School of Anthropology & Conservation

Excellence in diversity Global in reach


BSc (Hons) Biological Anthropology

Study a BSc Biological Anthropology utilising our specialist osteology lab; plus the option to study in the USA or Canada.



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WHY STUDY WITH US?

  • Your teaching will be led by a team of internationally respected specialists.
  • Teaching streams will allow you to specialise and tailor your degree around your interests.
  • Study this course with a Year Abroad in the USA or Canada (Calgary, California, New York, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Trent).
  • Research laboratories with world class skeletal collections and 3D imaging facilities provide ‘hands on’ experience during laboratory practical classes and your independent research project.
  • Dedicated teaching laboratory with fossil casts.
  • Acquire transferable skills and develop critical thinking that will prepare you for a wide range of future careers.
  • Thrive in a young, friendly dynamic environment.
  • Become a member of a leading UK centre for Biological Anthropology.
  • BSc Biological Anthropology with a year in Professional Practice will additionally be available from September 2016.

Biological Anthropology - BSc (Hons)

Canterbury

Overview

The study of biological anthropology includes many sub-disciplines, such as skeletal biology, human evolution, forensic anthropology, human behavioural ecology and primatology.  Typical questions you may explore include: What disease existed in ancient populations? How did humans evolve? Why are symmetrical faces more attractive? Do monkeys have language?

This programme appeals to those with an academic background or interest in Biology, Human Biology, Medicine, Psychology or Zoology (among others) or those working towards a career in science journalism, museum work, conservation (especially primate conservation), forensic science (for example Scotland Yard), health care, archaeology and academic research.

The School of Anthropology and Conservation offers 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 published primatologists and a team who excel in paleoanthropology.

Our degree programme

In your first year, you take modules that give you a broad background in the subject.  The programme begins with an introduction to the history of anthropology, the foundations of biological anthropology, skills for anthropologists and an introduction to social anthropology.

In your second and final years, you take compulsory modules that develop your specialised knowledge and skills. You can also choose further modules from a wide range of options.

Modules expand across the full range of our research expertise for example: human osteology; primate communication; sex, evolution and human hehaviour; palaeoanthropology; palaeopathology; forensic science in criminal trails and forensic archaeology.

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
  • Powell-Cotton Museum
  • Down House (the home of Charles Darwin)
  • Paris Underground Ossuary. 

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

Study resources

The School of Anthropology and Conservation has excellent teaching resources including dedicated computing facilities. Other resources include:

  • climate controlled human osteology lab housing an exceptional collection of Anglo-Saxon and medieval skeletons (>1000) and related radiographs
  • a dedicated teaching laboratory with first-rate equipment
  • an excellent fossil cast collection with hundreds of casts, including multiple entire skeletons of 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
  • a visual anthropology room
  • an ethnobiology lab for studying human-related plant material
  • student social spaces

Extra activities

The Anthropology Society is run by Kent students and is a good way to meet other students on your course in an informal way. There are also many national societies, which are a great way to meet people from around the world and discover more about their countries and cultures.

The School of Anthropology and Conservation puts on many events that you are welcome to attend. We host two public lectures a year, the Stirling Lecture and the DICE Lecture, which bring current ideas in anthropology and conservation to a wider audience.  We are delighted that these events attract leading anthropological figures from around the world; in 2017 we hosted paleoanthropologist Professor Lee Berger, one of Time magazine's 100 most influential people.

Each term, there are also seminars and workshops discussing current research in anthropology, conservation and human ecology.

Independent rankings

In the Guardian University Guide 2018 Anthropology at Kent was ranked 4th for course satisfaction and Anthropology at Kent was ranked 9th for teaching quality in The Times Good University Guide 2017.

Of the Anthropology and Conservation students who graduated from Kent in 2016, over 97% were in work or further study within six months (DLHE). For graduate prospects, Anthropology at Kent was ranked 4th in The Guardian University Guide 2018.

 

Course structure

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 'wild' modules from other programmes so you can customise your programme and explore other subjects that interest you.

