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Institute for Human-Animal Connection

Institute for Human-Animal Connection


Questions and Answers About IHAC

Q1. What educational programs are offered through the Institute for Human-Animal Connection (IHAC) and Graduate School of Social Work (GSSW) at the University of Denver?

IHAC and GSSW offer three human-animal interaction certificate programs:

  • The Animals and Human Health (AHH) Certificate is offered as a professional development program for professionals in a variety of fields. It includes three online classes and a two-day Capstone session in Denver. To enroll in the AHH certificate program, you must have a Bachelor's degree in any field from an accredited four-year college or university or you must display significant experience and interest in the field. Students who successfully complete all elements of the AHH certificate program earn 35 CEUs (Continuing Education Units) on a University of Denver transcript.
  • The Equine-Assisted Mental Health (EAMH) Practitioner Certificate is a post-masters certificate program for mental health professionals wanting to add equine-assisted work as a treatment strategy to their psychotherapy or counseling practice. The program balances theory with hands-on client work and satisfies the need for education, training and supervision necessary for ethical practice. The certificate program is also open to graduate students in mental health-related masters or doctoral programs and is accessible to international participants.

  • The Animal-Assisted Social Work (AASW) Certificate is open only to students enrolled in GSSW's Master of Social Work (MSW) program on the University of Denver campus. To earn the AASW Certificate, MSW students are required to complete three specialized courses and a field internship that includes animal-assisted interactions.
Q2. Do I need to attend GSSW to enroll in the AHH Certificate?

No. The first three courses of the AHH Certificate are offered online and are accessible from any computer with an Internet connection. The final capstone session is held over two days on the University of Denver campus. Students unable to travel to Denver for the capstone session may have the option to present their capstone project via Skype.

Q3. Do I need to attend GSSW to complete the AASW Certificate?

Yes, the AASW Certificate is a part of the MSW curriculum at the Graduate School of Social Work. If you are interested in applying for admission to the MSW program, please visit the GSSW website for information. The MSW program is not currently offered online.

Q4. Does GSSW offer a PhD program focusing on human-animal interactions?

Yes, this is a possible research and teaching focus for PhD students. Learn more about GSSW's PhD program.

Q5. How will these programs benefit someone interested in professionally incorporating animal-assisted interventions?

The field of animal-assisted interventions has shown steady growth over the past 25 years and is rapidly gaining scientific recognition and professional standing. We believe that earning either of our certificates enables practitioners to advance the professionalism of animal-assisted approaches and to demonstrate a higher level of training and knowledge in the field. These unique specializations are crucial to building a strong professional background in animal-assisted interventions.

Q6. How else can I become involved with the Institute for Human-Animal Connection?

There are several ways to get involved and support IHAC's work on behalf of humans and other animals:

  • Join our contact list to receive updates on new educational offerings and events.
  • Attend our lectures, conferences and workshops.
  • Support IHAC financially by making a donation or offering grant funding for our programs. We are required to raise 100% of our funding, so your financial support is truly appreciated!
  • Follow us on Facebook for the latest news.