(latest update December 2014)

By enrolling on one of the courses offered by Ethology Institute Cambridge, signing up for a proficiency verification, or considering to complete a program consisting of several courses, you declare that you have read and accepted the following Rules as well as the general Terms and Conditions.

1. Students

1.1 A student is anyone who is duly registered and has signed up for a course.

1.2 An AREP is an Approved Regional Education Provider. An AREP is a school employing at least one person approved and certified by the institute as competent to instruct and verify a student’s proficiency in practical animal training.

1.2.1 All AREPs must follow the guidelines issued by the Institute as to criteria for proficiency verifications, quality of offered courses as well as price range.

2. Registering and signing up

2.1 You can register anytime you like. Registration is free of charge.

2.2 You can sign up for a course anytime you like.

2.2.1 You can sign up for any course at any level, though you will earn a diploma only when you have: 

(a) successfully completed all courses pertaining to a particular level,

(b) logged the necessary minimum number of animals trained, and

(c) have been proficiency verified for that level.

3. Admission requirements

3.1 Everybody can register and sign up for a course. We don’t require any proof of academic records as a requirement for signing up for our courses. It is your responsibility to choose a course compatible with your background knowledge or to acquire the necessary background knowledge to be able to complete the course.

4. Study Programs


Ethology Institute Cambridge — Study Programs — 2015

LevelDiplomaCompetencyStudy Time
* Certification is issued by the Ethology Institute Cambridge. Theory courses and tests are provided by the EIC. Practical courses are provided by the regional schools. Students log their practical training experience in their logbooks. Proficiency verifications are conducted by the EIC or approved schools.
** Average estimated time. Students with a good knowledge of the subject matters and experience in animal training are able to complete their studies faster than indicated.
1CPDTTrain dogs, teach dog training classes and assist higher levels.12 months
2CACEAdvanced training of dogs, dog training classes and assisting higher levels. Proficiency verify CPDT students.15 months
3CAPETrain dogs and other animals, teach training classes and assist higher levels. Proficiency verify CPDT and CACE students.18 months
4CAAETrain all animals, teach training classes and assist higher levels. Proficiency verify CPDT, CACE and CAPE students.Two years
5Graduate in Applied EthologyTrain all animals, teach classes with all animals and assist a Master Trainer. Proficiency verify CPDT, CACE, CAPE and CAAE students.Three years
6Master in Applied EthologyTrain all animals, teach classes with all animals and tutor all students up to Graduate level. Proficiency verify all students.Four years


4.1 Study programs—We offer all programs (except CPRT) to everyone.

4.1.1 The CPRT (Certified Professional Rat Trainer) program is a highly specialized program and can only be taken by a student previously approved by Apopo.

4.2 You have six program options: Master in Applied Ethology (equivalent to MSc), Graduate in Applied Ethology (equivalent to BSc), Certificate in Advanced Applied Ethology (CAAE), Certificate in Applied Pet Ethology (CAPE), Certificate in Applied Canine Ethology (CACE), and Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT).

4.3  You can access your student records on-line at any time when logged in.

4.4 You can log your practical experience on-line at any time when logged in.

5. Responsibility

5.1. It is  your responsibility to choose courses compatible with the professional career you have in mind and to achieve the necessary degree of proficiency. The diplomas of the Ethology Institute certify that you have the minimum necessary level of knowledge and skills. The Institute is not liable for how a graduate will fare.

5.2 A student’s logbook consists of entries attesting your practical experience. It is solely your responsibility to keep these records accurate and honest. The Institute cannot verify the veracity of logbook entries and entrusts you with this responsibility. The Institute is not responsible or liable for faulty entries.

5.3 Our official language is international English. It is the student’s responsibility to acquire the necessary language proficiency.

6. Fees

6.1. Registration is free of charge.

6.2. Signing up for a course or a proficiency verification is subject to a fee except for the free courses.

6.2.1. After receiving payment for a course, the Ethology Institute grants you access to all material pertaining to that course for an unlimited period. A course fee includes the necessary reading material (except for some courses which require external literature) reviewing of assignments, tests, tuition when applicable, and the option to print a signed certificate for a passed test.

