SPCAL Online course

in laboratory animal science



If you are not yet enrolled and wish to do so, please follow this link. (NOTE: STUDENTS ENROLLED IN GROUPS ARE REGISTERED BY THEIR COURSE COORDINATORS AT THEIR INSTITUTIONS)


The Online Cat. B Theoretic Course provides the minimum theoretical education in Laboratory Animal Science (LAS) as recommended by FELASA for Category B. All authors are competent persons in their field of expertise. The course is undergoing a revision to comply with the European Commission's guidelines for training in Laboratory Animal Science.

Upon completion, and when complemented with 20h of practical training, this course will qualify you to request accreditation as “Investigador” or “Técnico de Investigação” to the Portuguese Competent Authority, the Direcção Geral de Veterinária. 


Target audience

This course is particularly relevant for all people working or planning to work with laboratory animals, as it conveys the basic principles of education in Laboratory Animal Science. Because the contents and duration are those recommended by FELASA for Category B, this course is an added value for all those requiring an official license from the Direcção Geral de Alimentação e Veterinária (DGAV) to work with laboratory animals. 

Advantages of this course

This particular online format provides:
  • Easy and quick access to education from any location
  • Flexibility of study
  • Complement to practical training
  • Reduction of costs with LAS training and education, either for individuals or institutions
  • Attendance of exams at the most convenient time and location


Duration of the Course
The contents of this course were designed to require at least 20 hours of reading. This is in line with the FELASA recommendations for theoretical Category B.

Course contents

Nº of sessions: 20
Nº of hours of reading: At least 20 hours

  • Portuguese and european legislation for the protection of animals used for experimental and other scientific purposes
  • Ethics and the 3rs
  • Anatomy and physiology of rodents and lagomorphs
  • Anatomy and physiology of teleost fish
  • Feeding and nutrition of rodents and lagomorphs
  • Housing and accommodation of rodents and lagomorph
  • Animal transport
  • Zebrafish (danio rerio) - methods for husbandry and maintenance of teleost fish
  • Behaviour and environment in rodents
  • Animal welfare and signs of disturbance
  • Fish psychological stress and welfare
  • Microbiological standardisation
  •  genetic standardisation  and manipulation of laboratory animals
  • Methods of handling, restraint and identification of laboratory rodents
  • Administration of substances and collection of samples
  • Pre and post surgical care and basic principles of surgery
  • Euthanasia of laboratory animals: rodents and lagomorphs
  • Anaesthesia and analgesia
  • Experimental design and scientific integrity
  • Health and safety


Ana Isabel Moura Santos, Ana Nóvoa, Ana Paula Martins, Anna Olsson, Carla Fernandes, Dolores Bonaparte, Heber Alves, Isabel Carvalho, Joana Bom , Joana Corte Real, Joana Marques, Lara Carvalho, Leonor Galhardo, Luis Antunes, Luísa Guardão, Magda Carlos, Maria Alexandra Ribeiro, Maria Guarino, Nuno Marques Pereira, Ricardo A. Afonso

Design and Coordination

Ana Isabel Moura Santos, PhD – SPCAL and Department of Physiology at Faculdade de Ciências Médicas, Universidade Nova de Lisboa.
Dolores Bonaparte, DVM – SPCAL and Instituto de Medicina Molecular, Faculdade de Medicina, Universidade de Lisboa.

Application details

On the registration page, accessible by clicking the link at the bottom of this page, complete the fields and submit your application. You will receive a confirmation email. After receiving this confirmation email, please pay the fee and send the proof of payment to cursoteorico@spcal.pt.

Upon confirmation of payment, a new email will be sent to you informing about the activation of your access coordinates and you will have full access to the course contents until you pass the exam (maximum of 6 months from activation date).  

Organized Groups of 20 or more applicants: 

SPCAL will accept applications for organized Groups of 20 or more participants for a reduced individual price. The following conditions must apply:
  • The group must have a Coordinator who will centralize all contacts with SPCAL.
  • The Coordinator must register (or ensure the registration of) all group members on the course webpage.
  • The Coordinator will then assist SPCAL with regards to the payment process.
  • SPCAL will issue only a maximum of 2 invoices per group, and will receive payment in full for those invoices (no individual payments, invoices, or receipts).
  • Individual access to contents will only be activated after full payment of the Group invoice(s) is received.

Each group member will have the same rights, duties, and conditions as those of an individual participant. 

  • there will be only one Group Coordinator;
  • there will be only one dedicated exam date site;
  • SPCAL will issue only up to 2 invoices.

Chronology of the Group Application process

  • The Group Coordinator contacts SPCAL to cursoteorico@spcal to discuss and request a Group Application.
  • Once conditions and number of applicants are set and confirmed, SPCAL issues the invoice(s) (up to 2).
  • Coordinator ensures that all members are registered on the course webpage and have their access data.
  • Coordinator sends the full list of applicants (name and email contact) to cursoteorico@spcal.pt
  • As soon as invoice payment is received, SPCAL will activate individual access to contents .

Evaluation for Groups >20
General conditions will apply for evaluation. However, SPCAL may schedule a dedicated exam date and site. This possibility must be previously discussed with the Group Coordinator.

Note: It is possible to enrol a Group containing applicants from different institutions. However, these groups should be organized in a way that:

Price:  SPCAL Associates - 100€; Non-associates - 130€
Special price for groups >20 applicants: 75€ per applicant. Please, read the conditions 

Access/ Availability

The title and objectives of all sessions are permanently available online. Access to contents is only possible through individual username and password. These will be granted upon application and payment. Access to contents will be effective until the exam is successfully completed, for a maximum of 6 months.


In order to standardize the evaluation criteria, all participants must pass one exam. The exam is the only event where applicants need to be physically present.

The exam will consist of 100 multiple choice questions, with 4 options to choose from. Of the 4 options, only is correct. Incorrect answers will be classified as 0 and will not be deducted from the global classification. 

Attendees must obtain a grade of 60% or more to receive the certificate.  In case of failure, a second chance is permitted without additional costs.

Exams will be scheduled on several dates and locations, according to convenience of both SPCAL and applicants. Applicants may choose the most suitable date and location from those set forth by SPCAL and disclosed at the website (click here for dates). 

For groups of 20 students or more, SPCAL may schedule a dedicated exam on a date and location at best convenience. In any case, the exam should be completed in no more than 6 months counting from the date of application

SPCAL is currently testing a platform for on-line examining, that we expect to be available by the end of 2017. This will allow students living outside Portugal to enrol in the course and undergo examination.

Further information

For further details, please contact cursoteorico@spcal.pt 


Register in SPCAL

Registration is fast and allows you access to exclusive and reserved contents for registered users on page of the Portuguese Society of Sciences Laboratory in Animals.

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