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Balancing academics, research, and practice

The Master of Science Program in Medical Anthropology & Cross-Cultural Practice is designed as a two-year, full-time program requiring research methods and theory courses, seven electives, a service-learning internship, summer fieldwork, and five professional development workshops. Students also attend the weekly Research-In-Progress meeting in the Department of Family Medicine, with clinician researchers.

Students can opt to participate in the program on a half-time basis.

The overall goal of the Masters in Medical Anthropology and Cross-Cultural Practice is to provide interdisciplinary training in medical anthropology and cross-cultural clinical and/or research practice. The curriculum has been designed to provide students with a solid foundation in the theory and methods of medical anthropological and qualitative research, and in the student’s own area of concentration.

The combination of a core curriculum and elective courses allows students to design a program tailored to their specific needs and career plans.

  • Theory and its application to medical anthropological research
  • Research design and related proposal development for Institutional Review Board (ethics committee) review
  • Qualitative and anthropological research and fieldwork methods
  • Proposal development for funding applications
  • The student’s own area of research concentration
  • Skill and career-development workshops
  • Techniques for translating medical anthropological research into clinical interventions and services
  • Original research experiences that result in a masters thesis (15,000 words) that emphasizes the integration of medical anthropology with the student’s own discipline or career goals. The thesis, on a topic of the student’s choice, must demonstrate a solid research design; engagement in fieldwork with the collection of related data; data analysis skills; the effective application of theory; and well written results.


By the time students complete their program they should be able to demonstrate:

  • Advanced knowledge of the history and breadth of medical anthropology theory and its application in research;
  • An ability to design and propose an original fieldwork research project for Institutional Review Board review and funding agencies;
  • Expertise in a particular area of research concentration;
  • Effective public and professional communication of medical anthropology research through publication and presentations;
  • The ability to collaborate with a group related to research focus, to develop applied dimensions;
  • The ability to work across disciplinary boundaries.
  • Strategies for effective public and professional communication of medical anthropology research through publication and presentations