Psychological Anthropology Selected Graduate Programs


UCLA Graduate Concentration in Behavior, Evolution, and Culture offers students the opportunity to explore how human and nonhuman social behavior and psychology are shaped by interlocking processes of natural and sexual selection, social transmission, and individual learning. As participants in the campus interdisciplinary Behavior, Evolution, and Culture working group, students study behavioral ecology, evolutionary psychology, and processes that shape cultural variation in order to address a wide range of phenomena in human and nonhuman populations. Current research topics include communication and the social transmission of knowledge, morality, emotions, cooperation, aggression, dominance, punishment, taboos, play, mating behavior, parenting, and social reasoning. Students are trained in rigorous methods appropriate to their chosen focal topics; systematic comparison, both across cultures and across species, is stressed throughout the process.

UCLA Program for Psychocultural Studies and Medical Anthropology is an interdisciplinary graduate program offered jointly by the Department of Psychiatry, Division of Social Psychiatry, and the Department of Anthropology. It includes specialists in cultural, linguistic, medical and psychological anthropology, cross-cultural psychology, ethology, public health and transcultural psychiatry. Within Medical Anthropology, reproduction and women’s health is a particularly strong field for research training. The program brings the best methods, theories and data from the cross-cultural record to bear on anthropological and medical problems.

University of California San Diego Department of Anthropology has been one of the major centers for graduate training in psychological anthropology since the founding of the department in 1968. The program offers students the opportunity to discover what has been learned in anthropology about mind and self, emotion and cognition, agency and experience, motivation and human development. It gives them the opportunity to learn about contemporary questions and new directions in the field. Under the guidance of faculty who have made major contributions to the field, students develop the knowledge of theory and methods needed to conduct their own research.

Students who have been trained in psychological anthropology at UCSD have gone on to teach and pursue research at colleges, universities, and research centers across the United States. Graduates of the program have made significant contributions in teaching and research, and have advanced anthropological inquiry regarding a broad range of research topics.

Psychological anthropology at UCSD is devoted to understanding human experience from an anthropological perspective. The program at UCSD offers a holistic approach; it pursues an understanding of persons, their lives and experience, based on the knowledge of society and culture, of biology and psychology, that have been developed within anthropology. Training in psychological anthropology is integrated into the graduate program, so that students have the opportunity to take seminars with distinguished faculty in social, cultural, and biological anthropology. All students in the UCSD graduate program take a sequence of three core seminars that focus in the first quarter on individual action and social institutions, in the second on personal consciousness and cultural experience, and in the third on motives, values, cognition and qualities of personal experience.

University of Chicago Department of Human Development is an interdisciplinary program in the social sciences that links theory and methodology from fields such as cultural psychology, biosocial psychology, sociology, and anthropology.

The Department offers programs of research as well as graduate and undergraduate study in life course development, mental health, personality, and emotions, cross cultural studies (including psychological anthropology and cultural psychology), and biosocial psychology. The Committee also offers a training program in clinical psychology. The research interests of the faculty represent various disciplines within the social sciences. Emphasis is upon the interrelations of biological, psychological, and sociocultural forces at different points in the life cycle. The primary objectives of the Committee are to provide education for innovative careers in research and teaching, and to contribute to the interdisciplinary understanding of human behavior. Students in the Committee pursue careers in human development, psychology, anthropology, biology, sociology, and education.

Duke University Department of Cultural Anthropology graduate program aims to prepare students who are able to integrate grounded research with theoretical sophistication in doing anthropology sensitive to the challenges and complexities of today’s restless world. Our department is on the cutting edge of new debates about globalization and diaspora, popular culture and mass media, nationalism and identity, race and sexuality, and the politics of tradition and modernity. We explore these issues through a range of theoretical orientations that include postcolonial and Marxist theory, feminist and critical race theory, psychoanalysis and psychology.

