It's always great to hear that what you do, and love to do, is useful, so I appreciate one of our readers contacting me and requesting this information. Many times when we look at the best colleges and universities for anthropology and archaeology, we are dead set on listening to the numbers those college counselors throw at us, saying they have the best faculty and graduation rates. Well, sometimes we want to hear about the nuts and bolts of the program. How the research at those universities and colleges is not only impacting the scientific community, but also opening the eyes of the public about some of the most controversial topics of our time, like evolution.
These schools for Biological and Evolutionary Anthropology and Archaeology are not ranked in any specific order, as I believe they contribute to these fields in their own unique ways. I have put the main area of focus next to the college name, but please remember, many of the biological and evolutionary programs are combined into one department at some schools.
Best Colleges and Universities for Biological and Evolutionary Anthropology and Archaeology
The Leipzig School of Human Origins-Evolutionary and Biological Anthropology
The International Max Planck Research School “The Leipzig School of Human Origins” combines different disciplines to study the evolutionary history of humans and the great apes. The IMPRS LSHO is based at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology and Leipzig University which both are located in Leipzig, Germany. Their international PhD program brings together PhD students from various scientific backgrounds who select a research topic that falls within the scope of one of the three disciplines: Comparative and Molecular Primatology, Evolutionary and Functional, Genomics, Ancient DNA, Molecular Anthropology and Genome Bioinformatics, Human Paleontology, Prehistoric Archaeology and Archaeological Science.
Duke University-Evolutionary and Biological Anthropology
Duke University's Evolutionary Anthropology Department focuses on primate and human anatomy, endocrinology, genetics, behavioral ecology, and cognition. Duke's students go into careers in the sciences, health professions, become advocates for science and evolution in the schools, or other natural science related fields. Of special note, Jane Goodall, one of the world's most notable primatologists, collected close to 50 years of extensive data on our closing living relatives. Now, that data is being curated and digitized at Duke. Another great reason to join this program!
Enjoy this video about Jane Goodall's research:
Yale University-Human Evolutionary Biology and Evolutionary Anthropology
Yale University’s Department of Anthropology was officially founded in 1937 and traces its origins of research and teaching to work done within the Peabody Museum of Natural History (1866) and the Institute of Human Relations (1928). Yale University's biological anthropology department, perhaps, has one of the most extensive collections of laboratories focusing on mammalian morphology, evolution, and molecular anthropology.
Temple University-Human Evolutionary Biology and Evolutionary Anthropology
Archaeology, linguistic anthropology, biological anthropology and social-cultural anthropology are the basis for study and research at Temple University. Tailored opportunities for education include independent study programs, collaborative research, and attendance at advanced seminars. The Anthropological laboratory and Museum provides ample study opportunity within the four disciplines at the university. Furthermore, it provides excavation collections from the mid-Atlantic region, North America and South America. Students at Temple University can also do mammalian and primate skeletal research. Temple's graduate training program in Human Evolutionary Biology integrates a solid theoretical understanding of problems that are relevant to evolutionary anthropology, the ability to function as anthropologists in the field, and the application of laboratory expertise in the analysis of bio-molecular, anatomical and physiological data.
University of California-Berkeley-Biological Anthropology
The Department of Anthropology at Berkeley has long been ranked among the top five departments in the United States. Berkeley Anthropologists have a history of innovation and leadership in emergent areas of the discipline. The Berkeley faculty includes the largest number of winners of the J. I. Staley Prize, awarded annually to an outstanding anthropology book by a living author, the only discipline-wide award in anthropology.
Rutgers University-Evolutionary Anthropology
Rutgers University offers undergraduate degree programs in Anthropology and two graduate degree tracks. Graduate anthropology students at Rutgers choose either the cultural anthropology program ‘Critical Interventions in Theory and Ethnography’ (CITE) or concentrate on evolutionary anthropology. Graduate Evolutionary Anthropology students receive education in "paleoanthropology" which refers to a blend of “primatology, physical anthropology, and archaeology”. Undergraduate Anthropology students may pursue a B.A. in Anthropology, a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology, a B.S. in Evolutionary Anthropology, or minor in any of the above. Rutgers University faculty members are involved in research projects all over the world, and many of them have authored books on their work and research.
