Two Graduate Positions Available: Welfare of Companion Dogs in Commercial Breeding Contexts; Behaviour and Welfare of Rabbits

Please note – we are no longer accepting applications for these roles. Please watch our website for future opportunities!

Applications are invited for two MSc or PhD positions in the Animal Welfare Program, Applied Animal Biology, Faculty of Land and Food Systems at the University of British Columbia. The starting time frame for these positions is January 2023; however, this may be flexible with the right candidate. The duration of the position will be dependent on whether the candidate is pursuing a MSc or PhD. 

The UBC Animal Welfare Program is one of the largest and most respected programs in the field of animal welfare science. Since its inception in 1997, the program’s research has led to improvements in the lives of animals in British Columbia and around the world. The mission of the program is to improve the welfare and humane care of animals in agriculture, research, companionship and other areas through active efforts in research, education and public outreach. 

The primary objective of the first position will be to a) explore the unique welfare challenges experienced by dogs born and living in kennel facilities (e.g., commercial breeding contexts) and/or dogs bred in the community; and/or b) assess efficacy of improvements to current housing and husbandry procedures of dogs living in these contexts. This position will be funded by Life of Riley (Spring Point Partners, LLC). 

The primary objective of the second position will be to explore the unique welfare challenges experienced by rabbits in colonies, animal shelter, or sanctuary contexts; and/or b) assess efficacy of improvements to current housing and husbandry procedures of rabbits living in these contexts. 

The selected students are expected to collaborate with the relevant communities, and develop their own research questions, with guidance, within these broad research contexts. The research scope will be established with the incoming student and take into consideration whether they are pursuing an MSc or PhD. The candidate must be comfortable conducting field research and traveling to research sites. They will also be responsible for pursuing funding opportunities and contribute to knowledge translation through conference presentations and other methods. 

This work will have wide implications in developing guidelines to improve the welfare of dogs and rabbits, as well as provide support for adopters and rescuers of dogs and rabbits. 

The primary supervisor will be Dr. Alexandra Protopopova. 

Your qualifications: 

Eligible candidates will have a BSc and/or a MSc degree in biology, psychology, animal welfare, or a related field and research experience in animal cognition, animal behaviour, or animal welfare. Preference will be given to candidates with experience with working with dogs or rabbits in research settings and a genuine commitment to animal welfare. That being said, recruitment will be based on equity and inclusion competencies, and not focus on exclusion criteria. We encourage applicants to apply even if they do not feel that they meet every requirement. 

Preference will also be given to candidates from equity deserving groups (Aboriginal and/or Indigenous Peoples, Racialized, Black, and/or People of Colour, People with disabilities, 2SLGBTQ+ and/or gender and sexually diverse individuals). The program and participants recognize Aboriginal and/or Indigenous Peoples, including those that identify as First Nation Peoples, Métis Nation, and Inuit, as founding Peoples of Canada and underrepresented in positions of influence and leadership. 

Please submit a letter of interest, a CV, copies of any published or in-press papers, and contact information for 3 references attention Dr. Alexandra Protopopova by email ( Please put “Protopopova Lab Application” in the subject line of your email submission. Applications will be reviewed beginning September 2022 and until an appropriate candidate is found. 

Please review your eligibility for UBC Graduate admissions prior to submitting an application. You can find details about studying with the animal welfare program at our website: