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New WSU human biology degree to address widespread needs

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PULLMAN, Wash. – Responding to the global need for more skilled professionals in health, social and environmental sciences and public policy, the College of Arts and Sciences at Washington State University will launch a new interdisciplinary degree in human biology beginning this fall.

The WSU human biology degree is designed for rigorous study in the natural and social sciences.

The four-year bachelor of arts degree program offered on the WSU Pullman and Vancouver campuses consists primarily of courses in anthropology and biological sciences, with additional courses of the student’s choosing.

“This expressly interdisciplinary program will meld approaches and content from social and biological sciences to provide students with a vibrant, synthetic understanding of the roles of culture, the dynamics of natural and social systems, and biological attributes responsible for shaping the human being,” said Pat Carter, professor and director of the School of Biological Sciences.

A wide variety of career options for graduates with this degree include areas of medical and health sciences, social work and support, and development and analysis of public policy.

“This new degree brings together existing courses in a new constellation,” said Andrew Duff, professor and chair of the Department of Anthropology. “Our aim is to prepare students to be creative, insightful and skillful in a variety of professions that influence the welfare of humans.”

The degree, which is rising in popularity across the U.S., will be unique in Washington state and virtually the entire Pacific Northwest. A similar program offered at Stanford University is among that school’s most popular, Carter said.

The WSU Board of Regents approved the human biology degree program in September 2019 and it received full accreditation in December.

Interested students can apply to certify into the major by contacting one of the degree advisors: in Pullman, Dena Spencer-Curtis at; and in Vancouver, Nicole Hess at

Media contacts:

  • Pat Carter, director, School of Biological Sciences, 509-335-1447,
  • Andrew Duff, chair, Department of Anthropology, 509-335-7828,
  • Adriana Aumen, College of Arts & Sciences communications, 509-335-5671,

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