Graduate Minors and Concentrations in Anthropology Subfields and Other Disciplines

A graduate minor in Anthropology usually consists of 12 units, but a few concentrations in anthropology require as many as 15 units (e.g., Medical Anthropology; Southwest Land, Culture, and Society). It is recommended that nine units be taken in anthropology or courses that are cross-listed to anthropology. See information under subfield majors for certain required courses. Other courses may be added to the student’s program of study at the discretion of the chair of the student’s minor committee. This requirement is automatically fulfilled for those students with minor foci in the Medical or Applied concentrations, for which course selections are relatively constrained. View the Ph.D.-Track Graduate Handbook (pdf) or the M.A. Applied Archaeology Graduate Handbook (pdf).

Students following a minor focus in Biological Anthropology must complete 14 units, including one of the foundations courses (ANTH 545A or 545B); plus three courses from at least two of the above groupings; plus either one additional course from the above groupings or the ANTH 695C “Anthropology Colloquium” (a minimum of two units).

In addition, the School has formulated a third minor option: “areas of synthetic concentration” that crosscut anthropology’s subfields. Concentrations assist some students in building a regimen for training that, through focus on a particular set of issues, allows the student to span multiple subfields or disciplines. A concentration can be used to direct work within the major, or it can be used as a minor focus.

At the Ph.D. level, concentrations may be part of the major, or they may be declared as a minor focus. So, for example, a student with a major focus in sociocultural anthropology has two options for integrating applied anthropology in their program of studies: (1) to follow a major focus in sociocultural anthropology and a minor focus in applied anthropology, or (2) to fold the applied anthropology concentration into the major and then choose another minor.

Synthetic Concentrations in Anthropology

Anthropology faculty have outlined an integrated series of courses for the following synthetic concentrations: Ecological and Environmental Anthropology; Medical Anthropology; Southwest Land, Culture and Society (SWLCS); and Applied Anthropology. Synthetic concentrations are meant to help students focus their coursework in certain topical or thematic areas and to help build a broader sense of intellectual community within anthropology. All concentrations can serve as minor foci for the Ph.D. Comprehensive Exam, and each concentration is open to students with a major focus in any subfield. Required units (12–15) vary by concentration. Students are encouraged to follow a concentration if it fits their interests, but participation in concentrations is NOT required.

The new concentration in the Archaeology of the Mediterranean World is an exception. This concentration is intended to be part of the major (rather than minor) focus, and entails a greater number of requirements than the synthetic concentrations listed above, including proficiency in a Classical language. As the title indicates, it is intended mainly for archaeology students.

Ecological and Environmental Anthropology Concentration

The relationships between human societies and their environments are among the oldest concerns in anthropology. As the human footprint on the Earth grows, the topic of human-environment interactions becomes an ever more urgent problem. Anthropology at the University of Arizona has historically been a leader in ecological and environmental anthropology, and many members of the current faculty have research interests in this topic. Students participating in this concentration are required to complete a core seminar: ANTH 611 (Ecological Anthropology). This seminar integrates subfields within anthropology and forges strong links between anthropology and other disciplines concerned with human impacts on the environment, sustainability, conservation, and evolutionary ecology, among other issues. In consultation with their advisor, each student designs an individualized suite of relevant courses totaling 12 units. In so doing, the student, in consultation with their committee, must make every effort to create a diverse curriculum, avoiding excessive topical replication between their chosen major and minor. Back to top.

Medical Anthropology Concentration

Medical anthropology examines how cultural, historical, economic, and political forces shape ideas about health, wellness, illness, and disease. It studies how these forces influence health disparities, healthcare seeking, health related practices and perceptions of risk, the structure of medical systems, and more. Attentive to the afflicted, their caregivers, and those who create knowledge and values about health and illness in their many forms, medical anthropology is capacious in its approach, using methods and materials from all anthropological subfields and numerous scholarly disciplines.

The Medical Anthropology Concentration at the University of Arizona is built on over three decades of engaged scholarship. Founded by Dr. Mark Nichter in 1989, the medical anthropology program has grown into a nationally-recognized hub for critical studies of medicine in the US and abroad, including established research on political ecology and global health. Our current faculty extend this foundational work through research emphases in reproductive technologies, clinical and laboratory ethnography, surgical practice, evolutionary and embodied approaches to health disparities, transgender studies, medical expertise, nutrition, environmental health, and science and technology studies. Students enrolled in the Medical Anthropology Concentration will develop a strong theoretical foundation that will shape and guide research projects set around the globe. The Medical Anthropology Concentration is available to students enrolled in graduate studies in the School of Anthropology at the University of Arizona.

