Human Biology and Behaviour with a Year Abroad - BSc (Hons)

Do you want to know more about humans – How we evolved? How we have sex and reproduce? Our anatomy and physiology? What our skeletons record about our lives? How our hormones influence our decision-making? Why we’re obsessed with status? What happens when we die? Why we are so social and cooperative?

Overview

As a Human Biology and Behaviour student at Kent you can study human evolution, physiology and anatomy, the psychology and behaviour of humans and non-human primates, skeletal biology and functional anatomy, and forensic anthropology. This unique and exciting course brings together biology anthropology and psychology to explores what it means to be human, equipping you with a suite of transferable skills and advanced training in scientific research methods that prepares you to be strongly competitive for employment opportunities or for further study.

Typical questions you may explore include: Why is sex enjoyable? Why is there skin colour variation in humans? Can we detect human ovulation? How is behaviour dependent on anatomy? Where and how did humans evolve? Do monkeys have language? What are friends for (and why do we sometimes fall out with them)? How does your nervous system work? How does disease affect the body? What parallels can we draw between the biology (and psychology) of humans and that of apes and monkeys? How does our social environment impact our behaviour? Do ‘natural-born athletes’ really exist? How can we tell a person’s age at death just from their bones? When and where did Neanderthals and humans interbreed?

This course appeals to those with an academic background or interest in Human Biology, Biology, Psychology, Medicine, Anthropology, or Zoology (amongst others) or those working towards a career in science journalism and communication, museum work, conservation (especially primate conservation), forensic science, health care, or archaeology. In addition, the scientific critical thinking and data-analytical skills, together with the ability to write clearly, concisely and persuasively, will set you up for employment in a diversity of fields. Many of our students go on to postgraduate study, and our graduates are well placed to apply for postgraduate entry into medical school.

The course is based by the Division of Human and Social Sciences, in the School of Anthropology and Conservation. We offer a friendly and cosmopolitan learning community with students from over 70 different nationalities and 45% of staff from outside the UK. You are taught by enthusiastic academics at the forefront of their fields, including experts in human sexuality, forensics, primatology, psychology (Kent is a leading centre for social psychology with strengths in cognitive, forensic and developmental psychology), and a team who excel in skeletal biology, anatomy and palaeoanthropology. Passionate about research, our academics are world-leading experts who will inspire you to develop your own ideas and become an independent thinker. We take a friendly approach to teaching and provide you with a high level of academic support via lectures, seminars and one-to-one feedback.

Our degree programme

The first-year modules provide you with a broad background in human biology and behaviour. You explore the foundations of biological anthropology, learning about human evolution and adaptation, the fundamental aspects of human biology, and to scientific psychology: biological, cognitive and social. In addition, you’ll take a module that ensures you will have all the necessary academic and practical skills for successful undergraduate study. Optional modules in human physiology, and anthropology, among others, are available to you.

In your second year, you take core modules in human sexuality and reproductive biology, cultural evolution, and in human skeletal biology and functional anatomy, that develop your specialised knowledge and skills, alongside a dedicated research-skills module that not only covers how to analyse data, but how to design and structure a research project. You can choose further modules from a range of options which cover human physiology and disease, comparative anatomy, forensic anthropology, primate behaviour, and biological, cognitive and social psychology.

In the final year, in addition to a range of optional module choices that allow you to shape your own degree, you will take a ‘capstone’ module that draws together the multiple strands of this innovative course. Every student also conducts an independent research project under expert supervision that includes collection and analysis of data, and provides fantastic preparation for a Master’s degree or a job that requires analytical and presentation skills, with the possibility of publishing the project in an academic journal.

Year abroad

A year abroad is a wonderful opportunity, often described by students as life changing and invaluable. A year abroad extends your degree to a four-year programme and typically allows you to spend a year studying at one of our partner institutions in the US or Canada. You don’t have to make a decision before you enrol at Kent, but certain conditions apply.

Year in professional practice

You can stand out from the crowd by adding a year in professional practice to your degree. You spend a minimum of 24 weeks, between the second and final years, working in professional practice in the UK or abroad. You don’t have to make a decision before you enrol at Kent, but certain conditions apply.

Study resources

You will have access to excellent teaching resources including dedicated computing facilities and integrated audio-visual systems in all lecture theatres to support stimulating lectures. All modules also have substantial and additional on-line resources to support in-person teaching.

Other resources include:

  • Multiple dedicated world-class teaching laboratories with first-rate equipment, for biological anthropology, biology, and psychology.
  • An exceptional collection of Anglo-Saxon and medieval human skeletons (>1000) and related radiographs, housed in our human skeletal biology laboratory
  • 3D-imaging paleoanthropology laboratory with state-of-the-art equipment and expert academic support
  • Electroencephalography (EEG) equipment for monitoring brain function
  • Eye-tracker technology
  • A fantastic collection of hundreds of casts of fossils and modern species, including entire skeletons, to support teaching of human and primate anatomy, biology, and evolution
  • Numerous Pleistocene fossils from the famous site of Swanscombe (also in Kent)
  • Dedicated student social spaces.

Extra activities

Societies run by Kent students, such as the Anthropology Society and Conservation Society, are a good way to meet other students informally and get involved with extracurricular activities like fossil hunting along the Kentish coastline, and running events with external speakers.

There are always many open lectures and events that you are welcome to attend. We are delighted that these events attract figures from around the world; for example, we recently hosted paleoanthropologist Professor Lee Berger, one of Time Magazine's 100 most influential people, and in 2020, Professor Dame Jane Goodall, the renowned primatologist.

Each term, there are also seminars and workshops discussing current research across many areas of Human Biology and Behaviour, and undergraduate students are warmly encouraged to attend, to ask questions, and to engage with academics within the Division and visiting from other universities around the world.

10th
Anthropology at Kent was ranked 10th in The Guardian University Guide 2021.

Entry requirements

You are more than your grades

At Kent we look at your circumstances as a whole before deciding whether to make you an offer to study here. Find out more about how we offer flexibility and support before and during your degree.

Entry requirements

The University will consider applications from students offering a wide range of qualifications. Some typical requirements are listed below. Students offering alternative qualifications should contact us for further advice. Please also see our general entry requirements.

If you are an international student, visit our International Student website for further information about entry requirements for your country, including details of the International Foundation Programmes. Please note that international fee-paying students who require a Student visa cannot undertake a part-time programme due to visa restrictions.

Please note that meeting the typical offer/minimum requirement does not guarantee that you will receive an offer.

  • medal-empty

    A level

    ABB-BBB including at least one of Human Biology, Biology, Psychology, Chemistry or Mathematics. Applicants with an A level (or equivalent) in Health and Social Care, Sports Science, or Physical Education will also be considered.

  • medal-empty GCSE

    Mathematics grade C/4

  • medal-empty Access to HE Diploma

    The University will not necessarily make conditional offers to all Access candidates but will continue to assess them on an individual basis. 

    If we make you an offer, you will need to obtain/pass the overall Access to Higher Education Diploma and may also be required to obtain a proportion of the total level 3 credits and/or credits in particular subjects at merit grade or above.

  • medal-empty BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma (formerly BTEC National Diploma)

    We will consider applicants holding BTEC National Diploma and Extended National Diploma Qualifications (QCF; NQF; OCR) on a case-by-case basis. Please note that subjects such as Hospitality, Catering, Art & Design, Music, Photography and Dance will not be accepted. Please contact us for further advice on your individual circumstances.

  • medal-empty International Baccalaureate

    34 points overall or 15 points at HL including mathematics 4 at HL or SL.

  • International Foundation Programme

    Pass all components of the University of Kent International Foundation Programme with a 60% overall average including 60% in LZ036 Academic Skills, 60% in LZ045 Life Sciences (1 & 2), and 50% in LZ013 Maths and Statistics (if you do not hold GCSE Maths at 4/C or equivalent).

English Language Requirements

Please see our English language entry requirements web page.

If you need to improve your English language standard as a condition of your offer, you can attend one of our pre-sessional courses in English for Academic Purposes before starting your degree programme. You attend these courses before starting your degree programme.

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Course structure

Duration: 4 years full-time

The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This listing is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.   

On most programmes, you study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also be able to take ‘elective’ modules from other programmes so you can customise your programme and explore other subjects that interest you.

