Why study Human Evolution and Behaviour with Foundation Year at Liverpool John Moores University?
- Access to a large, in-house skeletal collection of human skeletal remains
- Training in the excavation of human remains on the Poulton Archaeological ProjectExclusive placement opportunities on flagship Neanderthal excavation sites in Gibraltar (Gorham’s Cave Complex) and Belgium (Scladina Cave), and in primate conservation areas in Africa (Tanzania)
- State-of-the-art scientific laboratories for undertaking a range of scientific studies pertinent to biological anthropology
- Research-active teaching staff who regularly publish and attend academic conferences
- Field trips to zoos, archaeological sites and museums across the UK
About your course
The BSc (Hons) Human Evolution and Behaviour with Foundation Year at Liverpool John Moores University is the ideal course if you are interested in this subject but lack the necessary qualifications to study it at degree level.
The Foundation Year is ideal if you have the ability to study for a degree but don’t have the qualifications to enter directly onto the Human Evolution and Behaviour honours degree programme. Once you pass the Foundation Year you will progress directly onto the first year of the honours degree. If you are a full-time UK student, you will qualify for student financial support for the full duration of your course (subject to eligibility criteria).
About the BSc (Hons) Biological Anthropology
Extraordinary biological advances and new fossil discoveries are challenging long-standing theories on the evolution of our species. This course brings you up to date with the latest developments in the field of human evolution. The programme is characterised by its strong scientific approach and is focused on allowing you to develop a range of transferrable scientific skills that will enhance your career prospects. It is estimated that 50% of learning activity will be non-lecture-based in LJMU's cutting-edge laboratories for human osteology, laser scanning, GIS, genetics and environmental analyses, and off site. You will learn how to excavate human remains on the Poulton Archaeological Project, Cheshire, and have access to large skeletal assemblages for your final year research project and for lab practicals.
You are encouraged to take part in exciting placements opportunities to gain archaeological fieldwork experience and training on the Gorham’s Cave Complex UNESCO World Heritage Site, Gibraltar and at Scladina Cave, Belgium. The teaching team are research-active and are engaged on exciting projects all around the world. This means that we are up-to-date with the latest developments in the field, and we incorporate our own research into your learning activities.
Drawing on the diverse disciplines of evolutionary anthropology, primatology, environmental science, archaeology, geography and genetics, the course gives you the chance to develop skills in scientific research and to explore our evolutionary origins and our relationship with other living primates.
The programme focuses on six topics that are central to the field of human evolution and behaviour:
- Palaeoanthropology - examines the human evolutionary record through the fields of human skeletal biology, genetics, archaeology and environmental science.
- Primatology - explores contrasts and similarities between humans and other primates; primate adaptation, diversity and conservation.
- Human and other primate ecology - covers topics such as diet, subsistence, health and disease.
- Human variation - uses genetics and anatomy to explore human diversity.
- The evolutionary study of human behaviour - considers how behavioural traits such as the use of material culture can inform us about the evolution of cognition in hominins.
- Forensic anthropology - focuses on the identification of human remains and palaeopathology.
"The study of Human Evolution and Behaviour has added significance today given the many critical themes in the world today, such as over-population, a global decline in biodiversity, human-induced climate change, human diversity and pandemics"
Fees and funding
There are many ways to fund study for home and international students
The fees quoted above cover registration, tuition, supervision, assessment and examinations as well as:
- Library membership with access to printed, multimedia and digital resources
- Access to programme-appropriate software
- Library and student IT support
- Free on-campus wifi via eduroam
Although not all of the following are compulsory/relevant, you should keep in mind the costs of:
- accommodation and living expenditure
- books (should you wish to have your own copies)
- printing, photocopying and stationery
- PC/laptop (should you prefer to purchase your own for independent study and online learning activities)
- mobile phone/tablet (to access online services)
- field trips (travel and activity costs)
- placements (travel expenses and living costs)
- student visas (international students only)
- study abroad opportunities (travel costs, accommodation, visas and immunisations)
- academic conferences (travel costs)
- professional-body membership
- graduation (gown hire etc)
There are many ways to fund study for home and international students. From loans to International Scholarships and subject-specific funding, you’ll find all of the information you need on our specialist funding pages.
