Human-Animal Studies (HAST) is a growing interdisciplinary field that examines relationships between humans and other animals. HAST scholars critically analyze the connections between humans and other animals: historical and contemporary, factual and fictional, real and symbolic, beneficial and detrimental. By exploring ecological, biological, literary, psychological, and ethical connections between our own species and others, we acquire a greater understanding of the ways in which animals figure in our lives - and we in theirs.
The HAST program has especially practical relevance for those pursuing animal-related careers in zoos or aquariums, wildlife rehabilitation, endangered species conservation, animal shelters and rescues, animal advocacy, veterinary medicine, or laboratory science.
The HAST major can be combined with a second major in Biology, Environmental Studies, Philosophy, Psychology, or other fields. The HAST minor nicely complements a major in any of the disciplines above.
The primary organization promoting Human-Animal Studies is the Animals & Society Institute (ASI). Its mission is "Advancing human knowledge to improve animal lives;" its vision is "A compassionate world where animals flourish." The ASI site provides a wealth of resources for HAST students: lists of jobs, internships, degree programs, key readings, definitions, a newsletter, and information about forming a student Chapter of the ASI on one's campus. There's also an Undergraduate journal in HAST, Sloth, in which we have had student work published. You can find an engaging video glossary of key HAST terms, including a 4-minute video definition of "Animal Ethics" by our own Professor Kathie Jenni.