HEB Info for Pre-concentrators

Course Sequence Recommendations for Human Evolutionary Biology

ver. 2020-07-29

Course Sequence Recommendations for Students Considering the Human Evolutionary Biology Concentration

Required Courses:

Fall Semester


Spring Semester


Spring Semester


Junior Year

Life Sciences 1a or

LPS A, or LS 50a

Life Sciences 1b, or

LS 50b

Sophomore Tutorial

Research Seminar

Students should aim to complete either the LS 1a/LPS A and LS 1b sequence, or LS 50ab, during their first year. Concentrators are required to complete the Sophomore Tutorial in HEB, usually during Sophomore Spring. Junior year, students normally take a Junior Research Seminar that aligns with their interests (see website for course listings).

Along with the required courses above, students must take a minimum of nine additional courses. Five of these must be HEB courses*, and the remaining four are approved courses in either HEB or related fields, such as Math/Statistics, Physical Sciences, Chemistry, Archaeology, Psychology, Organismic & Evolutionary Biology, Molecular & Cellular Biology, etc. See the HEB website (below) for more information on qualifying courses.

*Note: three of the HEB courses must fulfill distribution requirements for Evolution, Anatomy/Physiology, and Behavior. Qualifying courses can be found on the HEB website.

Freshmen should take the online Biology and Chemistry placement exams for placement recommendations.

See the HEB section of the Life Sciences website for more information: http://lifesciences.fas.harvard.edu/heb

Gateway courses in HEB: Intro-level courses that give you a good idea of what HEB courses are like:

FALL 2021:

  • Life Sciences 2: Evolutionary Human Physiology and Anatomy
  • Gen Ed 1056: Human Nature
  • HEB 1380: Behavioral Biology of Women
  • HEB 1392: What Game Theory Reveals About Human Nature
  • HEB 1330: Primate Social Behavior


SPRING 2021:

  • GenEd 1027: Human Evolution and Human Health
  • HEB 1310: Hormones and Behavior
  • HEB 1420: Human Evolutionary Anatomy
  • HEB 1339: The Human Brain in the Animal Kindgom

HEB Office Hours

Sign up for a meeting with Dr. Yegian here. He is your primary advising contact in HEB. You need to meet with him to get the advising hold on your Crimson Cart lifted, and he can answer all your questions about HEB courses, requirements, research, honors, and more.  Dr. Carole Hooven has limited advising hours this semester, and you can sign up for a meeting with her here if you would like to coninue conversations started in previous semesters.

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If You're Considering Human Evolutionary Biology!

Rev. 2021-08-11

Human Evolutionary Biology (HEB)


Evolutionary theory is a pillar of modern science and provides a powerful framework for investigating questions about why humans are the way they are. Human evolutionary biologists seek to understand how evolutionary forces have shaped our anatomy, physiology, and behavior. Research in human evolutionary biology influences the practice of medicine, and also impacts economics, psychology, political science, religion and literature.


Examples of questions in which we are interested:

  • How does our gut microbiota influence patterns of disease?
  • Why did our species evolve such large brains?
  • How can health care be improved by understanding our species’ evolutionary history?
  • Why do humans walk upright?
  • What psychological, anatomical and physiological traits are uniquely human and why did they evolve?
  • Why and how do humans cooperate on such large-scales compared to other primates?
  • How has culture and its evolution--including things like music and religion--shaped our species’ biological evolution? 
  • How does the lifestyle of modern humans (e.g., diet, activity levels) impact our evolutionary trajectory?


Research: This is an exciting time to tackle questions of how evolution made us human, and research in HEB provides you the opportunity to learn and contribute. HEB faculty lead projects spanning a spectrum of interests and methods, including analyses of Peabody Museum skeletal collections, fieldwork in the rainforests of Uganda, and lab work in our cutting-edge facilities. Professors work closely with undergraduates for senior theses, research seminars, and other projects. Examples of research opportunities in HEB include:


human and primate nutrition

human cognition

reproductive and behavioral endocrinology

cultural evolution

evolutionary genetics and phylogenetics

human anatomy



human behavioral ecology


Options: HEB provides a general foundation in human and organismic biology as part of the Life Sciences cluster of concentrations. Students interested in human and non-human primate cognition from the perspective of human evolutionary biology may pursue a Mind/Brain/Behavior (honors thesis) track.


We offer students three degree options: the basic non-honors degree, thesis honors, and non-thesis honors. All students take the LS 1a / LPS A, LS 1b sequence (or LS 50ab), a sophomore tutorial, and a junior research seminar.


Contact Information and Advising:


Concentration Advisor and Co-Director of Undergraduate Studies

Co-Director of Undergraduate Studies

Dr. Carole Hooven

Peabody Museum 52-F

Professor Dan Lieberman