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Teaching

Undergraduate research / immersion courses

Research-for-academic credit courses
Faculty using evolutionary approaches in their research programs in most departments and schools regularly supervise undergraduates doing research-for-academic-credit in their laboratories. Students interested in working in an evolutionary lab are encouraged to contact directly Evolution@Vanderbilt member faculty whose research programs are of interest.

Evolution-themed undergraduate courses

ANTH 1301. Introduction to Biological Anthropology
Natural selection and evolution of primates and humans. Theories on early human lifeways and behavior. Bioarchaeological and bioanthropological studies of past and present human health and disease. Evaluation of fossil, skeletal, molecular, and artifactual evidence in reconstructing the past.


ANTH 2222. North American Archaeology
The origins of native North American culture. Migration from Asia, early hunters and gatherers, and the extinction of ancient fauna. Evolution of social complexity, ecological adaptations, and prehistoric interaction as seen in the archaeological record of the continent.


ANTH 3346. Human Adaptation and Disease
Evolutionary perspectives on biological and cultural adaptations to physical and pathogen environments. Human variation, human evolutionary ecology, epidemiology, and evolution of disease. Specific focus on epidemiological transitions.


ANTH 4345. Human Evolutionary Genetics.
Core issues in human evolution and population genetics. Molecular evidence for the origin of modern humans, reconstruction of human migrations, race, and detection of admixture between populations. Implications for human disease.


BSCI 1100. Biology Today.
Broad coverage of the biological sciences presenting evolution as the unifying concept. Particular emphasis on basic biological processes in cells and the relationships/ interactions between organisms and their environment. Topics include cell structure and function, genetics and inheritance, evolution and diversity, populations, communities and ecosystems, and topics related to biology and society.


BSCI 1103. Green Earth: The Biodiversity and Evolution of Plants
Biodiversity of plants, their adaptations to the environment, and their evolutionary and ecological relationships. Basic biology of plant form and function and the importance of plants for life on Earth.


BSCI 1511. Introduction to Biological Sciences
Cell communication; Physiology, organ function and development; Mendelian and population genetics; Evolution, ecology, and speciation; Populations, ecosystems, and conservation biology.


BSCI 2205. Evolution
Evolutionary theory, with emphasis on evolutionary mechanisms; Microevolutionary processes of adaptation and speciation and macro-evolutionary patterns; Evidence from genetics, ecology, molecular biology, and paleontology in the historical context of the neo-Darwinian synthesis.


BSCI 2218. Introduction to Plant Biology
Diversity of plants within the framework of their evolution and environmental adaptations. Biomes from the tropical rain forest to the Vanderbilt arboretum.


BSCI 2219. Introduction to Zoology
A structural and functional study of the major animal groups. The problems presented to animals by their environments, and the anatomical and physiological mechanisms by which they adapt.


BSCI 2238. Ecology
Population biology, evolutionary ecology, community structure, with emphasis on species interactions, including competition, predation, and symbiosis.


BSCI 3233. Conservation Biology
Ecological, evolutionary, social, and economic aspects of biodiversity loss and ecosystem disruption due to human activities. Climate change, habitat fragmentation, species overexploitation, and invasive species. Sustainable development, habitat restoration, and species reintroduction.


BSCI 3234. Microbial Ecology and Evolution
Microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, and mobile genetic elements. The origins and universality of microbial life, modes of genome evolution, symbioses between microbes and animals, biotechnology, and human microbiome.


BSCI 3239. Evolution of Behavior
Theoretical and empirical research on the evolution of behavior. Evolutionary approaches to the study of animal behavior, including the role of behavior in foraging, competition, predator-prey interactions, and sociality. Behavioral adaptations and their roles in sexual selection, mating systems, and animal communication.


BSCI 3272. Genome Science
Aims and importance of the science. Retrieval of genome data from public databases; experimental and computational methods used in analysis of genome data and their annotation. Functional aspects of genomics, transcriptomics, and proteomics; use of phylogenetics and population genomics to infer evolutionary relationships and mechanisms of genome evolution.


BSCI 3260. Vertebrate Biology
Comprehensive overview of the vertebrates. Morphology, physiology and behaviors; adaptations to specific environments, and the ecology, distribution and conservation of select groups. Key transformations leading to vertebrate diversity. Evolutionary history and relationships.


EES 1140. Ecology, Evolution, and Climates through Time
Biological responses to global climate and environmental change through geologic time. Causes of climate change and its impact on biodiversity, including extinction implications. Interactions between climate, environments, and the evolution of organisms, emphasizing vertebrates during the
past 65 million years.


EES 3220. Life Through Time
Ecology, classification, and evolution of important groups of fossils, emphasizing invertebrates. Change in marine ecosystems through geologic time. Causes and effects of rapid evolution events and mass extinctions.

HIST 1480. The Darwinian Revolution
Intellectual structure and social context of evolutionary ideas from 1700 to the present. Pre-Darwinian evolutionary theories. Darwin’s life and work. Racial theories and eugenics. Comparative reception of Darwinism in the United States and Europe.


HIST 1500. History of Modern Sciences and Society
The end of the Scientific Revolution to the present. Sciences arising from the fields of Natural Philosophy (physics, astronomy, mathematics, and Natural History (geology and the life sciences). The clockwork universe, atomism and the Chemical Revolution; evolutionary theory (physical, geological, and biological); thermodynamics; and quantum theory. Colonial empires, industry, professional specialization, cultural modernism, and nuclear fear.


PHIL 3657. Humanity, Evolution, and God
The impact of the idea of evolution on our conception of personhood. Theistic and non-theistic approaches to philosophical anthropology, ethics and society,
the theory of knowledge, the mind-body problem, and relations with the environment and other species.


PSY 3715. Animal Behavior and Evolutionary Psychology
Comparative and phylogenetic approach to the study of behavior, with special emphasis on sensory processes, instinctive behavior, the genetics of behavior, and ethology.


RLST 3941. Religion, Science, and Evolution
Interactions between science and religion from antiquity to Charles Darwin. Subsequent modifications of Darwinism and religious responsibilities to evolutionary theories.