Course:APBI 496: Applied Animal Biology Practicum Syllabus

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APBI 496: Applied Animal Biology Practicum Syllabus


UBC’s Point Grey Campus is located on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the xwməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam) people. The land it is situated on has always been a place of learning for the Musqueam people, who for millennia have passed on in their culture, history, and traditions from one generation to the next on this site.

Course Information

Course Information
Course Title Course Code Number Credit Value
Applied Animal Biology Practicum APBI 496 (A or B) 3 (section A) or 6 (section B)


Third-year standing or higher; APBI 314 and/or ABPI 315 recommended. APBI 496 is restricted elective course for the applied Animal Biology Major and is graded. The course is open to APBI majors and non APBI majors.


Course Contacts
Course Instructor(s) Contact Details Office Location Office Hours
Sara Dubois, Adjunct Professor

Typical response is 24- 48 hours

Not on campus By appointment only, virtually by phone or video conference

Course Instructor Biographical Statement

Dr. Sara Dubois is Adjunct Professor and alumni of the UBC Faculty of Land and Food Systems. She is the BC SPCA’s Chief Scientific Officer and works remotely to support APBI 496 students in the establishment of practicums, serving as Academic Supervisor for all APBI 496 placements (grading 50% of course). In her BC SPCA role, she directs province-wide welfare science operations, programs and advocacy projects, leading four teams of staff experts (Companion, Farm & Wildlife Welfare, AnimalKind Accreditation).

Other Instructional Staff

Practicum Supervisors at each practicum location are professionals in their designated field who work at the facility, are in a position of responsibility, and provide day-to-day supervision. Practicum Supervisors are responsible for health and safety training, onboarding and any required training for day-to-day activities. They grade 50% of the course for participation and successful completion of practicum hours.


Admission to APBI 496 is coordinated through Academic Supervisor Dr. Sara Dubois ( and APBI Undergraduate Program Coordinator Lesley Dampier (, following acceptance by the practicum location (see Registration).

Opportunities for practicums are limited and registration in APBI 496 is not guaranteed. Students must have third-year standing unless pre-approved by the Academic Supervisor. APBI 496 is open to non-LFS students. Students within the Applied Biology Program can use APBI 496 as a Restricted Elective within their degree program. For more information, on how this course will be applied to a student’s degree requirements, please contact the APBI Program Advisor (as well as your home faculty Program Advisor if outside APBI).


Students are required to apply to the practicum organization as per the location’s application process (listed on course wiki) before registration. If they are offered a practicum placement following an interview, the student should forward this confirmation and request course registration documents from Academic Supervisor Dr. Sara Dubois.

Students must be accepted by the Academic Supervisor and submit the completed registration paperwork, including medical insurance forms for in-person placements at non-UBC locations, before registration can proceed via Student Services (i.e. students cannot register themselves).

In rare cases, students may have an alternate practicum opportunity not listed on the course wiki reviewed by the Academic Supervisor. Please contact Dr. Sara Dubois ( directly for questions regarding this. All approvals and paperwork must be in place prior to commencing a practicum; no practicums can be approved retroactively.

Course Structure

The practicum is an in-person or remote career-related experience that can take place in any term (Summer, Winter 1, 2 or 1-2), full-time or part-time, as based on the needs of the practicum location and as agreed on with the student at the time of acceptance into the course. This is an experiential learning course where students will explore opportunities in general animal husbandry and facility operations, animal health and welfare management, policy and research, and learn from professionals and collaboration with others.

Students in 6 credit placements need to commit 300-400 hours of experience, and students in 3 credit placements will commit to 150-200 hours of experience. In addition, there are academic requirements which are due within one month of completing practicum hours (unless graduation timelines require earlier submission – if this is the case contact the Academic Supervisor to discuss timelines).

Students may be able to coordinate the practicum with other coursework in the term and mutually agree to a practicum schedule that accommodates in-person or virtual class time. As animal facilities are open weekends and holidays, practicum dates can include these. With no course exam, the practicum period extends to the completion of hours and not necessarily end of term date.

Students may be able to complete more than one practicum experience as long as each is within a different career-related field and the student has approval from their Academic Advisor. However, students are limited to the number of credits from experiential learning courses that can be counted towards their degree (i.e. APBI 496, 497, 498, 499, others). Questions regarding this should be directed to the APBI Undergraduate Program Coordinator.

Fees for accommodation and/or living expenses during the period of the practicum are the responsibility of the student. In some cases, students may be required to live on-site at the practicum location. Outside of tuition costs, students are required to pay a $7 additional insurance fee for all in-person placements at non-UBC facilities.

