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Human Evolution and Behaviour MSc

Evolutionary theory has radically altered our understanding of human life. The Human Evolution and Behaviour MSc at UCL is designed to provide students with a solid practical and theoretical grounding in issues relevant to the evolution of humans and non-human primates.

Covid-19 programme updates

Due to COVID-19, there may have been updates to this programme for the 2020 academic year. Where there has been an update, these are indicated with a red alert and a link which will provide further information.

Key information

Programme starts

September 2020

Modes and duration

Full time: 1 year
Part time: 2 years

Application dates

All applicants
Open: 1 November 2019
Close: 11 August 2020
Notification
Due to the large number of applications received, this programme is no longer accepting applications for 2020/21 entry. We apologise for any inconvenience caused. Applications for 2021/22 entry will open later in the year.

Tuition fees (2020/21)

UK/EU:
£13,640 (FT)
£6,810 (PT)
Overseas:
£23,340 (FT)
£11,830 (PT)


Note on fees: The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website.

Location: London, Bloomsbury

Entry requirements

A minimum of an upper second-class Bachelor's degree in a relevant discipline from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard.

English language requirements

If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency.

The English language level for this programme is: Advanced

Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.

International students

Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.

International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below.

Select your country:

About this degree

Students develop the ability to generate, assess and synthesise empirical evidence and hypotheses related to human evolution and behaviour. They gain subject-specific skills, such as measuring skeletal material, interpreting and generating data related to human ecology, reproduction and genetics, and generating behavioural data of humans and non-human primates through observation.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of one compulsory module (15 credits), five optional modules (75 credits) and a research dissertation (90 credits).

Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded a MSc in Human Evolution and Behaviour.

Please note that the list of modules given here is indicative. This information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability is subject to change.

Compulsory modules

All students must take the following module:

  • Statistics I

Optional modules

Students must take 75 credits in total from the optional modules below, out of which 30 credits from modules in Group 1 and 45 credits from modules in Group 2.

  • Group 1
  • Human Behavioural Ecology
  • Palaeoanthropology
  • Primate Socioecology
  • Group 2
  • Current Issues in Palaeoanthropology
  • Current Themes in Evolutionary Anthropology: Applied Perspectives
  • Evolutionary Medicine
  • Human Behavioural Ecology*
  • Palaeoanthropology*
  • Primate Socioecology*
  • Primate Evolution
  • Statistics II
  • Archaeology of Hunter-Gatherers from the Emergence of Modern Humans
  • Evolution of the Human Brain and Behaviour
  • Prehistoric Stone Artefact Analysis
  • The Archaeology of Early Human Origins
  • Practical Documentary Filmmaking

* If not chosen from Group 1.

Covid-19 module updates
Due to COVID-19, there may be updates to the modules for your chosen programme of study this year. Some modules may not be available or may need to be moved to a later term or year of study. These updates are relevant for 2020-21 academic year only.  The full list of modules will be available in the module catalogue from late August.  From the first week of September, you will be invited to complete module selection from Portico, our student record system. There may need to be additional updates or changes to modules during the academic year to allow for new guidance from the UK Government and Public Health England. Your department shall keep you updated of these changes as they become available.

Dissertation/research project

All MSc students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a 15,000 word dissertation.

Covid-19 field trip updates
Due to COVID-19 updates, there may need to be changes to planned field trips for this programme. This will depend on travel restrictions, social distancing measures, and the availability of the relevant venues. Your department will keep you updated if field trips are able to occur and/or any alternative options available.

Teaching and learning

The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, labs and seminars, including weekly two-hour departmental seminars, and occasional attendance at non-departmental seminars. Assessment is through take-home examination, essays, lab-books, practical tests, and presentation. The dissertation is assessed by a project presentation and the thesis.

