Concentration in Biological Anthropology

The concentration in Biological Anthropology helps students understand human evolutionary biology, comparative primate behavior and biology, evolutionary genetics, and the hominin and primate fossil records. Students will be knowledgeable about the fundamentals of evolutionary biology, mechanisms of evolution and population genetics, human and non-human primate behavioral ecology, life history and reproductive ecology, and the relationship of our species to other primates. They will be prepared to navigate research on human and non-human primates thoughtfully and ethically and will have a grounding in the principles of rigorous scientific research, quantitative reasoning, data analysis, data interpretation, and critical analysis of primary scientific literature.

The concentration in Biological Anthropology is distinguished from the major in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology by its focus on the evolutionary biology of humans and our primate relatives, including the use of genetics and endocrinology to address questions about both our evolution and our current world, and on the interplay of human biology and culture. Students are encouraged to gain solid scientific backgrounds by taking courses in related departments such as Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.

The concentration in Biological Anthropology overlaps with and complements the concentration in Medical Anthropology and Global Health in conceptual approaches and scientific methods. It complements the Department’s Archaeology program by its coverage of the fossil and archaeological record for early human evolution and of the ecological, behavioral, and demographic context in which our own species emerged and successfully dispersed across the world. It complements the program in Sociocultural and Linguistic Anthropology by providing a comparative context for understanding how our species than came to manifest our contemporary unprecedented behavioral diversity and flexibility.


All students with this concentration need to complete at least six credits in biological anthropology or cognates, not including the senior project. These must include:

ANTH 116 - Introduction to Biological Anthropology

Up to four of the following, depending on the number of advanced seminars and approved cognates: 

ANTH 132 - Sex, Love, and Reproduction

ANTH 148 - Hormones and Behavior

ANTH 182 - Primate Behavior and Ecology

ANTH 200 - Social Dimensions of Evolution

ANTH 203 - Primate Conservation

ANTH 204 - Molecular Anthropology

ANTH 210 - Birth: Intersections among biology, culture and society

ANTH 217 - Hormones, Evolution, and Human Behavior

ANTH 230 - Evolutionary Biology of Women’s Reproduction

ANTH 236 - Obesity: Biosocial Approaches

ANTH 242 - Human Evolutionary Biology and Life History

ANTH 267 - Human Evolution

ANTH 280 - Evolution of Primate Intelligence

ANTH 300 - Primate Behavior and Ecology (cannot double count with ANTH 643)

ANTH 310 - Mammalogy

ANTH 335 - Primate Diversity and Evolution

ANTH 354 - Cuerpos Femeninos (Female Bodies): Biology, Evolution, and Society

ANTH 376 - Observing and Measuring Behavior, Part 1 (Study Design)

ANTH 377 - Observing and Measuring Behavior, Part 2 (Data Analysis and Reporting)

ANTH 394 - Methods and Research in Molecular Anthropology I         

ANTH 395 - Methods and Research in Molecular Anthropology II 

ANTH 464 - Human Osteology

ANTH 467 - Blood: Science, Culture, Society

At least one advanced seminar in biological anthropology, e.g.:  

ANTH 643 - Primate Behavior and Ecology

ANTH 665 - Evolution of Human Diet

ANTH 803 - Human Reproductive Ecology

ANTH 812 - Current Topics in Anthropological Genetics

ANTH 830 - Topics and Issues in Human Life History Evolution

ANTHxxx/849 – Primate Models for Human Evolution

ANTH 851 - Topics and Issues in Evolutionary Theory

ANTH 475/875 – Issues in Primate Behavioral Ecology

Senior requirement:

Senior majors concentrating in Biological Anthropology must either enroll in ANTH 491 and complete an essay based on independent research project or do a more extensive year-long independent essay project while enrolled first in ANTH 471/472 and then in ANTH 491.  Essays written as term papers for seminars do not meet the senior requirement.