Stage 1

Compulsory modules currently include:

BI305 - Fundamental Human Biology (15 credits) 
SE302 - Foundations of Biological Anthropology (30 credits) 
SE308 - Academic and Research Skills (15 credits) 
SP304 - Introduction to Psychology I (15 credits)
SP305 - Introduction to Psychology II (15 credits)

Optional modules may include:  

BI307 - Human Physiology and Disease (15 credits) 
BI300 - Introduction to Biochemistry (15 credits)
SE307 - Thinkers and Theories in Anthropology (15 credits)
SP314 - Introduction to Clinical Psychology (15 credits)
SS327 - Introduction to Biomechanics (15 credits)

Up to 15 credits can be taken from Stage 1 elective Modules

Stage 2

Compulsory modules currently include:

SE559 - Quantitative Research Methods (15 credits) 
SE565 - Sex, Evolution, and Human Nature (15 credits) 
SE628 - Human Skeletal Biology (15 credits) 
SE625 - Homo sapiens: Biology, Culture and Identity (15 credits) 
SE629 - Human Anatomy and Movement (15 credits)

45 credits of optional modules may include:    

SE580 - Primate Behaviour and Ecology (15 credits) 
SE582 - Comparative Perspectives in Primate Biology (15 credits) 
SE549 - Medical Anthropology: Cause and consequences of Illness (15 credits) 
SP637 - Forensic Psychology: Theoretical and Applied Perspectives (15 credits) 
SP608 - Evolution & Universal Motivation (15 credits) 
BI546 - Animal Form and Function (15 credits) 
BI503 - Cell Biology BI505 - Infection and Immunity (15 credits) 
BI513 - Human Physiology and Disease 2 (15 credits) 
PS502 - Forensic Archaeology (15 credits) 
DI503 - Evolutionary Genetics and Conservation (15 credits) 

You have the opportunity to select 15 credits of elective modules in this stage.

Stage 3

Compulsory modules currently include:

SE533 – Independent Research Project (30 credits) 
SE570 – Life, Sex, and Death: Current Debates in Human Biology and Behaviour (15 credits)

At least 30 credits of optional modules may include: 

SE541 - Palaeoanthropology (15 credits) 
SE580 - Primate Behaviour and Ecology (15 credits) 
SE582 - Comparative Perspectives in Primate Biology (15 credits) 
SE569 - Palaeopathology (15 credits) 
SE557 - Primate Communication (15 credits) 
SE605 - Hormones and Behaviour (15 credits) 
SE609 - Forensic Anthropology (15 credits)

45 credits of optional modules may include following:

SE549 - Medical Anthropology: Cause and consequences of Illness (15 credits)
BI546 - Animal Form and Function (15 credits) 
SP608 - Evolution & Universal Motivation (15 credits) 
SP637 - Forensic Psychology: Theoretical and Applied Perspectives (15 credits) 
SP603 - Groups in Actions (15 credits) 
DI503 - Evolutionary Genetics and Conservation (15 credits) 
LW584 - Forensic Science in Criminal Trials (15 credits) 

You have the opportunity to select 15 credits of elective modules at this stage. Students must ensure they have taken at least 90 credits at Level 6 in Stage 3

Year abroad

Going abroad as part of your degree is an amazing experience and a chance to develop personally, academically and professionally.  You experience a different culture, gain a new academic perspective, establish international contacts and enhance your employability.

You spend a year between Stages 2 and 3 taking courses at one of our partner universities abroad, where courses are taught in English. Students must achieve specified requirements before being permitted to proceed to the next stage. Students must have achieved at least a 60% average in Stage 1 and 2 to proceed to the Year Abroad. Students who fail to qualify for progression to Stage 2 or the Year Abroad will transfer to the 3-year version of the programme.

In the unlikely event that force majeure prevents us from placing every student who meets the academic requirement, for example if a partner university is forced to terminate an exchange unexpectedly, and places become limited, the School/Schools concerned will weigh up applicant' academic performance, attendance and individual merit in order to decide who is placed. Individual merit would cover such things as commitment to the degree programme, participation and motivation.

The Year Abroad is assessed on a pass/fail basis and will not count towards your final degree classification.

For full details of the Year Abroad opportunities available to University of Kent students please visit our Go Abroad website.

Fees

The 2021/22 annual tuition fees for this programme are:

  • Home full-time £9250
  • EU full-time £15400
  • International full-time £20500

For details of when and how to pay fees and charges, please see our Student Finance Guide.

For students continuing on this programme, fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.* 

Your fee status

The University will assess your fee status as part of the application process. If you are uncertain about your fee status you may wish to seek advice from UKCISA before applying.

Fees for Year in Industry

Fees for Home undergraduates are £1,385.

Fees for Year Abroad

Fees for Home undergraduates are £1,385.