Any paid opportunity to work for the practicum location must be separate from course requirements and occur after practicum experience hours are completed.

Learning Outcomes

The objective of this course is to apply the key principles and concepts of Applied Animal Biology to the professions of wildlife rehabilitation, animal shelter management, research animal management, and/or farm management. Through the experience, students will:

  1. Understand the professional field in which the practicum takes place, including its governance, operations, and standards of performance;
  2. Relate animal welfare and animal management to practical situations in animal care and humananimal interactions;
  3. Recognize and discuss the complex ethical issues within the practicum field;
  4. Create an applied communications piece for use at the practicum location; and,
  5. Summarize and communicate experiential learning.

Learning Activities

The 6 credit practicum includes 300-400 hours of practical experience and the 3 credit practicum includes 150-200 hours of experience under the supervision of a designated individual with the practicum location (Practicum Supervisor) who determines the start and end dates (and total hours of experience). Although most placements are in-person, some remote practicums are available as per the needs of practicum locations. The half-term progress report and final evaluation report should be completed by the Practicum Supervisor and reviewed with the student before submission to the Academic Supervisor.

Responsibilities of the Practicum Supervisor

  • Prepare a practicum opportunity posting well in advance of the desired start date (to generally coincide with the beginning of terms in September, January, May or July)
  • Interviewing and selection of student(s)
  • Scheduling of hours/start/end dates, onboarding and safety training, communicating daily duties
  • Regular supervision and meetings with student(s)
  • Providing feedback on performance as needed
  • Answering questions related to academic projects ideas
  • Completing half-term progress and final evaluation forms

Responsibilities of the Academic Supervisor

  • Support student registration and practicum orientation
  • Be available for student questions and concerns related to practicum experience
  • Review half-term progress report with student
  • Provide guidance on academic assignments
  • Mark academic assignments and submit grade
  • Communication with Practicum Supervisor and/or practicum location as needed

Responsibilities of the Student

  • Apply and interview with practicum location
  • Complete and submit registration forms and medical insurance form (if needed)
  • Review safety protocols and remain in compliance with all safety and ethics requirements Be
  • prepared to commute to the practicum location or be available as needed for remote placements
  • Complete all required onboarding and location-specific training
  • Perform duties of practicum experience hours as required
  • Complete (student portion) and submit half-term progress report
  • Create an applied communications piece (e.g. infographic, poster, brochure, video, webpage, manual, app, physical item) that can be used by the practicum location
  • Write a final report that reviews student experience and then leads to a research question explored in the report (6 credits: 5,000 words/min 20 primary refs; 3 credits: 2,500 words/min 10 primary refs)
  • Express any concerns related to the practicum to Practicum Supervisor and/or Academic Supervisor

Assessment of Learning

The course assessment will include successful completion of experience hours (within maximum eight consecutive months) as evaluated by the Practicum Supervisor (50%), plus satisfactory completion of the respective academic reporting requirements (50%). The academic assignments should be submitted within 30 days of completion of the experience hours, unless otherwise agreed to in advance by the Academic Supervisor. Please note that students in their final semester prior to graduation may need to complete all course requirements earlier; please contact Dr. Sara Dubois for additional information.

There is no penalty for late submission of half-term progress report or final Practicum Supervisor evaluation report. Unless otherwise agreed to, penalties for late academic assignments are 1% per day submitted late, to a maximum of 30 days. For example, if submitted a week late, the assignment will be graded and reduced by 7% overall. Academic assignments submitted after 60 days from their deadline will not be graded. Students who require accommodation should contact the instructor or student services ( directly.


Course Evaluation
Activity Percentage of Grade
Practicum Supervisor evaluation (form provided) 40%
Half-term progress report (form provided) 10%
Final report 40%
Applied communication piece 10%
Total 100%

Applied Communication Piece

  • a brochure or poster for practitioners or the public
  • a manual or guidelines for practitioners
  • a website, blog, video, digital presentation for practitioners or the public
  • any other physical or visual communications piece that can be used by the practicum location, agreed to by the student and supervisors

The applied communications piece (10%) should serve a practical use at the location and ideas can receive input from practicum location staff. The audience of the piece can be the public, staff, volunteers, future practicum students, etc. The assignment is not a meant to be research project but rather the gathering of existing information and redesigning for a new audience in a new format. However, the theme can align with the final report if desired. It will be evaluated in general for: content, research, grammar, format, creativity, visuals, and usefulness. If the project does not require visuals for example, then marks will be redistributed amongst other categories.

