UCSD Biological Anthropology Courses

See the Department page for general requirements and departmental description. Information on this page is intended to help BioAnthro majors at UCSD; it is not an "official" page; if through some slip of my phrasing the reader gets the wrong impression about a course or schedule, you have my apologies but that won't get you far with the administration. Please do let me know of any such problems so I can fix them: jjmoore@ucsd.edu.

These courses can be counted for the biological anthropology minor or concentration.


One of the strengths of BioAnthro is the breadth of the perspective it brings to study of humans; we encourage students to take a variety of BioAnthro courses. There is a core of courses that are offered either annually or every other year; others are more irregular. Sometimes events beyond our control mess up these planned schedules, but we try very hard not to let that happen.


ANLD 2. Human origins (4) An introduction to human evolution from the perspective of physical anthropology, including evolutionary theory and the evolution of the primates, hominids, and modern humans. Emphasis is placed on evidence from fossil remains and behavioral studies of living primates. This course is a prerequisite for many upper-division BioAnthro courses; it is offered every winter quarter (changed from ANLD 10, fall quarter, starting with 1997/8).

ANLD 42. Primates in nature (4) Major primate field studies will be studied to illustrate common features of primate behavior and behavioral diversity. Topics will include communication, female hierarchies, protocultural behavior, social learning and tool use, play, cognition and self-awareness. This course is a prerequisite for ANBI 148 and ANBI 187c. It is offered annually, but the quarter varies.


ANBI 110. Perspectives on Human Evolution (4) Special seminar for students who wish to explore advanced topics in biological anthropology. Course focus will change year to year. May be repeated one time for credit. Prerequisites: ANLD 2 (formerly 10), one other course in biological anthropology, and consent of instructor. Department approval required. Upper-division standing. While there is not a formal commitment to teaching this every year, it almost always works out that way. Please note: seminars are wonderful experiences for motivated and knowledgeable students; they are often disastrous for folks just looking for 4 units to fill a schedule.

ANBI 132. Conservation and the Human Predicament (4) (Same as BIEB 176.) Interdisciplinary discussion of the human predicament, biodiversity crisis, and importance of biological conservation. Examines issues from biological, cultural, historical, economic, social, political, and ethical perspectives emphasizing new approaches and new techniques for safeguarding the future of humans and other biosphere inhabitants. Offered every spring quarter. Prerequisites: upper-division standing. ANLD 2 (formerly 10) or consent of instructor.


The two internships are available any quarter, by arrangement. The interested student must contact the department sometime before 7th week of the quarter preceding the internship quarter; placement is contingent on the needs of the host institution and is worked out by the student, faculty advisor, and host sponsor on a case-by-case basis. Must have at least 90 units and pre-requisites to apply.

ANBI 187A. Intern Seminar in Physical Anthropology (2) Seminar complements students' research in the Academic Internship Program in physical anthropology at the Museum of Man. Readings and discussions focus on anatomy, pathology, and classification and x-ray analyses of skeletal remains. Research paper required. Prerequisites: ANLD 2 (formerly 10) and simultaneous enrollment in Warren 197: Physical Anthropology-Museum of Man. (P/NP grades only.) Department approval required. Faculty sponsor usually Katerina Semendeferi.

ANBI 187C. Intern Seminar in Ethology (2) Seminar complements students' research in the Academic Internship Program at the San Diego Wild Animal Park and/or Zoo. Focus on problems of analysis in observational study of animal behavior and conservation in relation to ethological studies. Research paper required. Prerequisites: ANLD 10 and one upper-division course in animal behavior, either in anthropology or biology. To qualify, must be last-quarter junior or senior with a 3.3 or better GPA. Simultaneous enrollment in Warren 197: Ethology Zoo. (P/NP grades only.) Department approval required. Faculty sponsor usually Jim Moore.


There are two pairs of courses that we try to alternate: ANBI 148 with ANBI 159, and ANBI 161 with ANBI 175. Sometimes one of these is taught two years in a row, but one should not count on that; rarely if ever will two years go by without all 4 being offered. The scheduling of ANBI 139 and ANBI 140 is still being worked out; count on them at least every other year.

ANBI 139. Introduction to the Primate Brain (4) Examination of the basic organization of the human and non-human primate brain with an emphasis on structures involved in cognitive behaviors, emotions and responses to social stimuli. Introduction to the field of comparative neuroanatomy as applied on selected anthropoid species. Prerequisites: None.

ANBI 140. Evolution of the Human Brain (4) Introduction to the organization of the brain of humans and apes. Overview of the theoretical perspectives on the evolution of the primate cortex and limbic system. Exposure to contemporary techniques applied to the comparative study of the hominoid brain. Prerequisite: ANBI 139 or consent of instructor.