Students studying abroad for less than one academic year will pay full fees according to their fee status. 

Additional costs

Field trips

One day trips that are compulsory to a module are financially funded by the School. Optional or longer trips may require support funding from attendees.

General additional costs

Find out more about accommodation and living costs, plus general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent.

Funding

University funding

Kent offers generous financial support schemes to assist eligible undergraduate students during their studies. See our funding page for more details. 

Government funding

You may be eligible for government finance to help pay for the costs of studying. See the Government's student finance website.

Scholarships

General scholarships

Scholarships are available for excellence in academic performance, sport and music and are awarded on merit. For further information on the range of awards available and to make an application see our scholarships website.

The Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence

At Kent we recognise, encourage and reward excellence. We have created the Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence. 

The scholarship will be awarded to any applicant who achieves a minimum of A*AA over three A levels, or the equivalent qualifications (including BTEC and IB) as specified on our scholarships pages.

We have a range of subject-specific awards and scholarships for academic, sporting and musical achievement.

Search scholarships

Teaching and assessment

In our most recent national Teaching Excellence Framework, teaching at Kent was judged to be Gold rated. Based on the evidence available, the TEF Panel judged that the University of Kent delivers consistently outstanding teaching, learning and outcomes for its students. It is of the highest quality found in the UK.

Our teaching is research-led as all our staff are active in their fields. Staff have been awarded national teaching awards, reflecting the quality of the undergraduate programmes.

Human Biology and Behaviour at Kent uses a stimulating mix of teaching methods, including lectures, small seminar groups, field trips and laboratory sessions. For research project work, you are assigned to a supervisor with whom you meet regularly. You also have access to a wide range of learning resources, including the Templeman Library, research laboratories and computer-based learning packages.

Many of the core modules have an end-of-year examination that accounts for 50% to 100% of your final mark for that module. The remaining percentage comes from practical or coursework marks. However, others, such as the Independent Research Project or Human Skeletal Biology, are assessed entirely on coursework. Both Stage 2 and 3 marks count towards your final degree result.

Contact hours

For a student studying full time, each academic year of the programme will comprise 1200 learning hours which include both direct contact hours and private study hours.  The precise breakdown of hours will be subject dependent and will vary according to modules.  Please refer to the individual module details under Course Structure.

Methods of assessment will vary according to subject specialism and individual modules.  Please refer to the individual module details under Course Structure.

Programme aims

The programme aims to:

  • develop students’ critical and analytical powers with respect to biological anthropology
  • develop critical and analytical problem-based learning skills
  • provide the skills to adapt and respond positively to changes in the discipline
  • provide a broad range of knowledge in the discipline of anthropology, stressing the need for a biological approach to the subject, and showing how it is closely linked to other academic disciplines such as biology, psychology, archaeology and forensic sciences
  • provide a grounding in human and primate biological variation and distinguish the links between biological and sociocultural processes.
  • ensure that the research by staff informs the design of modules, and their content and delivery in a manner that is efficient, reliable and enjoyable to students
  • prepare graduates for employment and/or further study in their chosen careers through developing students’ transferable skills

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

You gain knowledge and understanding of:

  • major aspects of human evolution, including significant fossil evidence and its contextual associations, and behavioural and ecological reconstructions based on these
  • the similarities and contrasts between humans and other primates, and their significance for human adaptive success
  • selected aspects of primate diversity, behaviour, and acquaintance with relevant concepts of primatology
  • aspects of human genetic and/or phenotypic diversity, their evolutionary implications and significance for schemes categorising human variability
  • the role of human osteology and forensic anthropology in understanding human variation, epidemiology, and forensic identification of human remains
  • the range and flexibility of individual biological responses, and awareness of the distinction between such adaptability and population adaptation
  • human life history patterns, reproductive influences, population size and structure, and aspects of applied anthropology, including development studies
  • the nature, complexity and richness of human biological diversity and an appreciation of its social and ethical implications
  • biological anthropology as the study of past and contemporary human and non-human primates in evolutionary and adaptive perspectives. 
  • the importance of empirical data collection as a basis for the testing of theory: for example, data gathering among contemporary populations, excavation and contextual studies in palaeoanthropology, and the study of non-human primate groups.
  • multiple approaches to the evolutionary study of human behaviour, cognition and culture.