6.2.2 The fee for a proficiency verification includes one verification when accomplished live by an AREP. Should your instructor deem that you don’t have the necessary skills to be proficiency verified, you may need to sign up for a new proficiency verification once you have acquired the necessary experience and skills.

6.2.3 The fee for a proficiency verification submitted by video includes an unlimited number of submissions within six months.

6.3 Paid fees are not reimbursable or transferable under any circumstances.

7. Grants

7.1 The institute will confer upon approved application two grants yearly to students complying with the necessary requirements.

7.1.1 The Professor Paulo Abrantes Grant will be given once a year to five students born and resident in Southeast Asia or Africa. The student must send a written application to the EI and attach proof that he or she lacks the necessary funds and has a true wish and realistic possibility to work full time as an animal trainer after graduation. The grant covers all expenses concerning courses, tuition, assignments, tests and proficiency verifications for the Graduate Trainer program, except travels, accommodation, meals, equipment or other necessary material related to participation in on-campus courses.

7.1.2. The Engineer Antonio Abrantes Grant will be given once a year to five students born and resident outside the EU, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea and Japan. The student must send a written application to the EI and attach proof that he or she lacks the necessary funds and has a true wish and realistic possibility to work full time as an animal trainer after graduation. The grant covers half of all expenses concerning courses, tuition, assignments, tests and proficiency verifications for the Graduate Trainer program, except travels, accommodation, meals, equipment or other necessary material related to participation in on-campus courses.

7.1.3. The institute confers grants only to individual persons, and not to organizations or persons subsidized by an organization or company.

8. Requirements for graduation and approvals

8.1 You must have passed all tests, assignments and proficiency verifications of a program and have logged at least the minimum required number of animals you have trained to be awarded the diploma for a particular program. For the Graduate and Master diplomas, you must also have successfully defended your thesis.

8.2 Tests—All tests require at least a 75% score of right answers (grade E) to pass.

8.2.1 You may attempt to pass a test or improve your score as many times as you wish.

8.3 Assignments and proficiency verifications must be graded with at least “75% correct” (E) to pass.

8.3.1 You write an assignment according to the guidelines for that assignment. If your assignment needs correction, your tutor will provide the necessary help so that you can turn in an improved version and attain the required minimum score to pass. Once your assignment has been approved, you cannot submit newer or improved versions.

8.4 If you do not show the minimum required level of proficiency in the practical work with the animals, the institute or the AREP will suggest you to take the appropriate coursework to improve your proficiency to a satisfactory level.

8.5 Log book—You must have logged at least the minimum required number of animals you have trained or treated for problem behavior in the last five years to be eligible to receive the diploma for that particular program.

8.5.1 For logging purposes, you must have worked with one animal at least two hours and have achieved a significant and observable behavior modification to count it as “trained.”  To log one IT, you must have worked with one animal and its owner for at least two hours, have written a behavior modification program and delivered it to the owner, and followed up the case at least once within 30 days of your first intervention.

8.5.2 If you train a dog class of, say, eight dogs, you may log eight dogs provided the class has extended over a period of at least eight sessions of one hour each.

8.5.3 If you work on a vet clinic, shelter, equine center or any place where you handle many animals every day as part of your job, you may not log them as trained animals unless or until your work with any particular animal complies with 8.5.1.

8.5.4 Zoo workers and marine mammal trainers enroll directly in the CPAT program (or above). We do not require they train 50/60 animals of the same species as long as the total number is 70/90/110/150.

8.5.5 We have no possibility to check your logbook, and we will state in your transcript that the number of logged cases is your responsibility solely.


Practical TrainingNecessary minimum number of logged cases
Logged # of dogs trained505050505050
Logged # of horses trained005101520
Logged # of other animals trained005152540
Logged # of ITs (Individual Therapy) 101010152030
Total # of animals trained60607090110150
Table showing the minimum required number of animals a student must log to earn a diploma for a particular program. Zoo and marine mammal trainers may substitute dogs and horses with other species of their choice.


