Medical Anthropology

Degree Types: PhD/MPH

The combined PhD/MPH Program in Medical Anthropology prepares graduates for leadership in academic and government institutions requiring expertise in biocultural approaches to the study of human health and disease. Drawing on the broader strengths of our department in political-economic analysis, global health, and human biology, Medical Anthropology at Northwestern focuses on the intersection of health with various forms of social and political inequality. The program provides rigorous interdisciplinary training linking the fields of medical anthropology and public health in both domestic and international settings.

Students pursing the combined PhD/MPH degree fulfill all requirements for both the Doctorate in Anthropology and the Master of Public Health through a selected interdisciplinary curriculum. A full three years of credit-bearing courses (18 units) is required in addition to the PhD dissertation.  In the MPH curriculum, students complete the coursework requirements for the "Generalist Concentration".  In addition to the MPH coursework, students also complete an Applied Practice Experience (APEx) and a Culminating Experience paper. 

Applicants apply to the combined PhD/MPH degree program at the time they apply for admission to the graduate program in Anthropology. 

Additional resources:

Medical Anthropology Courses

ANTHRO 306-0 Evolution of Life Histories (1 Unit)  

Evolved strategies for allocating resources among growth, reproduction, and maintenance; emphasis on the biological processes underlying the human life cycle and its evolution.

ANTHRO 311-0 Indians of North America (1 Unit)  

Aboriginal cultures of northern Mexico, continental United States, Alaska, and Canada. Languages, art, and social, economic, and religious life.

Historical Studies Distro Area

ANTHRO 312-0 Human Population Biology (1 Unit)  

Current theory and research in human biological diversity, focusing on the impact of ecological and social factors on human biology; how adaptation to environmental stressors promotes human biological variation.

Prerequisite: ANTHRO 213-0.

Natural Sciences Distro Area

ANTHRO 314-0 Human Growth & Development (1 Unit)  

Integrated biological and cultural perspective on human growth and development from infancy through adolescence; cross-cultural variation in developmental processes and outcomes.

Prerequisite: 100-or 200-level anthropology, biology, or psychology course or consent of instructor.

ANTHRO 315-0 Medical Anthropology (1 Unit)  

Theories of interactions between culture and biology that affect human health. Beliefs and practices for curing illness and maintaining wellbeing. Cross-cultural study of infectious and chronic diseases, mental illness, infant/maternal mortality, poverty, and gender.

Prerequisite: 100-or 200-level anthropology or sociology course or consent of instructor.

ANTHRO 317-0 Human Evolution (1 Unit)  

Fossil record and reconstruction of phylogeny; morphological and behavioral adaptation of early hominids and forebears.

Natural Sciences Distro Area

ANTHRO 318-0 Material Worlds of the Middle Ages (1 Unit)  

Landscapes, buildings, and material culture of medieval Europe, as seen through archaeology and related disciplines.

Historical Studies Distro Area

ANTHRO 319-0 Material Life & Culture in Europe, 1500-1800 (1 Unit)  

Landscapes, buildings, and material culture of early modern Europe, as seen through archaeology and related disciplines.

Historical Studies Distro Area

ANTHRO 320-0 Peoples of Africa (1 Unit)  

A survey of the cultures of Africa and the significant similarities and differences among the indigenous societies of the continent.

Social Behavioral Sciences Distro Area

ANTHRO 321-0 Archaeological Field Methods (1 Unit)  

Practical training in basic methods and techniques at an excavation site; given with summer Archaeology Field School.

ANTHRO 322-0 Introduction to Archaeology Research Design & Methods (1 Unit)  

Regional and site-specific approaches to the description and analysis of patterns in archaeological data, including settlement survey, site characterization, vertical excavations, and horizontal household excavations.

ANTHRO 325-0 Archaeological Methods Laboratory (1 Unit)  

Analysis of archaeological methods (faunal, botanical, artifact, or soil analysis) with various techniques. May be repeated for credit.

ANTHRO 327-0 Archaeology of Ethnicity in America (1 Unit)  

History of different ethnic groups in America as shown through living quarters, burials, food remains, tools, jewelry, etc. How groups have been portrayed in museums claiming to depict the American past. Focus on African Americans and Native Americans.

Historical Studies Distro Area

ANTHRO 330-0 Peoples of the World (1 Unit)  

Comparative ethnography of a regionally or historically associated group of cultures or a type of community defined in ecological, ideological, or other terms. May be repeated for credit.

Social Behavioral Sciences Distro Area

ANTHRO 332-0 The Anthropology of Reproduction (1 Unit)  

Marriage and reproduction throughout the world, particularly the developing world and Africa. Conjugal strategies, fertility, contraception.

Social Behavioral Sciences Distro Area

ANTHRO 334-0 The Anthropology of HIV/AIDS: Ethnographies (1 Unit)  

The experiences of HIV-positive people; local and global policies shaping access to treatment; contributions of anthropologists to reducing HIV/AIDS globally. Readings from classic and current ethnographies.

