Introduction to Physical Anthropology

I.     Course Prefix/Number: ANT 204

       Course Name: Introduction to Physical Anthropology

       Credits: 3 (3 lecture; 0 lab)

II.    Prerequisite


III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course introduces physical anthropology, subfield of anthropology that includes study of biological, social and cultural aspects of human evolution.  Content includes fossil record and principles of population genetics, used to explore theory of evolution, primate behavior, concept of race, human adaptation and human evolution.

IV.   Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this course, the student should be able to demonstrate his or her knowledge of:
  1. the professional terminology of physical anthropology.
  2. the principles of genetics, including how to differentiate between fact and opinion.
  3. the identification of problems, gathering of data and analysis of material remains used to reconstruct the course of human evolution using the fossil record.
  4. Primatology.
  5. the concept of race and/or the concept of modern human variation, including how these classifications fit into a wider historical context.
  6. the use of effective writing and speaking in the discussion of the topics covered in this course.

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at

VI.   Sequence of Topics

  1. Genetics
  2. Natural Selection
  3. Principles of Evolution
  4. Long Term Evolution
  5. Primates
  6. Language, Culture, and Thought
  7. Human Evolution
  8. Modern Human Variation (Race)

VII.  Methods of Instruction

The course will be conducted on a lecture/discussion basis supplemented by films, slides, and possible field trips.

Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

This course relies on the student's ability to read and understand college-level text material.  Students will be required to write for the class the equivalent of 12-15 typed pages of material that will be graded.  This writing may take the form of a research or term paper, summaries of journal articles, and/or a series of shorter, analytical papers.

Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

Representative text is:
Jurmain, Robert; Nelson, Harry; Kilgore, Lynn; and Trevathan, Wenda (2009).  Essentials of Physical Anthropology (7th ed.).  Belmont, CA:  Wadsworth Publishing.

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

Students will be graded on their written work, including exams and in class assignments or projects.  Individual instructors may require additional work such as individual or group presentations.

XI.   Other Course Information

 Attendance: attendance is expected and required.

Late assignments, make-up exams, and incomplete grades, these are to be arranged at the instructor's discretion.

Important dates

If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at

Electronic video and/or audio recording is not permitted during class unless the student obtains written permission from the instructor. In cases where recordings are allowed, such content is restricted to personal use only. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited. Personal use is defined as use by an individual student for the purpose of studying or completing course assignments.

For students who have been approved for audio and/or video recording of lectures and other classroom activities as a reasonable accommodation by Oakton’s Access Disabilities Resource Center (ADRC), applicable federal law requires instructors to permit those recordings. Such recordings are also limited to personal use. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited.

Violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action through the Code of Student Conduct.