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Human Evolution

Human evolution deals with all aspects of evolutionary change in Homo sapiens and its descent from other hominin lineages. It concerns the evolutionary changes in human physiology, morphology and genetics. Not only is human evolution of great intrinsic interest, it also has important implications for our understanding of human behavior, health, disease and ageing.

This minor provides a deep insight into human evolution bringing together evidence from different disciplines such as evolutionary biology, genetics, medicine, archaeology, psychology and cultural anthropology. The topics are wide-ranging and multidisciplinary covering the descent of man, the evolution of the anatomy and physiology of the human body, of disease, ageing, language and culture.

The minor will treat several important questions such as ‘How are ageing and disease affected by our evolutionary history, Why do we have such big brains, Why do we become obese, How do we genetically differ from the Neanderthal and chimpanzee, How did human speech and behavior evolve?’

General information

  • Size: 15 or 30 EC
    It is possible to follow the complete minor for an accreditation of 30 EC of to follow only the first half of the minor for an accreditation of 15 EC.

  • Period: 15 EC: Fulltime from 5 September 2016 – 11 November 2016, 30 EC: Fulltime from 5 September 2016 – 27 January 2017

  • Language: English

  • Number of participants: minimum 15, maximum 30

  • General information:

  • Coordinator: Dr. K. Vrieling

  • The minor is provided by the Bachelor Biology


Admission criteria apply to this Minor (see Appendix 3 of the Education and Exam regulation BSc Programmes (OER)).
The minor is open to all students with a keen interest in Human Evolution. It is particularly directed towards students from Natural Sciences, Medical Sciences and Archeology but is also of interest to students from Humanities and Social and Behavioral Sciences.

The first week of the minor is designed to clear deficiencies of students with an introduction into evolutionary biology and/or medical practice.


Students of Leiden University (not Medicine/LUMC)
Registration possible from May 1 until June 15 in uSis.
You have to register for the minor in uSis by entering one of the class numbers (‘studieactiviteit nummers’):

  • For the whole minor (30 EC): 1530

  • For the first half of the minor (15 EC): 1531

NB: Registration in usis does not directly mean that you can participate in the minor. You will receive and email that confirms your registration and placement.

Students of Medicine/LUMC (Leiden University)
Students of Medicine/Biomedical Science will choose their minors of preference and will be allocated to a minor as communicated by the Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC). These students will be registered in uSis as participants of this minor by the educational administration’s office of the LUMC (DOO).

Students of TU Delft and Erasmus University Rotterdam
Registration possible from May 1 until May 31 via an online form. This online form will be available from 1 to 31 May on the website: Registration minors

Other students
Students from other universities can register until May 31 by sending an e-mail to:


Vak EC Semester 1 Semester 2
The evolution of ageing and disease 15
Biological aspects of Human Evolution 15


The programme of the 30 EC Minor consists of two full-time courses:

  • The evolution of ageing and disease (15 EC)

  • Biological aspects of Human Evolution (15 EC)

The course The evolution of ageing and disease can also be followed as a separate component of 15 EC. To take part in the course Biological aspects of Human Evolution (15 EC) students must have followed the previous course The evolution of ageing and disease (entry requirement).