Arizona State University-Evolutionary Anthropology and Bio-archaeology
The Anthropology Department at ASU teaches students how to understand humans in past, present, and future environments by focusing on our evolutionary, social, and cultural make-up. It is also home to world famous programs in anthropological archaeology. The Society for American Archaeology ranked ASU fifth in the nation. ASU is home to The Institute of Human Origins, which is one of the preeminent research organizations in the world devoted to the science of human origins. The Center for Bioarchaeological Research (CBR) at ASU is a state-of the-art facility for bioarchaeological study including those appropriate for gross skeletal and dental observations, histological study and biochemical and biomolecular research.
Columbia University-Evolutionary and Biological Anthropology
Undergraduate and graduate students may concentrate in Sociocultural Anthropology, Archaeology or Biological/Physical Anthropology at Columbia University. The Biological/Physical Anthropology program entails the study of evolution, genetics, behavioral ecology and morphology. Possible research opportunities include Columbia faculty projects, the American Museum of Natural History and the Bronx Zoo. Free-Standing Master’s and Ph.D.’s are available in the three anthropology concentrations offered at Columbia. The university claims such distinguished former alumni as Franz Boas, Margaret Mead and Ruth Benedict, among others.
University of Pennsylvania-Evolutionary and Bio-physical anthropology
The University of Pennsylvania provides diversified study in cultural anthropology, archaeology, bio-physical anthropology, and linguistic anthropology. Their cultural anthropology classes provide a more modern approach to study, while the linguistic anthropology courses focuses on communication methods within various cultures. However, bio-physical anthropology gives students a chance to examine human evolution from the standpoint of variability of biology and culture-change interaction. The University of Pennsylvania also provides study opportunity within the field of medical anthropology. Students can engage in field schools, scholarship programs, and fellowships for their anthropological research. Faculty have received awards such as the Victor Turner Award for Ethnographic Writing, the Robert Park Award for Community Studies, and the Cross-Cultural Conference and Communication Award.
University of Notre Dame-Biological Anthropology
The University of Notre Dame provides general anthropological coursework in international development studies, the fundamentals of archaeology, biological anthropology, and social-cultural anthropology. Specific areas of study include anthropology of childhood education, and anthropology of war and peace, human Osteology, and anthropology of human rights. Research opportunities include an annual internship at the Smithsonian Institute, research opportunities at the China Biodiversity Conservation Field School in Asia, and a UCLA Summer program for Undergraduate Research. Faculty awards at the University of Notre Dame include the Rev. Edmund P. Joyce CSC Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, Fellowships from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Dockweller Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Advising, the Voices for Truth Award from the Conflict & Peace Institute in Chicago and the Anthropology in the Media Award presented by the American Anthropological Association.
University of Tennessee-Biological Anthropology
Topical and geographical diverse aspects of anthropology at the University of Tennessee include cultural anthropology, biological archaeology, and archaeology. The biological anthropology program provides oral biology, human paleontology, and human osteology studies. Research opportunities are located at the Forensic Anthropology Center and the Archaeological Research Laboratory. Faculty at the University of Tennessee have been awarded with honors such as the Dissertation Prize from the Society for American Archaeology, the Excellence in Cultural Resource Management Research Award, and the Doreen Ozker Memorial Fellowship Award.
There are two courses of study in anthropology at Boston University: social anthropology and biological anthropology. The program stresses the equal significance of fieldwork, lab work, and coursework to their students. The department’s strengths are diverse: the study of Islamic societies, democratic transitions, youth culture, evolutionary biology, anatomy, and primate ecology. Their anthropology library contains over 1100 items and 173 periodical titles.
