The Biological Anthropology major or minor will give you the opportunity to learn about human origins and the fossil evidence of our extinct hominin ancestors over the last 7-8 million years and examine human behaviour in the context of the behaviour of our living primate relatives. By taking a Biological Anthropology specialisation, you can learn about how evolutionary theory can help us to understand modern human social and reproductive behaviour. You can also study the skeletal biology of modern humans in an adaptive context through studying their anatomy to reconstruct past behaviour, and learn about the techniques used in forensic anthropology. There is an extensive range of courses on offer, allowing you to tailor your degree to your own specific interests, choosing courses from the disciplines of biology, anthropology, psychology and archaeology. The Biological Anthropology major or minor will allow you to form your own insights and conclusions about the conditions in which humans evolved, understand the behaviour of humans in the context of our living primate relatives and learn about the culture, behavioural ecology and skeletal biology of humans inhabiting the planet today.
Through studying Biological Anthropology, you will be given the opportunity to:
- Understand the context in which humans evolved and understand the scope of biological anthropology within the wider anthropological discipline.
- Critically evaluate contemporary and historical research in at least four biological anthropology subfields.
- Experience laboratory based direct hands-on learning using our extensive skeletal and cast collections.
- Undertake field schools studying primates in the wild or conducting skeletal excavations
- Apply evolutionary concepts to understanding modern human behavioural diversity.
- Reconstruct the behavioural innovations and morphological changes throughout human evolution.
Further information about the biological anthropology major can be found here: programsandcourses.anu.edu.au/major/BIAN-MAJ#requirements
Further information about the biological anthropology minor can be found here: programsandcourses.anu.edu.au/minor/BIAN-MIN
Biological Anthropology Courses on offer Semester 1, 2019
BIAN2015 Human Skeletal Analysis programsandcourses.anu.edu.au/course/BIAN2015
BIAN2119 Nutrition, Disease and the Environment programsandcourses.anu.edu.au/course/BIAN2119
BIAN2126 Primate Evolutionary Biology programsandcourses.anu.edu.au/course/BIAN2126
BIAN3113 Human Evolution programsandcourses.anu.edu.au/course/BIAN3113
BIAN3124 Evolution and Human Behaviour programsandcourses.anu.edu.au/course/BIAN3124
Supervised Research in Biological Anthropology
There are opportunities for undergraduate students to gain research experience through undertaking an agreed program of supervised reading and research on a defined topic in biological anthropology over the course of one semester. Students can enrol on this course with the agreement of a biological anthropology academic staff member archanth.cass.anu.edu.au/people/academics/all#acton-tabs-link--qt-academics-ui-tabs4. Further information can be found here programsandcourses.anu.edu.au/course/BIAN3129
Career opportunities in Biological Anthropology
Graduates of the Biological Anthropology major develop the skills necessary to work in a range of careers, depending on the courses taken. Career opportunities may include working in research, museum curation or science communication. Graduates who have undertaken courses specialising in non-human primates can pursue careers in primate conservation and welfare, and graduates who have pursued a more human focus may go on to work in health policy and professions relating to human demography and forensic anthropology. Students with a specific biological anthropology background have gone on to pursue further academic research, or have sought related employment (e.g. archaeological and/or consultancy work). In other cases, our graduates have obtained more general skills, e.g. critical thinking, writing and statistical skills, which have enabled them to find successful and fulfilling employment.