Biological or Physical Anthropology is the study of both present and past human variation relative to local ecologies and cultures. Biological Anthropologists specialize in human or primate anatomy, disease ecology, growth and development, forensic anthropology and osteology, medical anthropology, primate behavior, and paleoanthropology. The Biology/Anthropology major concentrates on human biology and behavioral science. 

Biology, the scientific study of living things, includes a broad spectrum of fascinating fields. At Western, students can pursue the following fields with Biology faculty: cell and molecular biology, developmental genetics, systematics and evolution, botany, zoology, marine biology, microbial ecology, plant and animal ecology, physiological and behavioral ecology and science education.

Western’s Biology Department is part of the College of Science and Engineering.


“[Biology/Anthropology] allows me to integrate two fields that others see as loosely connected, but are important to each other. It’s integral to understand someone’s worldview and culture and how that affects their beliefs on health.”  –Kyra Langhelm

Beyond the Classroom

The Biology program provides a wide variety of opportunities for applied practice of knowledge and skills gained in lectures and labs. Undergraduates are encouraged to engage in research alongside faculty, serve as teaching assistants for biology courses, join the Biology club, and/or develop their own extracurricular experience through the independent study option. Additionally, some upper level labs follow a project-based curriculum that resemble research experiences, and the Biology Department works with Academic and Career Development Services to promote internships for external organizations to students and alumni.    

Western’s Anthropology Club is a group of students and faculty who promote interest in the discipline of Anthropology. The club plans and promotes speakers, trips, and events which relate to all four of the subdivisions within Anthropology. The main annual event is the planning and hosting of the Anthropology Conference, which is held in conjunction with Scholar’s Week.

Careers and Graduate Studies

This major is most useful for those continuing on in applied health careers such as: Medicine, Osteopathy, Optometry, Dentistry, and others. It is also useful for Epidemiology, public health and graduate programs in Human Biology and Biological Anthropology.

Western graduates who pursue graduate studies are doing so at such schools as: 

  • Boston University: Public Health (MA) 
  • Washington State University: Entomology (PhD)

Sample Careers

  • Medical doctor 
  • Physician’s Assistant 
  • Applied Health Professions 
  • Museum Conservator 
  • Forensic Anthropologist

Biology/Anthropology, BS

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