Human Biology and Behaviour - BSc (Hons)

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Do you want to know more about humans – how we evolved? Our anatomy and physiology? How we have sex and reproduce? Our hormones? Our behaviour? Our skeletons? What happens when we die?

Overview

As a Human Biology and Behaviour student at Kent you can study human evolution, human physiology and anatomy, skeletal biology and functional anatomy, psychology and behaviour of humans and non-human primates, and forensic anthropology. This unique and exciting course explores what it means to be human, equipping you with a suite of transferable skills and advanced training in 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 drawn between human biology and that of apes and monkeys? 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, Medicine, Psychology, 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, and archaeology. Many of our students also go on to postgraduate study, and our graduates are well placed to apply for postgraduate entry into medical school.

The course is part of the Division of Human and Social Sciences, and 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 and forensics, leading primatologists, and a team who excel in skeletal biology, anatomy and palaeoanthropology.

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, and you will also be introduced to fundamental aspects of human biology and psychology. In addition, you take a module where you acquire the necessary academic and practical skills for undergraduate study. Optional modules in human physiology and anthropology, among others, are available to you

In your second year, you take modules in subjects such as: human sexuality and reproductive biology, cultural evolution, and human skeletal biology, that develop your specialised knowledge and skills, alongside a dedicated research-skills module. You can choose further modules from a range of options which cover human physiology and disease, comparative anatomy, hormones and behaviour, forensic anthropology, primate behaviour, and psychology.

In the third year, in addition to optional module choices that allow you to shape your own degree, every student conducts an independent research project under expert supervision that includes data collection and analysis, as well as taking a final-year degree- specific ‘capstone’ module that brings together the multiple strands of this innovative course.

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.

Field trips

A number of our modules include opportunities for learning and experiences outside of the classroom through field trips. Potential excursions are:

  • Howletts and Port Lympne Wild Animal Parks
  • St Leonard's Ossuary
  • Wingham Wildlife Park
  • Fordwich Pit (one of the UK's oldest archaeological sites)
  • Down House, the Kent home of Charles Darwin

These may change from year to year and may incur additional costs. See the funding tab for more information.

Study resources

You will have access to excellent teaching resources including dedicated computing facilities. Other resources include:

  • our human skeletal biology lab housing an exceptional collection of Anglo-Saxon and medieval human skeletons (>1000) and related radiographs
  • a dedicated teaching laboratory with first-rate equipment
  • an excellent fossil collection with hundreds of casts and numerous Pleistocene fossils from the famous site of Swanscombe (also in Kent), including entire skeletons of multiple extant and extinct primates and hominins
  • 3D imaging paleoanthropology lab with state-of-the-art equipment and expert academic support
  • refurbished computer suite with 32 PCs with HD screens
  • an integrated audio-visual system to help provide stimulating lectures
  • 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.


Entry requirements

Make Kent your firm choice – The Kent Guarantee

We understand that applying for university can be stressful, especially when you are also studying for exams. Choose Kent as your firm choice on UCAS and we will guarantee you a place, even if you narrowly miss your offer (for example, by 1 A Level grade)*.

*exceptions apply. Please note that we are unable to offer The Kent Guarantee to those who have already been given a reduced or contextual offer.

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

    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

    30 points overall or 15 points at HL including mathematics 4 at HL or SL

  • medal-empty 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).

  • medal-empty T level

    The University will consider applicants holding T Level qualifications in subjects which are closely aligned to the programme applied for. This will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

English Language Requirements

Please see our English language entry requirements web page.

Please note that if you do not meet our English language requirements, we offer a number of 'pre-sessional' courses in English for Academic Purposes. You attend these courses before starting your degree programme.

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Course structure

Duration: 3 years full-time, 6 years part-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)
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:  

SE605 - Hormones and Behaviour (15 credits) 
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

Fees

The 2022/23 annual tuition fees for UK undergraduate courses have not yet been set by the UK Government. As a guide only the 2021/2022 fees for this course were £9,250.

  • Home full-time TBC
  • EU full-time £15900
  • International full-time £21200
  • Home part-time TBC
  • EU part-time £7950
  • International part-time £10600

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.

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

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.

Independent rankings

Anthropology at Kent was ranked 4th for student satisfaction in The Complete University Guide 2022.

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

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International student enquiries

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

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