Majors and Courses


            Offered to Pitzer students (CMC and Scripps students must take this as an off-campus major). Increasingly, many in-demand fields – including those in the health professions, ethnobiology, and the social sciences – require training in both the biological sciences and the social sciences. The Human Biology major is designed to fill this need. Biology courses in such areas as genetics, evolution, animal behavior, anatomy, and physiology are most appropriate, while courses in the social sciences will depend more heavily on the student's career goals. For example, students interested in ethnobotany might select courses in plant systematics and cultural anthropology, while those interested in physical therapy would find neurophysiology appropriate. Students interested in medicine and cross-cultural health and healing would take such courses as science, politics and alternative medicine; sociology of health and medicine; healers, doctors and the brain, etc. Students are expected to formulate a coherent program of study within these options.


Biology 43L, 44L, Introductory Biology, or Biology 40L, Introduction to Biological Chemistry and 44L, or both semesters of the AISS course
Chemistry 14L, 15L, Basic Principles of Chemistry, or 29L, Advanced General Chemistry, or Chemistry 40L, Introduction to Biological Chemistry and Chemistry 15L, or both semesters of the AISS course
4 additional courses in Biology; at least 2 with lab; at least 3 from among courses of the following types:                        

  • Physiology
  • Neurobiology
  • Evolution
  • Behavior
  • Genetics
  • Comparative Anatomy
  • Ecology

Option 1: General Social Science
Students who are interested in Human Biology should take 7 courses in appropriate areas from at least 2 of the following 3 fields:

  • Anthropology
  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • One of these seven courses must be in biological anthropology.

- Human Biology Thesis - Topic selected in consultation with Faculty: Milton, Miller

RECOMMENDED: A course in statistics is strongly recommended.

Option 2: Cross-Cultural Health and Healing
7 courses from at least 3 of the following fields:

  • Anthropology
  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Political Studies
  • International and Intercultural Studies

- One appropriate practicum or internship course must be included.

- Human Biology Thesis - Topic selected in consultation with Faculty: Snowiss, Martins, Bonaparte, Thomas, Milton

RECOMMENDED: A course in statistics is strongly recommended

Keck Science Common Learning Outcomes

Students completing a major in the Keck Science Department should demonstrate the ability to:

1. Use foundational principles to analyze problems in nature.
2. Develop hypotheses and test them using quantitative techniques.
3. Articulate applications of science in the modern world.
4. Effectively communicate scientific concepts both verbally and in writing.

Student Learning Outcomes
A Human Biology Major should be able to:
1.       Have some understanding of the origins of human structure, physiology and behavior.
2.       Have some understanding of human interactions with each other and with their environment.

Cross-Cultural Health and Healing Option:

Students will demonstrate the ability to:

1. Identify, describe, understand and evaluate traditional, cultural, and/or indigenous (non-allopathic) healing modalities.

2. Critically identify, discuss, and evaluate micro- and macro-level issues affecting medical practice in local, global, and community health settings.

3. Demonstrate their understanding of course material and its linkages to their participation in an internship or practicum experience.

4. Create and develop a comprehensive senior thesis research project that integrates their study and experience.