• Offered by School of Archaeology and Anthropology
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject Biological Anthropology
  • Areas of interest Anthropology, Biological Anthropology

'Race' was once thought capable of explaining a great deal about both human biology and society. That is no longer true; but biological variation between individuals and between populations is real and remains to be explained. This course is about that variation, especially in physical traits, blood genetics and DNA. Variation amongst peoples of the world will be viewed as an outcome of evolution and biogeography, and as a reflection of ancestry, interrelationships and population histories.  The main emphasis will be on exploring findings on human population diversity and anthropological genetics and genomics, compared with inferences from archaeology and linguistics.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

Upon successful completion of this course students will be able to:

  1. Master the essentials of the factual groundwork presented in the course, especially in the lectures and the required readings; and demonstrate awareness of key facts and the contributions of pivotal authors in the literature on human ‘races’ and on human genetic and phenotypic variation, viewed especially at a geographical and population level
  2. Place the ‘race’ concept in its social and historical context, and demonstrate a secure grasp of fundamental concepts in general human, population and anthropological genetics
  3. Apply basic genetic principles to the solution of simple problems in the analysis of pedigrees, disease risk assessment and ratios of variants in populations
  4. Use a selective case study approach to explain a topic or argument in the field orally to your peers, in a clear, concise, analytical and evidence-based manner, couched so as to elicit discussion; and respond thoughtfully to the substance of peers’ similar contributions
  5. Draw together material from a range of scholarly sources relevant to a topic or proposition in the field, to form a unified text which sets out your own independent, where appropriate critical, assessment of that material, balancing general argument and supporting evidence

Indicative Assessment

One 2,500 word essay (45%); an option to re-submit may be offered [Learning Outcome 5]

One mid-semester and one final examination (totalling 45%), covering respectively the first and second parts of the course [Learning Outcomes 1-3]

One short tutorial presentation (10%) [Learning Outcome 4]

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


This course is normally offered in odd-numbered years

Normally there will be two hours of lectures, one hour of tutorial, and in some weeks one hour of film/videos weekly; plus private study to bring the total weekly commitment to ten hours per week.

Requisite and Incompatibility

12 units of 1000-level ANTH, ARCH or BIOL courses

Preliminary Reading

Harrison, G A, Tanner, J M, Pilbeam, D R and Baker, P T, Human Biology, Part II, 3rd edn, Oxford UP, 1988
Cavalli-Sforza, L.L. & F., The great human diasporas, Reading, Mass., Addison-Wesley, 1995
Jones, S, In the blood, London, HarperCollins, 1996
Ridley, M, Genome, London, HarperCollins, 2000
Wells, S, Journey of Man, London, Penguin, 2003




Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Students continuing in their current program of study will have their tuition fees indexed annually from the year in which you commenced your program. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee Description
1994-2003 $1230
2014 $2478
2013 $2472
2012 $2472
2011 $2424
2010 $2358
2009 $2286
2008 $2286
2007 $2286
2006 $2286
2005 $2286
2004 $1926
International fee paying students
Year Fee
1994-2003 $2574
2014 $3246
2013 $3240
2012 $3240
2011 $3240
2010 $3240
2009 $3240
2008 $3240
2007 $3132
2006 $3132
2005 $3132
2004 $2916
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
3328 20 Jul 2015 07 Aug 2015 31 Aug 2015 30 Oct 2015 In Person N/A

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