Evolutionary Biology Program

217 Rockefeller, Institute for the Science of Origins
Phone: 216.368.4257
Patricia Princehouse, Program Director

The Evolutionary Biology Program is designed to provide students with knowledge of macro- and micro-evolutionary processes underlying the evolution and diversification of life on Earth and an understanding of the meta-scientific issues involved in this unique field of study.

The program includes grounding in the history and philosophy of evolutionary thought and alternative conceptualizations of the mechanisms, patterns, and processes of evolution. It emphasizes evolutionary theory, foundations of ecology and genetics, focused study of particular organisms or groups of organisms, and the dynamics of evolutionary principles in scientific inquiry. 

Program Faculty

Patricia Princehouse, PhD
Senior Research Associate, Department of History; Director, Evolutionary Biology Program

Radhika Atit, PhD
Professor, Department of Biology

Cynthia M. Beall, PhD
Distinguished University Professor and Sarah Idell Pyle Professor of Anthropology, Department of Anthropology

Michael Benard, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Biology

Darin Croft, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Anatomy, School of Medicine

Yohannes Haile-Selassie Ambaye, PhD
Adjunct Professor, Department of Anthropology; Curator and Head of Physical Anthropology, Cleveland Museum of Natural History

Emmitt Jolly, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Biology

Bruce Latimer, PhD
Adjunct Professor of Anthropology; Adjunct Associate Professor, Department of Anatomy, School of Medicine

Peter McCall, JD, PhD
Professor, Department of Earth, Environmental, and Planetary Sciences

Scott Simpson, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Anatomy, School of Medicine

Mark Willis, PhD
Professor and Chair, Department of Biology

Peter A. Zimmerman, PhD
Professor, Center for Global Health and Diseases, School of Medicine

Undergraduate Programs


Evolutionary biology is a second major, to be pursued in conjunction with a conventional disciplinary major. Up to 12 credits in required and elective courses taken by students for their first major may be applied to their evolutionary biology major.

The 30-credit interdisciplinary major in evolutionary biology consists of:

  1. Three foundation courses
  2. One course in ecology
  3. One course in the philosophy/history of science
  4. Four approved electives

The approved electives may include additional philosophy/history of science courses from the list below. In consultation with a major advisor, students will tailor intensive study to suit particular interests within the major.

Required courses:
BIOL 214Genes, Evolution and Ecology3
EEPS 210Earth History: Time, Tectonics, Climate, and Life3
Additional required courses (one from each area)
Development and Physiology
Aquatic Biology
Principles of Ecology
Philosophy/History of Science3
Science in Western Thought I
Science in Western Thought II
Introduction to Historiography of Science
Revolutions in Science
Topics in Philosophy of Science
Approved electives12
Introduction to Human Evolution
Darwinian Medicine
Field Seminar in Paleoanthropology
Human Evolution: The Fossil Evidence
Human Osteology
Reproductive Health: An Evolutionary Perspective
Genes, Evolution and Ecology Lab
Development and Physiology Lab
Vertebrate Biology
Introductory Entomology
Plant Genomics and Proteomics
Aquatic Biology Laboratory
Mammal Diversity and Evolution
Principles of Ecology Laboratory
Animal Behavior
Principles of Developmental Biology
Research Methods in Evolutionary Biology
Evo-Devo:Evolution of Body Plans and Pathologies
Stratigraphy and Sedimentation
Evolutionary Biology and Paleobiology of Invertebrates
Behavior Genetics
Basic Statistics for Social and Life Sciences
Statistics for Experimenters
Introduction to Bioinformatics
Topics in Evolutionary Biology
Undergraduate Research in Evolutionary Biology
Total Units27


The 15-credit interdisciplinary minor consists of three foundation courses and two approved electives. In consultation with a minor advisor, students will tailor intensive study to suit their particular interests.

Required courses:
BIOL 214Genes, Evolution and Ecology3
EEPS 210Earth History: Time, Tectonics, Climate, and Life3
Two approved electives selected in consulation with advisor6
Total Units15