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Phone: 520-621-2585 and 520-621-6298
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Synthetic Concentration

 The School has formulated a number of Synthetic Concentrations that crosscut anthropology subfields.


At the Ph.D level, coursework taken in the concentrations may be part of the major in Anthropology, or the may be used as the basis of the minor in Anthropology.

Each concentration is open to students focusing on any subfield of Anthropology.

Students are encouraged to adopt a synthetic concentration if it fits their interests; participation in concentrations is not required.


Applied Anthropology
Ecological & Environmental Anthropology
History & Memory
Medical Anthropology
Southwest Land, Culture & Society


The School of Anthropology offers training in applied anthropology through coursework and guided research opportunities in the Arizona State Museum (ASM) and the Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology (BARA).

Students participating in this concentration are given broad training in both academic and applied anthropology. Courses relevant to applied anthropology are taught by faculty members with research interests in problem-solving and policy making.


The UA School of Anthropology has historically been a leader in ecological and environmental anthropology, and many members of the current faculty have research interests in this area.

The Ecological & Environmental Anthropology synthetic concentration forges strong links between anthropology and other disciplines that are concerned with human impacts on the environment, sustainability, conservation, and evolutionary ecology.

Students may choose from a wide range of potentially appropriate courses in consultation with faculty members. A core course, ANTH 611, is required


There is a consensus today that ethnography must be situated in its historical contexts, and a growing appreciation of anthropological histories of past societies. Historical archaeologists have expanded the purview of archaeology to include the study of historical sources as well as material culture.

Sociocultural anthropologists now conduct archival research and explore oral traditions in addition to conducting fieldwork, while historians now apply the insights of ethnography and archaeology to their studies of the past.

Understanding how social memory mediates history making is a vital part of these endeavors.

The Anthropology, History, and Memory concentration fosters cross-fertilization among anthropological subfields and other disciplines that take historical perspectives on social life, allowing flexibility in curriculum development while training students in essential method and theory.



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.

For inquiries about the Medical Anthropology concentration, please contact Dr. Eric Plemons.

Medical anthropology postgraduate certificate

A graduate certificate in medical anthropology for motivated health science professionals, developing world social scientists, and social scientists in the USA who have been trained by departments that do not offer specialized training in medical anthropology is offered by the department. Requirements include 12 hours of coursework directly related to medical anthropology and a three credit research project resulting in a publishable paper or defendable grant proposal.

The University of Arizona also offers MD and MPH degrees from the College of Medicine and the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, respectively. Candidates interested in obtaining Ph.D.s in medical anthropology as well as an MD or MPH must apply separately to each program. Students may attempt to secure both degrees simultaneously or sequentially (which generally makes more sense).

MD/PH.D. and MPH/PH.D. joint degrees

Details about seeking joint degrees should be sought from the medical anthropology concentration coordinator and require that candidates apply separately to each department. Students may attempt to secure both degrees simultaneously or sequentially (which generally makes more sense).

Visit the Medical Anthropology homepage at:



Students who choose to concentrate in this area for their minor in Anthropology are expected to take a broad, interdisciplinary approach to the American Southwest that integrates studies of land and society.

The Southwest Land, Culture, and Society Program is intended to serve as a formalized node, interconnecting faculty and students within the university, while strengthening their linkages to external communities.

The program provides a visible point of contact for constituencies outside the university seeking expertise and outreach in anthropologically-oriented Southwestern issues.

Faculty meet these needs partly by involving students in regional research and sponsoring involvement through internships.

For more information, please visit the Southwest Land, Culture, and Society Program at: