Dr. Tesla Monson
About Combined Anthropology and Biology
The consideration of human biology is a necessary part of the holistic view of human beings. Biological anthropologists try to understand the nature of human variation in body size and shape, disease resistance, nutritional needs, and other medically relevant variables. The interaction of culture and environment with human health has given rise to the rapidly expanding field of medical anthropology. The success of this endeavor was highlighted by the work of Blumberg, a biological anthropologist who was awarded the Nobel prize in 1976 for his work with hepatitis.
The best models for the human body are our closest relatives, the primates; hence the interest in the ecological and historical variables influencing monkey and ape anatomy and physiology. The human fossil record is given much attention by the popular press, but biological anthropologists are most likely to be employed because of their expertise in human anatomy, genetics, growth and/or physiology.
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, physician's assistant).
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 or the Biology Department for more information.
Western Washington University undergraduates seeking to complete a BA or BS degree in biology/anthropology (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, 210, 215
- CHEM 161, 162, 163 (or CHEM 175, 176, 225)
- BIOL 204, 205, 206
- Physics and calculus
Note that there are different admission processes for the BA and BS degrees, as follows:
Combined Major - Anthropology/Biology, BA
This degree program is administered by the Anthropology Department.
Learn more about the Anthropology/Biology BA and specific program requirements.
How to Declare (Admission and Declaration Process):
The Anthropology Department has a two-step process for admission into this degree program. Bio/Anth BA pre-majors are students who have declared their intent to pursue a Bio/Anth 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, 176, and 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 Bio/Anth BA should contact the Anthropology Department.
Combined Major - Anthropology/Biology, BS
This degree program is administered by the Biology Department.
Learn more about this degree program and specific program requirements at Anthropology/Biology, BS.
Students with questions about the declaration and/or admission process for the Bio/Anth BS should contact the Biology Department.