What makes us “human?” Students can explore the human species' evolutionary history, genetics, anatomy, physiology, development, and behavior while setting a career course in the new Human Biology Undergraduate Concentration offered through the Anthropology Department at The University of New Mexico.

Skeletal analysis
Skeletal analysis

“The new B.S. Human Biology degree is a dynamic, multidisciplinary program that provides students with an introduction to biological, behavioral, and health sciences,” explained Sherry Nelson, associate professor of Evolutionary Anthropology, associate chair of Anthropology, and convener of the Evolutionary Anthropology subfield − the faculty of Human Biology program.

“It is essentially an organismal biology program that focuses on humans. Through a combination of coursework in Anthropology, Biology, Psychology, Population Health, and Chemistry, students gain skillsets that prepare them for future careers in STEM, including medical tracks and allied health fields,” Nelson said.

Students will take two introductory courses in biological anthropology, followed by four required courses from the following fields: human evolution, anatomy, genetics, and behavior. Electives further explore these four fields. The Human Biology major requires a minor in Biology, Psychology, Population Health, Chemistry, or a distributed minor across these departments. The flexibility of the minor requirements allows students to tailor the program to fit their individual interests and needs.

“Our coursework and research opportunities focus on humans. Course offerings include Human Physiology and Anatomy, Human Physical Activity, Human Genetics, Human Evolution, and Human Behavioral Ecology and Life History,” Nelson said, adding, “Our research laboratories offer many opportunities for undergraduates to engage in hands-on research and include a Human Physical Activity Lab, the Comparative Human and Primate Physiology Center, Anthropological Genetics, and Paleoecology.”

Changes are being made to make it a B.S. degree in Human Biology so the diploma will not read Anthropology.

"In discussions with Pre-Health Student Development, we recognize that students and post Baccalaureate programs do not associate Anthropology with STEM. The new degree will better reflect the STEM nature of the program and provide students with the best opportunities to seek further professional development. Once it officially becomes a B.S. in Human Biology, we will remove the human biology concentration within Anthropology," Nelson explained.

Courses include

  • Human Biology: Evolution, Life History and Health
  • Human Genetics
  • Human Evolution
  • Human Behavioral Ecology
  • Primate Social Behavior
  • Anthropology of the Skeleton
  • Human Evolutionary Physiology and Anatomy
  • Hormones and Behavior
  • Paleoanthropology
  • Human Paleopathology
  • Human Physical Activity
  • Population Genetics

Read more about the Bachelor of Science in Anthropology concentration in Human Biology

Research labs

Contact undergraduate advisor Erica Henderson for more information at anthadvise@unm.edu