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. 

Students interested in health-related careers find this major to be particularly attractive, because it offers greater access to courses in Human Anatomy and Physiology. In addition, it offers elective options in Biology and Anthropology courses, giving students a wide array of courses

from which to choose.

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 Career 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.

Western's 82,000-square-foot Biology Building, features teaching labs, research labs, environmental control rooms, a seawater lab, image analysis labs, and multimedia lecture halls. The Biology department also maintains a greenhouse on campus that supports teaching and research activities.

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)
  • Midwestern University
  • Everett Community College

Sample Jobs

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

Requirements and Course Details

To learn more about this program, including grade requirements, a course listing, how to declare the major, and more, see the Program of Study Details.