ANBI 148. Primate Behavioral Ecology (4) The course examines various behaviors (e.g., group formation, dispersal, parenting, coalition formation) from a comparative and evolutionary perspective. Observational methodology and analytical methods will also be discussed. Lab sections are required. Prerequisites: Upper-division standing and ANLD 42. Strongly recommended: BIEB 100, Biometry or comparable statistics course, and BIEB 164, Sociobiology.

ANBI 159. Biological and Cultural Perspectives on Intelligence (4) Attitudes toward other individuals (and species) are often shaped by their apparent "intelligence." This course discusses the significance of brain size/complexity, I.Q. tests, communication in marine mammals and apes, complex behavioral tactics, and the evolution of intelligence. Prerequisites: any one of the following: ANLD 2 (formerly 10), 42, BILD 3, or consent of instructor. Upper-division standing.

ANBI 161. Human Evolution (4) Interpretation of fossil material­its morphology, variation, phylogenetic relationships, reconstruction of ecological settings and cultural patterns of early human life­demands the integration of many disciplines. Lectures cover major stages of human evolution, time ranges, distribution, archaeology, and distinctive morphology. Prerequisites: ANLD 2 (formerly 10) and upper-division standing.

ANBI 175. Modeling the Behavior of our Early Ancestors (4) Models of human evolution combine science and myth. This course examines methods used in reconstructions of human evolution. Models such as "man the hunter" and "woman the gatherer" are examined in light of underlying assumptions, and cultural ideals. Prerequisites: ANLD 2 (formerly 10) or equivalent. Upper-division standing.


These are courses we try to teach every few years; difficult to predict when. In addition to the courses listed, nearly every year we offer one or more one-time courses usually given by visiting faculty. Watch for posters! I will TRY to update course offerings on this website, but no promises. For what I hope are obvious reasons, the hardcopy list of BioAnthro courses in the Major's handout is not updated every time we offer a one-time course. All courses with prefix "ANBI" automatically count towards the major in BioAnthro; you do NOT need to petition them.

ANBI 100. In Search of Ourselves (4) An approach to understanding human behavior through the investigation of the social behavior of living monkeys and apes. Historical review of primate studies with emphasis on changes in interpretation of social patterns. Prerequisites: ANLD 2 (formerly 10) and upper-division standing.

ANBI 133. The Cultural Ecology of Health (4) The goal of this course is to place health in a cultural and ecological framework, using an evolutionary (through time) and worldwide perspective. Prerequisite: upper-division standing.

ANBI 173. Cognition in Animals and Humans (4) (Previously titled: The issues of consciousness in animals and humans.) The last divide between humans and other animals is in the area of cognition. A comparative perspective to explore recent radical reinterpretations of the cognitive abilities of different primate species, including humans and their implications for the construction of evolutionary scenarios. Prerequisites: upper-division standing. ANLD 2 (formerly 10) or introductory course in evolution/animal behavior or consent of instructor.

ANBI 180. Anthropology of Aging (4) This course examines aging from an anthropological perspective. Course material includes evolutionary theories regarding life span and senescence, overviews of biological and social aspects of aging in humans, and studies of aging in other societies from biological and cultural perspectives. Prerequisites: upper-division standing.

Courses in BIOLOGY

The following Biology courses count toward the major. It is the student's responsibility to confirm prerequisites and scheduling.

BICD 100. Genetics. Prereq: BILD 1 or equivalent.

BICD 170. Topics in human genetics. Prereq: BICD 100 (BIMM strongly rec.)

BIEB 120. General ecology. Prereq: BIEB 100

BIEB 121. Ecology laboratory. Prereq: BIEB 100 & 120 (can be concurrent)

BIEB 150. Evolution. Prereq: BILD 3 or equiv.

BIEB 156. Population genetics. Prereq: BICD 100 (BIEB 100 rec.)

BIEB 164. Behavioral ecology. Prereq: BILD 3

BIEB 165. Sociobiology laboratory. Prereq: BIEB 100 & 164

BIEB 166. Animal communication. Prereq: BILD 3

BIEB 167. Animal communication laboratory. Prereq: BIEB 100 & 166 (can be concurrent)

BIEB 176. Conservation and the human predicament. Prereq: BILD 3 or consent of instructor

BIEB 178. Principles of conservation biology. Prereq: BIEB 100 and (BIEB 120 or BIEB 156)

BIEB 179. Conservation biology laboratory. Prereq: BIEB 178

Other Departments

ENVR 110. Environmental Law. Prereq: Upper-division or consent of instructor. May be substituted for one of the 5 BioAnthro courses.

ECON 131. Economics of the environment. Prereq: ECON 1A-B or 2A-B. May be substituted for one of the 4 Biology courses

Other non-Anthropology courses may be acceptable, by petition. "I need it to graduate" is not an acceptable basis for a petition.