Certificate in Culture, Medicine & Health & Minor in Medical Anthropology

I have always been interested in both healthcare and social justice issues. Medical anthropology brought these two areas together and helped me gain an understanding of how deeply embedded issues of injustice, inequity and structural violence are in both creating and treating disease.  It also enabled me to go forward into medical school grounded in a deeper understanding of how these factors influence the therapeutic relationship between physicians and patients.  Exposure to this field should be a requirement for those considering healthcare careers, as I cannot imagine practising medicine without the insights gained from my medical anthropology courses.

Heather Osler,  MD, BA (York University)

Considering a health care profession in a culturally diverse place, in Canada or elsewhere? Interested in health and social justice work? Medical Anthropology is for you. The Department of Anthropology is pleased to announce two new programs for students interested in building their major program with either a minor or a certificate in medical anthropology.

Traditional Chinese Medicine shop

Medical Anthropology offers an anthropological lens on health and illness processes and the social, cultural and political factors that shape experiences of illness, patterns of health and disease, and issues of equity and access to health care services. Medical anthropologists study all medical systems as cultural entities using the ethnographic and critical research methods of the discipline. We explore the social, political and cultural dimensions of issues such as HIV/AIDS, Alcohol & Addiction, Mental Health, Global Health, Food and Nutrition, Complementary and Alternative Medicines and Reproductive Health.

Medical Anthropology has many practical applications. Students with this specialization can go on to professional programs such as medicine, nursing and public health or work in global health and health policy contexts. With a growing cultural diversity of those entering health care systems, medical anthropology offers crucial research and critical thinking skills in the analysis and interpretation of biomedical knowledge as well as an appreciation for culture in health care environments.

Reproductive health clinic, Senegal

The Department of Anthropology has been a leader in Canada in the development of courses in medical anthropology. For more than a decade, the department has consistently offered courses covering anthropological perspectives on food, nutrition, reproduction, Indigenous health, global health, and mental health. We offer a breadth of courses few other departments in Canada can match.

We offer a concentration in Medical Anthropology as either a Minor program OR as a freestanding Certificate program. Please click on the links below for more information:

Programs:

Minor in Medical Anthropology

Honours (Minor/Major) BA Program in Medical Anthropology (30 credits) PDF Checklist
The Minor can be combined with a major in the interdisciplinary program in Health and Society or Global Health. Medical Anthropology gives depth to these broad programs by offering an in-depth, personal perspective on health and disease as seen through the lens of our "participant-observation" ("ethnographic") method.

Course Requirements:

i) Core Requirements (21 credits total):

  • ANTH 2110 6.0 Core Concepts in Anthropology
  • ANTH 2330 6.0 Anthropology and Infectious Diseases: An exploration of the Social Networks of Microbes, OR ANTH 2170 6.0 Sex, Gender & the Body
  • ANTH 3330 6.0 Health & Illness in Cross Cultural Perspective: An Introduction to Medical Anthropology
  • ANTH 4330 3.0 Critical Issues in Medical Anthropology

ii) And 9 elective credits chosen from the following Anthropology, Sociology and Social Science lists:

  • ANTH 3190 3.0 Nutritional Anthropology: Food and Eating in Cross-Cultural Perspective
  • ANTH 3200 3.0 The Anthropology of International Health
  • ANTH 3280 6.0 Psychiatric Anthropology & Social Stress
  • ANTH 3560 6.0 Anthropology of the Senses
  • ANTH 4130 6.0 The Professional Anthropologist (work placement)
  • ANTH 4160 3.0 Anthropology and Indigenous Peoples' Health
  • ANTH 4430 6.0 The Anthropology of Reproduction, Personhood and Citizenship
  • ANTH 4570 3.0 The Brain, Self and Society
  • SOSC 3921 6.0  Indigenous Health and Healing: Interdisciplinary and Traditional Dialogues
  • SOCI 3820 6.0 Sociology of Health and Health Care
  • SOCI 4300 3.0 Sociology of Health Care Systems

Certificate in Culture, Medicine & Health

Certificate in Culture, Medicine & Health (24 credits) PDF Checklist

If you are a student in Social Work, Equity Studies, International Development Studies, Global Health, Disaster and Emergency Management or related fields that require critical social science skills for analyzing medical interventions, Medical Anthropology will be of interest to you.

This certificate provides a critical social science approach to health provision for those professional programs that deal with the health system, and health needs, of people from a broad range of cultural traditions. The certificate is a stand alone program that can be added to your degree after graduation, or in addition to your current program. The certificate program can be taken as a minor program in Medical Anthropology by those able to add a minor to their program.

Course Requirements:

i) Core Requirements (15 credits total):

  • ANTH 2330 6.0 Anthropology and Infectious Diseases: An exploration of the Social Networks of Microbes
  • ANTH 3330 6.0 Health & Illness in Cross Cultural Perspective: An Introduction to Medical Anthropology
  • ANTH 4330 3.0 Critical Issues in Medical Anthropology

ii) And 9 elective credits chosen from the following Anthropology, Sociology and Social Science lists:

  • ANTH 3190 3.0 Nutritional Anthropology: Food and Eating in Cross-Cultural Perspective
  • ANTH 3200 3.0 The Anthropology of International Health
  • ANTH 3280 6.0 Psychiatric Anthropology & Social Stress
  • ANTH 3560 6.0 Anthropology of the Senses
  • ANTH 4130 6.0 The Professional Anthropologist (work placement)
  • ANTH 4160 3.0 Anthropology and Indigenous Peoples' Health
  • ANTH 4430 6.0 The Anthropology of Reproduction, Personhood and Citizenship
  • ANTH 4570 3.0 The Brain, Self and Society
  • SOSC 3921 6.0 Indigenous Health and Healing: Interdisciplinary and Traditional Dialogues
  • SOCI 3820 6.0 Sociology of Health and Health Care
  • SOCI 4300 3.0 Sociology of Health Care Systems

Resources:

Experiential Education Partner Agencies

We value experiential education, and have partnered with a number of agencies to provide work-study placements in ANTH 4130 6.0 The Professional Anthropologist:

Academic Resources