Medical Anthropology Concentration

The Medical Anthropology concentration, created in 2011, is a 15-credit hour concentration within the 36-hour M.A. degree program in Anthropology. Medical anthropology focuses on cross-cultural patterns of health, illness, and healing within the context of cultural change, health policies, and health programs. It includes both theoretical inquiry and applied or clinical approaches. The GW concentration is a distinct offering within the world of anthropology graduate study, since few schools in the U.S. have a specific focus on medical anthropology as opposed to applied anthropology or sociocultural anthropology.

Core courses are the seminar in medical anthropology, ANTH 6505 (required), and Topics in Medical Anthropology, ANTH 6506. Topics in ANTH 6506 have included Global Mental Health, Health and Development, and Health, Culture, and HIV/AIDS. 

GW has a longstanding School of Public Health which houses eight departments. Its graduate Epidemiology course is a frequently chosen option to fulfill the quantitative requirement in the MA concentration in Medical Anthropology. Beyond the 15 credits in the Medical Anthropology concentration, students often take Public Health courses as electives in order to fulfill the 36 credit-hour program.  Such electives add substantive knowledge of particular health issues such as health and the environment or specific skills such as health care management. 
The MA in anthropology with a concentration in Medical Concentration is designed as a two-year degree program, but it is possible to complete it in one year (fall, spring, and summer). 

Requirements for the concentration:

  • ANTH 6505 (Medical Anthropology)
  • 6 credits hours in sociocultural anthropology; the course can be directly or indirectly related to health with the student addressing health in a term paper (three of these credits can be fulfilled through an internship, approved by the concentration director, and registration for ANTH 6330, Internship in Development Anthropology)
  • 6 credit hours must be in research and analysis methods.
Research and analysis methods: (total of 6 credits)
The concentration requires three credits in qualitative methods and three credits in quantitative methods. Options for qualitative methods courses are ANTH 6331 Research Methods in Development Anthropology (3 cr.) (faculty rotates, spring) or IAFF 6118 Applied Qualitative Methods (Gusterson, fall). The quantitative methods course to be taken with this concentration is PUBH 6003 Principles and Practices of Epidemiology (3 cr.) (Faculty rotates, fall, spring, summer).
Prof. Barbara Miller is the advisor for medical anthropology students.

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