Stage 1

Possible modules may include:

SE301 - Social Anthropology (30 credits)

Social Anthropology is a discipline which arose with other social sciences in the mid- to late-nineteenth century, social and cultural anthropology has made a speciality of studying 'other' peoples worlds and ways of life. With increasing frequency, however, anthropologists have turned towards 'home', using insights gained from studying other cultures to illuminate aspects of their own society. By studying people's lives both at 'home' and 'abroad', social and cultural anthropology attempt to both explain what may at first appear bizarre and alien about other peoples' ways of living whilst also questioning what goes without saying about our own society and beliefs. Or, to put it another way, social and cultural anthropology attempt, among other things, to challenge our ideas about what we take to be natural about 'human nature' and more generally force us to take a fresh look at what we take for granted.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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SE302 - Foundations of Biological Anthropology (30 credits)

This module is an introduction to biological anthropology and human prehistory. It provides an exciting introduction to humans as the product of evolutionary processes. We will explore primates and primate behaviour, human growth and development, elementary genetics, the evolution of our species, origins of agriculture and cities, perceptions of race, and current research into human reproduction and sexuality. Students will develop skills in synthesising information from a range of sources and learn to critically evaluate various hypotheses about human evolution, culture, and behaviour. This module is required for all BSc and BA Anthropology students. The module is also suitable for students in other disciplines who want to understand human evolution, and the history and biology of our species. A background in science is not assumed or required, neither are there any preferred A-levels or other qualifications. The module is team-taught by the biological and medical anthropology staff

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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SE307 - Thinkers and Theories: An Introduction to theHistory and Development of (15 credits)

The module introduces students to the major figures who have shaped the discipline of Anthropology (both socio-cultural and biological) and take them through the historical development of the discipline. Major thinkers such as Marx, Weber and Durkheim on the one hand, and Linnaeus, Lamarck, Darwin and Mendel on the other, are introduced, and their influence on and contribution to the discipline traced. The module will provide an historical outline of major schools of thought within Anthropology - evolution, diffusionism, functionalism structuralism, postmodernism, socio-biology, evolutionary psychology - in both Britain and the USA, and examine the relationship between socio-cultural anthropology and biological anthropology from an historical perspective.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SE308 - Skills for Anthropology and Conservation (15 credits)

This module is designed to introduce students to the range of basic practical and technical skills required across the School's BA and BSc programmes. The following areas will be covered:

Literary skills - different types of academic writing, and when and how to use them.

Reading skills - how to read an academic paper, how to precis an argument, how to make notes on a book chapter.

Bibliographical skills - how to construct a bibliography and the use of the library, online databases and full-text journals.

Correct referencing and the use of Endnote/Refworks.

Data collection and handling - the use of spreadsheets for simple statistics and graphs.

Planning projects and fieldwork.

The use of appropriate specialist software.

Photography and video skills.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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You have the opportunity to select wild modules in this stage


Stage 2

Possible modules may include:

SE561 - Biology and Human Identity (15 credits)

The module is designed as a bridging module between more biological elements of the BSc programme and the more socio-cultural anthropology courses students take as part of that programme. Being largely a broad survey of human evolutionary biology and identity, it will serve to introduce the more biological students to arguments and materials that will place their biological understanding within a broader framework of ideas about what makes people who and what they are and encourage them to explore the socio-cultural aspects of biological science. For the more socio-cultural BA students the module provides an opportunity to consolidate biological understanding from the Foundations of Biological Anthropology module and learn how to assess the assumptions and limitations of biology in the understanding of human behaviour. We will cover topics such as the human fossil record, human variation, what makes us human and ecological adaptation. By the end of the module the student should have knowledge of the basic principles of biological anthropology, an understanding of human identity, and be able to relate those ideas to wider concepts in biology. The student will be given an overview of the hominin fossil record and its interpretation, and receive in depth study of the different biological and social aspects that define us as human and the evolution of human life histories. The student will be introduced to the genetic and phenotypic variation of the modern human species, how humans have adapted to particular environments, and the importance diet played in human evolution. The student will also acquire some of the practical skills of data collection currently used by biological anthropologists.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SE582 - Comparative Perspectives in Primate Biology (15 credits)

This module will provide the fundamental theoretical and comparative perspective that lies at heart of biology, with a particular focus on the order Primates. Particular attention will be paid to the evolutionary history of the primates and comparative primate (skeletal) anatomy, both placed in an evolutionary ecological context (e.g. a consideration of dentition in relation to diet and feeding; post-cranial anatomy in relation to locomotion and phylogenetic trends). Extensive use of casts of primate skeletal material will provide hands-on ‘experiential’ learning. The module will provide a detailed treatment of natural and sexual selection as key components of evolutionary theory that shape the adaptations of organisms, and the way adaptations are used to make sense of the diversity of organisms with particular reference to the primates. It complements, and is complemented by, SE580 Primate Behaviour and Ecology.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SE567 - Quantitative Research Methods (15 credits)

