Universitat de Barcelona

Biological Anthropology


The master's degree Biological Anthropology is intended to provide holders of degrees in experimental sciences and the humanities with up-to-date training in human biodiversity, its origin, evolution and the biomedical implications. The program responds to the growing demand for specialists in the area of human biology and physical anthropology, contributing knowledge and methodologies pertaining to this area of specialization and related areas (e.g., physiology, genetics, zoology, medicine, archaeology).

The program focuses primarily on research and offers students the opportunity both to collaborate with businesses working in this field and to complete their final project in collaboration with outside institutions. Students are offered two specializations: Physical and Forensic Anthropology, and Molecular Anthropology and Biomedical Applications.

These studies are aimed at people who are interested in the following areas:

  • Forensic anthropology and the osteological and molecular techniques used in individual identification.
  • Anthropology applied to archaeology, including taphonomy, demographics and the reconstruction of ancient populations.
  • Human evolution, primatology and prehistory.
  • Molecular anthropology.
  • Biomedical applications of human molecular diversity in cytogenetics, complex diseases and genetic epidemiology.

This master's degree addresses all of these areas in an in-depth and interrelated manner. More than 50% of the content will be applied work in osteology, molecular biology and computer laboratories.

Learning objectives

The master's degree Human Biology has the following general objectives:

  • To train scientists in the area of anthropology who can foster cross-disciplinary work between experimental sciences and the humanities.
  • To provide and update knowledge for future professionals in the areas of human evolution, individual variation and human molecular diversity.
  • To provide in-depth skills in the use of basic techniques and tools (laboratory and statistical) applied to anthropology.

In the pursuit of these general and specific objectives in each subject, students will acquire generic competences related to the biological and cultural mechanisms of human diversity and their relationship to the problems of our society and their resolution.

Basic Information

Main university:
  • Universitat Barcelona
  • Universitat Barcelona
  • Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

Number of ECTS credits awarded:
Language(s) of instruction:
 Catalan, Spanish or English - preference will be given to English, although consideration will also be given to the profiles of successful applicants and the requirements of the teaching staff.
Number of places available:
Approximate price:
 27,67 euros per credit ( 82 euros for students who are not EU nationals and do not currently reside in Spain). Fees for the academic year 2022-2023
Faculty or school:
  Faculty of Biology
Master's degree course homepage:
  Master's degree course homepage

Recommended applicant profile

Applicants should have a special interest in developing a broad biological and evolutionary perspective, rather than restricting their understanding to technical aspects of the discipline. This perspective will provide students with a broad viewpoint that will be relevant in future professional practice, because the principles of diversity and adaptation are important to understanding all facets of human life (biology, medicine, society, culture and philosophy).

Admission requirements


In accordance with Article 16 of Royal Decree 1393/29 October 2007, students must hold one of the following qualifications to access university master's degree courses:

  • An official Spanish degree.
  • A degree issued by a higher education institution within the European Higher Education Area framework that authorizes the holder to access university master's degree courses in the country of issue.
  • A qualification from outside the framework of the European Higher Education Area. In this case, the qualification should be recognized as equivalent to an official Spanish degree. If it is not recognized, the University of Barcelona shall verify that it corresponds to a level of education that is equivalent to official Spanish degrees and that it authorizes the holder to access university master's degree courses in the country of issue. Admission shall not, in any case, imply that prior qualifications have been recognized as equivalent to a Spanish master's degree and does not confer recognition for any purposes other than that of admission to the master's degree course.

---->> pending

Specific requirements

Specific access qualifications: Biology, Biomedical Sciences, Genetics, Biochemistry, Biotechnology, Microbiology.

Related access qualifications: Odontology, Pharmacy, Human and Diet Nutrition, Medicine, Physical Activity and Sport Sciences, Archaeology, Psychology, Geology, Social or Cultural Anthropology, Prehistory, Nursing.