Covid-19 contact hours on campus
In Term One, while campus will be open, all the learning activity for the core content of your modules will take place online – including lectures, tutorials, seminars and assessments. By “core content” we mean everything you need to learn to complete the module successfully. In addition to these online contact hours, we will be offering some face-to-face educational activities for students on campus, and we will provide alternative online activities for those students unable to join us on campus. These activities, which will include contact with academic staff, will be relevant to your programme of study may include seminars, academic and employability skills workshops, small-group or individual tutorials, lab and practice-based teaching. UK Government safety guidelines will limit the amount of ‘in person’ activity we can offer and while it will vary from programme to programme, is likely to be no more than 1-2 hours per week. This will vary across departments, particularly if your programme includes laboratory/practical/studio/workshop sessions. You will be updated with more specific details as they are available and your timetable will indicate which sessions will be on campus and which will be available online.
Covid-19 practical component updates
Due to COVID-19, there may be changes to the availability of the practical components for your chosen programme. Any updates relate only to the 20/21 academic year and may not apply to all students across the programme depending on your year of study.  Your department will keep you updated if the practical component of your programme is able to occur and/or any alternative options available.   There may need to be additional updates or changes to the practical component during the academic year to allow for new guidance from the UK Government and/or Public Health England. Your department shall keep you updated of these changes as they become available. 
Covid-19 assessment updates
There may be changes to the format of assessments for modules in this programme due to COVID-19. These will be summarised for each module on the module catalogue from 17 August 2020.   If any changes to assessments need to be made during the academic year due to updates in government guidance, these will be communicated to you as soon as possible from your department.    
Communicating further Covid-19 mitigation plans
We are continuing to follow UK Government guidance, as well as the expertise of our researchers, including specialists in health, education, human behaviour and infection prevention, to make sure UCL is as safe as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic. If it becomes necessary to make further changes to your programme as a result of new guidance/regulations, UCL and your department will communicate these as soon as this becomes clear. We will keep you up-to-date with our plans throughout term one, so you have the information you need to be able to take decisions that are right for your circumstances. Please ensure that you keep in touch with your department by regularly checking your UCL emails, Moodle courses, the Coronavirus FAQs for Students page and any UCL online groups or social media you follow.

Additional costs

Data collection for the dissertation typically takes place from April till June. Facilitated by the chosen supervisor, about half of all students will collect their data outside England. The costs for a three-month stint of fieldwork, e.g., in Asia, Africa or South America, will typically not exceed £2,000, including travel costs. The department often offers competitive bursaries of a few hundred pounds to facilitate this, but the bulk of the costs is normally borne by the students.

For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.

Accessibility

Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble. Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support & Wellbeing team.

Funding

For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.

Careers

Many graduates are successful in entering fully funded doctoral programmes based on their training and achievements on the programme. Our graduates also go on to work in the media (TV, radio, publishing), in NGOs (community development, nature conservation), government organisations (national statistics, health programmes), in zoos and museums (overseeing collections, co-ordination research), or become school teachers. Moreover, numerous alumni have become notable academics in their own right, teaching as permanent staff in universities across the globe.

Employability

Graduates of the programme will be trained in the fundamentals of scientific inquiry including hypothesis generation, data collection and statistical analysis, data synthesis and reporting of results. Additionally, they acquire advanced training in computer-based quantitative methods, presentation techniques and the public understanding of science. Students will also gain skills specific to their dissertation research that can include behavioural observation techniques, field data collection, computer modelling, and advanced shape analysis.

Why study this degree at UCL?

The department ranks fifth in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2019, making it the top ranked institution in London, and third in the UK and Europe for the subject. Our excellent results in the Research Excellence Framework 2014 also identify us as a leading Anthropology department in the UK.

UCL Anthropology was the first in the UK to integrate biological and social anthropology with material culture into a broad-based conception of the discipline. It is one of the largest anthropology departments in the UK in terms of both staff and research student numbers, offering an exceptional breadth of expertise.

Students are encouraged to take full advantage of the wider anthropological community in London and the department's strong links with European universities and international institutions.

Department: Anthropology

Application and next steps

Applications

Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines.

There is an application processing fee for this programme of £80 for online applications and £105 for paper applications. Further information can be found at: www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate/taught/application.

Who can apply?

The programme is suitable for students with a background in evolutionary anthropology or a related discipline who wish to gain a training and qualification in this field as a foundation for higher research and professional work, and for graduates from other fields or careers wishing to supplement their existing knowledge and experience.

Application deadlines

All applicants
11 August 2020

For more information see our Applications page.

Apply now

What are we looking for?

When we assess your application we would like to learn:

  • why you want to study Human Evolution and Behaviour at graduate level
  • why you want to study Human Evolution and Behaviour at UCL
  • what particularly attracts you to this programme
  • how your personal, academic and professional background meets the demands of a challenging academic environment
  • where you would like to go professionally with your degree

Together with essential academic requirements, the personal statement is your opportunity to illustrate whether your reasons for applying to this programme match what the programme will deliver.

Applicants with a background in Biological Anthropology, Biological Sciences, Human Sciences, Zoology, Archaeology and Genetics are eligible for direct entry on to this degree. Applications with a background in a non-relevant discipline will be passed on to the course tutor for consideration. We explicitly welcome applicants from a variety of backgrounds, including Anthropology and Psychology, as long as they have a strong interest in and sufficient understanding of evolutionary theory.

UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.

Page last modified on 13 August 2020