University of Minnesota-Evolutionary and Biological Anthropology
The University of Minnesota offers undergraduate and graduate anthropology programs with emphasis on sociocultural anthropology, archeology, biological anthropology and linguistics. The faculty offers a wide array of coursework across all of the sub-disciplines of anthropology. The University of Minnesota Anthropology Department is also home to two renowned research labs: The Evolutionary Anthropology Laboratory, a multidisciplinary facility combining theoretical perspectives from archeology to primatology; and the Wilford Laboratory of North American Archeology, which specializes in the investigation of the prehistoric and historic archeology of North America.
Harvard University-Evolutionary Biology
The Department of Human Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University teaches and engages in field and laboratory research focusing on genetics, anatomy, physiology, and behavior. They are responsible for both undergraduate and graduate degrees in Human Evolutionary Biology.
University of Chicago-Evolutionary Biology
The anthropology program at the University of Chicago provides ample study for comparative and historical approaches to human evolution with specific studies in anatomy, genetics, and the social sciences. These studies include semiotic approaches to culture, human and indigenous rights, and the politics of sexuality and gender.
University of Illinois-Evolutionary and Biological Anthropology
The University of Illinois Anthropology Department in Chicago offers a comprehensive undergraduate program that focuses on three sub-disciplines, including biological anthropology, cultural archaeology, and ethnology. The biological anthropology discipline focuses on studies involving fossil humans, the biology of women, and biological basis for human behavior and evolution. Research topics at the University of Illinois in Chicago have covered the Chicago Area Geographic Information Study, Andean Archeology and work within the Spatial Analysis Laboratory that covers geographic information systems and remote sensory facilities.
New York University-Evolutionary Primatology and Biological Anthropology
Graduate and undergraduate anthropology programs at New York University are considered among the best in the country featuring subdisciplines in sociocultural studies, linguistics, archaeology, and biology. Department faculty are engaged in a variety of programs including Latin American and Caribbean research in conjunction with Columbia University; interdisciplinary scholarship with the Department of Cinema Studies, the Center for Religion and Media, the Center for Culture and Media, the Center for the Study of Human Origins and others. Special programs include Physical Anthropology, Museum Studies, Evolutionary Primatology, and the unique Psyences Project, which provides for the exchange of emerging relevant information across social disciplines including psychiatry, psychology, psychoanalysis and pharmacology.
Washington University-St. Louis-Evolutionary Anthropology
The anthropology department at Washington University emphasizes human and primate evolution; the ecology and conservation of modern primates; biomechanics and energetics; and quantitative studies of morphology and genetics, with ongoing paleontological, behavioral, and ecological field research in Africa, Madagascar, Europe, North America, Central America, and South America.
Interdisciplinary research is enhanced by the involvement of anthropology faculty in on-campus institutes and programs, including the Interdisciplinary Program in Archaeology; Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences; The Division of Infectious Diseases; The Institute for Public Health at George Warren Brown School of Social Work; Environmental Studies. The department also has close research ties to the School of Medicine, the Missouri Botanical Garden (one of the world's great herbaria), the Danforth Plant Center, and the Saint Louis Zoo.
Purdue University-Evolutionary and Biological Anthropology
The anthropology department at Purdue University focuses on four distinct fields of study including linguistics, archaeology, culture, and biology. Linguistic courses cover historical linguistics, sociolinguistics, and the study of African American English. Biological anthropology covers topics such as human evolution, primate ecology and conservation, primate behavior and more. Faculty awards at Purdue University include the Martin Duberman Award, the Ruth Benedict Award for Female Desires, Fulbright Visiting Award, Fulbright Scholar Award, other teaching awards.
University of Iowa-Biological Anthropology
Established in 1969, the Department of Anthropology at the University of Iowa has articulated a core mission that emphasizes globalization and cultural diversity. This mission is reflected in diverse areas of research that their faculty conducts. The department is divided in to four subfields: archaeology, biological anthropology, cultural anthropology, and linguistic anthropology. Some of the current research in the biological Anthropology subfield includes non-human primate evolution in Asia and craniofacial evolution in Neanderthals and early modern humans.
Grand Valley State University-Evolutionary Anthropology
Grand Valley State University offers undergraduate programs in Anthropology, summer field schools in archaeology and ethnology, internships in museum studies, study abroad programs, Native American studies and cultural resource management. The Grand Valley State University Anthropology Department offers anthropology B.A and B.S. majors that integrate bio-cultural, evolutionary and comparative perspectives that take a holistic approach to the examination of humanity through cross-cultural analysis and an appreciation of human diversity. The department currently offers two scholarships for anthropology majors and minors: The Richard E. Flanders (University Club), and the Walter Boston Koch scholarships, with a third, the George Quimby Scholarship, scheduled for payout in the future.
Florida State University-Evolutionary and Biological Anthropology
Florida State University seeks to explore three fields of anthropology. This exceptional program includes the study of archaeology, biological anthropology, and sociocultural anthropology. The biological anthropology program includes the study of evolution, biological variation, and variance of humans, living or extinct.
University of Missouri-Evolutionary and Biological Anthropology
The Department of Anthropology at the University of Missouri offers undergraduate majors and minors in anthropology and graduate and doctoral programs. The department emphasizes “Human Adaptation, Ecology, and Evolution” and focuses on four main areas: biological anthropology, cultural anthropology, archaeological anthropology and anthropological linguistics. Students may choose to focus on one or more of the above sub-disciplines, or combine anthropology with other subjects. Undergraduate Anthropology students have the opportunity to participate in summer field schools, research laboratories and the Museum of Anthropology. The University of Missouri’s Department of Anthropology was ranked among the 15 best programs in the country by the National Research Council in their last study.
University of New Mexico-Evolutionary Anthropology
The Anthropology Department at the University of New Mexico leans toward Southwest and South American interests and study. Undergraduate and graduate programs are available in Archaeology, Ethnology and Evolutionary Anthropology. Summer field schools are frequently held in New Mexico, Hawaii and Belize. Graduate archaeology students are educated in “current theory and method” as well as several more narrow archaeology-related subjects. Program faculty members are involved in research in many areas of the world, and students have the opportunity to conduct research related to faculty projects.
Fordham University-Human Evolution
The anthropology discipline at Fordham University is designed to foster an understanding of the multicultural systems in which we live and work. With emphasis on human and social evolution, the program combines scientific history with the human perception of how people live. A degree in anthropology lends itself well to careers in law, business, and international affairs and travel, and serves as an appropriate pre-med undergraduate degree. Course of study is focused on cultural anthropology, archaeology, physical anthropology and anthropological linguistics. Graduate degrees entail study in the areas of religion and culture, social demography, urban communities, diversity and inequality and global transnational processes.
Stony Brook University-Evolutionary Anthropology
Anthropology degrees at Stony Brook University encompass a broad range of subdisciplines that fall into one of three categories: social anthropology, which studies modern human culture; archaeology, which examines human culture over time; and physical anthropology, which focuses on human evolution. Undergraduate degrees at Stony Brook University embrace all three areas, but afford students the opportunity to focus on a preferred subdiscipline. Additional coursework is available in the area of medical anthropology which provides a foundation for graduate work in the medical field. One of Stony Brook's greatest strengths continues to be the opportunity for interdisciplinary research in the anthropological sciences, both within and beyond the department through close collaborative relationships with other departments in the University.
University of Rochester-Biological Evolution
The anthropology department at University of Rochester concentrates on comparative study of various human cultures and societies. Minor degrees are available via the Rochester Center for Ethnographic Studies or Cultural Diversity and Globalization programs. Bachelor degrees in anthropology are available through study of physical anthropology, which centers on biological evolution; archaeological anthropology, which studies that which was left behind by more primitive societies; and linguistic anthropology, the study of human behavior through the evolution of language. The department hosts the renowned Morgan Lectures, a series of talks held in honor of one of the first American anthropologists, Lewis Henry Morgan, and sponsored by the anthropology department. Past lecture include Dr. Paul Farmer's "Swords of Sorrow: On Violence and Modernity" and Elinor Ochs's "Becoming a Speaker of Culture." Faculty members are engaged in ongoing research in a vast number of areas including Associate Professor Ayala Emmet’s fieldwork study on Jewish women who take on the rituals of men in the synagogue, and Professor Thomas P. Gibson’s work titled “Ritual Knowledge and Social Movements in Islamic Southeast Asia."
