The Evolutionary Studies program, EvoS, is meant to explain Evolution to people from all backgrounds and demonstrate its relevance to understand all living processes, including the humanities. The underlying goal for this is David Sloan Wilson's idea that much can be gained by taking evolution as a common denominator to all areas of knowledge, as explained in his book Evolution for everyone (A Evolução para todos, Gradiva, 2009).
Like all other species on Earth, we evolved through natural selection: evolution should thus able us to learn more about ourselves and our societies by providing a framework that helps us understand how we learn, how we interact, how we negotiate, how our brains function, etc... Because of this potential explanatory power evolution’s importance extends from biology to other fields, including economics, linguistics, history, political science, education, or psychology.
With the exception of biology and closely related areas (medicine, agriculture), the theory of evolution has not been used to its full interdisciplinary potential. Sadly, in instances where it has been used, results have been poor or controversial, due to misunderstandings of what evolution is or of what it tells us about ourselves.
The University of Lisbon is the first European University to implement an EvoS program.
Most reading material is in English: thus a good domain of English language is strongly recommended. Should there be non-Portuguese students classes will be taught in English. The courses have two levels.
Vaccines, the environment, economics: what does evolution tells us about them? EvoS-1 is a course for undergraduates and Master students from any academic background. It provides basic knowledge of Evolutionary Theory and relates it to a few relevant issues at the social, cultural and ethical level. EvoS-1 is a 3-ECTS discipline destined mainly to undergraduates and High School teachers from any background. PhD or MSc students with little knowledge of Evolutionary Theory that wish to take EvoS-2 are strongly recommended to take EvoS-1 first. EvoS-1 is also offered as a “Curso Livre” (“Open course”). More information on EvoS-1 can be found here.
So now you know why birds are sometimes called “dinosaurs with wings” - but can the evolutionary framework be used to explain how we organize in groups? EvoS-2 is a course for graduate students from any academic background with some knowledge of Evolution. Students are expected to apply Evolutionary thinking to subjects typically considered to fall outside the biological realm. EvoS-2 is a 3-ECTS “CBA Advanced Course” destined mainly to graduate students (PhD and MSc) from any background. Graduate students with no background in Evolutionary Theory are strongly recommended to take EvoS-1 before enrolling in EvoS-2. More information and how to apply on EvoS-2 can be found here.