"I’m really blessed to be working with incredible mentors. They challenge me intellectually, invite me to author papers, connect me with other queer/latinx/activist academics, organize student gatherings over dinner, and engage in 'walking seminars' through the UC Nature Reserves."
— Fabian Fernandez, MD/PhD student, Medical Anthropology

Medical Anthropology

The joint UCSF/UC Berkeley PhD in Medical Anthropology is one of the pioneering programs in the discipline both nationally and globally. The program brings together one of the finest medical universities and one of the finest arts and sciences universities in the country to offer students a theoretically engaged approach to emerging issues in medical anthropology. No other program offers the joint program’s combination of excellence in critical medical anthropology; studies of science, technology, and modernity; and training in historically informed, pedagogically rigorous social theory.

Students in the program are trained to develop original, creative, and relevant scholarship that contributes to both medical science and social science fields. The program emphasizes the ways social theory can be used to analyze urgent issues in contemporary health. These include: how populations are predisposed for care or violence; how markets structure health and the provision of aid; and differences in how life, ethics, and personhood are constituted.

The program also offers a unique opportunity for dual degree students through the Medical Anthropology MD/PhD track, which includes the Medical Sciences Training Program. This track graduates physician scholars able to contribute to anthropological scholarship, medical science, and clinical care.


On the UC San Francisco campus, the program has eight faculty from UCSF’s Department of Anthropology, History, and Social Medicine. On the UC Berkeley side, the program has eight faculty from the Anthropology Department.

Thematic Areas

critical global health
critical race theory
structural competency
reproductive Justice
social studies of science and technology
addiction and inequity
built environment and management of urban poverty
social dynamics of disaster and recovery
chemical harm and social accountability
decolonizing medicine and health issues


The Medical Anthropology program office at UCSF is located at the Mission Bay campus. Visit the program website for more information.

The joint Medical Anthropology program is offered by the UCSF Graduate Division and UC Berkeley. The program is administered by the UCSF School of Medicine and delivered by faculty members in the UCSF School Medicine and the UC Berkeley Anthropology Department.


Program Manager
Bonita Dyess

Program Director
Ian Whitmarsh, PhD