This module will introduce students to anthropological research, as well as basic statistics and data handling, through a combination of seminars and practical classes on research methods, statistics, and instruction in the use of computer software to analyse data. The goal of this module is to provide students with an understanding of how anthropological research works, and how to design and undertake an independent research project. Topics covered include an introduction to parametric and non-parametric statistical techniques, how to use programmes such as SPSS, how to build and tests hypotheses, and anthropology-specific research methods.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SE580 - Primate Behaviour and Ecology (15 credits)

This module introduces students to the discipline of behavioural ecology, with particular reference to non-human primates. The module looks at the patterns and principles that can be generalised from the variation in behaviour and ecology across primate species. Set within an evolutionary behavioural-ecological framework, this module combines established findings with the latest research. It emphasises the importance of direct observations of primate behaviour and the use of theoretical models with which to make sense of these data. The module covers social and reproductive behaviour within primate groups, the nature and evolution of primate societies, and cognition and communication, as well as interactions between primates and their environments: primates as foragers, predators and prey. The module will make particular use of multi-media technology to allow students to see and hear primates in their natural habitats.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SE585 - From the Raw to the Cooked: The Anthropology of Eating (15 credits)

Students will learn about the evolution and significance of food production, especially in relation to globalisation, identity and health. The module will cover different modes of food production, the domestication of animals and the cultivation of staple crops in the course of social development. it will look at different theories about the importance of food production for the rise of urban cultures and organised religion, and the relationship of food production systems to trade, colonial expansion and the process of globalisation. Moving from production and distribution to eating itself, the module will cover notions of food identity at collective and individual levels, by looking at the process of food preparation and consumption and abstinence in different cultural settings. We will also look at various forms of disordered eating, the dynamic relationship between cultures and eating and contemporarary debates over fast food, genetic engineering, and personal identity against the background of rising food prices, regional food shortage and the management of famine in different countries.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SE565 - Sex Evolution and Human Nature (15 credits)

Much of the material presented in this course forms part of the relatively new academic discipline of evolutionary psychology/anthropology. The goal of this course is to discover and understand the principles of evolutionary psychology and other complementary paradigms. The module explores human behaviour (primarily human sexual behaviours) from an evolutionary perspective. Topics covered are reproductive and mating strategies, parenting behaviour, kinship, cooperation, survival, status striving, jealously, and aggression. The course will provide an excellent understanding of the deeply biological nature of human behaviour, and develop skills in critical thinking. Students will be encouraged to bring relevant questions and observations to seminars and time will be allocated to deal with them.



Lecture and seminar topics will include:

• The origins of human nature and evolutionary anthropology

• Why does sex exist, what does it mean to be a particular sex, and why don’t men breast-feed?

• What aspects of our personalities are determined by our biological need to reproduce?

• Why are human beings so intelligent?

• Viewing humans as a species of ape. What can we learn by studying chimpanzees about ourselves and our ancestors?

• Human mating strategies. Male and female long and short term strategies. The essence of beauty.

• Do men and women differ in their natures? If so, are these differences genetic?

• Adultery. What’s love got to do with it?

• Why do humans have a concealed (not advertised) ovulation?

• Why is there a menopause?

• Sexual conflict and jealousy

• Why do we make friends, and what are they good for?

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SE566 - Human Osteology (15 credits)

The study of the human skeletal system is basic to the discipline of biological anthropology. This module will examine the fundamentals of human osteology. Students will learn to identify and analyse human bone and evaluate and interpret major research in biological anthropology that has as its basis the analysis of bone.



Seminar/practical topics will include:

A detailed consideration of the basic properties of bone growth, development, and function in the human body.



An examination of all major skeletal structures and the morphological features associated with them. The focus will be on the function of these structures within the body as well as the identification of fragmentary remnants of them in a forensic or archaeological context.



Major techniques used in biological anthropology to analyse human bone, such as estimation of age at death, estimation of biological sex and stature.



Critical evaluation of major research studies in biological anthropology involving analysis of human bone.



