Medical Anthropology Track

The Medical Anthropology Track (MedAnth) is for students interested in all aspects of medicine, from biosocial to therapeutic systems to cultural ideas about illness and practices of health and well-being. Choosing this track allows students who are interested in the sciences, policy, the humanities, and the subfield of medical anthropology to focus their undergraduate training around these topics.

The MedAnth track requires nine courses total; four are required and the other five are electives selected from category groups explained below. Students in this track are allowed to substitute up to two of the five elective courses with a class taught within the Department of Anthropology but outside MedAnth. Students are also allowed to satisfy departmental courses using two cognates.

[Before July 1, 2020, the required and elective course requirements for the Medical Anthropology track were effectively the same as shown below, but the requirement categories were framed differently. Students who declared the ANT major in Spring 2020 (i.e., original Class of 2022) or earlier may use either the information provided below or the information for Medical Anthropology Before July 2020 to help them track their degree progress in the Medical Anthropology track. For students declaring ANT in Spring 2021 (i.e., original Class of 2023) and later, the MedAnth track course requirements to be satisfied are explained below.]

MedAnth Required Courses (4)

  • ANT 300 Ethnography, Evidence and Experience
  • ANT 301 The Ethnographer's Craft
  • One foundational Medical Anthropology course offered by the department including: Medical Anthropology (ANT 240), Medicine and the Humanities (ANT 340), Psychological Anthropology (ANT 305), Race and Medicine (ANT 403)
  • One Human Biology / Biological Anthropology course offered by the department, including: Human Evolution (ANT 206); Myth-busting Race and Sex: Anthropology, Biology, and 'Human Natures' (ANT 428); and newly offered biology-focused courses. Cognate biological courses in, e.g., EEB, MOL, or NEU might be approved. Introduction to Anthropology (ANT 201) satisfies this requirement only if taken in Fall 2020 or Fall 2021. 

MedAnth Elective Courses (5)

  • Two medical anthropology and/or science and technology courses, such as: Introduction to Anthropology (ANT 201); Surveillance, Technoscience, and Society (ANT 211); Catastrophes across Cultures: The Anthropology of Disaster (ANT 219); Food, Culture, and Society (ANT 311); Sensory Anthropology (ANT 331); Ethics in Context: Uses and Abuses of Deception and Disclosure (ANT 360); Multispecies Ecologies in the Anthropocene (ANT 426); Disability, Difference, and Race (ANT 461); an additional foundational medical or human biology / biological anthropology course; or a course at the interface of health and environment taught by a member of the ANT faculty 
  • One medicine and society course taught outside the department (departmental approval is required and counts as a cognate unless cross-listed by ANT), for example: History of Science, Global Health, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Molecular Biology, Psychology, Neuroscience, Sociology, School of Public and International Affairs; or an additional medical anthropology and/or science and technology course
  • Two anthropology courses on any subject, or one ANT course and a department-approved cognate. The department encourages MedAnth students to take Histories of Anthropological Theory (ANT 390) if their schedules can accommodate it.

Courses satisfying each of the four specified course categories (two required categories, two elective categories) are offered annually. Courses satisfying the elective course categories are typically taught every other year, although some may be offered annually and others less frequently. A list of pre-approved MedAnth electives will be published each semester before course enrollment begins. 

Possible Cognates (2) 

MedAnth students are allowed to take two cognates. A department cognate for a MedAnth student might include a course taught in departments or programs listed above under Medicine and Society courses or others, such as African American Studies; Ecology and Evolutionary Biology; Engineering; regional studies including but not limited to AMS, EAS, LAS, NES; and/or courses taken during study abroad. Proposed cognates must be approved by the department. Approval prior to enrollment is normally expected, however, retroactive approval is granted when warranted.

Senior Thesis

MedAnth students must write a senior thesis on a topic related to medical anthropology, broadly defined. The methodological and theoretical approach taken must be approved by the student’s senior thesis adviser. Ethnographic and/or community-engaged research is strongly encouraged, along with creative modes of data visualization and storytelling.

Degree at Graduation

The transcript degree of students in the Medical Anthropology Track will be A.B. in Anthropology. Students who successfully complete the MedAnth curriculum will receive a departmental attestation on Class Day and may note their track focus on their resumés.

To compare MedAnth to other Anthropology Tracks, see the comparison table