PhD/MPH in Anthropology and Health Education and Promotion

Admissions Criteria

woman holding wicker basket on top of her headAll applicants for the PhD/MPH dual degree dual degree program must meet the following guidelines:

  • Completion of a master’s degree in a related discipline from an accredited University
  • Minimum 3.0 GPA
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Resume or CV
  • Three letters of recommendation

Applicants must complete the admissions process for both programs. Each department’s admission committee will thoroughly review applicant transcripts to insure that undergraduate course content and performance indicate the potential to pursue two advanced degrees successfully in a compressed time frame.

Application Procedures

  • Applicants will indicate interest in the dual degree program in the notes section of the application and in their Statement of Purpose. Students who develop an interest in the dual degree program after matriculation will need to formally apply and go through the admissions process for the second department.
  • Applicants will identify a departmental ‘home’ (anthropology or health science) in their Statement of Purpose.
  • Applicants will identify a faculty mentor, who must then agree to take the student on as a mentee.
  • Departments will review applications separately. If the review decisions are the same (accept or reject):
    • The ‘home’ department will notify the applicant of her/his status
  • If the review decisions are not the same, the departments will convene a meeting (virtual or in person) to review files of applicants whose status is in dispute
    • If the parties cannot agree on applicant status, the departments will notify the applicant separately of their decision
    • Departments will track the number of disputed applications and will use this tracking as a basis for periodic review of admissions decisions and subsequent student performance.

Scholastic Requirements

Prerequisites (PhD)

Master’s degree in a related field from an accredited college or University. In addition, the each department admissions committee will examine transcripts to ascertain that applicants have completed sufficient social science coursework, and performed sufficiently well in that coursework, to be successful in a dual graduate degree program.

Prerequisites (MPH)

Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college/university. In addition, each department admissions committee will examine transcripts to ascertain that applicants have completed sufficient and relevant social science coursework. Performance in social science courses must indicate capacity to be successful in a dual degree master’s program.

Program Requirements

PhD Only

Biocultural medical anthropology, a specific approach within the more general subfield of medical anthropology, strives to understand why people grow and develop as they do and why they may be at risk for health problems. It is part of the largest and fastest-growing subfield within anthropology and is increasingly relevant to research and training across a number of areas, from applied health science and transcultural psychiatry to epidemiology and community health development. Biocultural medical anthropologists attempt to use research findings for the benefit of communities as well as care providers. The PhD program in the Department of Anthropology requires that applicants experience substantial ethnographic fieldwork.

MPH Only

The 42 credit hour MPH program through the Department of Health Science provides a high quality, student-oriented, and health equity focused curriculum developed to deliver core public health competencies that emphasize applied health education & promotion. Designed for eventual Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) accreditation, the curriculum offers education in the foundational areas of public health (health behavior, environmental health, epidemiology, biostatistics, and health services administration), and is tailored to train health promotion professionals to plan, implement, and evaluate programs to promote individual and population health.

Dual-degree Completion Requirements

Students enrolled in the dual degree program must complete the minimum required credit hours for both programs. After review of the curricula and syllabi, the partner departments have identified 12 hours of course work in anthropology that may count toward both degrees, given their equivalent content and rigor:

  • ANT 600 Research Methods (3 credit hours) may substitute for HES 509 Research Methods (3 credit hours).
  • ANT 502 Health Inequalities (3 credit hours) may substitute for HHE 587 Health Disparities (3 credit hours).

The Anthropology Department reciprocates this acceptance. The Health Science courses named above (HHE 506 and HHE 587) may substitute for their identified anthropology counterparts (ANT 600 and ANT 502, respectively) in the curricular plans of public health students pursuing a master’s degree in anthropology. Additionally:

  • Two of the following ANT Electives may substitute for two HHE Electives. These electives supply theoretical, methodological, or content expertise beneficial to either discipline. All have a health focus. All courses are 3 credit hours.
    • ANT 505 Culture, Mind, and Behavior
    • ANT 511 Culture, Health and Healing
    • ANT 550 Legal Anthropology
    • ANT 574 Neuroanthropology

Transfer of Credit

No transfer of credit is permitted.

Course of Study

PhD/MPH curriculum plans are tailored to each student’s needs. Upon matriculation, admitted students will meet with their mentors in both programs to design a personalized program of study. Students enrolled in the anthropology doctoral program will complete the required coursework for their doctoral degree before beginning their MPH course work. Doctoral students will likely complete their MPH coursework online once they are in the field or in the write-up stage of their dissertation.

Comprehensive Examinations/Capstone Experiences

Fieldwork and Dissertation

Substantial ethnographic fieldwork and a dissertation are required for a doctoral degree in the anthropology department

MPH comprehensive exams

Students are required to pass a comprehensive examination that addresses content from the required courses.

Time to Complete the Degrees

PhD/MPH: 9 years

Timing of Degree Conferral

Degrees are conferred simultaneously; that is, no degree is conferred until all required work for both degrees is completed.

Pursuit of Dual Degree Terminated

If a student decides to discontinue work towards one degree but to continue pursuit of the other, he/she must me all customary requirements for the continued program, with no double counting of courses, to receive a degree.

Other Requirements or Considerations

Student financial support: It is the policy of the Department of Anthropology to provide financial support to its graduate students. The department feels this support is critical to student success, given the nature of the course content and the expectation that most student learning will be at the application and problem-solving level.


In addition to the respective competencies and goals of the component programs, students completing the dual degree programs will exhibit the added capabilities listed below. These reflect their dual preparation. Each of these capabilities connects to at least one learning outcome in the Health Science and Anthropology programs respectively. The learning outcomes are identified in parentheses after each capability. Graduates of the dual degree programs in Anthropology and Health Science will exhibit the ability to:

  • Synthesize literature from multiple disciplines to acquire a holistic view of a given health concern and identify knowledge gaps. (Evidence-based Approaches to Public Health/Research Proposal)
  • Develop a literature-informed research question and design a project to investigate that question (Evidence-Based Approaches to Public Health/Research Proposal).
  • Continuously cultivate knowledge of the historical, social and political circumstances informing identified health issues. (Systems thinking/Human Diversity)
  • Develop and maintain partnerships based on mutual respect and trust within the populations who are the target of their efforts (Communication/Human Diversity).
  • Identify and collaborate with community and professional partners in understanding health problems from a local perspective, in designing and implementing interventions, and in disseminating the results of those interventions (Interprofessional Practice/Research Design).