• Total units 48 Units
  • Areas of interest Biological Anthropology
  • Major code BIAN-MAJ
  • Academic career Undergraduate

Biological anthropology is the branch of anthropology that focuses on the evolutionary and biological aspects of humankind: Homo sapiens as an evolved species - human populations as varied and dynamically changing sets of biological individuals, adaptable but also vulnerable to ever-changing circumstances. It is also concerned with the non-human primates, and with current debates on the biological bases of human social behaviour. The subject thus encompasses what used to be called physical anthropology, as well as primatology, palaeoanthropology and human population biology, including human genetics and the study of human health, nutrition, growth, demography and ecological adaptation, viewed comparatively and synthetically.

The pass degree courses are planned, not to provide specialised professional training, but to present students with an overall understanding of biological anthropology and its main sub-fields. Honours courses offer more specialist training and examine in more depth the discipline's theoretical basis. Students considering the possibility of entering careers as professional biological anthropologists should plan their courses with a view to taking the degree with Honours. Specific preparation for honours work begins in third year.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. define the scope of biological anthropology as a discipline and situate it in a wider anthropological context
  2. apply the discipline's theoretical approaches and research methodologies in the investigation of primate evolutionary and population biology
  3. critically discuss contemporary and historical research in at least four of the following subfields: fossil evidence for human evolution; evolutionary primatology; behavioural primatology; human skeletal morphology; bioarchaeology; anthropological genetics; human population health, nutrition and environmental adaptability; human population dynamics.
  4. recognise and reflect on local and international perspectives on research in biological anthropology.
Back to the top


This major requires the completion of 48 units, which must consist of:

6 units from completion of the following course(s):

Code Title Units
BIAN1001 The Human Voyage: Introduction to Biological Anthropology 6

6 units from completion of the following course(s):

Code Title Units
ANTH1002 Culture and Human Diversity: Introducing Anthropology 6
ANTH1003 Global Citizen: Culture, Development and Inequality 6
ARCH1111 Archaeology Uncovered 6
ARCH1112 From Origins to Civilizations 6
BIOL1003 Biology 1: Evolution, Ecology and Genetics 6
BIOL1008 Human Biology 6

24 units from completion of the following course(s):

Code Title Units
BIAN2015 Human Skeletal Analysis 6
BIAN2119 Nutrition, Disease and the Environment 6
BIAN2126 Primate Evolutionary Biology 6
BIAN3113 Human Evolution 6
BIAN3124 Evolution and Human Behaviour 6
BIAN3125 Ancient Health & Disease 6
BIAN3127 Primate Ecology and Behaviour 6

12 units from completion of the following course(s):

Code Title Units
ANTH2026 Medicine, Healing and the Body 6
ANTH2132 Food for Thought: Anthropological theories of food and eating 6
ANTH2133 Social Animals: anthropological perspectives on animal-human relationships 6
ANTH2138 Doing Medical Anthropology 6
ARCH2041 Introduction to Environmental Archaeology 6
ARCH3028 Archaeology of Death and Mortuary Practices 6
ARCH3108 Animals, Plants and People 6
BIAN2064 Anthropology of Environmental Disasters 6
BIAN2120 Culture, Biology and Population Dynamics 6
BIAN2128 Forensic Anthropology and Archaeology 6
BIAN2130 Ancient Medicine 6
BIAN2133 Mating and Parenting: Evolutionary Ecology of Human Reproductive Strategies 6
BIAN3010 Scientific Dating in Archaeology and Palaeoenvironmental Studies 6
BIAN3016 Analysis of Vertebrate Remains 6
BIAN3021 Primate Conservation Biology 6
BIAN3129 Supervised Research in Biological Anthropology 6
BIOL2151 Genetics 6
BIOL2191 Ecology of Health and Disease 6
BIOL3131 Evolutionary and Behavioural Ecology 6
BIOL3142 Parasitology 6
BIOL3204 Genetics of Human Disease 1 6
ENVS2011 Human Ecology 6
ENVS2012 Sustainable Urban Systems 6
PSYC2007 Biological Basis of Behaviour 6
Back to the top

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions