Courses in Primatology

Undergraduate degree programmes

At the undergraduate level, there are no degree programmes in Britain that focus specifically on Primatology. Instead, a wider variety of programmes are offered, each comprising individual modules that may be of relevance to primatologists. Typically, these programmes are Bachelor's degrees in Archaeology, Anthropology, Biology, Psychology and Zoology. Relevant modules might include those in primate behaviour, ecology and conservation.

A selection of these degree programmes is outlined below, with information on relevant modules that might be taken during the course. For more detailed and up-to-date information on any degree programme, please contact the University that administers the course. Potential students might also speak with the admissions tutor to make more detailed enquiries.

The list below is by no means exhaustive - it is merely a selection of programmes on offer. A complete list of all available degree programmes in the United Kingdom is available on the website of the Universities & Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), the organisation responsible for managing most undergraduate applications. If you are a student on a course that is not listed here, or represent a University that offers a relevant course, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Student Representative PSGB is happy to update this page with more courses of relevance to student members.


The University of Bristol

The School of Biological Sciences offers degree programmes  in Zoology and Psychology, either as single subjects or as a combined degree. Relevant modules cover mammalian biology and socio-biology, and include primate ecology topics. For further information, contact the admissions office.

PSGB Council Member Dr Christoph Schwitzer is Head of Research at the nearby Bristol Conservation and Science Foundation.


The University of Cambridge

Most sciences at Cambridge are taught within the multi-disciplinary framework of the Natural Sciences Tripos, which offers the B.A. Natural Sciences degree. Students are able to take a wide variety of courses from multiple departments, including the Department of Zoology, and to specialise according to their interests. For further information, contact the Tripos secretary

The Department of Archaeology and Anthropology offers its own degree, during which students specialise in one of three disciplines: archaeology, biological anthropology, or social anthropology. Several academic staff specialise in primatology and are able to supervise students in this field. For further information, contact Dr Mary Griffin


The University of Durham

Durham offers various undergraduate programmes in Anthropology. Modules can be taken in Evolutionary Anthropology, Material Culture and Biological/Social Origins, which have a strong primatology element. For further information, contact Lisa Brownlie, the admissions secretary

PSGB Council Member Dr Rachel Kendal is based in the Department of Anthropology.


The University of Exeter

The University of Exeter offers a combined degree, titled B.A. Archaeology and Anthropology. A B.Sc. Psychology programme is also available -- relevant modules might include, 'Introduction to Animal Behaviour', 'Animal Diversity and Behaviour' and ‘Applied Animal Behaviour'.

The University's Cornwall campus offers other degrees: B.Sc. Animal Behaviour, B.Sc. Zoology and B.Sc. Evolutionary Biology. These programmes include multiple modules in animal behaviour, ecology and sociobiology.

For further information on any degree programme, contact the Undergraduate Admissions officer


Hull York Medical School

HYMS is a medical school and at the moment only offers undergraduate medical degrees (with little or no primatology content) and BSc degrees for intercalating medical students. If you are a medical student interested in intercalating on a BSc with primatology content, the HYMS Centre for Anatomical and Human Sciences offers a BSc in Medical Sciences (Anatomical Sciences) Contact Dr Sam Cobb for further details. 


The University of Kent

The School of Anthropology and Conservation offers multiple degree programmes, including B.Sc. (Hons) Anthropology, B.Sc. Biological Anthropology and B.Sc. (Hons) Wildlife Conservation. Many modules include primatological topics, including 'Primate Behaviour and Ecology'.

PSGB Council Member Dr Tatyana Humle is a lecturer in primate conservation.


The University of Liverpool

Liverpool offers a B.Sc. (Hons) Zoology programme, with modules in Animal Behaviour and Sociobiology, Cognitive Evolution and Conservation Biology. The B.Sc. (Hons) in Anatomy and Human Biology includes a whole module on Primate Biology in the third year. For further information, visit the Enquiries Service.

PSGB Council Member Dr Caroline Harcourt is based in the University's Institute of Infection and Global Health.


Liverpool John Moores University

Various degree programmes are offered, all of which feature modules in primatology: B.Sc. (Hons) Animal Behaviour, B.Sc. (Hons) Wildlife Conservation and B.Sc. (Hons) Zoology. For further information on any programme, contact the Faculty of Science


University College London

The Department of Anthropology offers a three-year B.Sc. Anthropology programme. Relevant modules might include, 'Primate Behaviour and Ecology', 'Man and Animals', 'Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology', 'Evolution and Human Behaviour', and 'Primate Evolutions and Environments'. Professor Volker Sommer teaches the primatology modules and is Director of The Gashaka Primate Project. For further information, contact Dr Jerome Lewis, the admissions tutor


The University of Oxford

The University of Oxford offers a degree in Biological Sciences. Relevant modules might include, 'Development and Evolution of Animals', 'Species Conservation', 'Evolutionary Ecology of Plants and Animals', 'Human Evolutionary Genetics' and 'Advanced Animal Behaviour'. For further information, contact the undergraduate administrator

The School of Archaeology offers the B.A. (Hons) Archaeology and Anthropology programme. For further information, visit the programme-specific website or contact the School.

Two current PSGB Council Members are based at the University: Dr Susanne Shultz at the Institute of Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology, and Dr Susan Cheyne at the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit.


