single degree

Master of Biological Anthropology

A single two year graduate degree offered by the ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences

  • Length 2 year full-time
  • Minimum 96 Units
  • Length 2 year full-time
  • Minimum 96 Units

What does it mean to be human?

If you’re interested in the answer, you’ll love the Master of Biological Anthropology.

This program - not offered at any other Australian University – equips you with the theory and skills required to study humans and non-human primates as varied and dynamically changing biological organisms. You will explore primate evolution, ecology, behaviour and conservation; human evolution, and behaviour; animal domestication; palaeopathology and bioarchaeology.

You can also choose from a range of electives including ancient health and medicine, forensic anthropology and archaeology, anthropological genetics and environmental disasters.

Career Options

ANU provides you with more choice for your entrance score by offering the new Flexible Double Degree program.

The ANU Flexible Double Degree lets you build skills for your chosen career without forfeiting your passion.  It's your choice to build a double degree partnership that suits your head and your heart.

NEW program - available for applications commencing from Summer Session, 2015

Employment Opportunities

A Master of Biological Anthropology will advance your career in universities, museums, zoos, government, forensic sciences, and applied anthropometry, or lead to further study.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Clearly understand evolutionary processes as they relate to biological anthropology.
  2. Apply the scientific method to paleontological specimens, morphological materials and/or primate behaviour & ecology.
  3. Critically analyse data and literature within the discipline to reach independent conclusions
  4. Effectively communicate to others their knowledge of humankind’s place in nature

Further Information

  • Interested in writing a thesis? Check out the advanced version of this degree.
  • Please be aware that any courses taken as part of the 24 units from completion of elective courses offered by ANU list will not count towards the advanced degree should you decide to transfer. This is because the advanced degree has no free electives, as they are in practice replaced by a 24 unit thesis.

Admission Requirements

A Bachelor degree or international equivalent with an average mark of at least 65 per cent

All applicants must meet the University’s English Language Admission Requirements for Students

Applicants with a Bachelor Degree or Graduate Certificate in a cognate discipline may be eligible for 24 units (1 semester) of credit.

Applicants with a Graduate Diploma or Honours in a cognate discipline may be eligible for 48 units (1 year) of credit.

Cognate disciplines

Anatomy, Ancient History, Archaeology, Botany, Human Biology, Indigenous Studies, Medicine, Psychology, Social Sciences, Zoology.

Annual indicative fee for domestic students

For more information see:

Annual indicative fee for international students


ANU offers a wide range of scholarships to students to assist with the cost of their studies.

Eligibility to apply for ANU scholarships varies depending on the specifics of the scholarship and can be categorised by the type of student you are.  Specific scholarship application process information is included in the relevant scholarship listing.

For further information see the Scholarships website.

Program Requirements

The Master of Biological Anthropology requires completion of 96 units, which must consist of:

A minimum of 12 units from completion of courses from the following list:

BIAN6013 Human Evolution

BIAN6115 Race and Human Genetic Variation

BIAN6514 Primate Ecology and Behaviour

BIAN6517 Human Skeletal Analysis

A minimum of 36 units from completion of courses from the following list:

ANTH6026 Medical Anthropology

ANTH6064 Anthropology of Environmental Disasters

ARCH6108 Animals, Plants & People

ARCH6126 Analytical Methods for Anthropology and Archaeology

ARCH6521 Archaeology of Death and Mortuary Practices

BIAN6018 Primate Behavioural Ecology Field School in Cambodia

BIAN6119 Nutrition, Disease and the Human Environment

BIAN6120 Culture, Biology & Population Dynamics

BIAN6124 Human Society as Animal Society: Sex, Conflict, Co-operation and Human Uniqueness

BIAN6510 Scientific Dating and Isotope analysis for Archaeology and Palaeoanthropology

BIAN6512 Ancient Health & Disease

BIAN6513 Primate Evolutionary Biology

BIAN6514 Primate Ecology and Behaviour

BIAN6515 Forensic Anthropology and Archaeology

BIAN6518 Analysis of Mammalian Remains

BIAN6519 Ancient Medicine

BIAN6520 Primate Conservation Biology

A maximum of 12 units from completion of courses from the following list:

ARCH6500 Research Design and Analysis in Archaeology

BIAN8002 Topics in Human Population Biology/Health

BIAN8003 Topics in Primatology/Palaeoanthropology

BIAN8004 Bioanthropology Honour IV Project

BIAN8005 Bioanthropology Honour IV Seminar

24 units from completion of elective courses offered by ANU

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