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Primate Behavior and Ecology
College of the Sciences
Primate Behavior and Ecology
Degree Type:
Bachelor of Science
Department Contact:

Lori Sheeran

Department Website:

CWU has long been a leader in the field of primate behavior and habitats. Using an interdisciplinary approach to studying primates, students can learn about subjects like nonverbal primate communication, environment and ecology, primate social behavior, and animal conservation.


Only 20 miles west of the Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest, home of seven chimpanzees, CWU offers a chance for students to engage, first-hand, in the field of chimpanzee care and husbandry.

Why this program?
  • The graduate program in primate behavior offers the only Master of Science degree in primatology in the U.S.

  • CWU’s Primate Awareness Week, held in April or May, offers guest speakers and presentations designed to educate the campus community about primate activities and behavior.


Why primate behavior and ecology research at CWU?

Students in the primate behavior and ecology program have access to the Primate Behavior and Ecology Research Library, a storehouse of journals, books and multimedia materials related to primatology.

Primate behavior and ecology students have the opportunity to work with the Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest, located 20 miles west of Ellensburg, which provides care for seven chimpanzees.

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.

CWU students have conducted research and worked as interns at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle since 1999.

Connect with primate behavior and ecology research at CWU

Central’s primate behavior program focuses on humane, non-invasive behavioral research with nonhuman primates and emphasizes ethics in primatology and the importance of biodiversity. Graduates of our program find jobs in universities, zoos, animal sanctuaries, primate research centers, and laboratories.

Hands-on Learning

Central’s commitment to hands-on learning, discovery and individual attention takes students beyond the limits of the classroom and books. Students get to do what they’re studying in real-world professional settings, which makes learning exciting and relevant.

Points of Pride

The graduate program in primate behavior at Central Washington University provides the only opportunity for students to earn a Master of Science in Primatology in the United States.

CWU’s Primate Awareness Network is a student organization devoted to educating the public about the impact humans have on non-human primates.

The Human Osteology Laboratory on the CWU campus houses an extensive cast collection of skeletal materials from fossil hominins, modern humans, and fossil and extant nonhuman primates

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