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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:

Program Contact

Contact Tracy Tohtz
Graduate Program Administrator

Degree Requirements

The following requirements are in addition to, or further elaborate upon, those requirements outlined in The Graduate School Policy Guide.


Total Units Required:  MPH requires a total of 16 units and Anthropology PhD requires a minimum of 9 units. Three Anthropology courses can be double-counted towards the MPH. These include: (1) a methods course (either ANTHRO 386-0 Methods in Human Biology Research or ANTHRO 389-0 Ethnographic Methods and Analysis), and (2) two other elective courses from the list below.  All MPH/PhD candidates in Medical Anthropology complete the requirements for the "Generalist Concentration" in the MPH Program. 

MPH Course Requirements

Course Title
Core Courses
PUB_HLTH 301-0
Behavior, Society & Health
PUB_HLTH 302-0
Introduction to Biostatistics
PUB_HLTH 303-0
Environmental Health Sciences
PUB_HLTH 304-0
Introduction to Epidemiology
PUB_HLTH 310-0
Foundations of Public Health I
PUB_HLTH 311-0
Foundations of Public Health II
PUB_HLTH 312-0
Foundations of Public Health III
PUB_HLTH 418-0
Applied Practice Experience I
PUB_HLTH 419-0
Applied Practice Experience II
PUB_HLTH 420-0
Introduction to US Health Care System
PUB_HLTH 560-0
Culminating Experience
Public Health Methods Course
Choose from:
PUB_HLTH 421-0
Intermediate Biostatistics
PUB_HLTH 422-0
Intermediate Epidemiology
Anthropology Methods Course
Choose from:
ANTHRO 386-0
Methods in Human Biology Research
ANTHRO 389-0
Ethnographic Methods and Analysis
Anthropology Curriculum Shared Public Health Content
Choose 2 from:
ANTHRO 332-0
The Anthropology of Reproduction
ANTHRO 390-0
Topics In Anthropology (Methods in Global Health and Anthropology)
ANTHRO 485-0
Seminar in Mind, Body, & Health
ANTHRO 490-0
Topics in Anthropology (Seminar on Society, Biology and Health or Human Population Biology)
ANTHRO 386-0 or ANTHRO 389-0 if not counted as Anthropology Methods Course
Electives: 5 units

PhD Course Requirements

Students are required to complete PhD course requirements based on the chosen subfield.

Required Papers and Proposals

Students are required to complete a Second Year Qualifying Paper, an Applied Public Health Experience (APEx), Culminating Experience Paper,  a Dissertation Proposal, and a PhD Dissertation. 

Last Updated: September 16, 2022