Jul 15, 2024  
2024-25 Western Washington University Catalog 
2024-25 Western Washington University Catalog

Anthropology/Biology, BA

Location(s): WWU - Bellingham

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Combined major offered by the Department of Anthropology, College of Humanities and Social Sciences and the Department of Biology, College of Science and Engineering.

92-99 credits


Biological/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, Paleoanthropology, Genetics, Disease Ecology, Growth and Development, Forensic Anthropology and Osteology, Medical Anthropology or Primate Behavior and Primatology.

Biological Anthropology’s program hones a holistic appreciation of multifactorial components underlying the human condition. Its interdisciplinary bio-cultural model examines the integrated effects of human behavior, ecology, culture, physiology and genetics/epigenetics on human adaptation, biological variation, the continuum of health and disease, and ultimately, evolution. The perspective is both local and global, and includes studies comparing current and past populations. Biological anthropologists are frequently found in medically associated positions because of their expertise in human anatomy, genetics, nutrition, growth and development and physiology. Additionally, the technological expansion in the study of nonhuman primates allows increasing capacity to understand ecological and historical variables influencing primate anatomy, physiology, and evolution, and enhance their conservation.

Why Consider an Anthropology/Biology Major?

The Biology/Anthropology major is a concentration on Human Biology and Behavioral Science. This major is more flexible than the Biology/Anthropology B.S. but is also excellent preparation for the applied health careers and graduate programs in Biological Anthropology. Check the course requirements for your postgraduate applied health programs to make sure you take all the appropriate prerequisites.

The importance of a strong biology background is reflected in the dual Anthropology/Biology Combined Major. Undergraduate training in Biological Anthropology provides the requisite background for some entry-level technical positions in disease control, at population centers, blood centers, forensic laboratories, medical schools and universities; and can serve as the basis for more advanced studies in the health-related professions (e.g. doctor, nurse, physician’s assistant) as well as primate conservation, field work opportunities, science outreach and communication careers.

 Contact Information

Anthropology/Biology Program Advisors
Tesla Monson
Arntzen Hall 320

 Sample Careers

Teaching| Nursing | Nutritionist| Public Health | International Nutrition | Biomedical research, Biomechanics | Medical Genetics Research | Kinesiology and Human Biology | Healthcare Fields | Forensic science | Museums (collections, education, and research) | Science Journalism | Science Communication | Zoos (collections and captive breeding) | Forensic Anthropologist | Biocultural Anthropologist

 Major/Career Resources


Mid-Program Checkpoint

Western Washington University undergraduates seeking to complete a BA degree in Anthropology/Biology (human biology emphasis) within a four-year time span should have completed the following courses by the start of their junior year. Major omissions from this list will make it difficult or impossible to complete this degree within two additional years.

  • ANTH 201, ANTH 210, ANTH 215
  • CHEM 161, CHEM 162, CHEM 163 (or CHEM 175, CHEM 176, CHEM 225)
  • BIOL 204, BIOL 205, BIOL 206

Transfer students interested in the Anthropology/Biology major are advised to complete a year of chemistry and biology before entering the program. Fulfilling these courses prior to entering Western may considerably shorten the many quarters necessary to complete the major. Students are welcome to contact our department office at 360-650-3620 for more information and advisement.

How to Declare (Admission and Declaration Process):

Declare your Anthropology/Biology major as soon as you discover you are interested. Contact the Anthropology department or visit its website at chss.wwu.edu/anthropology for details. Freshmen, your first quarter is not too soon!

The Anthropology Department has a two-step process for admission into this degree program. Anthropology/Biology BA pre-majors are students who have declared their intent to pursue a Anthropology/Biology BA, and are in the process of completing the introductory biology (BIOL 204, BIOL 205, BIOL 206) and general chemistry (CHEM 161, CHEM 162, CHEM 163) series (CHEM 175, CHEM 176, and CHEM 225 is a suitable alternative). Admission to full major status is based on academic performance in these six introductory courses, whether taken at Western or as equivalent transfer courses. Students must achieve an average grade of 2.9 or higher across their introductory biology and general chemistry courses before they can advance to full major status and begin taking upper-division coursework. Students with questions about the declaration and/or admission process for the Anthropology/Biology BA should contact the Anthropology Department.

Grade Requirements

A grade of C- or better is required for a student’s major or minor courses, and supporting courses for majors and minors.


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