PhD program in Paleoanthropology

Tübingen Paleoanthropology offers the possibility to pursue a doctoral degree in any topic relevant to the study of human skeletal remains, either from bioarchaeological contexts or within the context of the human fossil record and human evolution (PhD topic Archaeological Sciences and Human Evolution). Our group consists of a large number of experts specializing in various aspects of paleoanthropology, with focuses on topics including early human fossil record, Neanderthals and modern human origins, brain evolution, dental anthropology, biomechanics and functional morphology, paleopathology, reconstructions of various behavioral aspects of past populations, etc. 

Additionally, the Paleoanthropology working group offers a large osteological collection of archaeological human remains and state-of-the-art laboratory facilities including surface and microCT scanning equipment allowing for the application of a variety of virtual anthropology approaches and an optical profiler allowing for the 3D topographic analysis of different surfaces. Within the Institute of Archaeological Sciences and the Senckenberg Center of Human Evolution and Palaeoenvironment it is also possible to work closely with colleagues from other disciplines, such as Paleolithic archaeology, paleogenetics, geoarchaeology, biochemical analyses, and paleoenvironmental reconstruction, to name only a few. 

PhD topics can range widely, reflecting individual interests. Doctoral studies are funded either through existing externally funded projects in the Paleoanthropology group, or through the development and submission of a new proposal by the students themselves, in consultation with, and with guidance from, senior group members. 

Process and formalities: In Germany, before enrolling in a PhD program, a student is expected to have already completed a 2-year Master degree. The PhD is a separate track, for which commonly no coursework is required. To become an official PhD student, one has to first select two thesis supervisors and then apply via the Faculty of Natural Sciences. At least one of the supervisors should be a full professor at the University of Tübingen – for a PhD in Paleoanthropology this would typically be Prof. Harvati. Other senior members of the group can act as second supervisors, on a case-by-case basis.
A PhD in Germany usually takes ~3 years and can be conducted either in German or in English. A cumulative dissertation (thesis comprising several published articles) is the preferred format in the Paleoanthropology working group.

Recent PhD theses in Paleoanthropology
2021 Beier: ‘Analyses of cranial trauma in Neanderthal and modern human fossil remains‘
2021 Ioannidou: ‘Reevaluation of the Ouranopithecus macedoniensis paradigm, using Virtual Anthropology and Geometric Morphometrics’
2019 Bosman: ‘Application of virtual anthropological techniques in the reconstruction and analysis of late Middle and Late Pleistocene hominin crania‘
2018 Karakostis: ‘Investigating the effect of manual physical activity on the form of human hand entheses’
2018 Rathmann: ‘Reconstructing human population structure and history from dental phenotypes: Theory, methods and application to the ancient Greek colonization of southern Italy‘
2018 Giusti: ‘Application of spatial statistics to the study of site formation processes‘
2016 Uhl: ‘Sex determination in geographically and ontogenetically diverse samples‘
2016 Strauss: 'Paleoamerican Origins and Behavior: A Multidisciplinary Study of the Archaeological Record from Lagoa Santa region (East-Central Brazil)’
2015 Bauer: ‘Application of Virtual Anthropology Methods to Fossil Human Dental Remains’
2015 Reyes-Centeno: ‘Quantitative and population genetic approaches for testing modern human out‐of‐Africa models’
2014 Noback: ‘Diet- and climate-related variation in the human cranium’
2014 Slizewski: 'Muscle cross-sectional area estimation for skeletal human remains'
2014 Garofoli: 'Neanderthal cognitive equivalence: epistemological problems and a critical analysis from radicalembodiment'
2010 Singh: ‘Integration in great ape craniofacial morphology’