Major Option: Medical Anthropology & Global Health

Majors completing the requirements for the Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology may complete these requirements through the undergraduate option in Medical Anthropology and Global Health.

Many students who complete this option plan to pursue post-graduate training and careers in health-related fields such as public health, epidemiology, nursing, medicine, and global health. The liberal arts education offered through anthropology is recognized as an ideal course of preparation.

According to Newsweek Magazine (full article), over the past 20 years, social science majors have had an increasing rate of successful admission to medical school, in comparison to their science-major counterparts. Moreover, humanities students perform better on the MCAT, the standardized test for medical school admissions.

 “A science major is not a prerequisite for medical school, and students should not major in science simply because they believe this will increase their chances for acceptance…The schools also recognize the desirability of including in medical school classes students who have a broad variety of interests and backgrounds.”
- The Association of American Medical Colleges

“More humanities students have been applying in recent years, and medical schools like them…The schools are looking for a kind of compassion and potential doctoring ability. This makes many social-science and humanities students particularly well qualified.”
- Gwen Garrison, Association of American Medical Colleges

Anthropological training is also viewed as excellent preparation for careers in global health. This was recently highlighted in Nature Magazine’s special report on Global Health:

“International efforts to improve global health offer a wide range of career opportunities. The kind of skills required extend beyond the obvious front-line medical support…The skills in demand are management, cultural understanding, and an anthropological viewpoint.”

Medical Anthropology & Global Health (MAGH) option requirements

In addition to completing the core courses for anthropology (BIO A 201, ARCHY 205, and any 5 credit, 200-level ANTH course) and one statistics course (choosing from CS&SS/SOC/STAT 211, STAT 220, STAT 311, or Q SCI 381), MAGH students are asked to take the following courses to complete their 55 anthropology credits:

  1. ANTH 215 Introduction to Medical Anthropology and Global Health OR ANTH 302 Body and Soul: Introduction to Medical Anthropology and Global Health as Social Justice Praxis
  2. 15 additional credits from the approved MAGH course list (below)

Approved courses for Medical Anthropology and Global Health (MAGH):

  • ANTH 215 Introduction to Medical Anthropology and Global Health
  • ANTH 302 Body and Soul: Introduction to Medical Anthropology and Global Health as Social Justice Praxis
  • ANTH 305 Anthropology of the Body
  • ANTH 308 Anthropology of Women's Health and Reproduction
  • ANTH 311 The Cultural Politics of Diet and Nutrition
  • ANTH 322 Comparative Study of Death
  • ANTH 361 Anthropology of Food
  • ANTH 369 Special Problems in Anthropology (as relevant)
  • ANTH 373 Labor, Identity and Knowledge in Healthcare
  • ANTH 374 Narrative, Literature, and Medical Anthropology
  • ANTH 375 Comparative Systems of Healing
  • ANTH 376 Anthropology of Disability
  • ANTH 377 Anthropology and International Health
  • ANTH 402 Introduction to Experiential Ethnography: Towards a Critical Re-Enchantment of Every Day Life
  • ANTH 411 The Culture and Politics of Food: Study Abroad in Italy
  • ANTH 414 Applied Public Anthropology
  • ANTH 420 The Social Life of Psychiatry
  • ANTH 452 Explorations in Biopower
  • ANTH 453 Culture, Controversy and Change:  The Case of Female Circumcision
  • ANTH 468 Anthropology of Care
  • ANTH 469 Special Studies in Anthropology (as relevant)
  • ANTH 472 Case Studies in Medical Anthropology and Global Health
  • ANTH 474 Social Difference and Medical Knowledge
  • ANTH 475 Perspectives in Medical Anthropology
  • ANTH 476 Culture, Medicine, and the Body
  • ANTH 477 Medicine in America: Conflicts and Contradictions
  • ANTH 478 Introduction to the Anthropology of Institutions
  • ANTH 479 Advanced Topics in Medical Anthropology
  • ANTH 483 Africa Living with HIV/AIDS
  • ANTH 490 Healthcare and Aging
  • ANTH 519 Advanced Qualitative Methods in Anthropology and Public Health
  • ANTH 574 Culture, Society, and Genomics
  • ANTH 575 Cultural Construction of Illness: Seminar in Medical Anthropology


  • BIO A 206 Plagues and People
  • BIO A 348 Evolutionary Biology and Human Diversity
  • BIO A 350 Men's Health Across the Lifespan
  • BIO A 351 Principles of Evolutionary Medicine
  • BIO A 355 Evolutionary Medicine
  • BIO A 382 Human Population Biology 
  • BIO A 387 Ecological Perspectives on Environmental Stress, Adaptation, and Health 
  • BIO A 413 Human Primate Interface: Implications for Disease, Risk, and Conservation
  • BIO A 420 Anthropological Research on Health Disparities
  • BIO A 423 Social Networks and Health
  • BIO A 450 Biodemography Seminar 
  • BIO A 455 Reproductive Ecology Laboratory Seminar 
  • BIO A 459 Laboratory Methods in Anthropological Genetics
  • BIO A 465 Nutritional Anthropology 
  • BIO A 469 Special Topics in Biocultural Anthropology (as relevant) 
  • BIO A 471 Evolutionary Perspectives on Parenting and Childcare
  • BIO A 473 Biological Adaptability of Human Populations
  • BIO A 476 Sociocultural Ecology and Health 
  • BIO A 482 Human Population Genetics 
  • BIO A 483 Human Genetics, Disease, and Culture
  • BIO A 484 Human Life Cycle 
  • BIO A 487 Human and Comparative Osteology 
  • BIO A 495 Growth and Development: Infancy 
  • BIO A 496 Growth and Development: Adolescence and Reproductive Maturity 
  • BIO A 568 Human Reproductive Ecology