Anthropology and Global Health Joint Degree Program

Masters in Anthropology/Masters in Public Health (MPH)

In today's rapidly globalizing world, people and pathogens routinely cross borders. As a result the traditional distinction between domestic versus international health issues is a thing of the past. There is an unprecedented need to reformulate and broaden our conceptualizations of health and a growing awareness that the most pressing challenges to global health are not merely biological or technical, but also social, economic, and political. By recognizing the intersections between biomedical and cultural factors underlying global patterns of health and illness, we can better understand and address the most serious epidemics and health disparities in our contemporary world.

To respond to raised concerns involving global health, there is a growing recognition for the necessity of inter-disciplinary research between namely public health and medical anthropology. This understanding is reflected in recent hiring patterns in schools of public health, many of which are now including medical anthropologists as core members of their faculty. Further, it is also reflected in the fact that many medical anthropologists are acquiring master's degrees in public health in order to better understand the issues at stake and respond to the growing demands on the part of students and the field.

The UIC Anthropology and Global Health Program

The Department of Anthropology in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the Divisions of Community Health Science and Epidemiology and Biostatistics in the School of Public Health have a joint degree program, entitled "Anthropology and Global Health" (AGH).

This degree provides students with concurrent formal study toward two degrees: an MA in anthropology and a master's degree in public health. The MA in Anthropology is an academic degree that provides broad training in the field of anthropology, which includes cultural anthropology, biological anthropology and archaeology. The Master's of Public Health is a professional degree covering the field of Public Health, specific competence in a particular area (for this degree, the area will be either community health sciences or epidemiology), and concrete skills and experience in Public Health settings.

Building towards a PhD in Anthropology or Public Health

The joint master's degree integrates the fields of anthropology and public health; it combines the theoretical approaches of anthropology in understanding cultural and biological influences on patterns of health and illness, with the tools and applicability of public health approaches to global health problems. The program is designed to be followed by a doctoral degree in anthropology or public health (community health sciences or epidemiology). The doctoral degree will prepare the graduate for applications of independent research and advanced instruction in academic, research, and/or service careers.

Why enrollment in the Joint Degree Program ?

The interdisciplinary focus of this joint program, its population-level perspectives, and its complementary toolkits produce better-informed global citizens and researchers. As future leaders, students graduating from this joint program know the range of serious health problems facing people at home and around the globe and the intersecting economic, political and cultural factors that underlie and often determine them. This joint program—one of a few of its kind in the country—allows for a rare opportunity to acquire integrated, structured, inter-disciplinary training in theory, methods and studies illustrating the complex interplay of political, economic, social, ethical, behavioral and biomedical dimensions of health.

Interested in applying? 

Unfortunately, we are not accepting new students into AGH for Fall 2015.