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Additional course costs
Practical and field activities underpin all programmes in the School. PPE is provided for all necessary practical work. There are no costs for day field trips for core and optional modules. Residential field trips associated with core modules are subsidised and include travel and half-board accommodation costs. Any residential field trips for optional modules will have costs involved. Locations may be subject to change and also subject to national and international travel restrictions.
A Human Evolution and Behaviour science degree opens doors to a range of careers in stimulating fields.
Future careers include many areas of healthcare, epidemiology, nutrition, primate conservation, genetics, forensic anthropology, field archaeology and archaeological science, zoology, environmental science, animal husbandry, veterinary science, museum curation, humanitarian organisations, social sciences, and academic research.
Beyond the directly applied career potential, graduates can gain employment in the teaching profession, the civil service and a range of field and laboratory science-related roles across a range of employment sectors.
On top of your academic studies, you will have the opportunity to undertake a short (4-6 week) work-based placement or a year's sandwich placement in the UK or abroad. Placements give you a chance to put your skills and knowledge into practice, as well as developing personal and subject-related skills and acquiring new skills to enhance your CV. They could lead to employment with the same organisation or through the contacts you make.
Careers, Employability and Enterprise Service
We are committed to ensuring all of our students experience a transformation in their employability skills and mindset and their career trajectory. A wide range of opportunities and support is available to you, within and beyond your course.
Every undergraduate curriculum includes Future Focus, an e-learning resource and workshop designed to help you to develop personal insight into your talents, passion and purpose. It will enable you to become more proactive, adaptable and resilient in your awareness and approach to career possibilities. You’ll be encouraged to engage with personal and professional development opportunities.
A suite of learning experiences, services and opportunities is available to final year students to help ensure you leave with a great onward plan and the means to make it a reality.
Our Centre for Entrepreneurship can help you to grow your enterprise skills and to research, plan and start your own business. You also have access to Careers Zone 24/7, LJMU’s state-of-the-art suite of online tools and resources; opportunities for flexible, paid and part-time work through Unitemps, themed webinars; an annual programme of employer events; funded extracurricular internships and one-to-one advice to accelerate your job search, CV and interview technique.
LJMU aims to make an international opportunity available to every student. You may be able to study abroad as part of your degree, either in Europe or the US. You could take part in a work placement in Europe under the ERASMUS+ scheme or apply for one of our prestigious worldwide internship programmes. There are also opportunities to attend a two-week summer school with one of our worldwide partners.
Our Go Global Fund can help with costs towards volunteering, individual projects or unpaid placements anywhere in the world. With all these opportunities at your feet, why wouldn’t you take up the chance to go abroad?
What you will study on this degree
Please see guidance on core and option modules for further information on what you will study.
Further guidance on modules
Modules are designated core or option in accordance with professional body requirements, as applicable, and LJMU’s Academic Framework Regulations.
Whilst you are required to study core modules, optional modules are also included to provide you with an element of choice within the programme. The availability of optional modules may vary from year to year and will be subject to meeting minimum student numbers.
Where changes to modules are necessary these will be communicated as appropriate.
Please see the programme specification document for further details on this course:Programme specification document (PDF)
Skills and Perspectives in Science 1
This module aims to develop your basic knowledge and research skills and covers scientific perspectives, writing, data handling and statistical analysis.
This module provides you with a broad overview of the diverse range of disciplines comprising wildlife studies.
Skills and Perspectives in Science 2
This module provides you with an appreciation of some modern scientific issues that are commonly discussed in the press. You will also cover a selection of topical subjects in biology, chemistry and related areas, alongside developing a range of academic, research and transferable skills related to your programme of study.
