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Evolutionary Anthropology

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The deadline for international students is 30 June 2024.

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Bachelor of Science

Bachelor of Science (BSc) is a bachelor’s degree awarded for an undergraduate programme in the sciences.

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Course overview

Evolutionary Anthropology represents the deep time perspective of anthropology in the broadest sense. Anthropology encompasses the biological and social study of humans as complex organisms with the capacity for language, thought, and culture.

Introduction

This unique multidisciplinary programme is the only one of its kind available in the UK and offers an opportunity to study an in-depth programme that explores what it is to be human.

This is based on the study of three major areas of evolutionary anthropology: the archaeology of human evolution, palaeoanthropology, and primatology. You can choose to study all three elements or focus on two areas and add modules in life sciences and earth sciences.

You will be required to complete four weeks of fieldwork including two weeks on our department field school at the end of year one. In year two, many students work on overseas staff research excavations, currently these are based in Zambia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Jordan, Greece, Egypt as well as the UK.

 

What you'll learn

  • A broad and integrated knowledge of the evolution of the human species, including principles of archaeology, evolutionary psychology, human anatomy and hominid palaeontology
  • Ability to understand how human beings have been shaped by, and have interacted with their cultural, social and physical environments through time
  • Appreciation of the inherent cultural and biological diversity of human beings
  • Ability to analyse and evaluate relevant quantitative and qualitative data
  • Critical awareness of the application of ethnographic models to the hominin behavioural record
  • The ability to plan, undertake and present scholarly work that demonstrates an understanding of anthropological aims, methods and theoretical consideration

Teaching Excellence Framework 2023

We’re proud to announce we’ve been awarded a Gold rating for educational excellence.

Course content

Discover what you'll learn, what you'll study, and how you'll be taught and assessed.

Year one

Year one modules introduce the archaeology of human origins, archaeological techniques and methods, human anatomy, evolutionary psychology and human and animal behaviour.

Compulsory modules

PRINCIPLES OF ARCHAEOLOGY (ALGY101)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 1

ALGY101 introduces students to the concepts, methods and evidence that archaeologists use to study and interpret the past. Students gain core skills essential to building and evaluating knowledge about human material remains of the past.

THE ORIGINS OF HUMANITY (ALGY105)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 1

What does it mean to be human? This course takes a broad evolutionary view starting 7 million years ago with the first distant ancestors who walked on two legs. We chart the emergence of our dependency on technology, and capacity to communicate using symbols, including language and art. We follow the spread of our species around the globe and end our story with the development of settled village life based on agriculture, just 10,000 years ago. Our aim is to give you a basic understanding of the broad sweep of the human story as foundation for studying related periods and topics.

We will cover key developments in human evolution including the origin of bipedalism – the habitual walking on two legs – the enlargement of the brain, making of tools, control of fire, emergence of language and symbolism, and the spread of humans around the globe. Late in this grand journey see the appearance of the first permanent settlements based on domesticated plants and animals.Domestication is the foundation on which socially complex states would develop.

INTRODUCTION TO BIOANTHROPOLOGY (ALGY119)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 2

This module focuses on identification of osteological elements with an introduction to the osteology and anatomy of locomotor adaptations of humans and non-human primates including a major part of the module being devoted to the anatomy of bipedalism, and in addition some elements of terrestrial / arboreal quadrupedalism and brachiation. In general, students will be expected to correctly handle real human skeletal specimens and develop their knowledge of the skeletal and muscular anatomy of anatomically modern humans and begin to apply this understanding to the study of the anatomy of fossil primates, the great apes and other primates. In terms of species, the module focuses on humans and the fossils of Australopithecine / Paranthropine and Early to Late Homo species and also incorporates evidence from the other great apes, lesser apes and the old and new world monkeys.

ISSUES IN EVOLUTIONARY ANTHROPOLOGY (ALGY141)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 2

Students will learn about the key issues underlying contemporary research in the field of evolutionary anthropology through sets of directed readings given in advance of each seminar. Seminars will be led by each member of the evolutionary anthropology teaching team, ensuring that you receive a broad overview of different chronological periods, geographical areas, and theoretical perspectives. The module will provide essential background on the main contemporary debates in human evolution, introducing themes that will persist throughout your degree. The module will have a broadly anthropological focus, but will integrate data and conclusions from other relevant subject areas such as evolutionary genetics, psychology, and the environmental sciences.

