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We are a collegial group of physical anthropologists who collaborate in research and teaching.

Our program offers students the opportunity to study human biology, past and present, from a variety of data, methods and theoretical orientations in genetics, epidemiology, and nutrition.

We have active research projects in child health and nutrition, the origins and evolution of pathogens and epidemics, Aboriginal health in Canada, mammalian phylogeography, molecular anthropology, and Roman bioarchaeology.  We are addressing questions about human origins and migration, population structure, health and disease, and human-environment interactions in past and present populations.


We have state-of-the-art laboratory facilities in hard tissue thin sectioning, microscopic image analysis, molecular genetics and enjoy collaborations with researchers in Italy, France, England, US, Canada, and locally in the City of Hamilton.

Each year we admit a small number of talented graduate students and work closely with them to nurture their skills in research design and implementation.  Our graduate students receive training in current research theory and methods in biological anthropology.  Our approach is to use problem-based learning, active and experiential learning methods and theory as tools for understanding important questions in the past and present, rather than as ends in themselves.  


photo of Megan Brickley

Megan Brickley

Professor | Canada Research Chair (Tier 1) in Bioarchaeology of Human Disease

photo of Tina Moffat

Tina Moffat

Ph.D. Anthropology, McMaster University1998

Associate Professor and Chair

photo of Tracy Prowse

Tracy Prowse

Ph.D., Anthropology, McMaster University2001

(she/her); Associate Professor; Associate Dean Academic, Faculty of Social Sciences

Emeritus Faculty:

Associate Faculty:

Adjunct Faculty:

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Laboratory Technicians and Research Assistants:

Facilities & Research Projects

Graduate Courses:

  • 705 Advanced Skeletal Biology
  • 711 Advanced Topics in Physical Anthropology
  • 715 Readings in Physical Anthropology
  • 718 From Cradle to the Grave: Anthropological Demography
  • 721 Ancient Molecules and Preservation of the Past
  • 739 Anthropology of Infectious Disease
  • 740 Biocultural Synthesis
  • 745 Topics in Bioarchaeology

Topical Areas of Study:

  • emerging infectious disease, epidemiology and paleopathology
  • diet, nutrition and growth
  • environment and health
  • extinctions: human, faunal and microbial
  • peopling of the New World
  • demography and paleodemography
  • modern human origins
  • molecular anthropology
  • Aboriginal health
  • bioarchaeology


  • ancient DNA
  • evolutionary genetics
  • coprology
  • skeletal and dental analysis
  • anthropometry
  • community health surveys
  • archival fieldwork and analysis
  • palaeopathology
  • stable isotope analysis

Theoretical Orientations:

  • biocultural anthropology
  • evolutionary theory
  • epidemiological transition theory
  • determinants of health
  • multi-scalar analysis and interpretation

Theses awarded in Biological Anthropology



View recently awarded M.A. and PhD theses in Biological Anthropology