Program

HomPal

The George Washington University offers the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree in Hominid Paleobiology. The Hominid Paleobiology graduate program (HomPal) is based in the Department of Anthropology, and draws on faculty and resources of the Center for the Advanced Study of Human Paleobiology. The HomPal program also participates in a larger, multi-institutional graduate training program in the DC area, the Human Evolutionary Biology Consortium, which is funded by the National Science Foundation’s IGERT initiative.

The vision of Hominid Paleobiology program is rooted in the belief that key research questions of human evolutionary studies (e.g., the origin and evolution of hominin species, the developmental and adaptive contexts of major events, especially behavioral shifts, in human evolutionary history and the influence of the paleoenvironment on human evolution) exemplify the importance of an interdisciplinary approach. In order to address these questions effectively, the HomPal program aims to train future scholars to draw on research tools from cognate research areas by emphasizing approaches that combine areas of study such as (in alphabetical order):

  • archeology
  • biomechanics and engineering
  • cognitive science
  • comparative and experimental functional morphology
  • ecology
  • evolutionary and developmental biology (evo-devo)
  • evolutionary theory
  • genetics
  • geochemistry
  • geometric morphometrics
  • life history
  • molecular biology
  • neuroscience
  • paleoclimatology

Our major goals include providing students with:

  1. the relevant scientific expertise and experience with cutting-edge instrumentation
  2. an appropriate ethical compass
  3. an environment that emphasizes the importance and effectiveness of collaborative research
  4. an ability to work and collaborate internationally, and 
  5. the leadership and management skills that will enable all of the above