Medical Anthropology Concentration

Our Medical Anthropology Program, created in 2011, is a 15-credit hour concentration within the 36-hour M.A. program in Anthropology. Medical anthropology focuses on cross-cultural patterns of health, illness, and healing within the context of cultural change. It includes both theoretical inquiry and applied or clinical approaches.

Our program is a distinct entity within the world of anthropology graduate study, since very few schools have medical anthropology programs and those few seldom offer an M.A. degree. The program appeals to both graduate students in anthropology and to those who have earned or are working toward graduate degrees in complementary fields, such as public health, public administration, or medicine, and who seek to add training in medical anthropology.

Core courses are the seminar in medical anthropology, Anth 6505, and Topics in Medical Anthropology, Anth 6506.  Topics in the latter course have included Global Mental Health, Health and Development, and Health, Culture, and HIV/AIDS. Several courses in Public Health are options within the Medical Anthropology concentration.

In addition to the overall requirements for the M.A. program:

  • 9 of the student's 36 hours must address ethnographic theory and cross-cultural knowledge (e.g., through Anth 6505)
  • 6 credit hours must be in research methods. For this requirement there are two options:

Option A (Two 3-credit courses for a total of 6 credits)

  • ANTH 6331, Research Methods in Development Anthropology (3 cr.): Knowledge of qualitative research methods as measured in a group or individual research project with a written report and oral presentation with metrics. AND
  • PUBH 6003, Principles and Practices of Epidemiology (3 cr.): General principles, methods, and applications of epidemiology. Outbreak investigations, measures of disease frequency, standardization of disease rates, study design, measures of association, hypothesis testing, bias, effect modification, causal inference, disease screening, and surveillance. Case studies apply these concepts to a variety of infectious, acute, and chronic health conditions affecting the population.

Option B (Three 2-credit courses for a total of 6 credits)

  • PUBH 6410: Global Health Study Design (2 cr.) (Uretsky). A foundation in the methodologies required to plan, implement and assess global health programming. Students will obtain a comprehensive understanding of complementary quantitative and qualitative research approaches. Skills include: understanding the relationships between hypotheses and study purpose, considering the ethics of research projects, effectively choosing a research design to achieve your purpose, becoming familiar with the general principles of qualitative investigation, and achieving productive dissemination of findings.
  • PUBH 6411: Global Health Qualitative Research Methods (2 cr.) (Uretsky). Provides further depth to understand data collection in a global health setting. Methodologies include survey design, interviewing, and participant observation. Archival research and clinical trial research will also be discussed. Prerequisites: PubH 6002, 6410.
  • PUBH 6412: Global Health Quantitative Research Methods (2 cr.) (Uretsky). Continues the series of Global Health Methods courses. The course examines the fundamental concepts of empirical analysis and qualitative analysis. Topics covered include open and axial coding, the basis of "Grounded Theory," and regression analysis. Prerequisites: PubH 6002, 6003, 6410.

Prof. Barbara Miller is the advisor for medical anthropology students. To contact Dr. Miller, click here.

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Explaining AIDS Prevention in Southern Africa

Explaining AIDS Prevention in Southern Africa

Suzanne Leclerc-Madlala, MA '85, presented “AIDS in Southern Africa: A socio-cultural interpretation from USAID's first AIDS anthropologist” at the World Bank. The presentation discussed some of the potential reasons why HIV prevention programs have not been successful in Southern Africa. Suzanne is currently a Senior Anthropology Advisor in the Office of HIV/AIDS in the Global Health Bureau of USAID.