Anatomy and Physiology
This module enables you to examine the concepts of homeostasis, communication and transport within organisms. It also provides an introduction to human functional anatomy using a systemic approach to the organisation and function of organs and tissues in the human body.
Understanding the Environment
This module provides you with an understanding of the earth’s natural systems. You will study the global environment and characterisation of the Earth’s main biomes, atmosphere and climate, the hydrological cycle, the rock cycle, formation of soils, biodiversity, human environments and human-environment interactions.
Building Blocks of Life
This module provides you with an overview of key concepts in cell biology, including the chemical basis of the biosciences. Throughout the module you will gain an understanding of the basic concepts of cell biology and chemistry for the natural sciences, which you will learn through a series of lectures, workshops and practical laboratory sessions.
Genetics and Evolution
This module explains fundamental principles in genetics and genomics and describes the evolutionary processes from a genetics/genomics perspective in order to explain the origins of genetic and species diversity.
Introduction to Biological Anthropology
This module provides a general introduction to biological anthropology, which is the major field forensic anthropology is derived from.
Introduction to Archaeology
This module provides an introduction to the discipline of archaeology. You will be introduced to the concepts of science-based archaeology and cultural history with a regional focus on the archaeology of the British Isles.
Climate and Human Evolution
This module introduces you to the climate system and the ways in which humans have interacted with, and adapted/evolved to, their climates. It will cover a wide variety of timescales of human-climate interaction and evolution. It explores long and shorter term patterns of human evolution and climate change, examining the impact of climate instability and aridity upon resources.
Primate Social Systems
This module provides an introduction into existing primate social systems and the evolutionary processes that led to their development. Topics covered include social organisation, primate sexual selection, primate social behaviour and kin selection theory.
Human Variation, Adaptation and Ecology
How and why do humans vary and are humans still evolving? This module focuses on human biological and cultural diversity and how these characteristics make humans such an adaptable species. It also considers the ethics and societal impact of the study of human diversity.
GIS and Employability
This module aims to inform research, inquiry and communication through development of geographical skills and provide you with increased professional and subject specific understanding. It will also introduce you to Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and key methods of data and database management.
This module provides an introduction to the development and anatomy of the bones of the human skeleton with a view to identify human bones and teeth, their significance within the body, the landmarks and measurements used in the field of biological anthropology.
Excavation and Analytical Techniques
This module will provide anthropological work-based skills, including statistical data analysis, group work and experience of field excavation.
Primate Adaptation and Behaviour
What behaviours do we share with other primates? This module provides an introduction to the living, non-human primates and their adaptive diversity. It covers a range of topics, such as locomotion and arboreal adaptations, diets and dietary adaptations, primate social behaviour, recognition and cultural adaptations.
This module provides an in-depth exploration of the human fossil record, investigating questions such as: who are we and where did we come from and what makes us as humans distinct from other animals? Key issues and topics in palaeoanthropology are examined, ranging from the origins of the earliest hominins to modern human origins, as well as our fossil ape relatives, and how we know what we know.
The aim of this module is to provide theoretical knowledge on societal development from an archaeological perspective and some practical experience in archaeological analytical techniques.
Human Anatomy and Genetics
This module will provide you with basic knowledge of human anatomy and physiology. It also covers DNA techniques used in the field of human genetics and forensic anthropology.
The research project will be in any area appropriate to your programme of study on a topic of your choice. The module provides an opportunity for you to independently develop and demonstrate project planning, time-management and organisational inter-personal skills, along with scientific and practical working methods in a research or applied context.
What conservation strategies are used to help preserve the habitats of our primate cousins? This module examines the threats to wild populations in the context of biological evolution. It appraises the applications and limitations of the various primate conservation measures implemented in primate populations and critiques the design of management practices for primate conservation.
Current Topics in Biological Anthropology
This module introduces advanced knowledge of biological anthropology through the presentation of current research topics in the field. The topics build on knowledge gained at level 4 and level 5, as well as introducing novel topics, with the aim of developing specialist knowledge and critical skills that can be applied across a variety of subject areas/disciplines within the field of human evolution and behaviour.
