Studying online

There are now 3 possible online modes for units:

Units with modes Online timetabled and Online flexible are available for any student to self-enrol and study online.

Units available in Online Restricted mode have been adapted for online study only for those students who require the unit to complete their studies and who are unable to attend campus owing to exceptional circumstances beyond their control. To be enrolled in a unit in Online Restricted mode, students should contact their Student Advising Office through askUWA

Click on an offering mode for more details.

Unit Overview


This unit examines the relationships of local ecology to human demography and social organisation. Plasticity in life history and social organisation is examined relative to the stability and sustainability of major subsistence technologies (foragers, horticulture, pastoralism, agriculture) with particular focus on mortality profiles, fertility patterns, familial composition and community structure. These are approached via the relative roles of disease outbreaks, famine and warfare, and mechanisms for fertility control in population processes. Human responses to transitions between major ecological/economic life ways are of particular interest. The unit follows a seminar format. One or two important journal articles are read critically for each weekly or fortnightly meeting. A written summarisation and critique are brought to the seminars as the basis of energetic discussion of the topical issues identified in the reading with respect to methodology, most important points, limitations, and implications to the wider topic of human ecology. In addition to leading and participating in seminar discussions, each student prepares a major semester paper developing some aspect of the unit's topical matter in relationship to the individual research interest. Seminars are anticipated to include 10 to 20 students.

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face

Students are able to (1) critically evaluate and discuss the demographic processes important to human response to variations in local ecology; (2) search and manage literature and think critically; (3) effectively communicate their knowledge; (4) effectively lead/participate in scientific discussion emphasising critique of important aspects of published scientific work; and (5) identify and incorporate human ecology into a variety of areas in biological research.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) summaries of weekly reading and oral presentation of research paper; (2) discussion and leadership in seminars; and (3) a semester paper. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Associate Professor Debra Judge
Unit rules
Successful completion of
one Unit(s) ANHB3315 Human Evolutionary Ecology
or Unit(s) ANHB3322 Human/Primate Social Organisation
or Unit(s) ANHB3321 Biological Anthropology: Genes and Society
Approved quota: 20—on a first-come, first-served basis
Contact hours
seminars: 24 hours (one 2-hour seminar per week for 12 weeks)
presentations: 6 hours (during weekly seminars)
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.