HEB Info for Pre-concentrators

HEB Office Hours

With spring term still remote, we are scheduling appointments for virtual office hours. Grab a spot to talk about courses, future plans and anything else!


• To book with Co-DUS Carole Hooven, please use this link to her calendar. During the Spring semester, Dr. Hooven is generally available on Monday mornings from 9:30-11:30 am. If you can't make those hours, send an email and we'll find a time! I look forward to meeting you.

• To book with Dr. Roach, please use this link to his calendar. Through the spring, Dr. Roach is generally available on Tuesday afternoons. If you are having trouble finding a time, send me an email and we can find a time that works.

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Notes for Pre-Concentrators Considering Human Evolutionary Biology

Rev. 7/29/2020

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:

Why do humans walk upright?

Are humans adapted to eating cooked food?

What is the role of the gut microbiome in energy metabolism?

How did human societies expand from small hunter-gatherer bands to vast nation-states?

Are culture and language unique to our species?

What are the genetic bases for human traits?

When, where, and how did Homo sapiens evolve?

How has the environment influenced humans in the past and present?


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

Concentration Advisor/ Co- DUS

Co-Director of Undergraduate Studies

Dr. Neil Roach

Peabody Museum 46

Dr. Carole Hooven

Peabody Museum 52F

Professor Daniel Lieberman

Peabody Museum 53H

Course Sequence Recommendations for Students Considering 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 2020:
• Life Sciences 2: Evolutionary Human Physiology and Anatomy
• Gen Ed 1056: Human Nature

SPRING 2021:
• HEB 1330: Primate Social Behavior
• GenEd 1027: Human Evolution and Human Health
• HEB 1420: Human Evolutionary Anatomy