Courses in Primatology
Whether you are only just beginning to explore an interest in primatology or are looking for related post-graduate positions, the UK has a thriving primatological community with many opportunities for progression. Below is a selection of undergraduate and postgraduate degree programs and courses.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
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 email@example.com. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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. The department is home to a number of primatologists and houses the International Journal of Primatology. For further information contact the admissions secretary Rosie Legg.
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 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). Hull York also offers an MSc in Human Anatomy Evolution. 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'.
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.
Liverpool John Moores University
The BSc Biology program offers modules in primatology. LJMU also has a MSc Primate Behaviour and Conservation. For further information on any programme, contact the Faculty of Science: SciAdmissions@ljmu.ac.uk
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 email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
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 email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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, Mary Hennessy.
The University of Salford
B.Sc. (Hons) in Wildlife & Practical Conservation and Wildlife Conservation with Zoo Biology are offered at Salford http://www.salford.ac.uk/environment-life-sciences/courses/undergraduate. 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 email@example.com (Director of Admissions) or Dr Robert Jehle (Wildlife programmes leader).
Relevant degree programmes are also available at the following institutions:
- Anglia Ruskin University
- Lincoln University
- The University of Abertay
- The University of Birmingham
- The University of St Andrews
- Sussex University
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 focused on primatology:
Liverpool John Moores University
The MSc in Primate Behaviour and Conservation covers key topics in primate behaviour, welfare and conservation. It includes a subsidised taught field course at a primate field site (staff work at sites in Africa, Asia and South America). Other taught modules include UAV (drone) technology and scientific research methods. these will equipe you with the skills to run your own primate research project at any of a number of field sites around the world. You will learn the skills needed to engage in scientific research to publication standard and will be qualified to go on to study for a PhD or work in a wide range of sectors concerned with the behaviour, welfare and conservation of primates.
LJMU also runs the MSC Wildlife Conservation and UAV Technology. We specialize in the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (drones) in wildlife conservation because these are revolutionising conservation by providing us with new perspectives on animal distribution and animal habitats. This unique Masters course covers contemporary issues in wildlife conservation with a strong focus on providing you with a thorough theoretical understanding and the practical skills you will need to become a professional in this exciting field.
Oxford Brookes University
The MSc in 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
Roehampton offers an MRes in Primate Biology, Behaviour and Conservation. 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. 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 a MSc 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.
The University of Stirling
The University of Stirling offers an MSc in Human Animal Interactions. Whilst not directly focussed on primates, this degree will introduce students to interdisciplinary approaches and a diverse range of methods used to research our relationships with other species. This course will cover a broad range of topics and considers human-animal interactions across a diverse range of contexts from pet owning to animal assisted interventions, zoos, farms and conservation. Psychology at Stirling has a vibrant research culture, with many internationally renowned primatologists (including Professors Phyllis Lee and Hannah Buchanan-Smith, Drs Christine Caldwell and Sarah Vick). Students will become members of the Behaviour and Evolution research Group (BERG) who meet up for weekly research seminars.
The University of St Andrews
The MSc in Evolutionary and Comparative Psychology provides advanced research training in a range of intellectual and practical skills associated with evolutionary and comparative approaches to the study of mind. On completion, students should be equipped with the necessary skills to facilitate research at MPhil or PhD level, and 67% of past course graduates have gone on into PhD research. The program provides a detailed knowledge of the evolutionary and comparative literature and principal theoretical and methodological issues in the field. In addition students also acquire the statistical and methodological skills necessary to undertake research in evolutionary psychology. A significant piece of independent research is undertaken in the final thesis, with potential opportunities to work at:
- the Living Links Centre and Budongo Trail in Edinburgh Zoo,
- the Wolfgang Köhler Primate Research Center in Leipzig,
- the Budongo Conservation Field Station in Uganda,
- the Taï Monkey Project in Ivory Coast and
- the Inkawu Vervet Project in South Africa.
General Primate-related Courses
Offers an array of short courses and diplomas related to conservation work, many of which have a specific focus on primates.
If you are aware of any courses which we have overlooked, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with a link to the relevant website. If you are responsible for the course in question then please feel free to include a short description of the course or institution.