Consideration of ethical issues in the collection and curation of human bone.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SE556 - Social Sciences in the Classroom (15 credits)

The module will begin with (locally timetabled, formative) training sessions for the students (2x3hours) in the Autumn term. These will include sessions on the sections of the national curriculum that are degree specific, the relationship with the teacher, how to behave with pupils, as well as how to organise an engaging and informative session on an aspect of the specific degree subject drawn from the national curriculum. These sessions will be run by the local module convenors, the academic schools' Outreach Officers (though this may be the same person) and members of the Partnership Development Office.



After training the student will spend one session per week for six weeks in a school in the Spring term (this session includes time to travel to and from the School, preparation and debrief time with the teacher and 'in class’ time with the teacher and pupils – 3 hours in total). Generally, they will begin by observing lessons taught by their designated teacher and possibly other teachers. Later they will act somewhat in the role of a teaching assistant by working with individual pupils or with a small group. They may take ‘hotspots’: brief sessions with the whole class where they explain a topic or talk about aspects of university life. Finally the student will progress to the role of "teacher" and will be expected to lead an entire lesson.



The student will be required to keep a weekly log of their activities. Each student will also create resources to aid in the delivery of their subject area within the curriculum. Finally, the student will devise a special project (final taught lesson) in consultation with the teacher and with the local module convener. They must then implement and evaluate the project.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

Read more

DI503 - Evolutionary Genetics and Conservation (15 credits)

Genetics forms the basis of the diversity of life on earth, and is fundamental to biodiversity, speciation, evolutionary ecology, and has become recognized to be vital to the successful restoration of endangered species. An understanding of the evolutionary processes that foster biodiversity and genetic diversity is essential for modern conservation biologists, across timescales ranging from a few generations to millions of years. Students will gain an understanding of the importance of genetic processes and evolutionary mechanisms within the context of conservation.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

Read more

LW584 - Forensic Science in Criminal Trials (15 credits)

This module considers how criminal law makes use of science. Forensic evidence is a rapidly developing area in criminal trials – new techniques are continually being developed and forensic evidence such as DNA profiling is increasingly presented as evidence. This rapid expansion has resulted in forensic evidence becoming increasingly debated in the media and by the criminal justice process – from articles hailing DNA profiling as preventing or undoing miscarriages of justice to those questioning a lay jury's ability to make a judgement in case involving highly complex scientific or medical evidence.



The module will be broken down into 4 parts:

1. Initially, analysis of the historical development of the use of forensic evidence will be made along with explanation of both what constitutes forensic evidence and the basic scientific techniques involved.

2. Consideration of the way in which forensic science has developed as a useful tool within the criminal justice process

3. Analysis of the difficulties of placing emphasis on forensic science within the trial system – cases in which forensic science has resulted in subsequently questioned decisions.

4. Current issues surrounding the use of forensic science: This section of the course will be devoted to considering the questions which arise out of the use of forensic evidence such as:

• Who should decide whether a new scientific technique should be admissible evidence,

• Who are the experts who present the evidence to juries

• To what extent does the admission of forensic evidence assists juries.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

Read more

PS502 - Forensic Archaeology (15 credits)

Dating : Radioactive decay and detection of radiation, radiocarbon dating and related methods, accelerator mass spectrometry, uranium series dating, potassium-argon dating, radioactive tracers, isotope dilution, neutron activation, stable isotope techniques with forensic applications, electron spin resonance spectroscopy, thermoluminescence dating and thermal history, Lindow Man, detection of irradiated food.



Detection : Magnetometry, metal detectors, resistivity surveys, ground penetrating radar, aerial photography, and remote sensing.



Osteology : The study of human osteology is fundamental to the discipline of forensic anthropology. This series of lectures begins by examining the structure, growth, and function of bones and teeth. Methods of skeletal analysis in forensic anthropology are then examined, including age, sex, stature, trauma, disease, and race. Applications in biological anthropology will also be reviewed. This section of the course will include a laboratory practical.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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Stage 3

Possible modules may include:

SE533 - Project in Anthropological Science (30 credits)

In SE533 Project in Anthropological Science, students will be expected to conduct original research into some aspect of scientific anthropology and present their research findings in the form of a 10,000 — 12,000 word dissertation, and a moderated oral presentation. They will also have to submit a project participation file. For the project they can collect and analyse their own data, analyse previously published data in an original manner, or combine the two approaches. In most cases the research will include collecting/analysing quantitative data. Students will be assigned an individual supervisor who will advise them on their choice of topic and your research strategy. The participation file will document the progress of the research and related research training. There is no word limit, as exact content will depend on the project topic. At a minimum it should include: A diary of the research, a log of the meetings with the supervisor, notes from supervisions or from consultations with the supervisory team, notes from data collection and analysis, notes from wider reading, and any draft methods of data collection (questionnaires etc.).

