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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : Archaeology

Undergraduate Course: Human Origins (ARCA10003)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe course provides an overview of human biological and cultural evolution from the first hominins to the emergence of our own species, Homo sapiens, using evidence provided by archaeology, molecular biology, and biological and social anthropology.
Course description The aim of the course is to provide students with a greater awareness of where we came from, and how we have developed physically and culturally over the past seven million years. Topics covered include: how scientists study human evolution; climate change and evolution; primate origins; the earliest hominins and the origins of bipedalism; evolution of the brain, intelligence and language; reconstructing diet and behaviour; the origin and global expansion of modern humans.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Students MUST NOT also be taking Human Evolution (PGHC11080)
Other requirements Pre-requisites: Archaeology 2A and 2B, or Honours entry to degrees in Classics, or equivalent.
Additional Costs None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should have at least 3 Archaeology courses at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this). We will only consider University/College level courses. Enrolments for this course are managed by the CAHSS Visiting Student Office, in line with the quotas allocated by the department. All enquiries to enrol must be made through the CAHSS Visiting Student Office. It is not appropriate for students to contact the department directly to request additional spaces.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  20
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 22, Summative Assessment Hours 2, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 172 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Coursework: 2,000 word essay, excluding bibliography (50%), and
A2-size (420 x 594 mm) poster (30%), and
500-word Encyclopedia entry on a significant site or find (20%)

Feedback Students will receive written feedback on their coursework, and will have the opportunity to discuss that feedback further with the Course Organiser during their published office hours or by appointment.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. show detailed knowledge of core concepts in human evolution
  2. show an understanding of hominin skeletal morphology
  3. demonstrate an ability to read, analyse and reflect critically upon relevant scholarship on human origins
  4. demonstrate an ability to sustain scholarly arguments in written form, by formulating appropriate questions and utilising relevant evidence
  5. plan and generate a public engagement poster
Reading List
Arsuaga, J.L. and Martinez, I. 2006. The Chosen Species: The Long March of Human Evolution. Oxford: Blackwell.

Cartmill, M. & Smith, F.H. 2009. The Human Lineage. Hoboken, Wiley-Blackwell.

Dinnis, R. & Stringer, C. 2014. Britain: one million years of the human story. London, Natural History Museum

Harris, E.E. 2015. Ancestors in our Genome. Oxford, Oxford University Press.

Jobling, M.A., Hurles, M. and Tyler-Smith, C. 2004. Human Evolutionary Genetics: Origins, Peoples and Disease. New York: Garland.

Stringer, C. 2012. The Origin of Our Species. Harmondsworth, Penguin.
Additional Information
Course URL
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsHuman Origins
Course organiserDr Catriona Pickard
Tel: (0131 6)50 2372
Course secretaryMr Rob Hutchinson
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