Medical Anthropology
Departmental Reviewer: Anna Agbe-Davies,


Check before you go…. Study abroad is a fantastic learning opportunity and we encourage medical anthropology students to travel and learn globally! Contact Professor Rivkin-Fish before you decide on a program to ensure that the courses offered may be counted towards your Medical Anthropology Minor. We will need a syllabus to evaluate whether the course can be counted toward your degree at UNC.

Medical Anthropology is not the same as Public Health… The Medical Anthropology Minor focuses on teaching students about the theories and methods of the specific field of medical anthropology. This approach differs from courses in kindred fields such as Global Health, Public Health, Health Policy, Comparative Health Systems, etc., and we cannot grant credit for courses that address issues of health, but do not do so from an anthropological perspective. Course titles are often unclear, unspecific, and confusing about a course’s disciplinary approach! You often can’t tell what the course content will be from a title alone. Sometimes a course may be called “Global Health” and it DOES present medical anthropological approaches, but sometimes it does not. This is why a syllabus is necessary for the course to be evaluated.

What criteria does UNC’s Medical Anthropology Department use to assess a course? When assessing a course from another university for credit towards the Medical Anthropology Minor, we look for the following elements: inclusion of anthropological methods, including participant-observation, ethnographic inquiry, and comparative human biology; attention to cultural, historical, socioecological, and political-economic forces as necessary for understanding health issues; readings that are published in anthropological journals and contribute to debates regarding anthropological theory, methods, and interpretation; student research that includes anthropological theory and methods and refers to published anthropological literature.