This module provides relevant, stimulating and career-orientated experiential learning to encourage you to develop transferable skills relevant to the work environment and to foster initiative and independence of thought.
Environmental Modelling and GIS
The aim of this module is to provide you with a critical understanding of different environmental modelling techniques and to develop skills in the selection and application of appropriate models to investigate a range of environmental phenomena.
Within this module, you will examine, interpret and evaluate the evidence for Quaternary environmental change using appropriate proxy techniques and dating methods.
This module provides a brief history of medicine and gives you the knowledge to identify the signs of disease in the human skeleton and relate their findings to a broader forensic and archaeological context.
Advanced Forensic Anthropology
This module provides training in theoretical and practical skills used by forensic anthropologists.
Teaching and work-related learning
Excellent facilities and learning resources
We adopt an active blended learning approach, meaning you will experience a combination of face-to-face and online learning during your time at LJMU. This enables you to experience a rich and diverse learning experience and engage fully with your studies. Our approach ensures that you can easily access support from your personal tutor, either by meeting them on-campus or via a video call to suit your needs.
You will attend lectures, interactive workshops, laboratory sessions and small-group tutorials. Teaching accounts for approximately 12-15 hours of your week. The rest of your time should be spent in private study with the aid of resources available from our virtual learning environment, Canvas and Learning Resource Centre, so you can learn in your own time, at your own pace. Independent study becomes increasingly important as you work on your research project in your final year.
Work experience is a vital part of your studies and we strongly recommend that you undertake a 12-month sandwich placement after your second year, either in the UK or abroad. You will also have the chance to do a short 4-6 week long work-based learning placement before your final year. Placements not only give you a chance to put what you have learnt into practice, but they also develop your personal and subject-related skills and help you acquire new skills to enhance your CV.
Support and guidance
Dedicated personal tutor, plus study skills support
All students are assigned a Personal Tutor (PT) to provide academic and pastoral support and, when necessary, signpost students to the appropriate University support services. Your PT will be one of the lecturers on the course. Students meet with their PT on a one to one basis twice per semester during designated tutorial sessions and complete a Personal Development Planning form, which aims to allow you to reflect on previous performance and set targets for your learning and development.
The school is fully committed to promoting a learning environment that supports a culture of equality, diversity and inclusivity (EDI) and has a Disability Support Coordinator, an EDI Coordinator and a School EDI Working Group. Personal Tutors also play a vital role in promoting awareness of support services for students.
Assessment varies depending on the modules you choose, but will usually include a combination of exams and coursework.
We understand that all students perform differently according to how they are assessed, which is why we use a combination of assessment methods. These include:
- exams in the form of multiple choice, short answer, interpretative, problem-based learning and essay questions
- coursework, including phase tests, fieldwork/practical reports, data handling, oral presentations, poster presentations, podcasts, online or real-time group discussions, essays or the evaluation of practical skills
As some of the modules are highly practical, they are assessed by coursework only. For the final year research project, you will be expected to write a literature review and short scientific write-up. Work-based learning placements are assessed through a reflective diary, portfolio and student presentation.
Constructive feedback is vital in helping you to identify your strengths as well as the areas where you may need to put in more work. This is normally provided within three weeks of submission and may be via Canvas (our virtual learning environment), face-to-face or in writing.
Our staff are committed to the highest standards of teaching and learning
Dr Richard Jennings
Richard graduated with a BA in Anthropology and Near Eastern History and an MA in GIS Applications in Archaeology from the University of Auckland. He then did a PhD at the University of Oxford on the analysis of neanderthal and homo sapiens site distributions and environments of southern Iberia in the late Pleistocene and on the excavation of Palaeolithic levels in Higueral de Valleja Cave, Cadiz Province. His main research interest is human evolution with a current focus on the behaviour, ecology and disappearance of Neanderthals in southern Iberia. Richard co-directs archaeological excavations at the Gorham’s Cave Complex UNESCO World Heritage site, training students from LJMU and other universities in cutting-edge field techniques in the process. He also undertakes fieldwork in Ireland to address the key question of why there is no substantial evidence for an Irish Palaeolithic.
