Doctor of Philosophy in the Field of Human Paleobiology

Specific admission requirements are shown on the Graduate Program Finder.

The following requirements must be fulfilled:

The general requirements stated under Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, Graduate Programs.

The requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy program.

72 credits.

Recommended Preparatory Courses

Advanced undergraduate courses in biology, including courses in evolution and any two of the following: genetics, developmental biology/embryology, anatomy, physiology, ethology, ecology, and paleontology. GW courses that correspond to these subjects are:
BISC 2207Genetics
BISC 2208Genetics Laboratory
BISC 2214Developmental Biology
BISC 2322Human Physiology
BISC 2332Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy
BISC 2450Organic Evolution
BISC 2451History of Life
BISC 2452Animal Behavior
BISC 2454General Ecology
Advanced undergraduate courses in anthropology, including courses in any two of the following: osteology, human biology, paleoanthropology, primatology, and Paleolithic archaeology corresponding to:
ANTH 3832Paleoanthropological Field Program
ANTH 3401Human Functional Anatomy
ANTH 3402Human Evolutionary Anatomy
ANTH 3403Forensic Anthropology Laboratory
ANTH 3404Human Variation
ANTH 3412Hominin Evolution
ANTH 3411Primatology
ANTH 3491Topics in Biological Anthropology
ANTH 3801African Roots from Australopithecus to Zimbabwe
ANTH 3802Human Cultural Beginnings
One course in statistics corresponding to:
STAT 1127Statistics for the Biological Sciences
One course in mathematics, including precalculus, corresponding to:
MATH 1220Calculus with Precalculus I
MATH 1221Calculus with Precalculus II
Advanced undergraduate courses in one or more of the following subjects: chemistry, biochemistry, physics, geoscience, and calculus

 Doctoral Program

The following requirements must be fulfilled: 72 credits, including 6 to 24 credits in dissertation research.
Students complete a program of study including a minimum of 48 credits of coursework developed in consultation with the advisor prior to advancing to PhD candidacy.
Required
Foundations core (5 to 7 credits)
HOMP 6202Lab Techniques: Paleoanthropology
HOMP 6203Ethics and Professional Practice I
HOMP 8301Problem-Based Learning Seminar
Modern and paleobiology core (12 credits)
One exemption may be allowed depending upon prior education. Program approval is required.
ANTH 6407Anthropological Genetics
ANTH 6801Paleolithic Archaeology
HOMP 6201Hominid Paleobiology
and one 3-credit course in animal/primate biology, behavior, or ecology such as ANTH 6404, BISC 6206, or another approved course chosen in consultation with the advisor.
Statistical methods core (3 credits)
ANTH 6413Analytical Methods in Human Evolutionary Studies
or an alternative course selected in consultation with the advisor.
Engagement and application core (9 credits)
HOMP 8302Public Undrstand Of Scie Intrn
HOMP 8303Paleobiology Lab Rotation (taken twice for 3 credits for a total of 6 credits)
Electives
The remainder of credits in coursework selected in consultation with the advisor from among various interdisciplinary courses, including but not limited to, the following:
ANAT 6212Neurobiology
ANTH 3401Human Functional Anatomy
ANTH 3408The Evolution of Human Families
ANTH 3411Primatology
ANTH 3413Evolution of the Human Brain
ANTH 3801African Roots from Australopithecus to Zimbabwe
ANTH 3802Human Cultural Beginnings
ANTH 6406Human Genetic Variation
ANTH 6491Topics in Biological Anthropology
BISC 6210Methods of Study of Evolution
BISC 6215Vertebrate Phylogeny
BISC 6228Population Genetics
BISC 6230Human Genetics
BISC 6249Seminar: Developmental Biology
BMSC 8210Genes to Cells
GEOL 3126Sedimentology and Stratigraphy
GEOL 3140Geochemistry
HOMP 6995Independent Research
or any 6000-level course in ANAT, ANTH, BISC, BIOCHEM, BIOSTAT, CHEM, GEOL, HOMP, PHYS, or PSYC.
Dissertation research (6 to 24 credits)
HOMP 8999Dissertation Research (6 to 24 credits)

Advanced Requirements

Students must successfully complete general comprehensive examinations, a dissertation proposal defense and examination, and a final dissertation defense and examination.

General examinations prior to PhD candidacy

General examinations, including the dissertation proposal defense, must be successfully completed before the end of the third year of the program, prior to advancing to candidacy. These comprise two written comprehensive examinations, and a dissertation proposal defense and examination. 

The first comprehensive examination includes written questions that integrate comprehension across all core thematic areas (hominid paleobiology; paleolithic archaeology; anthropological genetics; and primate biology, behavior, and ecology) and tests foundational knowledge, concepts, theory, and/or methods learned in the core curriculum.

The second comprehensive examination is written in the form of an authoritative review of a chosen topic, including a history of previous relevant research, discussion of theoretical issues, and identification of outstanding questions or directions for future research. 

For the dissertation proposal defense, students must prepare a research proposal that meets funding agency guidelines and successfully complete an oral defense and examination of this proposal.

After PhD candidacy

After candidacy, students proceed to completing their doctoral research plan and writing the dissertation.  Successful completion of a final dissertation defense and oral examination is required to earn the PhD degree.