Skills and competences

Generic competences

  • Apply and integrate knowledge, understanding, sound science and skills in order to solve problems in multidisciplinary contexts involving highly specialized researchers and professionals.
  • Analyze, summarize and write documents and interpret professional and scientific documents.
  • Use information and communication technologies for debate and teamwork through interpersonal communication skills.
  • Convey results clearly and unambiguously to a general or specialist public, presenting scientific and technological findings or results of the latest innovations, as well as the most relevant underlying principles.
  • Develop sufficient autonomy to take part in scientific or technological research projects and collaborations featuring interdisciplinary contexts and a high level of knowledge transfer.


Specific competences

  • Design and perform measurements of the current human biodiversity, and identify the mechanisms that generate such diversity.
  • Interpret the adaptive traits of human biodiversity.
  • Analyze both qualitative and quantitatively, the human biologic diversity.
  • Perform prospective reports on human biodiversity.
  • Detect problems associated to population changes and design alternative solutions.
  • Carry out evolutionary inferences from current human diversity (Physical and Forensic Anthropology mention).
  • Perform individual identification, in vivo and in skeleton (Physical and Forensic Anthropology mention).
  • Design studies of human diversity (Human Diversity and Biomedical Applications mention).
  • Evaluate the consequences of new environments on the health of human populations (Human Diversity and Biomedical Applications mention).
  • Perform specialist's reports for institutions in the fields of society, population policies and public health (Human Diversity and Biomedical Applications mention).
  • Handle human samples (Human Diversity and Biomedical Applications mention).
  • Carry out chromosomal and molecular analyses for diseases prevention and diagnosis (Human Diversity and Biomedical Applications mention).
  • Manage museum's collections (Physical and Forensic Anthropology mention) and data from archives and demographic/historical registers (Physical and Forensic Anthropology mention).

Pre-enrolment calendar

- First period: 1 February - 10 June 2022.
Notification of resolutions: 22 June.
- Second period: 11 June - 4 September 2022.
Notification of resolutions: 13 September.

  • Pre-enrolment fee: A pre-enrolment fee of 30,21 euros is charged. Students who apply to more than one master's degree must pay the fee for each pre-enrolment request. Pre-enrolment requests cannot be processed until this fee has been paid.Fees will only be refunded if the master's degree in question is suspended.
  • Reserved places: A maximum of 5% of the new places of the master's degree are reserved for students who meet the general and specific access requirements and accredit the recognition of a degree of disability equal to or greater than 33%.

Closed Pre-enrolment

Required documentation

Selection criteria

1) Qualification of Degree (50%), being the degrees of direct access, both the experimental sciences (biological, biomedical and medical specialties, as well as Earth sciences) and those of the humanities (geography and history, prehistory, archeology, psychology); In the event of a training deficit that makes it difficult to carry out common compulsory subjects, the need to take training courses will be assessed; The interdisciplinarity that exists between the experimental sciences and the humanities in the area of Biological Anthropology necessitate the inclusion as related qualifications in both fields of knowledge, similar to the concept of Anthropology in the Anglo-Saxon university world, so that the criterion of Degree to access the master's degree will not be exclusive or decisive.

2) Demonstration of interest in training in the area of master's degree, indicating the specialty to be studied, motivations to take a master's degree in Biological Anthropology, optional subjects that he or she would choose and the professional or researcher's area to be accessed once the degree is completed (20 %).

3) Academic record of the degree (20%), which will serve to highlight students with better records and access to training scholarships.

4) Other qualifications and training complements (10%), which will serve especially to determine the need to take formative complements.

5) There is a possibility that the Coordinating Committee may request the student to conduct a personal interview.

For the purposes of admission of applications for admission to the master's degree and the determination of the need or not of completing the training, the Coordinating Committee of the Master will delegate the evaluation of the applications to an admission commission formed by the general coordinator of the master's degree Coordinating University (in this case the UB) and the person selected as General Coordinator of the master's degree at UAB. In addition, two additional professors (one from each participating university) appointed for this purpose will be part of the admission committee. This acceptance committee will meet in the periods prior to enrollment and will make public the list of admitted and excluded in each period of enrollment.


July: 18 - 22.

September: 15 - 30.

Open Enrolment