Oxford Brookes University

B.Sc. (Hons) Animal Biology and Conservation and B.Sc. (Hons) Anthropology are both offered at Oxford Brookes. Both include modules in Primate Societies. For further information, contact

PSGB Council Member Dr Giuseppe Donati is a lecturer in primatology and biological anthropology at Oxford Brookes.


The University of Portsmouth

Portsmouth offers a B.Sc. (Hons) Psychology programme. The University is also home to the Centre for Comparative and Evolutionary Psychology, which aims to better understand human and animal behaviour and cognition through comparison with other animals and consideration of evolutionary process. For further information, contact science admissions

Professor Kim Bard, PSGB President, is Director of the Centre for Comparative and Evolutionary Psychology.


The University of Roehampton

The University of Roehampton offers a B.Sc. Anthropology degree programme. Relevant modules might include, 'Humans and other Primates', 'Primate Biology and Conservation' and 'Animal Behaviour and Cognition '. For further information, contact the Department Administrator, Louise Deegan

Roehampton’s Anthropology programme is convened by Dr Todd C Rae, a PSGB Council Member who also serves as Editor of 'Primate Eye'.


The University of Salford

B.Sc. (Hons) in Wildlife & Practical Conservation and Wildlife Conservation with Zoo Biology are offered at Salford
Year-long modules in Primate Behaviour & Conservation and Animal Cognition & Social Complexity will be of particular interest. Other relevant modules include: ‘Wildlife Behavioural Ecology’, ‘Conservation Biology’, ‘Animal Evolution’, ‘Wildlife and the Law’, ‘Introduction to Zoo Biology’ and ‘Zoo Animal Management’. Also, ‘GIS’ and ‘Environmental Remote Sensing’. For further information contact: Dr Denise Thomasson (Director of Admissions) or Dr Robert Jehle (Wildlife programmes leader).

Research Working Party convenor, Dr Sean O’Hara, is in the School of Environment & Life Sciences together with fellow primatologists, Dr Jean Boubli and Prof Rob Young.


Relevant degree programmes are also available at the following institutions. Programme-specific information will follow shortly:

Postgraduate degree programmes

Most universities that offer undergraduate courses in primatological subjects will offer similar research programmes at postgraduate level. Several universities offer specific courses that are highly focused in primatology:

Oxford Brookes University

The M.Sc. Primate Conservation programme has been running for more than a decade at Oxford Brookes, and was recently awarded the highly prestigious Queen's Anniversary Prize for Excellence in Higher Education. Modules include those in primate diversity, biogeography and status; people-primate interactions; primate conservation and genetics and population management.

The University of Roehampton

offers an MRes
Primate Biology, Behaviour and Conservation
programme. The course is designed to teach you how to conduct original research, and to put your findings into a theoretical context. This will prepare you for more advanced research (e.g. a PhD) and for consultancy work. Since 2009, fourteen of our former MRes students have been awarded funded PhD positions. In addition, many have published the results of their research projects in prestigious international journals; examples from the last two years are:

l Boulton, RA and Ross, C (in press) Measuring facial symmetry in the wild: a case study in olive baboons (Papio anubis). Behavioral Ecology
and Sociobiology

l Borg, C, Majolo, B, Qarro, M and Semple, S (in press) A comparison of body size, coat condition and endoparasite diversity of wild Barbary macaques exposed to different levels of tourism. Anthrozoos

l Wallace EK, Kingston-Jones M, Ford M and Semple S (in press) An investigation into the use of music as potential auditory enrichment for
Moloch gibbons (Hylobates moloch). Zoo Biology

l Gustison, M, MacLarnon, A, Wiper, S and Semple, S (2012) An experimental study of behavioural coping strategies in free-ranging female
Barbary macaques (Macaca sylvanus). Stress 15, 608-617

l Kaburu, SSK, MacLarnon, A, Majolo, B, Qarro, M and Semple, S (2012) Dominance rank and self-scratching among wild female Barbary macaques (Macaca sylvanus). African Zoology 47, 74-79

l Buckley, V and Semple, S (2012) Evidence that displacement activities facilitate behavioural transitions in ring-tailed lemurs. Behavioural Processes 90, 433-435

The University of Roehampton has a very strong research record in primatology. In the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise, Roehampton was ranked the highest of those anthropology departments working on biological anthropology. In total, 80% of research was judged to be world leading or internationally excellent, a higher percentage than any other anthropology department in the country.

The University of Kent

The Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE) in the School of Anthropology and Conservation at the University of Kent offers, starting in September 2012, a new one-year taught-masters programme in Conservation and Primate Behaviour. DICE provides a unique learning environment focused on research-led teaching and on promoting student experience. It also offers a unique synergy between conservation and anthropology, a dynamic school community and excellence in teaching and research. This programme promotes an interdisciplinary approach and understanding of primate conservation issues. Students will have the opportunity to acquire a diverse sets of skills and knowledge across ecological, behavioural, and social methodologies and perspectives geared at achieving effective conservation management. This programme aims to highlight the benefits of incorporating an understanding of local human communities' experiences and knowledge and of primate behavioural and landscape ecology to foster successful conservation of non-human primates. This programme is relevant to the work of research institutions, international and national NGOs, consultancy firms and/or contractors, international agencies and donors. If interested, please apply online.