WSU launches online course on human-animal interaction


By Richard H. Miller, Academic Outreach & Innovation

PULLMAN, Wash. – Washington State University has launched an online course about human-animal interaction.

“Research is increasingly showing that animal interventions can benefit children and adults in ways that more traditional interventions or therapies do not,” said Phyllis Erdman, a WSU professor who helped create the course. “This interdisciplinary course brings together experts in education, veterinary medicine, animal science, pharmacy and counseling to provide a broad perspective on the field.”

Human-Animal Interaction: What We Know and What the Future Holds will provide a basic understanding of the value of human-animal interaction and the benefits of animal intervention in such settings as schools, hospitals and care facilities. It is designed for anyone who is interested in learning more about this field, including those in the helping professions and those working in animal welfare or care.

The course is noncredit and self-paced. It provides one continuing education unit (10 clock hours). It can be started at any time, can generally be finished in a week or two and must be completed within three months.

Content is divided into modules and presented through PowerPoint lectures, videos and readings. To receive CEUs, participants must score at least 90 percent on each module’s assessment.

The modules are:
• History of the human-animal bond
• Research in the field of human-animal interaction
• Clinical applications of equine-assisted therapy
• Animal nutrition and behavior
• School-based interventions with animals
• Ethical considerations
• Grief and loss/compassion fatigue

The registration fee is $200, or $125 for students at any college or university.

The course is being delivered by WSU Global Campus (, which also offers undergraduate and graduate degrees. For more information, please go to the Global Campus Digital Academy website (



Phyllis Erdman, WSU College of Education, 509-335-1738,