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

This course is designed to explore a series of emerging and intensely debated issues or methodological approaches in core areas of biological anthropology. The content is variable - offering a variety of areas of research expertise in bioarchaeology, skeletal biology, palaeoanthropology, primatology, or evolution of human behaviour. Students in this course will take a critical approach to theory and/or methods employed in these areas.

One topic is taught over one academic session. The course provides flexible intensity of learning as a 6 unit course, and is delivered through low-intensity online learning built around an intensive class of 5 day duration. Students commence the course with 4-5 weeks of independent reading and research as preparation. Students then attend a 5 day intensive course on campus at the ANU. This intensive five day program is followed up with work on tasks and course assessments with online supervision at low intensity, for delivery and completion by the end of the session/semester. The content and topics will vary from course to course. One course will be offered per year (always either in S2 or the Spring session). Session topics are dependent on availability of faculty expertise. 

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. develop an understanding of skills and concepts in the thematic area of biological anthropology;
  2. critically analyse literature through evaluation of published research against alternative interpretations of data in the thematic area of biological anthropology;
  3. identify scientific problems and construct hypotheses in biological anthropology research;
  4. practise a technique/method applied to relevant data appropriate to a basic level of research training or professional practice in the thematic area of biological anthropology;
  5. reach a masters level of expertise allowing to design a small research project in which skills defined for the theme area of biological anthropology could be applied.

Other Information

Not applicable

Indicative Assessment

  1. Scientific Report (3000 words) (45) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]
  2. Peer-Review/Critical Analysis Essay (3000 words) (45) [LO 1,2]
  3. Tutorial Presentation 15-30 minutes (10) [LO 1,2]

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.


The workload of this course will comprise a total of 130 hours over 12 weeks:

a) 60 hours of preparation

b) 40 hours of intensive tuition spread over 5 days for which attendance is compulsory and

c) up to 30 hours of follow-up tasks and/or private study for delivery of assessment tasks.

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have completed 12 units of 6000- or 8000- level ARCH or BIAN courses prior to enrolment, or with permission of the convener.

Prescribed Texts

These will vary by topic. Prescribed texts will be released to students as part of class summaries.

Preliminary Reading

We recommend the following text about the contestable nature of knowledge which has been written with the aim of engaging students in thought about methodology, empirical findings, logic, and flaws in science:

Leng, G & Leng, R. 2020. The Matter of Facts: Skepticism, Persuasion, and Evidence In Science. The MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Assumed Knowledge

As this is an advanced course, we expect students to have an undergraduate level of knowledge/understanding in a biological anthropology area (e.g. bioarchaeology, skeletal biology, palaeoanthropology, primatology, evolution of human behaviour) covered by the session they enrol in.


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

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you 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). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found 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
2023 $4320
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2023 $6180
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.

Spring Session

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
9508 18 Nov 2024 15 Nov 2024 22 Nov 2024 23 Nov 2024 In Person N/A

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