9. Grades

9.1 The Ethology Institute Cambridge follows the Bologna Convention recommendation for grades and averages.







EXCELLENT—outstanding performance with only minor errors




VERY GOOD—above the average but with some errors




GOOD—generally sound work with a number of notable errors




SATISFACTORY—fair, but with significant shortcomings




SUFFICIENT—performance meets the minimum criteria




FAILED—considerable further work is required

* % of successful students normally achieving the grade


10. Courses

Courses, Textbooks, Evaluation — Fees 2017 in €

Study programs conferring a diploma upon completion   
CPDT = Certified Professional Dog Trainer. CACE = Certificate in Applied Canine Ethology. CAPE = Certificate in Applied Pet Ethology.
CAAE = Certificate in Advanced Applied Ethology. GAE = Graduate in Applied Ethology. MAE = Master in Applied Ethology.
LevelCourseContents/textbookEvaluationFee €

Certified Professional Dog Trainer
Evolution“Evolution” by R. AbrantesTestFree
Animal Welfare"Animal Welfare" by A. Pinto-PoultonTest98
EFR for Animals "EFR for Animals" by M. J. CunhaTest89
Anatomy and Physiology"Anatomy and Physiology" by A. BourquinTest89
Animal Learning"Animal Learning" by R. AbrantesTest128
Canine Behavior"Dog Language" by R. AbrantesTest98
Canine Home Alone Problems"Canine Home Alone Problems" by R. AbrantesTest89
Canine Problem Behavior"Canine Problem Behavior" by R. AbrantesTest98
Pedagogy "Pedagogy" by various authorsTest59
Canine Basic ProficiencyBooks, videos, instructionProficiency Verif.198
Canine Problems ProficiencyBooks, videos, instruction.Proficiency Verif.
Logbook CPDTLogbookLogging casesFree

Certificate in Applied Canine Ethology
Ethology "Ethology" by R. AbrantesTest128
Applied Animal Learning"Mission SMAF" by R. AbrantesTest89
Canine Scent Detection"Canine Scent Detection" by R. AbrantesTest89
Canine Advanced ProficiencyBooks, videos, instruction (+ logged cases)Proficiency Verif.198
Logbook CACELogbookLogging casesFree

Certificate in Applied Pet Ethology
Equine Behavior“The Nature of Horses” by Stephen BudianskyTest89
Feline Behavior“Feline Behavior and Misbehavior” by R. AbrantesTest89
Equine Basic ProficiencyBooks, videos, instruction (+ logged cases)Proficiency Verif.238
X-Practice Basic Proficiency Books, videos, instruction (+ logged cases)Proficiency Verif.238
Logbook CAPELogbookLogging casesFree

Certificate in Applied Animal Ethology
Critical Reasoning“Think Out Of The Box” by R. AbrantesTest238
Zoology “Intro to Zoology” by A. BourquinTest89
Evolution and Ethology“Animal Behaviour” by David McFarlandAssignment238
Learning and Behavior“Learning and Behavior” by Paul ChanceAssignment238
Measuring Behavior"Measuring Behavior" by R. AbrantesTest168
Canine Final ProficiencyBooks, videos, instruction (+ logged cases)Proficiency Verif.238
Equine Final ProficiencyBooks, videos, instruction (+ logged cases)Proficiency Verif.238
X-Practice Final ProficiencyBooks, videos, instruction (+ logged cases)Proficiency Verif.238
Logbook CAAELogbookLogging casesFree

Graduate in Applied Ethology
Summer CampPractical course (internship)Attendance1248
Team BuildingWith Summer Camp. “Team Start-Up” by Kathy FreeAttendance100
Problem Behavior AdvancedWith Summer Camp.Attendance380
IT InternshipPractical course (+ logged cases)Attendance200
Pilot ProjectPilot research project for the final Graduate Trainer thesisAssignment300
Graduate Trainer Final ProjectGraduate Trainer thesis.Thesis and Exam400
Logbook GAELogbookLogging casesFree

Master in Applied Ethology
Master Course 1Tutor assistedAttendance200
Master Course 2Tutor assistedAttendance200
Master Course 3Tutor assistedAttendance200
Major Master CourseTutor assistedAttendance200
Master ThesisTutor assistedThesis and Exam500
Logbook MAELogbookLogging casesFree
Practical trainingPractical dog trainingLogged number of dogs trainedPractical workFree
Practical horse trainingLogged number of horses trainedPractical workFree
Practical training of other animalsLogged number of animals trainedPractical workFree
Practical IT (individual training)Logged number of cases treatedPractical workFree
Fee covers course lesson(s), on-line books, tuition (when applicable) tests and certifications offered by EI Cambridge. Optional local courses are not included.
Fee does not cover printed books (or e-books) required by some courses, accommodation (except for Summer Camp) and necessary or optional travel expenses.


10.1 Online courses do not require scheduled attendance.

10.2 On-campus courses and proficiency verifications require your physical presence. You complete these courses and verifications at the location of the AREP you have chosen or anywhere in the world where the Institute organizes the course or the verification.

10.3 Transportation and accommodation to any location you may choose to take an on-campus course or a proficiency verification are your responsibility, and you bear the costs.

11. Tests, assignments and proficiency verifications.

11.1. Tests are assessments of a multiple choice format.

11.1.1 To pass a test, you must score of at least 75% right answers.

11.2 Assignments are written essays answering several questions.

11.2.1 You must write assignments on a standard page format and comply with the required minimum and maximum length for that specific assignment.

11.2.2 You must write assignments in a language agreed upon between tutor and student. English is our official language. We try to give our students some choice of language for their assignments by having faculties proficient in several languages. However, students must not expect us to be able to accommodate all their language wishes. Tutors will be lenient, to a reasonable extent, when reviewing and grading assignments written by students in English as their second language.

11.3 Proficiency verifications are assessments of knowledge and skills of a student in a specific area. You will have to demonstrate a series of skills in a fixed program known in advance. Approved proficiency verifications are added to your records and shown on your transcript.

11.3.1 Proficiency verifications are held on a fixed day and location upon agreement between you and the Institute or the AREP.

11.3.2 You may need to sign up for a course before taking a proficiency verification. The duration and cost of such a course is at the discretion of the student and the AREP.

11.3.3 Video Proficiency Verification — If we do not have an AREP in the area where you live, you may be eligible to submit a video for proficiency verification. If you wish to take a video proficiency verification, you must contact your tutor or our Administration Team for approval.

 11.3.4. Video proficiency tests must: (1) be shot in one sequence (no clipping or editing), (2) maintain student and animal on the picture at all times, (3) be taken as close to student and animal as necessary for the instructors to evaluate the work done, (3) be in 16×9, mp4, mpg or mov format and HD resolution (at least 1280×720 dpi).

12. Syllabus

12.1 Evolution gives the fundamental principles of evolutionary biology.

12.2 Animal Welfare gives an introduction to this topic and definitions of the key concepts.

12.3 EFR for Animals deals with emergency first response and first aid to injured animal.

12.4 Anatomy and Physiology give an introduction to these topics focusing on aspects related to behavior.

12.5 Animal Learning explains the principles of learning and modification of behavior. Animal Learning Theory is the second advanced course on your way to become a Graduate.

12.6 Canine Behavior reviews all aspects of canine behavior.

12.7 Canine Home Alone Problems reviews prevention and cure of this canine behavior.

12.8 Problem behavior consists of two courses, Canine Problem Behavior at the CPDT level and Problem Behavior Advanced at the ACPAT level. Canine Problem Behavior deals with the common problem behavior in canines. Problem Behavior Advanced goes deeper into problem behavior, deals also with equines and felines and requires on-campus attendance.

12.9 Pedagogy deals with the principles of teaching.

12.10 Canine Proficiency deals with the training of dogs, Equine Proficiency  with the training of horses and X-Proficiency  with the training of other animals, e.g. cats, guinea pigs, rats, marine mammals. Canine Problems Proficiency  deals with solving canine behavior problems.

12.11 Ethology explains behavior, its functions, development and evolution. Evolution and Ethology is and advanced course at undergraduate level (BSc).

12.12 Applied Animal Learning (SMAF) gives the student the morphology and syntax of this language enabling them to write plans of action accurately.

12.13 Canine Scent Detection teaches how to train a professional scent detection canine.

12.14 Equine Behavior reviews all aspects of equine behavior.

12.15 Feline Behavior reviews all aspects of feline behavior.

12.16 Critical Reasoning gives the basic principles for sound and logical reasoning.

12.17 Zoology gives an introduction to zoology focusing on the taxonomy of companion animals and marine mammals.

12.18 Measuring Behavior and Statistics gives a survey of the principles in measuring behavior and the statistical treatment of data necessary for all students to complete their pilot and final projects.

