B.S. in Biological Anthropology

The department offers extensive coursework in biological anthropology at undergraduate and graduate levels. The undergraduate B.S. degree in Biological Anthropology emphasizes coursework on human evolution, human anatomy, and primatology and provides an excellent basis for future training in medicine and related areas. Our affiliated doctoral program in Human Paleobiology is one of the finest biological anthropology research and teaching groups in the world.

The George Washington University has always had a strong focus in biological (physical) anthropology, supported by close connections with the Smithsonian. Because of its emphasis on the sciences, students in this major will earn a Bachelor of Science degree in Biological Anthropology. Compared to the general Anthropology major, the B.S. in Biological Anthropology requires fewer second-group anthropology courses (2000s-3000s), additional science training, and a greater focus on the biological aspects of anthropology. There is no language requirement outside the General Curriculum Requirements.

Students may not double-major in Anthropology and Biological Anthropology; they may double-major in Archaeology and Biological Anthropology, but second-group courses cannot count towards both majors.


Program Requirements

  • Introductory courses (21 hours). Anth 1001, 1002, 1003, and 1004, BiSc 1111-1112 or equivalent biology courses with labs (8 hours)
  • Second-Group Biological Anthropology Courses (four courses; 12 or more hours). Select from Anth 2406, 3401-3491, 3802, 3832.
  • Other Second-Group Courses in Anthropology (two courses; 6 or more hours). Any two or more of Anth 2501-2750 and 3501-3891 (excluding 3802, 3832).
  • Second-Group Biology Courses (8 or more hours). Students should select at least one upper-level course from (a) cell and molecular biology (BiSc 2202-2220, 3209-3213, and 3361-3263); (b) suborganismal and organismal biology (BiSc 2318-2339, 3320-3325); (c) ecology and evolution (BiSc 2450-2454 and 3458-3464); and at least one additional course.
  • Other Science Course (3 or more hours). Any one or more courses (3 hour min.) in Anatomy, Chemistry, Geology, Forensic Sciences, Mathematics, Statistics, or cognitive or neuropsychology (Psyc 2014, 2015, 3118, 3122).
  • No language requirement.

Go to the Anthropology course descriptions.

Go to the Biological Sciences course descriptions.

Get a copy of the Biological Anthropology Major flyer for 2015-16.


Special Honors in Biological Anthropology

Students who meet the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences requirements for special honors are encouraged to undertake a thesis research project in their senior year. Such students should take 3 or more hours of Anth 3995 (Undergraduate Research).


Minor in Biological Anthropology

For information on the minor program in Biological Anthropology, click here.


What can you do with a Biological Anthropology major?

While the subject matter of a Biological Anthropology degree guarantees to engage students intellectually, it also leaves them well-poised for their next career steps. A B.S. in Biological Anthropology opens doors in both academic and applied fields since students obtain a solid background in scientific analyses, anatomy, and human behavior.

Academic jobs allow students to contribute to biological anthropology research directly. Biological anthropologists work in a range of academic settings, including universities and museums. Some students may further decide to pursue a graduate degree in Biological Anthropology in order lead a research team themselves. Our faculty are available to mentor students as they navigate the graduate program application process.

The strong foundation in science and anatomy leaves our students well-positioned for other careers as well. Our students often draw from their scientific and anatomical background to pursue careers in medicine, public health, and psychology. Understanding of the evolution of humans also lends itself to careers further afield; a better grasp of human behavior is an invaluable skill, whether you are in a courtroom or boardroom.


Courses Offered


Undergraduate Advisors

View the advisors for our major and minor programs.

View the Anthropology Department office hours.