Evolutionary Anthropology Graduate Programs IV

Other West Coast Schools (Part 2)

This is the fourth post in a series highlighting US graduate programs in evolutionary anthropology. This installation continues with other West Coast schools outside of California. All programs were asked to answer the 6 questions below. Here, in no particular order, are abbreviated responses from University of Colorado Boulder, University of Arizona, and University of New Mexico. The Biological Anthropology program at University of Washington is being revised and will be highlighted at a later date. See here for responses from all programs contacted so far.

  1. What are areas of expertise in your department related to evolutionary anthropology?
  2. What funding opportunities are available for graduate students?
  3. What kinds of research are current students involved with?
  4. Can students earn a MA, PhD, or both? Are there dual-degree programs available?
  5. What are students’ favorite aspects of your department?
  6. Is there anything else you would like to highlight about your department?

University of Colorado Boulder

  1. Expertise: anthropogenic and climatic effects on primate behavior and biology; conservation biology; primate evolution; feeding biology of humans and non-human primates; diets and habitats of modern and fossil fauna; life history; endocrinology; growth and development; maternal and infant health
  2. Funding: Most graduate students receive teaching assistant positions and occasionally research assistant positions. Incoming students usually receive a modest amount of fellowship funds. Most years we are able to offer between two and five $2,500 awards to support dissertation pilot research.
  3. Research opportunities: All of our biological anthropology faculty have ongoing field research. Present research includes evaluating plant secondary compound diversity in Asian and an African primate community; reconstruction of faunal community structure and isotopic ecology in South Africa during the Plio-Pleistocene; social context of aging for the ring-tailed lemurs at the Duke Lemur Center; exploration of Cplant foods; nutritional and mechanical properties of African savanna vegetation; relationship between cow’s milk hygiene and traditional milk consumption practices in The Gambia in West Africa; and testing the protein leverage hypothesis.
  4. MA, PhD offered: We grant both MA and PhD degrees in our program. We have a dual MA/MBA program with the CU Leeds Business School.
  5. Student’s favorite aspects of department: being able to work closely with research, active faculty members, and having good lab and office space

University of Arizona

  1. Expertise: primatology, behavioral ecology, cognitive evolution, animal behavior and cognition, human biology, physiology, functional morphology and biomechanics, paleoanthropology, socioendocrinology, disease, and skeletal biology
  2. Funding: We offer three-year funding packages that may include teaching assistantships, research assistantships, and incoming student fellowships. Student support is continued through external fellowships, internal grants, TAships, and RAships. The School of Anthropology also has funds for presenting at conferences and conducting research.
  3. Research opportunities: Students are involved in research with their primary advisors in addition to independent Master’s and Dissertation research. Current student research includes comparative cognition, genetics, the gut microbiome, socioendocrinology, cooperative care, paleopathology, biodistance, physiology, and biomechanics. There are opportunities for fieldwork in Tanzania, Kenya, Mexico, Madagascar, and the United States.
  4. MA, PhD offered: students are admitted to the PhD program and earn an MA in the process.
  5. Student’s favorite aspects of department: our collaborative/supportive environment, and diverse faculty specializations that converge in interesting ways, leading to novel student research
  6. Other highlights: we maintain strong links to other departments on campus and students can take advantage of collaborative research in psychology, ecology and evolutionary biology, physiology, medicine, public health, family studies, natural resources, and veterinary and animal science.

University of New Mexico

  1. Expertise: Our department spans the traditional area of expertise in evolutionary anthropology, including human behavioral ecology, primatology, reproductive ecology, hominin paleontology, osteology, and genetics. We offer expertise in evolutionary demography and life history theory. We have a heavier emphasis on big-picture theory than many programs, which makes our students especially qualified as teachers and researchers once they graduate.
  2. Funding: UNM students are offered funding for a minimum of three years. We encourage all incoming students to apply for external support, but our faculty are well-funded and have often been able to provide continuous funding for admitted students. UNM has fellowships in Latin American and Iberian Studies and numerous small pots of money to support travel to conferences and pilot research.
  3. Research opportunities: We encourage students to develop independent dissertation projects. These often take advantage of faculty-established field sites—e.g., Mattison: Vanuatu and China; Emery Thomson and Muller: Kibale Chimpanzee site; Kaplan (now emeritus): Bolivia; Edgar: Mexico. Students frequently assist faculty with ongoing research projects and are presented as early as possible in their careers with opportunities to co-publish with faculty. In-house opportunities arise in computational/analytical and laboratory domains; students often join faculty in the field to pursue mentored independent projects.
  4. MA, PhD offered: Students are ordinarily admitted to the PhD program (i.e., we do not accept students who intend to terminate training at the masters level), but we expect students to fulfill MA requirements by the end of the second year. We do not offer any dual-degree programs.
  5. Student’s favorite aspects of department: From a grad student: “The quality of life is high due to weather, cost of living, etc. The environment is very collaborative, and students and faculty have frequent and positive discourse. The department is relatively “young” in terms of faculty, so there is a lot of active research going on. We have a nice blend of approaches, so students can work in in-house laboratories, have access to field sites, and engage with strong theorists all in one place.”
  6. Other highlights: UNM has a strong history of evolutionary scholarship across disciplines. The evolutionary anthropology program has strong connections with prominent scholars in evolutionary medicine, evolutionary biology, evolutionary psychology, and evolutionary immunology. From a faculty member: “I genuinely believe that the UNM program is currently one of the best in the country, if not the world, for training in evolutionary anthropology. The city of Albuquerque is also ‘enchanting’ yet low-cost, boasting exceptional diversity, wonderful arts & leisure, and the yearly balloon fiesta, among other attractions. Finally, many of the students are involved in local volunteering such as teaching in K-12, providing opportunities for making a direct impact on local communities beginning early in the graduate career.”

**Keep an eye out for more posts throughout the year. Check department websites for application guidelines and deadlines.**

Melanie Martin is a postdoctoral associate in the Department of Anthropology at Yale University.

Cite as: Martin, Melanie. 2017. “Evolutionary Anthropology Graduate Programs IV.” Anthropology News website, December 4, 2017. doi: 10.1111/AN.709

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