Intellectual skills

You gain the following intellectual abilities:

  • the capacity to express one's own ideas in multiple formats, to summarise the arguments of others, and to distinguish between the two.
  • independence of thought and analytical, critical and synoptic skills.
  • the ability to make a structured argument, reference the works of others, and assess historical evidence.
  • integrate into a different educational, cultural, social, and, in some cases, professional environment

Subject-specific skills

You gain specific skills in the following:

  • an acquaintance with, and ability to interpret, varied information on aspects of human biological diversity
  • the ability to analyse and evaluate relevant qualitative and quantitative data utilising appropriate techniques
  • to design and implement a project involving data collection on some aspect(s) of biological anthropology and to display relevant investigative, analytical and communication skills. 
  • an understanding of the scientific process, including the ability to read, evaluate and write scientific reports 
  • a deepened understanding of human biology and behaviour, and qualities of mind associated with intellectual reflection, evaluation and synthesis.
  • an ability to understand how human beings are shaped by, and interact with, their social and physical environments, and an appreciation of their social and biological diversity.
  • An awareness of ethical issues associated with biological anthropological methods and theories, including those associated with studying non-human primates, with handling human remains, and with proposals that human behaviour has an evolutionary basis.
  • an understanding and appreciation of the Darwinian evolutionary process and our species' place within the natural world 
  • an ability to apply anthropological knowledge to a variety of practical situations, personal and professional. 

Transferable skills

You gain transferable skills in the following:

  • collecting and collating primary and secondary data
  • communication and presentation
  • time, planning, and management
  • ability to engage in constructive discussion in group situations and group work 
  • statistical and computing techniques
  • working with equipment in a scientific laboratory.

Teaching Excellence Framework

All University of Kent courses are regulated by the Office for Students.

Based on the evidence available, the TEF Panel judged that the University of Kent delivers consistently outstanding teaching, learning and outcomes for its students. It is of the highest quality found in the UK.

Please see the University of Kent's Statement of Findings for more information.

TEF Gold logo

Independent rankings

Anthropology at Kent was ranked 13th and scored 90% overall in The Complete University Guide 2021.

Anthropology at Kent was ranked 10th in The Guardian University Guide 2021 and 13th in The Times Good University Guide 2021.

Careers

Studying human biology and behaviour gives you an exciting range of career opportunities. We work with you to help direct your module choices to the career paths you are considering. Through your studies, you learn how to work independently, to analyse complex data and to present your work with clarity and flair. 

You learn a set of skills that will allow you to pursue a career in areas such as:

  • advertising
  • civil service and the Home Office
  • international consultancy
  • journalism
  • media, research or production (film, TV, radio)
  • museum work
  • NHS and health charities
  • overseas development and aid
  • postgraduate study, including entry into Medical School
  • public relations
  • research jobs in government, industrial and medical labs
  • scientific publishing
  • social work
  • teaching.

Help finding a job

The Division offers an employability programme aimed at helping you develop the skills you'll need to look for a job. This includes workshops, mentoring and an online blog featuring tips, advice from employers, job adverts, internship information and volunteering opportunities.

The University’s friendly Careers and Employability Service offers advice on how to:

  • apply for jobs
  • write a good CV
  • perform well in interviews.

Career-enhancing skills

Through your studies you learn how to work independently, analyse complex data and present your work with clarity and flair. Alongside such specialist skills, you also develop the transferable skills graduate employers look for, including the ability to:

  • think critically 
  • communicate your ideas and opinions 
  • work independently and as part of a team.

You can also gain extra skills by signing up for one of our Kent Extra activities, such as learning a language or volunteering.

Apply for this course

If you are from the UK or Ireland, you must apply for this course through UCAS. If you are not from the UK or Ireland, you can choose to apply through UCAS or directly on our website.

Find out more about how to apply

All applicants

Apply through UCAS

International applicants

Apply now to Kent

Contact us

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United Kingdom/EU enquiries

Enquire online for full-time study

T: +44 (0)1227 768896

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International student enquiries

Enquire online

T: +44 (0)1227 823254
E: internationalstudent@kent.ac.uk

Discover Uni information

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Discover Uni is designed to support prospective students in deciding whether, where and what to study. The site replaces Unistats from September 2019.

Discover Uni is jointly owned by the Office for Students, the Department for the Economy Northern Ireland, the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales and the Scottish Funding Council.

It includes:

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Find out more about the Unistats dataset on the Higher Education Statistics Agency website.