Prerequisite: 300-level course in anthropology or sociology.

Social Behavioral Sciences Distro Area

ANTHRO 339-0 Material Culture (1 Unit)  

Relationship between material objects and social life; review of theoretical approaches to gifts and commodities; ethnographic collecting in colonial and postcolonial settings; relationship between culture and aesthetics.

Prerequisite: ANTHRO 211-0 or consent of instructor.

Social Behavioral Sciences Distro Area

ANTHRO 341-0 Economic Anthropology (1 Unit)  

Economic organization in small-scale non-industrialized communities. Traditional structures of primitive and peasant economies.

Social Behavioral Sciences Distro Area

ANTHRO 350-0 Anthropology of Religion (1 Unit)  

The human relationship with the supernatural. Action patterns accompanying beliefs. Comparison of nonliterate religions and historical religions.

Ethics Values Distro Area

ANTHRO 354-0 Gender and Anthropology (1 Unit)  

Cross-cultural survey of women's roles from three perspectives: biosocial, sociocultural, politico-economic. Theory of gender inequality. Emphasis on the third world.

Social Behavioral Sciences Distro Area

ANTHRO 355-0 Sexualities (1 Unit)  

Cross-cultural survey of sexuality from an anthropological perspective. Focus on first half of the 20th century, the 1970s, 1980s, and the turn of the 21st century.

Social Behavioral Sciences Distro Area

ANTHRO 360-0 Language and Culture (1 Unit)  

Relationship between language and culture; language as the vehicle of culture and as the manifestation of thought.

Social Behavioral Sciences Distro Area

ANTHRO 361-0 Talk as Social Action (1 Unit)  

Analysis of talk in interaction based on examination of audio and video recorded data and associated transcripts. Conversation, action, turn, sequence, relevance, social structure, qualitative methodologies.

Prerequisite: ANTHRO 215-0 or consent of instructor.

Social Behavioral Sciences Distro Area

ANTHRO 362-0 Advanced Methods in Quantitative Analysis (1 Unit)  

Advanced applications of univariate and multivariate statistics to anthropological research questions.

Prerequisite: 200-level statistics course.

Formal Studies Distro Area

ANTHRO 370-0 Anthropology in Historical Perspective (1 Unit)  

Major schools of thought in social, archaeological, and biological anthropology over the last century.

Prerequisite: 200-level anthropology course or consent of instructor.

ANTHRO 373-0 Power and Culture in American Cities (1 Unit)  

Overview of history and present realities of American urban life, with focus on ethnographic knowledge and stratifications by class, race, ethnicity, gender, nationality, and sexuality.

Prerequisite: 100-or 200-level cultural anthropology or sociology course or consent of instructor.

Social Behavioral Sciences Distro Area

ANTHRO 376-0 Socialization (1 Unit)  

Cross-cultural study of the intergenerational transmission of culture; processes by which social groups pass on social tradition and behavior to succeeding generations.

Prerequisite: ANTHRO 211-0, introductory psychology course, or consent of instructor.

Social Behavioral Sciences Distro Area

ANTHRO 377-0 Psychological Anthropology (1 Unit)  

Contemporary approaches to cross-cultural behavior: ecocultural aspects of behavior development through maturation and socialization in human and nonhuman primates.

Prerequisite: introductory survey course in psychology or anthropology or consent of instructor.

Social Behavioral Sciences Distro Area

ANTHRO 378-0 Law and Culture (1 Unit)  

Introduction to the anthropology of law; institutional knowledge as seen in material culture and legal documents; colonial and postcolonial settings; relationships between law and culture, colonialism, evidence, and globalization.

Prerequisite: 200-level anthropology course or consent of instructor.

Social Behavioral Sciences Distro Area

ANTHRO 383-0 Environmental Anthropology (1 Unit)  

How humans have changed and are changing the environment and what can be done to halt environmental deterioration. Topics include population trends, food supplies, consumerism, environmental regulation, and ecological consciousness.

ANTHRO 386-0 Methods in Human Biology Research (1 Unit)  

Laboratory-based introduction to international research in human biology and health; methods for assessing nutritional status, physical activity, growth, cardiovascular health, endocrine and immune function.

Prerequisite: ANTHRO 213-0 or consent of instructor.

ANTHRO 389-0 Ethnographic Methods and Analysis (1 Unit)  

Descriptive, naturalistic study of the culture of human social groups. Data gathering through observation and interview. Data analysis for ethnographic reporting.

Prerequisites: ANTHRO 211-0 and ANTHRO 215-0.

ANTHRO 390-0 Topics In Anthropology (1 Unit)  

Advanced work in areas of developing interest and special significance. May be repeated for credit with different topic.

ANTHRO 401-1 Logic of Inquiry in Anthropology (Bio) (1 Unit)  

Advanced introduction to the core of anthropology for beginning graduate students.