Case Western Reserve University-Evolutionary Anthropology
Case Western Reserve University is a one of the top universities in the Midwest located in Cleveland, Ohio with schools for medicine, law, and business. The field of anthropology entails the study of the of the physical, sociocultural, and archaeological history of humanity at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Case Western Reserve University faculty research includes HIV/AIDS, child abuse, South Asia, evolutionary, and medical anthropology. Faculty members have received awards such as the Margaret Mead Award, Congressional Science Fellowship, and grants from the National Science Foundation and the Smithsonian Institution.
Texas A & M University-Biological Anthropology
The Texas A & M University is focused on collaborative study and research in archaeology, cultural anthropology, biological anthropology, and nautical archaeology. Three institutions that provide research opportunities for students include the Center for Maritime Archaeology and Conservation, Center for the Study of the First Americans, and the Institute for Nautical Archaeology. At these centers, students can conduct research in subjects such as underwater archaeology excavations, artifact conservation evolutionary civilization and the population of the Americas. Faculty at Texas A&M University have received honors such as the Evins B. Mayo Award for Outstanding Performance in Field Geology, the Social Science Research Council Dissertation Fellowship and the Harold K. Schneider Graduate Student Paper Prize.
University of Utah-Evolutionary Anthropology
The University of Utah Anthropology Department takes an empirically-informed, theoretically-driven approach to anthropology. They offer archaeology, behavioral ecology, genetics, hunter-gatherers, demography and evolutionary approaches to human behavior. They have research teams mainly in western North America, Africa, New Guinea, Australia and the Middle East. Three members of their faculty are members of the National Academy of Sciences. They encourage research that crosses disciplinary and sub-disciplinary boundaries for faculty and students.
Northern Arizona University-Biological Anthropology
The Department of Anthropology at Northern Arizona University offers courses in archaeological, biological, cultural, and linguistic anthropology. The anthropology degree programs help students who are interested in finding jobs in the nonacademic job market, while also providing accelerate studies for students who want to pursue graduate work. Although Northern Arizona University does not offer an undergraduate degree in archaeology, they do have a Master of Arts Program of Studies Applied Archaeology.
University of California - San Diego-Biological Anthropology
The Department of Anthropological Archaeology at UCSD provides students with an integrated approach to the study of anthropology through a wide range of courses and programs in the study of the archaeology of complex societies. Studies provide a broad range of instruction on the rise and collapse of complex ancient social organizations throughout history. A diverse course curricula, field schools and an advanced research laboratory is a large part of graduate and undergraduate programs in anthropological archaeology at University of California - San Diego. Students receive instruction in theoretical developments in social cultural and biological anthropology throughout the first two years of study in this discipline. Field experience is included.
University of Colorado-Biological Anthropology
The University of Colorado offers insight into what it means to be human through its Anthropology Department. Whether its archaeology, biological anthropology, or cultural anthropology, students are encouraged to choose a sub-discipline within this program. The Anthropology Department also organizes a field school in archaeology every summer for students interested in a more hands-on approach to learning.
University of Kansas-Biological Anthropology
Committed to integrating theory, research, and interpretive methods, the anthropology department at the University of Kansas is divided into four subfields. The archaeology subfield emphasizes interdisciplinary ecological and environmental studies. Archaeology faculty specialties include ancient technology, cultural evolution, ancient American exchange and interaction, and the study of site formation processes. Ongoing research around the world gives students the opportunity to participate in research. The biological subfield’s strengths are anthropological genetics, human adaptation, behavioral ecology, and paleoanthropology. With a solid global foundation, study in the socio-cultural subfield is especially targeted for U.S. populations. The linguistic subfield emphasizes language structure, linguistic theory, field methods, and data management.
