Medical Anthropology

The Department of Anthropology's Social Anthropology program offers a Ph.D. in Anthropology, with a special emphasis on Medical Anthropology.

Students are regular members of the graduate program in social anthropology, and all requirements for the Ph.D. in anthropology pertain to those specializing in medical anthropology. In addition to selecting required and elective courses in anthropology, students join a group of faculty, graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows working in medical and psychiatric anthropology. They participate in a weekly seminar in medical anthropology, take courses offered by the faculty in the program, may participate in specialized research activities with faculty and fellows, and may serve as teaching fellows in courses in medical anthropology.

Medical anthropologists and other faculty at Harvard work on a variety of theoretical and ethnographic issues, including: violence, urban anthropology, mental illness and cross-cultural psychiatry, subjectivity and culture, social suffering, stigma, ethics and bioethics, human rights, pharmaceuticals, substance abuse, infectious disease and epidemics, aging, governmentality, transnationalism and borders, and history of medicine and science. Participants in the Medical Anthropology program are united by a shared commitment to long-term ethnographic engagement with local cultural and social worlds, by a common concern with the practical relations between ethnographic research, medical knowledge, and public health policies, and finally by a common emphasis on the importance of social theory in medical anthropology.

The faculty works in close association with physicians and researchers at the Harvard Medical School and its Department of Social Medicine, as well as with public health practitioners at Harvard and in the community. While most of the anthropologists at Harvard deal in some way with these issues, the Medical Anthropology program is comprised of a group of faculty, post-doctoral fellows, and graduate students, divided between Anthropology and Social Medicine. This group meets once a week for guest lectures by some of the most preeminent thinkers in the field of medical anthropology. At Harvard, the program is directed by Arthur Kleinman, Rabb Professor of Medical Anthropology, Department of Anthropology and Dr. Paul Farmer.

Application to the Ph.D. program in follows usual procedures for application for the Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. You should indicate your medical anthropology interest in the statement of purpose when applying to the Ph.D. in Social Anthropology.

Application information is available on the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences website.