Emory University Department of Anthropology has a graduate program in Anthropology that balances rigorous core courses with a tutorial approach to advanced subjects and is designed to be intense and demanding for students and faculty. They encourage a diversity of doctoral research agendas across the entire range of cultural and biological anthropology, from the postmodern to the sociobiological. It is the exposure to alternative explanatory paradigms rather than a monolithic theoretical orientation that we think will prove both intellectually important and professionally successful in the anthropology of the future. The core program is a series of courses and seminars that gives advanced training in cultural and biological anthropology including a seminar team-taught by cultural and biological anthropologists. As a whole, the educational program provides students with a graduate-level grounding in cultural and biological anthropology that is sophisticated and unique. Specialization within cultural or biological sub-fields is encouraged, as well as combinations and creative dialogues between them, including those that draw upon Medical Anthropology. The program requires three years of full-time course work, followed by dissertation research and write-up. Graduate training is supported for research in all major world areas.

Harvard University Medical School Department of Global Health and Social Medicine has academic programs that address the core themes of Social Medicine.

Through the Social Studies of Medicine the institutional forms and economic and political processes that impact medicine are explored. The social sciences inform the coordination of health and social policies. Medical Anthropology offers an understanding of how cultural, ethnic, class and gender differences shape the experience of illness and responses to care. Medical Ethics fosters a vital examination of the moral aspects of medical practice and medical technologies and calls for critical self-reflection as a routine aspect of medical education and care. Through scholarship in the History of Medicine, a more sophisticated understanding of the wide array of questions and dilemmas in contemporary medicine is achieved. Finally, a basic conviction of the faculty is that research in each of these areas should be “clinically relevant.” Members of the Department move systematically between social research and clinical application and teaching through the Department’s Clinical Programs.

Washington State University Department of Anthropology
This department provides research and training in psychological/medical anthropology. Researchers and graduate students investigate psychological, medical, and biosocial aspects of the human condition from a variety of theoretical and methodological approaches. Faculty research covers multiple interrelated areas, indicated below. They are seeking graduate students to train and with whom to pursue research. Their record of support for graduate students last year was 100%.

  • anthropological demography and epidemiology
  • attachment
  • cultural and cross-cultural psychology
  • dreaming
  • ethnomedicine
  • family and child health
  • global health disparities
  • infectious disease
  • medical ethnobotany
  • parental care and child development
  • personality
  • social learning
  • substance abuse
  • suicide
  • the self and power

Brunel University, West London MSc in Psychological and Psychiatric Anthropology
How do people think, feel, remember, and interpret behaviour in other cultures? How do they understand themselves and others and their place in the world? How do they understand consciousness, the self, madness and normality? And what can we learn about human variety by considering these questions from an anthropological perspective? Brunel’s new one-year (two-year part-time) MSc in Psychological and Psychiatric Anthropology – one of the first outside the USA – offers a challenging, broad-based approach to the anthropological study of emotion, subjectivity, the body, and cultural difference, and an exciting perspective on the diverse ways in which mind and human nature are constructed in different cultural settings.

The MSc, which provides theoretical knowledge and practical research training, will be of particular relevance to people working in health, education, psychological and social policy sectors as well as to graduates with a human sciences or humanities background. But anyone interested in the diversity of human nature will find much that is stimulating and challenging in this course as well as acquiring new analytical and interpretive skills of use in life and career.

Department of Anthropology, University of Nevada Las Vegas
The Anthorpology Department at UNLV has a program in in psychological anthropology. Professor Lienard offers class called Magic, Witchcraft & Religion in a cognitivist perspective as well as Cross-Cultural Cognition. They also teach a course entitled Psychological Anthropology. Their History of Anthropology course has a focus on (environment/psych/culture). The objective of that course is to have the students acknowledge that during the history of the discipline, different schools have adopted different models of causations (Weber, Culturalist, Behavioral Ecologist etc.). They are preparing new classes that will have have evolutionary and cognitivist perspectives.