Medical Anthropology increases our understanding of health-related beliefs and behaviors of all kinds, from the precise products of science to the silent rituals of culturally scripted healing. Anthropological research on social and cultural processes in the arena of health have both theoretical and practical utility addressing many of the central quandaries of the human condition: from social suffering and institutional inequality to chronic pain, warfare, and everyday violence. The Medical Anthropology PhD program has a three-pronged mission — to conduct original critical research that builds the knowledge base of medical anthropology; to train new generations of medical anthropologists for careers in research and education; and to prepare medical and other health professional students for the complexities of clinical practice and for effective scientific engagement in an increasingly diverse and internationally linked world.
The Medical Anthropology PhD program is the oldest such program in the country. The joint nature of the program provides students access to both a premier medical research university and a premier arts and sciences university (UC Berkeley). The result is a unique immersion in anthropological theory and cutting-edge medicine.
On the UC San Francisco campus, the program has ten 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.
The program has a research emphasis on social inequality, differential access to care, race, violence and the biomedical economy.
Graduates from this program typically enter either academic research and teaching positions or governmental and nongovernmental health organizations. See detailed career outcomes data.
The Medical Anthropology program office at UCSF is located at the Laurel Heights campus. Visit the program website for more information.
The joint Medical Anthropology program is offered by the UCSF Graduate Division and UC Berkeley
administered by the UCSF School of Medicine
delivered by faculty members in the UCSF School Medicine and the UC Berkeley Anthropology Department