Cultural Anthropology

Graduate Program in Medical Anthropology at Northwestern

Academic research in medical anthropology draws on diverse theoretical approaches, with a shared emphasis on increasing our understanding of the diverse ways in which cultural, social, and biological factors influence human experiences of pain, illness, suffering, and healing in different settings.  The medical anthropology program at Northwestern is a highly integrated program that draws on the broader strengths of our department in political-economic analysis, global health, and human biology to focus on the intersection of health with forms of social and political inequality across race, class, gender, and generation. The program combines a focus on the social and political-economic forces that affect the epidemiology and phenomenology of health and illness, with an emphasis on the physical processes and mechanisms through which such forces become embodied.  

Areas of specialization

  • These include mental health, cardiovascular and metabolic disease, reproductive health, study of health care institutions, global health, and the critical study of global health policy. 
  • Our unique strengths and resources in the areas of psychological and biological anthropology also allow us to offer an expertise in psychosomatic and behavioral processes, including the medical anthropology of stress, embodiment, and somatization. 
  • Geographical areas of specialization include the United States, Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East. 

Concentration options

  • Graduate students may concentrate in medical anthropology through the PhD programs in either cultural anthropology or human biology. 
  • In addition, Northwestern offers a unique joint PhD/MPH degree program, which allows students to earn their masters in public health while working toward their PhD in anthropology.  Please note: the joint PhD/MPH program is not currently accepting applications for Fall 2017.

Other departments and programs at the University provide additional academic resources for students interested in medical anthropology, including: