The graduate program in Primate Behavior at Central Washington University
provides the only opportunity for students to earn an MS degree in Primatology in the United States. The program focuses on interdisciplinary, problem-oriented, broad-spectrum knowledge relating to primates, with a particular focus on conservation issues. Students entering the program will be exposed to coursework and practical experience in the areas of anthropology, biology and psychology and will have opportunities to conduct sanctuary, zoo, and/or field research under the guidance of faculty mentors. The program serves students who will enter the work force for employment in sanctuaries, zoos, field research, conservation agencies, or teaching, or who will continue on to Ph.D. programs.
Factors contributing to the unique nature of this program include:
- Central's Primate Behavior faculty are interdisciplinary, representing Anthropology, Psychology, Biology, Philosophy, Resource Management, and Primatology.
- Central has cultivated relationships with agencies that facilitate student research. The Tibetan macaques living in Huangshan, China have been studied for 20+ years and are habituated to human observers. Students have conducted research and/or worked as interns at the Woodland Park Zoo since 1999. Students can develop their own research site in consultation with program faculty.
- Although the program focuses on primatology, many theories and methodologies used by primatologists are more broadly applicable (e.g., evolutionary theory, comparative psychology). Students will be made aware of these interdisciplinary connections throughout the core curriculum and have opportunities to study species in addition to nonhuman primates.
- Students will leave the Master’s program with practical experiences in field techniques, behavioral data collection, research design, the use of cutting-edge software and hardware, and statistical analyses that will be vital in their careers or in their acquisition of a Ph.D. degree.
- The program focuses on humane, non-invasive behavioral research with nonhuman primates and emphasizes ethics in primatology and the importance of biodiversity.