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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SE541 - Palaeoanthropology (15 credits)

Hominins – the array of species of which ours is the only living representative – provide the clues to our own origins. In this module, the methods and evidence used to reconstruct their biology and behaviour are discussed. This module will provide students with an advanced knowledge of human evolution, as well as techniques used in the examination of behaviour and cognition in fossil hominins. Emphasis is placed on the study of both the fossil and archaeological evidence for human evolution. By the end of the module, students will be able to assess the importance of an evolutionary perspective to the human sciences.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

Read more

SE556 - Social Sciences in the Classroom (15 credits)

The module will begin with (locally timetabled, formative) training sessions for the students (2x3hours) in the Autumn term. These will include sessions on the sections of the national curriculum that are degree specific, the relationship with the teacher, how to behave with pupils, as well as how to organise an engaging and informative session on an aspect of the specific degree subject drawn from the national curriculum. These sessions will be run by the local module convenors, the academic schools' Outreach Officers (though this may be the same person) and members of the Partnership Development Office.



After training the student will spend one session per week for six weeks in a school in the Spring term (this session includes time to travel to and from the School, preparation and debrief time with the teacher and 'in class’ time with the teacher and pupils – 3 hours in total). Generally, they will begin by observing lessons taught by their designated teacher and possibly other teachers. Later they will act somewhat in the role of a teaching assistant by working with individual pupils or with a small group. They may take ‘hotspots’: brief sessions with the whole class where they explain a topic or talk about aspects of university life. Finally the student will progress to the role of "teacher" and will be expected to lead an entire lesson.



The student will be required to keep a weekly log of their activities. Each student will also create resources to aid in the delivery of their subject area within the curriculum. Finally, the student will devise a special project (final taught lesson) in consultation with the teacher and with the local module convener. They must then implement and evaluate the project.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

Read more

SE557 - Primate Communication (15 credits)

The diversity and complexity of primate sociality is reflected in the diversity and complexity of their communication strategies. This module will build on SE580 (Primate Behaviour & Ecology) by examining the ways in which primates communicate with one another through olfactory, tactile, visual, and acoustic signals. We will address fundamental questions in animal communication including: Is it appropriate to characterize such communication in terms of information transfer? How does communication evolve? What maintains signal honesty, and under what conditions can deceptive communication can evolve? The module will cover the physical and biological bases of signal production and perception. We will explore the extent to which studies of primate communication can provide a window into their minds. Finally, we will delve into the question of the relevance of primate communication for understanding the evolution of human language.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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PS502 - Forensic Archaeology (15 credits)

Dating : Radioactive decay and detection of radiation, radiocarbon dating and related methods, accelerator mass spectrometry, uranium series dating, potassium-argon dating, radioactive tracers, isotope dilution, neutron activation, stable isotope techniques with forensic applications, electron spin resonance spectroscopy, thermoluminescence dating and thermal history, Lindow Man, detection of irradiated food.



Detection : Magnetometry, metal detectors, resistivity surveys, ground penetrating radar, aerial photography, and remote sensing.



Osteology : The study of human osteology is fundamental to the discipline of forensic anthropology. This series of lectures begins by examining the structure, growth, and function of bones and teeth. Methods of skeletal analysis in forensic anthropology are then examined, including age, sex, stature, trauma, disease, and race. Applications in biological anthropology will also be reviewed. This section of the course will include a laboratory practical.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

Read more

LW584 - Forensic Science in Criminal Trials (15 credits)

This module considers how criminal law makes use of science. Forensic evidence is a rapidly developing area in criminal trials – new techniques are continually being developed and forensic evidence such as DNA profiling is increasingly presented as evidence. This rapid expansion has resulted in forensic evidence becoming increasingly debated in the media and by the criminal justice process – from articles hailing DNA profiling as preventing or undoing miscarriages of justice to those questioning a lay jury's ability to make a judgement in case involving highly complex scientific or medical evidence.



The module will be broken down into 4 parts:

1. Initially, analysis of the historical development of the use of forensic evidence will be made along with explanation of both what constitutes forensic evidence and the basic scientific techniques involved.