12.19 IT (Individual Therapy) Proficiency  deals with the examination of the behavior of an animal, the preparation of a behavior modification program, and the instruction of the owner of the animal.  To be approved, you must log the minimum required number of cases you have treated.

12.20 Summer Camp is the annual event dealing with various topics, e.g. companion animal behavior, marine biology, diving, where you travel and live on-campus together with your peers and tutors for 21 days. Summer Camps must cover four aspects, the academic, the social, the cultural, and the challenging.

12.21 The team-building course is normally given at the Summer Camp.

12.22 Pilot Project is the preparation project for the Graduate Final Project and must include all elements of the Final Project, though summarized.

12.23 Graduate Final Project is your BSc equivalent thesis, which is submitted to two external examiners and you must defend it in a public session held once a year.

12.23.1 Final exam for Graduate—The final exam consists of the presentation of the Final Project and the public defense of the project. Final exams are held once a year, typically, but not necessarily, in August.

12.23.2 You will begin your final project after having completed all courses and proficiency verifications. The topic is to be agreed upon by you and your tutor. However, it must have an experimental character and a length of 30 standard pages (+- 10%). The final project is submitted for final approval to two external professors in a session where you explain your methods, results, and conclusions, and answers questions.

12.23.3 After having approved your final project, no later than at the stipulated deadline, your tutor signs you up for the final exam, and sends the project to the external examiners for reviewing.

12.23.4 Requirements for the Graduate final project—The project is a natural sciences project. It must include in this order:

1. An abstract in English (max one standard page).

2. A foreword (short with general and relevant information, acknowledgements, etc.–max one standard page).

3. Study objectives (this is the introduction).

4. Study methods.

5. Method for data collection.

6. Analysis of the data.

7. Interpretation of results.

8. References (In academic literature, a reference is a previously published written work, which has been used as a source for theory or claims referred to which are used in the text. References contain complete bibliographic information so the interested reader can find them in a library. You can add references either at the end of the publication or as footnotes).

9. Attachments (if necessary).

There is no theory as such. You’re not writing a textbook. You only mention and define the concepts you use. You must give references to all statements, which are not common knowledge. You may use illustrations, but only if necessary, not to fill in empty spaces.

12.23.5 It is your and your tutor’s responsibility to verify that a final project complies with all requirements.

12.23.6 It is the responsibility of the tutor to ensure that a final project has the necessary quality to be approved by the external censors. A tutor must reject a final project, which does not comply with the minimum standard for a BSc equivalent project.

12.24 Master courses—After earning your Graduate degree, you may continue your studies toward achieving the Master in Applied Ethology diploma. You must complete four courses and write a master thesis.

12.24.1 Master courses consist of courses of your choice, which must comply with a graduate level. Your tutor must approve any course you choose. These courses may be external courses that you can take anywhere in the world.

12.24.2 The Major course must be in a subject-matter related to biology, ethology, animal learning, evolution, ecology or psychology.

12.24.3 You will begin your Master Final Project after having completed all master courses successfully.

12.24.4 After having approved your final master project, no later than at the stipulated deadline, your tutor signs you up for the final exam and sends the project to the external examiners for reviewing.

12.24.5 Master Final Project is your MSc equivalent thesis, which we submit to two external examiners and you defend it in a public session held once a year. The same rules apply as to the Graduate Final Project, except that the project must fill 60 pages (+- 10%) and the project must contain some originality.

13. The animal sciences programs (including sub-programs) are private education programs designed by the Ethology Institute, Cambridge e-Learning Institute.

14. Diploma—After having passed all tests and proficiency verifications, you receive a diploma certifying that you have earned your degree and you can print your stamped, dated, and signed transcript of all records. Although other educational institutions, generally, give our students credits for their accomplished studies at the Ethology Institute, this occurs at their discretion only.

For Graduate and Master programs, you will receive an original diploma issued by the Institute.

15. Ethology Institute has the right to alter or cancel any of the rules in this document, as well as introduce new rules, to be effective 30 days after they have been published. It is the responsibility of the student to keep updated.

For further information, please contact our Admin Team at