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Central Washington University
Primate Behavior, M.S.
(Established 2008)
Educational Program
Web Site:

Director: Dr. Lori K. Sheeran
Phone: (509) 963-1434   Fax: (509) 963-3215   E-Mail:
400 East Unversity Way, Ellensburg, Washington 98926-7544 UNITED STATES
Department: (Anthropology, Biology, Psychology, Philosophy)
Institution: Central Washington University
Affiliations: Anhui University

Mission: The M.S. program in Primate Behavior at CWU focuses on interdisciplinary, problem-oriented knowledge in primatology, with a particular focus on conservation issues and non-invasive, observational research. Students entering the program complete 45 credits of coursework in anthropology, biology, psychology, and philosophy. Students' thesis research and interships occur in sanctuary, zoo, and field settings under the guidance of faculty mentors. The program serves students who plan to enter the work force (sanctuaries, zoos, field sites, conservation agencies, environmental education), teach at community colleges, or continue on to Ph.D. programs. The program is designed to be completed in two years. Typically 10 students are accepted per year, with all students entering the program in one cohort in the fall. Applications are due annually by 01 February ( Applicants should specify the faculty member(s) with whom they would most like to work.

Principal Research Programs: Chimpanzee and Human Communication Institute (CWU campus); Molecular Anthropology Laboratory (CWU campus); comparative primate skeletal anatomy (CWU campus); Museum of Culture and Environment (CWU campus); Woodland Park Zoo (Seattle, various primate species); CWU-Anhui University Field Research Program (China, Tibetan macaques); Orang-utan Tropical Peatland Project (arranged in collaboration with Dr. Susan Cheyne, gibbons and other primate species); captive and free-living monkeys in Ecuador (arranged in collaboration with Professor Sarah Martin); and other research opportunities arranged by the student and her/his advisor.

Training Opportunities: Graduate: two-year M.S. degree in Primate Behavior.

College: B.S. degree in Primate Behavior and Ecology (dual-degree program with anthropology OR psychology OR biology as the companion B.S./B.A. degree). Community college transfer students may also apply.

General Public: Museum of Culture and Environment.

General Public: Chimpanzee and Human Communication Institute.

Financial Aid: The Primate Behavior M.S. program at CWU is part of the Western Regional Graduate Program through which residents of AK, AZ, CA, CO, HI, ID, MT, NV, NM, ND, OR, SD, UT, and WY pay in-state tuition rates.

A limited number of graduate and research assistantships are available through CWU's Office of Graduate Studies and Research.

Financial aid is available, including work study for eligible students.

Number of Staff: 10

Associated Field Sites: Chimpanzee and Human Communication Institute on the CWU campus [contact Dr. Mary Lee Jensvold]: archival data collected from five chimpanzees taught American Sign Language.

Molecular Anthropology Laboratory on the CWU campus [contact Dr. Joseph Lorenz]: DNA extraction from a variety of primate biomaterials (blood, feces, tissue, and bone analyses), including PCR amplification and DNA sequencing and genotyping.

Osteology Laboratory on the CWU campus [contact Dr. John Alsoszatai-Petheo]: comparative primate anatomy.

Museum of Culture and Environment on the CWU campus [contact Dr. Mark Auslander]: environmental education.

CWU-Anhui University Field Research Program, Mt. Huangshan, China [contact Dr. Lori Sheeran]: 3-week field school through CWU's Study Abroad office provides training in observational research, habitat description, and survey techniques; longer-term research at the site focuses on tourism impacts on Tibetan macaques.

Woodland Park Zoo, Seattle, WA [contact Dr. Mary Lee Jensvold]: internships and observational research on various primates.

Orang-utan Tropical Peatland Project [contact Dr. Susan Cheyne]: field research on behavior, ecology, and conservation of Bornean white-bearded gibbons, orangutans, and other primate species.

Ecuador [contact Dr. Steve Wagner]: sanctuary or field research focused on spider, howler, capuchin, woolly, and other monkey species in collaboration with Profesor Sarah Martin.

Last Updated: 2013-06-06

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