Optional modules

Bronze Age Civilizations: Mesopotamia and the Mediterranean (ALGY106)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 1

This module provides an introduction to the history and archaeology of the Near East and Aegean from ca. 4,000 to 800 BC, specifically the ancient cultures of the Near East, Levant and Greece. The module includes artefact handling sessions.

FROM VILLAGE TO CITY: THE ORIGINS OF CHINESE CIVILISATION (ALGY112)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 1

This module will introduce students to the development of early Chinese civilisations. We will investigate the transition from hunter-gatherers to the first sedentary village farming communities and the emergence of the earliest cities and states from these early village societies. We will thus also investigate some formative features of Chinese societies that persisted for millennia. The module will also place developments in China in a broader comparative context and allow discussion of the emergence of social and political hierarchies, complex economies and the appearance and nature of the state. The module will also introduce students to some of the conceptual tools and methodologies needed to investigate these issues in the archaeological record.

Climate, Atmosphere and Oceans (ENVS111)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 1

Climate, Atmosphere and Oceans provides an understanding of how the climate system operates. The module draws on basic scientific principles to understand how climate has evolved over the history of the planet and how the climate system is operating now. Attention is particularly paid to the structure and circulation of the atmosphere and ocean, and how they both interact. The course emphasises acquiring mechanistic insight and drawing upon order of magnitude calculations. By the end of the module students will understand how the oceans and atmosphere combine to shape Earth’s climate. Students gain quantitative skills by completing a series of coursework exercises and a final exam. Students address the Net Zero carbon goal via group work involving digital storytelling.​

Sedimentary Rocks and Fossils (ENVS118)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 1

This module provides a basic introduction to sedimentology and palaeontology. Students learn about the origin of sediment, sedimentary processes and structures and the ways in which sediments are converted into solid rock. The course outlines the importance of sedimentary rocks for hydrocarbons, water and as construction materials. Students learn how to describe and interpret sedimentary deposits. The palaeontology component introduces students to the major fossil groups and to the ways in which organisms can be preserved as fossils. It covers the importance of fossils for the study of evolution, environmental change and Earth history. Students learn how to describe fossils and how observations contribute to a broader understanding. Students will be assessed by means of two practical tests and a theory examination.

Living with Environmental Change (ENVS119)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 1

This module examines a number of global ‘grand challenges’ facing humans on the planet earth related to climate and environmental change. It will introduce students to core concepts of sustainability and human impacts upon the environment, as well as exploring the range of proposed solutions and mitigation strategies which are available to understand climate and environmental change. The module thus provides a core knowledge base for social and natural scientists who wish to understand environmental change.

MOLECULES AND CELLS (LIFE101)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 1

This module describes the detailed composition of cells and the processes by which they obtain and generate energy, grow, replicate and eventually die.
The lectures will be supplemented with on-line resources and illustrated with some of the latest research methods that are used to study cell structure and function.
Students will be given guided reading, and regular formative assessment exercises will enable students to evaluate their understanding of the module.
The module will be assessed by coursework and final examination.

EVOLUTION (LIFE103)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 1

This module describes the evolutionary processes that have resulted in the generation of the diverse life forms that populate the planet.

This includes the theory of evolution by natural selection, and the genetic processes that result in gene evolution and diversity.

Selected scenarios and case studies will apply evolutionary concepts, showing the fundamental importance of evolution to a broad range of the life sciences.

The module is split into two parts: the first part (A) is the same for all students, the second part (B) contains a number of parallel strands tailored to students interest.

Students will be advised by their programme director which strand to follow. 

The lectures will be supplemented with a variety of on-line resources.

Students will be given guided reading, and regular formative assessment exercises will enable students to evaluate their understanding of the module.

The module will be assessed by coursework and final examination.

THE PRACTICE OF ARCHAEOLOGY (ALGY102)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 2

This module introduces students to the design and implementation of archaeological projects (and thereby research design more generally). It is concerned with how archaeological questions are addressed through projects, the practices involved in the various stages of archaeological projects, including desk-based assessment, mapping, data collection and analysis, field recording, excavation strategy, interpretation and site/heritage management planning. There is a strong practical element to the module which focusses on the planning and execution of a project relating to a cemetery in Liverpool.

ANIMAL BIODIVERSITY (LIFE112)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 2

This module studies the body plans of the major groups of animals and explores the relationship between body form and function.

It also discusses the evlolutionary origins of these basic body plans and how these have been modified to adapt to particular habitats.