“My main research interest is human evolution with a current focus on the behaviour, ecology and disappearance of Neanderthals in southern Iberia”
What you can expect from your School
You will study at the Byrom Street site in the university’s City Campus in the heart of Liverpool. You will have access to first class teaching facilities, laboratories and study areas. The Avril Robarts library is within easy walking distance and here you'll find all the information you need to support your studies.
Please choose your qualifications below to view requirements
Minimum points required from qualifications: 88
GCSE and equivalents
Prior to starting the programme applicants must have obtained Grade C or Grade 4 or above in English Language and Mathematics GCSE or an approved alternative qualification below:
- Key Skills Level 2 in English/Maths
- NVQ Level 2 Functional skills in Maths and English Writing and or Reading
- Skills for Life Level 2 in Numeracy/English
- Higher Diploma in Maths/English
- Functional Skills Level 2 in Maths/English
- Northern Ireland Essential Skills Level 2 in Communication or Application of Number
- Wales Essential Skills Level 2 in Communication or Application of Number
- Minimum number of A Levels required: 1
- Is general studies acceptable? No
- Average A Level offer: CCD
- Are AS level awards acceptable? Yes
- Maximum AS Level points accepted: 20
- National Certificate (RQF): Acceptable only when combined with other qualifications
- National Extended Certificate: Acceptable only when combined with other qualifications
- National Diploma (RQF): Acceptable only when combined with other qualifications
- National Extended Diploma (RQF): Acceptable on its own and combined with other qualifications
- National Extended Diploma subjects / grades required: 88 UCAS Points
Access to Higher Education Diploma
- Access to Higher Education Diploma acceptability: Acceptable on its own and combined with other qualifications
- Further information: Overall Pass
- International Baccalaureate: Acceptable on its own and combined with other qualifications
- Additional information: 24 IB Points
- Welsh Baccalaureate: Acceptable only when combined with other qualifications
- Irish Leaving Certificate: Acceptable on its own and combined with other qualifications
- Grades / subjects required: 88 UCAS points
- FETAC acceptability: All modules accepted
- Scottish Higher: Acceptable on its own and combined with other qualifications
- Additional information: 88 UCAS points
- Scottish Advanced Higher: Acceptable on its own and combined with other qualifications
- Additional Information: 88 UCAS points
OCR National acceptability
- National Certificate: Acceptable only when combined with other qualifications
- National Diploma: Acceptable only when combined with other qualifications
- National Extended Diploma: Acceptable only when combined with other qualifications
- Are Level 3 NVQs acceptable? Acceptable when combined with other qualifications
Reduced Offer Scheme
As part of LJMU’s commitment to widening access we offer eligible students entry to their chosen course at a reduced threshold of up to 16/8 UCAS points. This applies if you are a student who has been in local authority care or if you have participated in one of LJMU’s sustained outreach initiatives, e.g. Summer University. Please contact the admission office for further details.
No interview requiredIELTS
6.0 (minimum of 5.5 in each component) or equivalent English language proficiency test.International entry requirements
Please Note: All international qualifications are subject to a qualification equivalency check.Can this course be deferred?
Yes, please contact us to discuss your optionsIs a DBS check required?
The University reserves the right to withdraw or make alterations to a course and facilities if necessary; this may be because such changes are deemed to be beneficial to students, are minor in nature and unlikely to impact negatively upon students or become necessary due to circumstances beyond the control of the University. Where this does happen, the University operates a policy of consultation, advice and support to all enrolled students affected by the proposed change to their course or module.
Further information on the terms and conditions of any offer made, our admissions policy and the complaints and appeals process.
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