2. Consideration of the way in which forensic science has developed as a useful tool within the criminal justice process

3. Analysis of the difficulties of placing emphasis on forensic science within the trial system – cases in which forensic science has resulted in subsequently questioned decisions.

4. Current issues surrounding the use of forensic science: This section of the course will be devoted to considering the questions which arise out of the use of forensic evidence such as:

• Who should decide whether a new scientific technique should be admissible evidence,

• Who are the experts who present the evidence to juries

• To what extent does the admission of forensic evidence assists juries.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

Read more

DI503 - Evolutionary Genetics and Conservation (15 credits)

Genetics forms the basis of the diversity of life on earth, and is fundamental to biodiversity, speciation, evolutionary ecology, and has become recognized to be vital to the successful restoration of endangered species. An understanding of the evolutionary processes that foster biodiversity and genetic diversity is essential for modern conservation biologists, across timescales ranging from a few generations to millions of years. Students will gain an understanding of the importance of genetic processes and evolutionary mechanisms within the context of conservation.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

Read more

SE605 - Hormones and Behaviour (15 credits)

If behaviour has been shaped by natural selection, then those behaviours must have some biological basis. This module explores the extent to which hormonal mechanisms provide such a biological explanation of behaviour in humans and our primate cousins. Students will learn the basics of the endocrine system, and consider both how hormones affect behaviour and how behaviour may affect hormones. This module will examine the role that hormones play in the differentiation of behaviours between females and males, as well as the evidence that sexual, parental, aggressive, and affiliative behaviours are influenced by hormones. Students will thus complete this module with a greater appreciation of the hormonal underpinnings of the complex sociality that characterizes humans and other primates.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SE609 - Forensic Anthropology (15 credits)

This module examines the contribution of biological anthropology to the study of forensic science and provides students with a detailed understanding of the methods and theory of forensic anthropology. We cover topics such as biological profiling, field excavation and recovery, forensic taphonomy, identity, trauma and expert witness testimony. By the end of this module students will know how biological anthropology is applied in a forensic arena, and understand how human remains are recovered and analysed.



Students are introduced to concepts applied in forensic anthropology. Students learn how to correctly excavate a burial and recover human remains. Students are introduced to environmental factors influencing crime scene recovery and skeletal material and will learn about the importance of other forensic specialities such as forensic entomology, palynology, sedimentology and odontology. They are introduced to forensic anthropological recovery on a local scale and in mass disaster situations. Students also acquire an understanding of the role of a forensic anthropologist in the courtroom.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SE569 - Palaeopathology (15 credits)

Some diseases leave a characteristic signature on the human skeleton after death, which can be retained in the burial environment. Palaeopathology is the study of these diseases in human skeletons from an archaeological context to infer aspects of life in the past, such as childhood growth, as well as adult diet, activity, health, social interaction (caring, contact), and conflict.



The purpose of this module is to provide theoretical knowledge about the causes and manifestations of skeletal disease, and practical experience identifying and diagnosing palaeopathology. The relationship between skeletal growth and developmental disturbances are considered. Disease, activity, and diet are discussed. Skeletal responses to specific and non-specific infections, as well as neoplastic and traumatic events, are explored.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SE570 - Current Issues in Evolutionary Anthropology (15 credits)

This module is an advanced treatment of current topics and debates in evolutionary anthropology including those in anthropological genetics, palaeoanthropology, evolutionary psychology, bioarchaeology, cultural evolution and primatology. The module will help students understand the role of research and publication in anthropological science. Students will be exposed to a broad series of topics, opinions, methodologies and journals.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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You have the opportunity to select wild modules in this stage

Teaching & 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. Social and biological anthropology staff have been awarded national teaching awards, reflecting the quality of the undergraduate programmes.

Anthropology at Kent uses a stimulating mix of teaching methods, including lectures, small seminar groups, field trips and laboratory sessions. For 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 Project in Anthropological Science and Human Osteology, are assessed entirely on coursework. Both Stage 2 and 3 marks count towards your final degree result.

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
  • biosocial perspectives on human ecology; for example, subsistence and dietary diversity, and comparative study of health, wellbeing and disease across societies and/or over time
  • consideration of human life history patterns, reproductive influences, population size and structure, and aspects of applied anthropology, including development studies
  • awareness of the nature, complexity and richness of human biological diversity and an appreciation of its social and ethical implications
  • an awareness of evolutionary principles relevant to the study of human evolution
  • an in-depth understanding of current issues relating to biological anthropology.