The module will be taught through a mixture of asynchronous and synchronous material. The former consists of pre-recorded videos and other online learning material, the latter consists of scheduled interactive online sessions. Students will also be given guided reading, and regular formative assessment exercises will enable students to evaluate their understanding of the module.

The module will be assessed through continuous assessment.

ECOLOGY AND THE GLOBAL ENVIRONMENT (LIFE120)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 2

This module will introduce students to the physical and chemical contexts of the biosphere, the cycling of important elements at different scales, the distribution of biomes and the ecosystem concept.

Ecological concepts such as succession, niche, food web theory and ecosystem stability will be introduced, and how these are impacted by human activities.

The module will also consider the conservation of biodiversity over a range of biological scales using UK and global case studies. The lectures will be supplemented with on-line resources.

Students will be given guided reading, and regular formative assessment exercises will enable students to evaluate their understanding of the module.

The module will be assessed by coursework, including online test.

Ecology and Conservation (ENVS157)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 2

The zone of life on earth, or the ‘biosphere’, is a highly dynamic system responding to external pressures including changing human activities. The biosphere obeys a numbers of simple natural principles, but these often interact to create complex and sometimes unexpected responses. Using a wide range of examples we will explore these interactions between organisms and the environment. We will examine how species organise into communities, and how energy and other resources flow through ecosystems. We will explore how ecosystems respond to change, including gradual environmental shifts, sudden disturbance events and the effects of human activities. We will also learn how the key principles of ecology can be applied to conservation. We will assess the current state of the biosphere, and evaluate the major current threats. We will also look towards the future of ecosystems, including whether we can restore degraded habitats, and recreate “natural” landscapes.

Programme details and modules listed are illustrative only and subject to change.

Our curriculum

The Liverpool Curriculum framework sets out our distinctive approach to education. Our teaching staff support our students to develop academic knowledge, skills, and understanding alongside our graduate attributes:

  • Digital fluency
  • Confidence
  • Global citizenship

Our curriculum is characterised by the three Liverpool Hallmarks:

  • Research-connected teaching
  • Active learning
  • Authentic assessment

All this is underpinned by our core value of inclusivity and commitment to providing a curriculum that is accessible to all students.

Course options

Studying with us means you can tailor your degree to suit you. Here's what is available on this course.

Global Opportunities

University of Liverpool students can choose from an exciting range of study placements at partner universities worldwide. Choose to spend a year at XJTLU in China or a year or semester at an institution of your choice.

What's available on this course?

Year in China

Immerse yourself in Chinese culture on an optional additional year at Xi'an Jiaotong Liverpool University in stunning Suzhou.

  • Learn Chinese
  • Study in a bustling world heritage city
  • Improve employment prospects
  • Study Chinese culture
  • 30 minutes from Shanghai
  • Learn new skills

Read more about Year at XJTLU, China

Language study

Every student at The University of Liverpool can study a language as part of, or alongside their degree. You can choose:

  • A dedicated languages degree
  • A language as a joint or major/ minor degree
  • Language modules (selected degrees)
  • Language classes alongside your studies

Read more about studying a language

Your experience

The Department of Archaeology, Classics and Egyptology is part of the School of Histories, Languages and Cultures. Teaching takes place across campus, including in specialist facilities in the Central Teaching Hub.

Virtual tour

Supporting your learning

From arrival to alumni, we’re with you all the way:

Careers and employability

Students who graduate from Evolutionary Anthropology are equipped with skills required for employment or advanced study in archaeology or anthropology. In addition to the subject-specific career pathways, graduates have also gone on to careers in a range of public service and private industry, for example the police, science journalism or financial services. Many past students have progressed through doctoral studies.

Recent employers include:

  • The National Trust
  • English Heritage
  • Civil Service
  • Archaeology South East
  • Police Service
  • Apple.

88% of Archaeology, Classics and Egyptology students go on to work or further study within 15 months of graduation.

Graduate Outcomes, 2018-19.

Meet our alumni

Hear what graduates say about their career progression and life after university.

Fees and funding

Your tuition fees, funding your studies, and other costs to consider.

Tuition fees

UK fees (applies to Channel Islands, Isle of Man and Republic of Ireland)
Full-time place, per year £9,250
Year in industry fee £1,850
Year abroad fee £1,385
International fees
Full-time place, per year £22,400
Year abroad fee £11,200
Fees are correct for the academic year 2024/25. Please note that the Year Abroad fee also applies to the Year in China.

Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching and assessment, operating facilities such as libraries, IT equipment, and access to academic and personal support. Learn more about paying for your studies..

