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University Bulletin: Graduate Programs The George Washington University  



Committee on Hominid Paleobiology

B. Wood (Chair), K. Behrensmeyer, R. Bernstein, D. Braun, A. Brooks, S. McFarlin, C. Murray, D. Piperno, R. Potts, B. Richmond, C. Sherwood, M. Zeder

Columbian College of Arts and Sciences offers an interdisciplinary program leading to the Doctor of Philosophy in the field of hominid paleobiology. Participating faculty are drawn from the Departments of Anthropology, Biological Sciences, and Anatomy and Regenerative Biology at GW; the Departments of Anthropology and Paleobiology at the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution; the Department of Physiology and Biophysics at Howard University; and the National Institutes of Health.

A bachelor’s degree in anthropology, biological sciences, geological sciences, or psychology from this University, or an equivalent degree from another accredited institution of higher learning, is required for admission into the program. Prerequisites include the following.

1) Advanced undergraduate course work 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 2207, 2208, 2214, 2322, 2323, 2332, 2450, 2451, 2452, 2454, 3456.

2) Advanced undergraduate course work in anthropology, including courses in any two of the following: osteology, human biology, paleoanthropology, primatology, and Paleolithic archaeology corresponding to Anth 3832, 3401, 3402, 3403, 3404, 3412, 3411, 3491, 3801, 3802; course work in statistics corresponding to Stat 1127; course work in mathematics, including precalculus, corresponding to Math 1220-21.

In addition, advanced undergraduate course work in one or more of the following subjects is desirable: chemistry, biochemistry, physics, geoscience, and calculus.

Exceptional applicants who lack some of the prerequisites may be admitted to the program on a provisional basis, but formal admission will be conditional on the satisfactory completion of appropriate deficiency courses in the first year.

Doctor of Philosophy in the field of hominid paleobiology—Required: the general requirements stated under Columbian College of Arts and Sciences. The program includes a minimum of 48 credit hours of course work, plus a dissertation (equivalent to 24 credit hours). Required courses are HomP 6201, 8301, 8302, 8303; Anth 6801; and a course in each of the following: genetics, geoscience or vertebrate paleontology, animal behavior or ecology, research methods, and statistical methods. The remainder of the course work is to be distributed among various interdisciplinary courses, including but not limited to the following: Anth 3402, 6401, 6405, 6413, 6404, 6412; Anat 6210, 6212; BiSc 2214, 2332, 6210, 6216, 6228, 6230, 6249; Geol 3126, 3140.

Three of the chosen courses must include a substantial independent research project. These research components must involve at least two different disciplines and may include approved field courses. Electives are to be selected as for the master’s degree. For detailed requirements, consult the chair of the doctoral program committee.

Research fields: Any subdiscipline of anatomy, anthropology, biology, ecology, or geoscience that pertains to research in the field of hominid paleobiology. At least one of the student’s research fields must be in a discipline other than anthropology.

6201 Hominid Paleobiology (3)
  Study of human evolution through investigation of the fossil record; current research in reconstructing paleobiology. Adaptation, phylogeny and behavior reconstruction, site formation, and the taxonomy, site context, anatomy, behavior, and major issues surrounding each hominin taxon.
6995 Research (arr.)
  Research on problems approved by the director of the program. Open to qualified students with advanced training. May be repeated for credit.
6998-99 Thesis Research (3-3)
8202 Laboratory Techniques in Paleoanthropology (1 to 3)
  Introduction to a range of laboratory settings and research opportunities available in the larger metropolitan area.
8203-4 Ethics and Professional Practice (1-1)
  Consideration of ethical issues faced by all scientists, with focus on professional practice specific to research and teaching on human evolutionary studies.
8301 Problem-Based Learning Seminar (1 to 3)
  Problem-based tutorial in hominid paleobiology. Development of research skills through problem-solving tasks in a small group. May be repeated for credit.
8302 Public Understanding of Science Internship (3)
  Supervised participation in an institution that presents science to the public. Opportunity to participate in procedures and gain practical experience in disseminating scientific information to non-scientists.
8303 Paleobiology Lab Rotation (2 or 3)
  Supervised participation in a relevant laboratory. Students learn analytical techniques, handle diverse types of data, and encounter a range of disciplines as preparation for later participation in interdisciplinary research projects. Admission by permission of the program chair. May be repeated for credit.
8998 Advanced Reading and Research (arr.)
  Limited to students preparing for the Doctor of Philosophy general examination. May be repeated for credit.
8999 Dissertation Research (arr.)
  Limited to Doctor of Philosophy candidates. May be repeated for credit.

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© 2013 University Bulletin
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Information in this bulletin is generally accurate as of fall 2012. The University reserves the right to change courses, programs, fees, and the academic calendar, or to make other changes deemed necessary or desirable, giving advance notice of change when possible.