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.
Modes and duration
Tuition fees (2020/21)
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.
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.
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.
All students must take the following module:
- Statistics I
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
- Primate Socioecology
- Group 2
- Current Issues in Palaeoanthropology
- Current Themes in Evolutionary Anthropology: Applied Perspectives
- Evolutionary Medicine
- Human Behavioural Ecology*
- 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.
- Further information about these modules is available on the department website.
All MSc students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a 15,000 word dissertation.
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.
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 a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.
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.
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.
Application and next steps
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.
- All applicants
- 28 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.