiology, Ecology and Special Topics. She is also involved in Study Abroad programs in Biology and loves to provide experiential learning to students. She has traveled with students to the Gulf Coast of Mississippi, Costa Rica, Galapagos Islands and Machu Picchu.

Veronica is also a proponent of service-learning not only in her classes on campus but also as part of Study Abroad programs. In the B.A. in Animal Studies program, she teaches Animal Behavior, Human Ecology, and Zoology.

In the photo, she is featured with her rescued Bernese Mountain Dog Gus.

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Rev. Charles M. MorrisAssistant Professor

M.U.P., Wayne State University

M.Div., St. John Provincial Seminary

M.A., University of Michigan

B.A., Oakland University


734-432-5562, 2416

Rev. Charles M. Morris

Rev. Morris has been a full time faculty member of Madonna University in the Religious Studies and Philosophy Programs and the Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry Program since 2013. Prior to his full time status Rev. Morris served as adjunct faculty at Madonna from 2010 to 2012. Rev. Morris is a priest of the Archdiocese of Detroit.

Rev. Morris' research interests include: environmental justice, sustainability education and comparative healing modalities. Rev. Morris' awards include: Michigan Green Leader, Green Burial Council Leadership Award and the 2006 Rolling Stone Magazine Honor Roll.

Rev. Morris has taught over 16 different courses at Madonna. Among his favorite courses are: sustainability, environmental ethics, Western Religions and Sacraments. In the B.A. in Animal Studies program, he teaches Sustainability: Vision and Values.

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Beatrice Friedlander, J.D.Adjunct Associate Professor

J.D., Ohio State University

Post-Baccaulareate Certificate in Non-Profit Sector Studies, Wayne State University

B.A., Ohio State University



Beatrice Friedlander, J.D.

Prof. Friedlander is an attorney and member of the State Bar of Michigan who has practiced law and now focuses on animals in law, legislation, and public policy. A founding and current member of the State Bar of Michigan Animal Law Section and the nonprofit Attorneys for Animals, Inc., she analyses and reports on bills that impact animals, and works with legislators to advise on proposed legislation. She has testified at numerous Michigan Legislature committee hearings to support animal-friendly bills and oppose those that negatively impact animals.

Prof. Friedlander holds J.D. and B.A. (sociology) degrees from The Ohio State University, and a certificate from the Non-Profit Sector Studies, Post Baccalaureate Program at Wayne State University. She serves on Madonna’s Center for Humane Studies Advisory Council and is a guest lecturer in the “Do Animals Matter?” class. In the B.A. in Animal Studies program, she teaches Animal Law and Policies class.

With her in the photo is Julia. 

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