Graduate Anthropology Program

Biological Anthropology

The Anthropology Department at the University of Oklahoma has a broadly-based Master's program in biological anthropology, and offers a Ph.D. in Anthropology with an emphasis on Health and Human Biology. Our recently established Health and Human Biology track is an integrative Biological and Medical Anthropology Ph.D. program focusing on the adaptation, evolution, and behaviors of human ancestors and contemporary populations. The primary specialization areas of the faculty and the biological anthropology academic program are skeletal biology, human variation, genetic/molecular anthropology, medical anthropology, bioarchaeology, and biocultural adaptation.

Courses and Requirements

Dog femur with fractures

The University of Oklahoma offers a broad range of graduate-level biological and medical anthropology courses, including Human Osteology and Paleopathology, Gender and Health, the Anthropology of Aging, Human Adaptability, Medicine and Society, Human Growth, Human Variation, Theory and Method in Biological Anthropology, and Human Evolutionary History. 

Image: What do fractures say about human-animal interactions in the past? Fractured (left) versus normal femur of a domestic dog from the Late Archaic Flint River site, Alabama

Special topics courses and seminars in biological anthropology and advanced biological anthropology are also offered. Recent special topics courses and seminars include Biology of Poverty. Please see the OU course catalog for a complete list of anthropology courses. Please click here to see the courses offered during the current and upcoming semester.

Master's students complete 27 hours of course work and a thesis (3 hours). Master's course work includes four core courses in biological anthropology, archæology, linguistics, and sociocultural anthropology, and elective course work focused in biological anthropology. Please see the Graduate Program Requirements for details.Christina Warinner in the lab

The wide variety of independent research opportunities in biological anthropology for the Master's and Ph.D. programs include research at the Oklahoma Skeletal Biological lab, the Laboratories of Molecular Anthropology and Microbiome Research (LMAMR) at the OU Stephenson Research and Technology Center, the Oklahoma Archeological Survey, the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History, and with Anthropology faculty members.

Image: Dr. Christina Warinner

Ph.D. students in the Health and Human Biology track take four core courses in biological anthropology, archæology, linguistics, and sociocultural anthropology, if they have not already done so in their Master's program, as well as two additional required courses on theory and method in biological and medical anthropology. Ph.D. requirements include 90 hours of credit (60 credit hours of course work plus 30 hours of dissertation research). Please see the Graduate Program Requirements for details.

Independent Research Projects

Tassie HirschfeldThesis, dissertation, and other graduate-level research is conducted in consultation with the faculty. To aid in this process, each graduate student is assigned a faculty mentor upon entry into the program. The wide variety of independent research opportunities in biological anthropology for the Master's and Ph.D. programs include research at the Oklahoma Skeletal Biological lab, the Laboratories of Molecular Anthropology and Microbiome Research (LMAMR) at the OU Stephenson Research and Technology Center, the Oklahoma Archeological Survey, the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History, and with Anthropology faculty members.

Image: Dr. Tassie Hirschfeld and Charles Darwin

Recent Student Research

Recent student research focused on biological anthropology and/or medical anthropology includes:

  • Wister Valley Fourche Maline: A Contested Landscape (Ph.D. dissertation)
  • Measuring Mimbres Populational Health Status During the Pithouse to Pueblo Transition (M.A. thesis). 
  • Parents' Perceptions on Medical Care and Services for their Children with Down Syndrome in Tulsa, Oklahoma (M.A. thesis). 
  • Sherwood Washburn's Continuing Legacy (M.A. thesis). 
  • Perception and Management of Type II Diabetes: The Narrated Experience of Diabetes in an Absentee Shawnee Community (M.A. thesis). 
  • Mortuary Variability at the McDuffee Site (3CG21): A Middle Mississippian Site From Northeastern Arkansas (M.A. thesis).
  • Health Maintenance in Lima, Oklahoma: Intersections of Folk Medicine, Spirituality and Biomedicine (M.A. thesis). 
  • A Cross-Cultural Study of Adaptations to Chronic Arthritis in Hispanic-Americans (M.A. thesis).
  • A Prospective Cohort Study of Maternal Factors in Childhood Asthma: Parity, Obesity, Fetal Growth, and Social Stressors (Ph.D. dissertation). 

Fatherhood book coverFaculty Research Projects and Interests

  • Population genetic studies of human history (Lewis)
  • Paleodietary inference (Warinner)
  • Human variation, including disease risk (Warren) 
  • Medical anthropology, political economy, inequality, and post-socialism, in Latin America and Cuba (Hirschfeld) 
  • Behavioral ecology and life history theory (Anderson) 
  • The evolution of disease associated genetic variation (Lewis) 
  • Nonpaternity and paternity confidence (Anderson) 
  • Ancient biomolecules; methods development for analysis of highly degraded samples (Warinner) 
  • Model based approaches to quantitative population genetics (Lewis) 
  • Human animal interactions; skeletal biology and paleopathology of domestic dogs (Warren)
  • Human microbiome ecology in present and past populations (Warinner, Lewis)

Faculty

Dr. Kermyt G. Anderson
Dr. Katherine Hirschfeld
Dr. Courtney Hofman
Dr. Brian Kemp
Dr. Cecil Lewis
Dr. Tina Warinner 
Dr. Diane M. Warren