Medical Anthropology Track

The Department of Anthropology's Medical Anthropology Track (MedAnth) is for students interested in all aspects of medicine, from biology to therapeutic systems to cultural ideas and practices of health and wellbeing. Choosing this track allows students who are interested in the sciences, policy, the humanities and the sub-field of medical anthropology to focus their undergraduate training around these topics. This track requires nine courses total; four are required and 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 two departmental courses using approved 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.

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 or a cognate Biological course including: Human Evolution (ANT 206); a human biology course; Behavioral Biology of Women (ANT 339); Multispecies Ecologies in the Anthropocene (ANT 426); Myth-busting Race and Sex: Anthropology, Biology, and 'Human Natures' (ANT 428); Introduction to Anthropology (ANT 201) if taken in Fall 2020 or Fall 2021; an approved cognate taught outside the department. 

Elective Courses (5)

  • Two  Medical Anthropology and/or Science and Technology courses, for example: Introduction to Anthropology (ANT 201); Surveillance, Technoscience, and Society (ANT 211); The Anthropology of Disaster (ANT 219); Food, Culture, and Society (ANT 311); Sensory Anthropology (ANT 331); Ethics in Context (ANT 360); Global Pharmaceuticals (ANT 405); Disability, Difference, and Race (ANT 461); an additional foundational medical or human biology / biological anthropology course; OR an ANT/ENV or ENV/ANT course at the interface of health and environment taught by a member of the ANT faculty, e.g. Anthropologies of Climate and Change (ANT387/ENV387) or The Body in Rain (ENV 428/ANT 488).
  • One  Medicine and Society course taught outside the department (DUS approval is required and counts as a cognate unless cross-listed by ANT), for example: History of Science (HOS), Global Health and Health Policy (GHP), Gender and Sexuality Studies (GSS), Molecular Biology (MOL), Psychology (PSY), Neuroscience (NEU), Sociology (SOC), School of Public and International Affairs (SPI); OR an additional Medical Anthropology and/or Science and Technology course.
  • Two  Anthropology courses on any subject, or one ANT course and a DUS approved cognate. We encourage MedAnth students to consider taking Histories of Anthropological Theory (ANT 390) if they can fit it into their schedules.

Courses satisfying each of the four required course categories are offered annually. Courses that satisfy 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) 

A cognate is a course that the director of undergraduate studies has reviewed and deemed to be relevant to a student's independent work or correspond to a student's course of study (i.e., track). 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 American Studies, East Asian Studies, Latin American Studies, Near Eastern Studies; and/or anthropology 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

Anthropologists consider the body the existential ground of culture, so students in MedAnth can choose any anthropological topic for the senior thesis, provided the methodological and theoretical approach taken is approved by a student's senior thesis adviser. 

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

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