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Biological Anthropology

Biological anthropologists endeavor to understand the evolutionary origins and consequences of human biological variation. Human biologists investigate the effects of culture and ecology on human adaptation, development, and health. Primatologists use non-human primates as models for understanding human ecology and evolution, and also draw from non-human primate data comparatively to identify human traits that are shared or unique with other primates.

Visit Evolutionary and Ecological Approaches to Health and Development (E2HD) for more information on recent research, labs, and field studies.

Undergraduate opportunities

Students can focus on biological anthropology through courses and research opportunities.

Graduate program

Our PhD training program focuses on ecological and evolutionary approaches to health and development, and takes place in the context of a four-fields anthropology department with strong links to other departments, research centers, and schools at Northwestern.  PhD students focusing on biological anthropology must complete the graduate program’s core coursework, coursework in statistics, and the following courses:

In addition to these courses, graduate students have many opportunities for training and mentored research experience through faculty labs, datasets, and field sites, described in greater detail here.

Interested students should apply to the Anthropology PhD program and indicate biological anthropology as their intended subfield.  Faculty will review all applications, and finalists will be invited to campus in February to meet with faculty and current graduate students.  Final admissions decisions are made shortly after the campus visit.

Students can also earn joint MPH/PhD degrees through our Graduate Program in Medical Anthropology

Other departments and programs at the University provide additional academic resources for students interested in biology, culture, and health, including: