• 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, Zoology, Evolution and Ecology, Biology
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in Second Semester 2017
    See Future Offerings

This course takes an evolutionary approach to understanding human origins and behaviour. The course will cover the mechanisms of evolution including concepts related to genetics, speciation, variation, natural selection and adaptation. Particular attention will be paid to (a) the study of living non-human primates in the context of human evolution and behaviour (b) how the fossil record of human relatives over the last 6-7 million years can be used to reconstruct the evolution of human behaviour, and (c) understanding the variation in human skeletal biology and human behaviour using evolutionary principles.

Learning Outcomes

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

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

  1. Explain basic principles related to the evolution of humans, including those relating to primatology, palaeoanthropology and human behavioural ecology.
  2. Discuss the idea that evolutionary theory can help explain variation among humans.
  3. Prepare and develop a critical perspective on an independent study topic related to human origins.
  4. Explain a topic or argument relating to human origins and the evolution of human behaviour in a comparative context.
  5. Interpret material from a range of scholarly sources relevant to a topic or argument in the field, balancing general argument and relevant evidence.

Indicative Assessment

Two Essays (30% each for a total of 60%). [Learning Outcomes 3 & 5].  Assessment will be staged as follows:
a) Essay proposal: 250 words  (5%)
b) Final essay: 1500 words (25%)
Three in-class quizzes (10% each for a total of 30%) [Learning Outcomes 1, 2]
One 15 minute tutorial presentation (10%) [Learning Outcomes 2 & 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.


130 hours of total student learning time made up from:
a) 36 hours of contact: 24 hours of lectures and 12 hours of tutorials.
b) 94 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.


Prescribed Texts

How Humans Evolved (7th Edition). Robert Boyd and Joan B. Silk, W. W. Norton & Company.
An etext version of this textbook is available.




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. Tuition fees are indexed annually. 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
2017 $3444
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2017 $4590
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
9803 24 Jul 2017 31 Jul 2017 31 Aug 2017 27 Oct 2017 In Person N/A

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