Animal Policy & Welfare Oversight Committee (APWOC) - Theory Course

Five pigs on a farm standing around a wood container full of water

The McGill Animal Policy & Welfare Oversight Committee (APWOC) offers training in animal use for research and teaching as part of our institution's commitment to animal welfare when there are no alternatives but to include them in projects having scientific merit.

Everyone listed in an Animal Use Protocol form is required to successfully pass the test for this THEORY course. The participant will need to know the material covered on this website and successfully pass a multiple-choice test. If training was obtained from another institution, successfully passing the test is sufficient.

If handling live animals, the person also needs to successfully pass the PRACTICAL course (workshop) specific to the species he/she intends to work with. The participant will be asked to perform the procedures covered in the workshop and to pass a multiple choice test for that workshop.


To obtain certification, the participant must send an email to the animalcare [at] (subject: Request%3A%20Theory%20Course%20TEST) (Training Advisor) and request the test. Please note that EACH participant must make the request using his/her own email account. The participant must identify in which investigator’s lab they are working or the course title for which this test is a requirement (if applicable). 


Theory Course


There are two levels to the Animal Care Theory Course:

· A Basic Level: which everyone must fully understand (+ practical training if handling live animals)

· An Advanced Level where additional material is required for those who will have a high level of invasive contact with the animals (such as injections, performing surgery or collecting blood) (+ practical training if handling live animals). Please note that Principal Investigators MUST be certified for the ADVANCED Level.

And a section specific for working with:

· Wild animals and domesticated amphibians, fish, birds and reptiles section: which is for those who intend to do field studies or work with certain species in a laboratory setting.

The test for both levels and the wild animals and domesticated amphibians, fish, birds and reptiles section is requested by email and done online.


Practical Course


There are animal Methodology Workshops regularly for each of the following species: rat, mouse and rabbit. Workshops for other rodent species and specialized ones for more advanced techniques are available on demand. The workshops demonstrate many procedures done on that species and requires the participant to adequately perform all the procedures during the workshop.

Training from another institution may be submitted to be evaluated for equivalencies to McGill’s practical training. A valid certificate and course syllabus (if techniques and species are not indicated on the certificate) may be sent via email to the animalcare [at] (Training Advisor).

For more information, visit the main Training Program web page.


For those working with fish

Please read all the relevant Standard Operating Procedures pertaining to fish: 

SOP 108-Fish Aquatic Amphibian Reptile Analgesia

SOP 118-Fish and Aquatic Amphibian Anesthesia

SOP 303-Fish and Aquatic Amphibian Euthanasia

The practical training for husbandry, care and monitoring of fish is to be given in-lab (in communication with the Training Advisor) to submit the completed training paperwork.

An interesting link:


Procedure to obtain certification


Read the material included in this Web page under "Basic Level"

· If you will have invasive contact with the animals (such as injecting, survival blood collection or surgery), or if you are the principal investigator: read the material included under "Advanced Level"

· If you will be doing field studies, read the material under "Wild animals and domesticated amphibians, fish, birds and reptiles" and specify that you need the wildlife questions to be added to your test

To request a test, send an email to the animalcare [at] (Training Advisor) and a weblink and code will be sent to you. Please note that EACH participant must make the request using his/her own email account.

If handling live animals, register for the practical course appropriate to you (see Workshop section for details on the Training Program landing page).

The theory course is not a prerequisite to the practical training.

If you have any questions or problems, please email the animalcare [at] (Training Advisor).

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