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Indiana University Bloomington
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Department of Anthropology College of Arts and Sciences
One Discipline, Four Fields


The Medical Anthropology PhD Concentration offers a specialized curriculum for students who are interested in pursuing focused coursework in medical anthropology. In particular, we have bioanthropology and social-cultural anthropology faculty members whose research and teaching is either focused on human health and disease, or on a topic or theoretical approach that has relevance for understanding human health and disease.   We anticipate that students interested in Medical Anthropology will have bioanthropology or social-cultural anthropology as their primary field, but the concentration is available to students from any field.

The PhD Concentration in Medical Anthropology has the following requirements (in addition to their subfield requirements in Anthropology):

  1. 2 required core courses
    • E645: Advanced Seminar in Medical Anthropology
    • B645:  Biocultural Medical Anthropology
  2. 2 methods courses (E606: Research Methods in Cultural Anthropology and a graduate-level statistics course)
  3. 2 additional courses from the list below courses (must be from 2 different fields in anthropology)

It is expected, but not required, depending on their research interests, that students will develop a knowledge base in a particular culture area, either by taking their outside PhD minor in an area studies program or through culture area courses in anthropology.

Eligible Courses

(only those with known regular offerings are included; courses from outside of anthropology will be considered for inclusion on a case-by-case basis):

  • A667 - Topics in Medical Anthropology (can be taught from any field)
  • B512 - Evolutionary Medicine
  • B544 - The Biology and Anthropology of Women’s Bodies
  • B545 - Nutritional Anthropology
  • B600 - Seminar in Bioanthropology (*approved topics only. Currently approved topics include Behavioral Genetics [Kaestle])
  • B602 - Paleopathology
  • E600 - Seminar in Cultural and Social Anthropology (*topic must be approved by Medical Anthropology Advisor. Currently approved topics include: Ethnobotany [Brondizio]; Reproduction, Culture and Identity [Bahloul, Friedman]).
  • E621 - Food and Culture
  • E648 - Power, Subjectivity, and the State
  • E656 - The Anthropology of Race
  • E664 - Body, Power, and Performance
  • E674 - The Anthropology of Human Rights
  • E690 - Development and Anthropology

Advisory Committee

As required by their field, no later than the second year the student is responsible for establishing an Advisory Committee and meeting with its members. The Advisory Committee will include at least one member of the Medical Anthropology faculty. As required by the University Graduate School, an outside PhD minor will be selected, in consultation with the Advisory Committee, preferably during the first year.

Qualifying Examination

The Ph.D. qualifying examination will follow the format of the field in which the student is enrolled. It is expected that in addition to the examination sections required for the anthropology degree, the examination also will include a section covering Medical Anthropology. The format of the exam will be approved in advance by the committee.

Medical Anthropology Faculty

  • Sarah Phillips (Concentration co-Director)
  • Andrea Wiley (Concentration co-Director)
  • Joelle Bahloul
  • Eduardo Brondizio
  • Della Cook
  • Brian Gilley
  • Frederika Kaestle
  • Michael Muehlenbein
  • Marvin Sterling
  • Virginia Vitzthum