Interuniversity Master in Physical Anthropology: Human Evolution and Biodiversity (jointly with UAM and UAH)


Read more about this program on the school's website

Program Description

  • Type of education: Face-to-face.
  • Number of new entry places offered: 40 (UCM 13)
  • Total credits: 60
  • Languages taught: Spanish.
  • Guide price: € 45.02 per credit.
  • Master's Scholarship: see relevant information here .


Physical Anthropology is a Knowledge Area within Biological Sciences that studies human diversity and its closest relatives, non-human primates. Its main objective is to provide a comprehensive vision of the mechanisms that generate variability in its evolutionary, ecological, ontogenetic and gender aspects, a vision that also allows us to assess the biological consequences of recent environmental change (including that related to value systems and behaviors) on biological processes and patterns of health and disease in human populations.

Social and labor demands of Physical Anthropology

Experts in Physical Anthropology will cover the following professional needs demanded by society:

  • Experts in Anthropometry, applied to growth and development, aging, nutrition and body composition studies, Sports Anthropology and Ergonomics.
  • Researchers and experts capable of evaluating the uniqueness of development and other human biological processes, the differences in access and use of health services according to gender, socioeconomic level and geographic origin.
  • Experts in Forensic Anthropology, specialized in studies of identification and individual recognition of victims, in the elaboration of population technical reports, in training tasks and advice to experts in Human Rights, members of NGOs and associations, and institutions.
  • Experts in the study and reconstruction of the biohistory of populations from the past, of their daily lives, of their health and disease patterns, of gender differences in past populations, all from the analysis of skeletal and archaeological remains. Advisers in archaeological excavations and museum exhibitions.
  • Experts in analysis of population data and advice to public and private organizations that require biodemographic reports, on biosociology of pregnancy and childbirth, on evaluation of growth, development, aging, and on specific aspects of health, gender differences in access, treatment of certain diseases, and the differential expression of biological processes.
  • Researchers and experts capable of evaluating health problems related to gender violence and discriminatory treatment for other causes (socioeconomic level, origin, image, disability), providing the methods to tackle them.


Academic year 2020-21

Course 1

Code Subject Character Credits Offered
608039 Ecological Anthropology Mandatory 5.0 Yes
608047 Forensic Anthropology: Identification of the Individual Optional 5.0 Yes
608041 Genetic Anthropology Mandatory 5.0 Yes
608044 Anthropometry Applied to Health, Nutrition, Sport and Ergonomics Optional 5.0 Yes
608046 Life Cycle and Life History Optional 5.0 Yes
608045 Genetic Diversity and Population Structure Optional 5.0 Yes
608049 Documentation, Excavation and Study of Bony Remains Optional 5.0 Yes
608038 The Study of Human Variability: Research Methodology Mandatory 5.0 Yes
608043 Evolution of Man: Reconstructing Our Origins Mandatory 5.0 Yes
608042 Research Methods in Skeletal Anthropology Mandatory 5.0 Yes
608048 Paleodemography Optional 5.0 Yes
608036 Basic Principles of Physical Anthropology Complement of Training 3.0 Yes
608037 Basic Principles of Genetics of Human Populations Complement of Training 3.0 Yes
608040 Health and Disease in Human Populations Mandatory 5.0 Yes
608050 End of Master's Project End of Master's Project 15.0 Yes


The main objective of the Master's Degree is to train professionals in Physical Anthropology with a solid background:

  1. Theoretical, which enables a transversal and holistic understanding of the biology of human populations, including its evolutionary, ecological, genetic and ontogenetic dimensions.
  2. Practice, which allows professional and / or investigative training in laboratory and field techniques useful to assess human biological diversity, and learning of statistical, forensic, anthropometric, DNA and molecular analysis methodology, etc.


People with higher qualifications interested in a research and / or professional training in Physical Anthropology, coming from previous training or professional practice from bio-sanitary disciplines, may take the University Master's Degree in "Physical Anthropology: Human Evolution and Biodiversity" ( Biology, Food Science and Technology, Medicine, Pharmacy, Nursing, etc.) and fields related to Physical Anthropology (specific areas of Social Sciences, Archeology, Cultural Anthropology, among others, Biotechnology, Sports Sciences, etc.).

On a mandatory basis and as determined by the Master's Teaching Coordination Commission, students admitted without prior training in Biology or Physical Anthropology must take two subjects of 3 ECTS each (Complement Training: "Basic Principles of Physical Anthropology" and “Basic Principles of Genetics of Human Populations”), in addition to the 60 ECTS of the Title.

Obviously, all candidates must have recognized studies within the EU, or apply for official recognition through the website of the University in which they choose to enroll.

Why study this master?

Physical Anthropology is an area of knowledge belonging to Biological Sciences that studies the origin of our species and human biological diversity, providing an integral vision of the mechanisms that generate biological variability in human populations in their evolutionary, ecological, ontogenetic and gender, a vision that allows us to assess the biological consequences of recent environmental change (including that related to value systems, lifestyles and behaviors) on biological processes and patterns of health and disease in human populations.

Physical Anthropology has undergone a rapid and significant development in the last 20 years, expanding its traditional interests and incorporating sophisticated techniques of analysis of biological variability in human populations. This has favored the expansion of job opportunities in:

  • The study of the origin, evolution and diversification of our species.
  • Forensic anthropology.
  • Studies of growth, development and senile involution.
  • Nutritional anthropology.
  • Anthropology of sport and ergonomics.
  • Human ecology and the study of the impact of socio-cultural change.
  • Genetic anthropology and its application to the reconstruction of the history of human populations.
  • Analysis of bio-demographic population data.
  • Bioarcheology.
  • The evaluation of the ethical aspects of research in human populations and in social formation in the defense of egalitarian values between populations and social groups, minorities and gender.

Admission requirements for masters

Non-enabling university masters

  • Be in possession of any of the following titles:
    • Spanish official university degree .
    • Title issued by an institution of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) and empowering in the country of issue for access to Master's education.
    • Title of educational systems outside the EHEA that empowers in the country of issuance for access to Master's education, homologated or declared equivalent to the degree and academic level of Degree or Degree by the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training . In case of lacking the mentioned homologation or equivalency, it will be necessary to have authorization or access permission granted by this University.
  • Or be carrying out during the course in which you pre-enroll studies leading to the obtaining of any of the previous degrees and be in a position to prove the obtaining of the same before September 30, 2020 .
  • In addition, students from foreign educational systems, whose mother tongue is different from Spanish, must prove level B2 of the Spanish language (or higher) .
  • Specific requirements that any of the requested masters may have. You can consult it by accessing the website of the Master itself.
Last updated Apr 2020

About the School

La Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM) es una institución de larga trayectoria y amplio reconocimiento social que aspira a situarse entre las primeras universidades de Europa y a consolidarse como ... Read More

La Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM) es una institución de larga trayectoria y amplio reconocimiento social que aspira a situarse entre las primeras universidades de Europa y a consolidarse como centro de referencia para el continente latinoamericano. Read less