Intellectual skills

You gain the following intellectual abilities:

  • learning and study skills
  • the capacity to express one's own ideas in writing, to summarise the arguments of others, and to distinguish between the two
  • independence of thought and analytical, critical and synoptic skills
  • scholarly skills such as the ability to make a structured argument, reference the works of others and assess historical evidence.

Subject-specific skills

You gain specific skills in the following:

  • the knowledge and ability to interpret 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 in-depth understanding of the subject, and qualities of mind associated with intellectual reflection, evaluation and synthesis
  • the 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
  • the ability to formulate, investigate and discuss anthropologically informed questions
  • competence in using major theoretical perspectives and concepts in biological anthropology
  • the ability to apply anthropological knowledge to a variety of practical situations, personal and professional.

Transferable skills

You gain transferable skills in the following:

  • information retrieval skills in relation to primary and secondary sources of information
  • communication and presentation skills using oral and written materials and information technology
  • time-planning and management skills
  • the ability to engage in constructive discussion in group situations and group work skills
  • statistical and computing methods.

KIS Course data

UNISTATS / KIS

Key Information Sets

The Key Information Set (KIS) data is compiled by UNISTATS and draws from a variety of sources which includes the National Student Survey and the Higher Education Statistical Agency. The data for assessment and contact hours is compiled from the most populous modules (to the total of 120 credits for an academic session) for this particular degree programme. 

Depending on module selection, there may be some variation between the KIS data and an individual's experience. For further information on how the KIS data is compiled please see the UNISTATS website.

If you have any queries about a particular programme, please contact information@kent.ac.uk.

Entry requirements

Home/EU students

The University will consider applications from students offering a wide range of qualifications. Typical requirements are listed below. Students offering alternative qualifications should contact us for further advice. 

It is not possible to offer places to all students who meet this typical offer/minimum requirement.

New GCSE grades

If you've taken exams under the new GCSE grading system, please see our conversion table to convert your GCSE grades.

Qualification Typical offer/minimum requirement
A level

ABB including Biology (preferred) or Psychology, Human Biology, Chemistry or Mathematics

GCSE

Mathematics grade C or 4

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.

BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma (formerly BTEC National Diploma)

The University will consider applicants holding BTEC National Diploma and Extended National Diploma Qualifications (QCF; NQF; OCR) on a case-by-case basis. Please contact us for further advice on your individual circumstances.

International Baccalaureate

34 points overall or 16 points at HL including mathematics 4 at HL or SL, and science 5 at HL or 6 at SL

International students

The University welcomes applications from international students. Our international recruitment team can guide you on entry requirements. See our International Student website for further information about entry requirements for your country.

If you need to increase your level of qualification ready for undergraduate study, we offer a number of International Foundation Programmes.

Meet our staff in your country

For more advice about applying to Kent, you can meet our staff at a range of international events.

Qualification Typical offer/minimum requirement
English Language Requirements

Please see our English language entry requirements web page.

Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of 'pre-sessional' courses in English for Academic Purposes. You attend these courses before starting your degree programme. 

General entry requirements

Please also see our general entry requirements.

Careers

Studying biological anthropology 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.

Graduate destinations

Our recent graduates have gone into areas such as:

  • professional biological anthropology
  • science journalism
  • curating
  • forensic science
  • rescue archaeology
  • primate conservation
  • work with non-government organisations
  • work with development agencies such as the World Health Organisation
  • business
  • civil service
  • further research in biological anthropology.

Help finding a job

The School 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.

Independent rankings

Of the Anthropology and Conservation students who graduated from Kent in 2016, over 97% were in work or further study within six months (DLHE). For graduate prospects, Anthropology at Kent was ranked 4th in The Guardian University Guide 2018.

According to Which? University (2017), the average starting salary for graduates of this degree is £17,300.

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. 

For 2018/19 entry, the scholarship will be awarded to any applicant who achieves a minimum of AAA over three A levels, or the equivalent qualifications (including BTEC and IB) as specified on our scholarships pages

The scholarship is also extended to those who achieve AAB at A level (or specified equivalents) where one of the subjects is either Mathematics or a Modern Foreign Language. Please review the eligibility criteria.

Enquire or order a prospectus

Resources


Read our student profiles


Contacts

Related schools

Enquiries

T: +44 (0)1227 827272

Open days

Our general open days will give you a flavour of what it is like to be an undergraduate, postgraduate or part-time student at Kent. They include a programme of talks for undergraduate students, with subject lectures and demonstrations, plus self-guided walking tours of the campus and accommodation.

Please check which of our locations offers the courses you are interested in before choosing which event to attend.

 

The University of Kent makes every effort to ensure that the information contained in its publicity materials is fair and accurate and to provide educational services as described. However, the courses, services and other matters may be subject to change. Full details of our terms and conditions can be found at: www.kent.ac.uk/termsandconditions.

*Where fees are regulated (such as by the Department for Education or Research Council UK) permitted increases are normally inflationary and the University therefore reserves the right to increase tuition fees by inflation (RPI excluding mortgage interest payments) as permitted by law or Government policy in the second and subsequent years of your course. If we intend to exercise this right to increase tuition fees, we will let you know by the end of June in the academic year before the one in which we intend to exercise that right.

If, in the future, the increases to regulated fees permitted by law or Government policy exceed the rate of inflation, we reserve the right to increase fees to the maximum permitted level. If we intend to exercise this extended right to increase tuition fees, we will let you know by the end of June in the academic year before the one in which we intend to exercise that right.

Students on our programme also have the opportunity to make local excursions to (among other places):

 

The final year research project gives you a chance to put into practice the skills you have gained during the taught part of the programme and gain experience in designing, carrying out and writing up a piece of research on a subject of your choice, under the supervision of Biological Anthropology staff. Many students find it very rewarding - it is a great opportunity to work intensively on something that really interests you.

 

Examples of projects include:

Mother-infant interactions in western (lowland) gorillas
(Image courtesy of Marieke IJsendoorn-Kuijpers)

 

Anti-predator communication in a Neotropical primate

 

 

An analysis of the evolutionary function of copulatory vocalisations in humans

 

 

Did social inequality determine disease for medieval children from Canterbury?

 

 

Can stable isotope analysis be employed to assist in forensic identification on a large scale (e.g. aviation incidents, natural mass disasters, genocide).

 

Source: wdcs.orgTooth crown and root morphology in Neanderthals compared to modern humans

 

 

Evolutionary ecology applied to topics like ageing, sustainability, or social behaviour

 

 

According to recent employment statistics, Kent graduates are doing better than ever in the changeable job market.

Our graduates have gone on to become or work in:

  • professional biological anthropologists
  • science journalists
  • museum curators
  • forensic scientists
  • rescue archaeologists
  • non-government organisations
  • development agencies like the World Health Organisation
  • Primate Conservation
  • business
  • the Civil Service

Potential employers include local, regional and national UK government departments, voluntary organisations and the private sector, as well as European and international conservation and environmental organisations. Many of our graduates also go on to further postgraduate study.

Meet some BSc Biological Anthropology alumni and a current student:

Annabelle Lockey (2012-16)

Annabelle is due to graduate in 2016 from Biological Anthropology with a Year in the United State and gave this interview at the end of her second year at Kent.


Hannah Peckham (2013 Graduate)

Hannah graduated in 2013 from Biological Anthropology.


Justyna Miszkiewicz (2010 and PhD in Anthropology 2014 Graduate)

Since graduating in 2010, Justyna took her PhD at Kent and is now a Lecturer in Biological Anthropology in the School.

As part of your learning experience at Kent, we are dedicated to helping you acquire key skills for future employment. You will:

  • Develop critical thinking
  • Gain an in-depth knowledge of human and non-human biological evolution and variation
  • Be able to construct a research project
  • Understand and construct quantitative analyses
  • Present complex ideas
  • Debate complex concepts
  • Acquire laboratory practical skills

  • Primate Society of Great Britain (PSGB): http://www.psgb.org/
  • European Society for the study of Human Evolution (ESHE):  http://www.eshe.eu/
  • British Association for Biological Anthropology and Osteoarchaeology: http://www.babao.org.uk/ (Their annual conference in 2016 will be hosted by our own School of Anthropology and Conservation)
  • European Human Behaviour and Evolution Association: http://ehbea.com/

School of Anthropology and Conservation - © University of Kent

School of Anthropology and Conservation, Marlowe Building, The University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NR, T: +44 (0)1227 827056

Last Updated: 04/02/2016