The concentration requires 12 credit hours of training in medical anthropology composed of

  • a) ANTH 536 and ANTH 571 (3 credits each);
  • b) one approved graduate seminar in medical anthropology (3 credits) relevant to the student’s research interests
  • c) an independent study (3 credits) in which the student produces a research report based on primary or secondary research, a grant proposal deemed competitive for funding, or a publishable paper on which they are a sole author or co-author.

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Southwest Land, Culture & Society (SWLCS)

The Southwest Land, Culture, and Society (SWLCS) Program offers a Ph.D. minor concentration for students in anthropology and related disciplines. Students who choose to minor in this program are expected to adopt a broad interdisciplinary approach that integrates land and societies and bridges 13,000 years of history in the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. The SWLCS concentration is intended to serve as a formalized node that interconnects faculty and students within the university while strengthening their relationships to external communities. By serving as a clearinghouse for regional anthropological scholarship, the program expands opportunities for integrating students into research that best fits their aspirations and benefits from their skills. The program also provides a visible point of contact for constituencies outside the university seeking expertise and outreach in anthropologically-oriented regional issues. SWLCS faculty involve students in active regional research and sponsor direct involvement through internships. The Program brings together faculty from the School of Anthropology, Arizona State Museum, Arid Lands, Geography and Regional Development, the Laboratory of Tree-ring Research, Latin American Studies, and the Southwest Center. A list of the core faculty, who form the executive committee for the program, and the faculty affiliated with the SWLCS concentration is provided below.

The SWLCS concentration requires 12 units of coursework. All students must enroll in the SWLCS core course, ANTH/ARL/LAS/GEO 518, Southwest Land and Society. At least six units must be in anthropology and at least six other units should come from outside the student’s major field, not including the 518 core class. A proposed program of study should be discussed with the student’s minor advisor. Courses used in the minor may be drawn from relevant classes in departments and programs across campus. Anthropology courses that may be included in the student’s program of study are:

  • ANTH 518 – Southwest Land, Culture, and Society (required)
  • ANTH 547 – Pueblo Archaeology
  • ANTH 552R – Topical class in Archaeology of the Southwest
  • ANTH 542A&B or 555A&B – Advanced field course in Archaeology
  • ANTH 542A&B is a spring semester course with fieldwork near Tucson
  • ANTH 555A&B is a summer fieldschool based outside Tucson
  • ANTH 696A – Seminar in Archaeology

More detailed information about the program is available here. Back to top.

Applied Anthropology Concentration

The profession of anthropology has expanded rapidly beyond the walls of academic employment. In response to this development, the School of Anthropology offers training in applied anthropology through coursework and guided research opportunities in the Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology (BARA) and the Arizona State Museum (ASM). Students participating in this concentration are given broad training in both academic and applied anthropology. At present, applied training focuses on sociocultural anthropology, and most research experience is gained through BARA; however, interest in applied training is growing in other anthropological subfields as well and all students are welcome to participate.

A total of 12 units is required for this concentration. The applied anthropology concentration may be used as a minor for the purposes of the Ph.D. Comprehensive Exam. Alternatively, students may elect another minor and apply the requirements of the concentration toward their major. Courses in applied anthropology are taught by faculty members with research interests in problem-solving and policy-making. A student’s choice of courses is made in consultation with their advisor. Recommended specialized courses in applied sociocultural anthropology at present include ANTH 507 (Intellectual Foundations of Applied Anthropology), and ANTH 609 (Mixed Methods in Applied Anthropology). Decisions on which courses to take, and whether to use the applied anthropology concentration as a minor or part of the major, should be made in consultation with the student’s major advisor. Back to top.

Concentration in the Archaeology of the Mediterranean World

This concentration is intended to prepare students specifically for research on the archaeology of the later prehistoric and Classical periods in the greater Mediterranean region. A large part of the curriculum follows that of the major focus in archaeology with some additional requirements highlighted below.

  • 1)    Students are required to take ANTH 595XX (number to be announced), Special Topics in Mediterranean Archaeology.
  • 2)    Students must demonstrate facility in at least one ancient Mediterranean language (e.g., Hieroglyphics, Greek, or Latin). Minimally, they should show proficiency equivalent to the 500-level of coursework. The ancient language requirement can be met through coursework or examination.
  • 3)    Students are required to take ANTH 556B, Old World Prehistory, Part II, to fulfill the requirement for a course in hunter-gatherer archaeology.
  • 4)    At least one method and theory course must focus on Mediterranean topics.
  • 5)    Elective coursework should be focused on classes related to Mediterranean history or archaeology, or that will prepare students for research projects in the region.

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Minoring in a Discipline Outside of Anthropology

Students may also choose a Ph.D. minor from a discipline outside of the School of Anthropology; common choices include Geosciences, History, Latin American Studies, and Near Eastern Studies, among others.