Additional costs

We understand that budgeting for your time at university is important, and we want to make sure you understand any course-related costs that are not covered by your tuition fee. This includes specialist equipment and fieldwork costs.

Find out more about the additional study costs that may apply to this course.

Additional study costs

We understand that budgeting for your time at university is important, and we want to make sure you understand any course-related costs that are not covered by your tuition fee. This includes specialist equipment and fieldwork costs.

Students will be required to cover the costs listed below for year one compulsory fieldwork- two weeks in Penycloddiau, North Wales:

  • Approved 4-inch WHS Spear and Jackson wood-handled trowel, such as this one. Students can buy a trowel for around £10-14. Please note that gardening trowels are not appropriate.
  • Students will pay a sustenance contribution for food during the trip. This was £100 in 2017.

In year two, those who must complete a further two weeks of fieldwork have several options with varying costs. Some options are based in the UK and have no additional costs, others are based abroad. For those choosing to join a site abroad, students will be expected to pay for their own flights, accommodation, and sustenance. The costs for this vary from site to site.

Find out more about additional study costs.

Scholarships and bursaries

We offer a range of scholarships and bursaries to provide tuition fee discounts and help with living expenses while at university.

Check out our Liverpool Bursary, worth up to £2,000 per year for eligible UK students. Or for international students, our Undergraduate Global Advancement Scholarship offers a tuition fee discount of up to £5,000 for eligible international students starting an undergraduate degree from September 2024.

Discover our full range of undergraduate scholarships and bursaries

Entry requirements

The qualifications and exam results you'll need to apply for this course.

We've set the country or region your qualifications are from as United Kingdom. Change it here

Your qualification Requirements

About our typical entry requirements

A levels

BBB

Applicants with the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) are eligible for a reduction in grade requirements. For this course, the offer is BBC with B in the EPQ.

You may automatically qualify for reduced entry requirements through our contextual offers scheme.

T levels

T levels considered in a relevant subject.

Applicants should contact us by completing the enquiry form on our website to discuss specific requirements in the core components and the occupational specialism.

GCSE 4/C in English and 4/C in Mathematics
BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma

BTEC applications are encouraged. We evaluate each BTEC application on its merits.

International Baccalaureate

30 points, with no score less than 4

Irish Leaving Certificate H2, H2, H2, H3, H3, H3
Scottish Higher/Advanced Higher

BBB in Advanced Highers, combinations of Advanced Highers and Scottish Highers are welcome

Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Accepted including BB at A level
Access 30 Level 3 credits at Distinction and 15 Level 3 credits at Merit in a Humanities/Social Science based Access Diploma
International qualifications

Many countries have a different education system to that of the UK, meaning your qualifications may not meet our entry requirements. Completing your Foundation Certificate, such as that offered by the University of Liverpool International College, means you're guaranteed a place on your chosen course.

Contextual offers: reduced grade requirements

Based on your personal circumstances, you may automatically qualify for up to a two-grade reduction in the entry requirements needed for this course. When you apply, we consider a range of factors – such as where you live – to assess if you’re eligible for a grade reduction. You don’t have to make an application for a grade reduction – we’ll do all the work.

Find out more about how we make reduced grade offers.

About our entry requirements

Our entry requirements may change from time to time both according to national application trends and the availability of places at Liverpool for particular courses. We review our requirements before the start of the new UCAS cycle each year and publish any changes on our website so that applicants are aware of our typical entry requirements before they submit their application.

Recent changes to government policy which determine the number of students individual institutions may admit under the student number control also have a bearing on our entry requirements and acceptance levels, as this policy may result in us having fewer places than in previous years.

We believe in treating applicants as individuals, and in making offers that are appropriate to their personal circumstances and background. For this reason, we consider a range of factors in addition to predicted grades, widening participation factors amongst other evidence provided. Therefore the offer any individual applicant receives may differ slightly from the typical offer quoted in the prospectus and on the website.

Alternative entry requirements

  • If your qualification isn't listed here, or you're taking a combination of qualifications, contact us for advice
  • If you are returning to learning, have had a disrupted education or are switching career pathways, the one-year Go Higher diploma qualifies you to apply for University of Liverpool arts, humanities and social sciences programmes
  • Applications from mature students are welcome.

Changes to Evolutionary Anthropology BSc (Hons)

See what updates we've made to this course since it was published. We document changes to information such as course content, entry requirements and how you'll be taught.

7 June 2022: New course pages

New course pages launched.