Final Report

The final report (40%) can be in one of several forms (literature review, data analysis and reporting or policy paper) but should include note word count (excluding references) on cover page:.

Student Experience

1/3 Focus

  • a description of the student's reasons for selecting this experience
  • a summary of the experience; location, hours worked, duration, contact information of Practicum Supervisor, basic duties/task/responsibilities
  • an analysis of the success in achieving course learning outcomes, including a description of any challenges encountered in achieving those outcomes
  • was the student able to apply knowledge gained in their studies to the practicum (give examples); and if gaps between knowledge from the classroom and their application in the field existed, what were they
  • what "new" knowledge was gained from the practicum experience
  • a discussion on the ethical issues and the challenges currently faced by the profession, with additional references from the literature to demonstrate independent research abilities

Research Question

2/3 Focus

  • research question and why selected, how applies to practicum experience
  • integration of relevant literature, and a discussion on how the student applied this information to practicum experience
  • an emphasis on comprehension of the applied concepts and critical thinking about the practicum experience
  • the result of assessing the research question and recommendations for future studies or practical applications of the results

Citations and References

  • reference format style of your choice (APA, MLA, Chicago, or other major journal format) but must be consistently used throughout
  • all in-text citations must be listed within references and vice-versa
  • review for accuracy, punctuation, capitalization, format
  • can use reference software but should always double check for above

Evaluation Matrix

Final Report Rubric
Research: thoroughness of research, adequacy of sources Analysis: comprehension, originality, critical thinking Presentation: structure, writing style, organization, clarity and carefully prepared references
10 exceeds quality expected for undergrad report very original ideas or interpretation, critical analysis that is well defended and plausible, combined with flawless comprehension impeccable essay, citations and references accurate, formatted correctly and consistently
9 very thorough research of relevant literature including primary scientific/scholarly literature where available. high level of originality and critical thinking, combined with flawless comprehension excellent essay in terms of structure, writing style and reference list and citations
8 thorough research of appropriate sources solid comprehension without much original analysis or interpretation very good quality, perhaps with some flaws of grammar, spelling, paragraph structure, or inconsistency in referencing that do not affect clarity
7 adequate research of appropriate sources reasonable comprehension, tendency to report rather than analyze different views reasonable quality of presentation with some flaws of grammar, spelling, paragraph structure, or inconsistency in referencing, that have some effect on clarity
5-6 Just acceptable level of research of appropriate sources; reliance on secondary sources and websites rather than primary literature Just acceptable level of comprehension Just acceptable presentation which needs substantial improvement in areas such as structure, writing, grammar, such that clarity is affected significantly; reference list inconsistent and missing citations

University Policies

Policies and Resources to Support Student Success

UBC provides resources to support student learning and to maintain healthy lifestyles but recognizes that sometimes crises arise and so there are additional resources to access including those for survivors of sexual violence. UBC values respect for the person and ideas of all members of the academic community. Harassment and discrimination are not tolerated nor is suppression of academic freedom. UBC provides appropriate accommodation for students with disabilities and for religious observances. UBC values academic honesty and students are expected to acknowledge the ideas generated by others and to uphold the highest academic standards in all of their actions.

Details of the policies and how to access support are available on the UBC Senate website.

Statement regarding online learning for international students during the COVID pandemic

During this pandemic, the shift to online learning has greatly altered teaching and studying at UBC, including changes to health and safety considerations. Keep in mind that some UBC courses might cover topics that are censored or considered illegal by non-Canadian governments. This may include, but is not limited to, human rights, representative government, defamation, obscenity, gender or sexuality, and historical or current geopolitical controversies. If you are a student living abroad, you will be subject to the laws of your local jurisdiction, and your local authorities might limit your access to course material or take punitive action against you. UBC is strongly committed to academic freedom, but has no control over foreign authorities (visit:,33,86,0 for an articulation of the values of the University conveyed in the Senate Statement on Academic Freedom). Thus, we recognize that students will have legitimate reason to exercise caution in studying certain subjects. If you have concerns regarding your personal situation, consider postponing taking a course with manifest risks, until you are back on campus or reach out to your academic advisor to find substitute courses. For further information and support visit:

COVID-19 Protocols

For in-person practicums (not applicable to remote-based practicums), location-specific COVID safety protocols must be in place and reviewed by the Academic Supervisor and APBI 496 Program Coordinator and then approved by the APBI Program Director. Students must review, acknowledge and abide by COVID safety protocols at all times during their practicum.