Louisiana State University-Biological Anthropology
Louisiana State University does not have a stand alone department of anthropology or archaeology. Instead the discipline is part of the department of geography. Though students can earn a Master’s degree in anthropology, they only offer PhDs in geography. The strengths of the department include prehistory of the Americans, historical archaeology, public anthropology and folklore, biological and forensic anthropology, and urban studies. Students can also work in one of the department’s many research facilities like the Coastal Archaeological in Latin America Lab, the Digital Imagery and Visualization in Archaeology Lab, and the Museum of Natural Sciences Archaeological Lab.
University of Massachusetts-Biological Anthropology
The University of Massachusetts Anthropology Department offers undergraduate and graduate programs incorporating a traditional four-field approach that concentrates on each of the four main branches of anthropology: archaeology, biological anthropology, cultural anthropology and linguistic anthropology. The coursework emphasizes a biocultural perspective and a political/economic approach to questions about human adaptations and adaptability, as well as the nature of human societies.
University at Albany-Biological Anthropology
The anthropology department at University at Albany focuses on four areas of study: archaeology, biological anthropology, cultural anthropology and linguistics. Department faculty members are internationally renowned and have a high rate of professional publication. Professional research is ongoing in many areas, including Mesoamerican studies, globalization and development, historical anthropology, biological diversity and health, and the archaeological political economy. Students studying for a PhD in anthropology are required to concentrate in a specific area of research. In 2010, twelve students at University at Albany received the Public Anthropological Award, which required using an anthropological perspective in addressing real-world concerns.
University of North Carolina-Biological Anthropology
The University of North Carolina has multiple campuses with schools of medicine, law, business, pharmacy, nursing, engineering, arts, and veterinary. The University of North Carolina has an anthropology department with a interdisciplinary approach to the subject including the cultural, biological, and social aspects of anthropology at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Faculty research interests include social movements, medical anthropology, environmental studies, the African diaspora, and women's studies. Faculty members have received awards such as the Hettlemen prize, faculty honors from the university, and the American Library Association book honor.
University of Oklahoma-Biological Anthropology
The University of Oklahoma is a public university located in Norman Oklahoma. The university has a school of engineering, a school of journalism, a school business, and a school of architecture among others. The University of Oklahoma is home to an anthropology program that studies four major areas: archeology, biological anthropology, sociocultural anthropology, and linguistics. Anthropology is broadly described as a field that studies and researches everything in human history from the past and present society. Faculty research includes Native Americans, Latin America, the American Southwest, human genetics, and skeletons.
University of Oregon-Biological Anthropology
The University of Oregon is one of the oldest public universities in Oregon as it was founded in 1876. The university includes a school of law, a school business, a school journalism, and a school of education. The University Oregon includes an anthropology department which studies the biological, cultural, and archaeological aspects of anthropology. The program offers a major and minor in anthropology for undergraduate students. Faculty research includes globalization, maritime societies, the American northwest, and folklore.
Pennsylvania State University-Biological Anthropology
Pennsylvania State University is one of the largest universities in Pennsylvania with various campuses throughout the state. They have a wide variety of programs such as a school of business, a school of law, and a school of agricultural sciences. Pennsylvania State University has an anthropology department that focuses on the cultural, biological, and archaeological aspects of anthropology at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Faculty research includes primates, skeletal biology, the Amazon, ancient commerce, and the Aztecs.
Vanderbilt University-Biological Anthropology
The anthropology program at Vanderbilt University offers a variety of studies in biological anthropology, linguistics, cultural anthropology, and archaeology. Within the research department, key concepts covered include child development, space and linguistic relativism of children that are bilingual, and cultural and conceptual change. Ongoing research projects at Vanderbilt University include the development of folkbiology, knowledge in cross-cultural perspectives, the development of spatial concepts, and more. Faculty at the University has received the Order of the Matt Award and the Guatemala's Archaeology Career and Leadership Award.
More Guides on the Ancient Digger
- US Archaeology and Anthropology Schools and their Disciplines
- Best Graduate Schools for Linguistics
- Best Graduate Schools for Classical Archaeology
- Guide To Archaeology and Anthropology Graduate School 101
- Beginner's Guide To A Career in Anthropology and Archeology
- Letter of Intent to the Top Archaeology Schools of Your Choice