ANTHRO 401-2 Logic of Inquiry in Anthropology (Archy) (1 Unit)  

Advanced introduction to the core of anthropology for beginning graduate students.

ANTHRO 401-3 Logic of Inquiry in Anthropology (Cultural) (1 Unit)  

Advanced introduction to the core of anthropology for beginning graduate students.

ANTHRO 401-4 The Logic of Inquiry in Anthropology (Ling) (1 Unit)  

Advanced introduction to the core of anthropology for beginning graduate students.

ANTHRO 424-0 Seminar in Biological Anthropology (1 Unit)  

Presentation and discussion of topics in biological anthropology, including graduate student and faculty research interests, new literature, and reports on current meetings.

ANTHRO 430-0 Integrative Seminar in Society, Biology, and Health (1 Unit)  

Survey of efforts to understand the dynamic relationships among society, biology, and health, with emphasis on confronting epistemological and methodological challenges to successful interdisciplinary scholarship on health in an era of increasing specialization.

ANTHRO 470-0 History of Anthropological Theory (1 Unit)  

Social/cultural anthropology during the past 150 years; philosophical and historical roots of the subject.

ANTHRO 472-0 Seminar in Political Anthropology (1 Unit)  

Anthropological approaches to cross-cultural study of politics and political organization. Themes include evolutionary and historical frameworks; political processes; kinship, ethnicity, and religion; political change, colonialism, and the world system.

ANTHRO 473-0 Seminar in Economic Anthropology (1 Unit)  

Anthropological approaches to the study of economic life. Case studies and theoretical works address the development of economic anthropology and its relationship to the rest of the discipline and to other social sciences.

ANTHRO 474-0 Seminar in Religion and Values (1 Unit)  

Philosophical and methodological problems that relate to cultural anthropology. Approaches to the analysis of cosmology, ritual, and myth; comparison of scriptural and nonscriptural religions.

ANTHRO 475-0 Seminar in Contemporary Theory (1 Unit)  

Recent trends in social theory. Examines work from outside as well as within anthropology, as it has contributed to debate within the discipline: e.g., structuralism, practice theory, postmodernism.

ANTHRO 476-0 Globalization & Discontents (1 Unit)  

Analysis of the globalization phenomenon from historical political-economic perspective. Neoliberalism, increasing global inequality, race, gender, nationalism, migration, labor and commodity chains, roles of NGOs, anti-globalization politics.

ANTHRO 477-0 Race/Ethnicity, Gender, & Nationality (1 Unit)  

An anthropological, political-economic and history of thought perspective on the related phenomena of race/ethnicity, gender, and nationalism from the nineteenth century to the present.

ANTHRO 478-0 Critical Americanist Ethnographies (1 Unit)  

The history and present reality of ethnographic work on the non-Native American urban US since the 1910s. This seminar works interdisciplinary and historically reframing the "anthropology of the US". History of American anthropology and popular political culture, the culture and political economy of American cities, of embedded race/ethnicity, immigration, and gendered realities with material on health, environment, and education.

ANTHRO 484-0 Seminar in Linguistic Anthropology (1 Unit)  

Advanced seminar featuring a select topic in linguistic anthropological theory and praxis. Topics will incorporate perspectives about political economy, gender, race, ethnicity, class, and social inequality.

ANTHRO 485-0 Seminar in Mind, Body, & Health (1 Unit)  

Mind, Body, and Health: Critical evaluation of hidden epistemologies embedded within cultural constructions of mind and body, health and illness. Examination of cultural, social, and political-economic influences on health and exploration of the concept of embodiment. Comparative investigation of how humans cope with pain, illness, and suffering.

ANTHRO 486-0 Evolution & Biological Anthropology (1 Unit)  

History of evolutionary thought; the development of biological anthropology.

ANTHRO 490-0 Topics in Anthropology (1 Unit)  

Presentations by department faculty on contemporary topics of importance to the development of anthropology. May be repeated for credit with change of topic.

ANTHRO 496-0 Bridging Seminar (1 Unit)  

Advanced course designed to integrate topics from the four subfields of anthropology (archaeology, biological anthropology, cultural anthropology, and linguistic anthropology). May be repeated for credit.

ANTHRO 499-0 Independent Study (1-3 Units)  

Permission of instructor and department required. May be repeated for credit.

ANTHRO 519-0 Responsible Conduct of Research Training (0 Unit)  

Training in the Responsible Conduct of Research to fulfill the University requirement.  This includes online CITI training and completion of an approved course with 4 hours of in person instruction.

ANTHRO 570-0 Anthropology Seminar (TA Credit) (1 Unit)  

Special topics. May be repeated for credit with change of topic.

ANTHRO 590-0 Research (1-3 Units)  

Independent investigation of selected problems pertaining to thesis or dissertation. SEE DEPT FOR SECTION AND PERMISSION NUMBERS.