Society for Medical Anthropology

A section of the American Anthropological Association

Academic Resources: Graduate Programs


University of California, San Diego

Degrees offered:

  • M.A., Ph.D., M.D.-Ph.D

ANTHROPOLOGY FACULTY with medical/psychiatric interests:

  • Steven Parish (Ph.D. UCSD), associate professor. Psychological anthropology, culture theory, moral systems, family, childhood and socialization, Hinduism; South Asia. Email:
  • Melford E. Spiro (Ph.D. Northwestern 1950), professor emeritus. Cultural anthropology, psychological anthropology, comparative religion; Southeast Asia, Middle East. (Member, National Academy of Sciences.) Email:

Faculty with interests in Psychological Anthropology (including psychiatric issues):

  • Roy G. D'Andrade (Ph.D. Harvard 1962), professor. Cognitive anthropology, quantitative methods, national character; United States. (Member, National Academy of Sciences.)
  • David K. Jordan (Ph.D. Chicago 1969), professor. (Provost, Earl Warren College.) Cultural anthropology, religion, psychological anthropology, sociolinguistics, instructional technology; Taiwan, East Asia. Email:
  • James J. Moore (Ph.D. Harvard 1985), associate professor. Behavioral ecology, primates and cetaceans, human evolution; Africa, India. Email:
  • Joel Robbins (Ph.D. Virginia 1998), assistant professor. Social and cultural anthropology, anthropological theory, religion, symbolism, social structure, cultural conceptions of the environment, Western ideology, globalization and cultural change; Melanesia. Email:
  • Katerina Semendeferi (Ph.D. Iowa), assistant professor. Comparative primate neuroanatomy, evolution of primate intelligence and cognition. Email:
  • Marc J. Swartz (Ph.D. Harvard 1958), professor. Cultural theory, political anthropology, social anthropology, psychological anthropology, dynamics of culture, nuclear family; Africa, Micronesia. Email:

Medical Anthropology faculty in other departments at UCSD:

  • Nancylee J. Friedlander (Ph.D. Harvard 1993), Director of Academic Advising (Eleanor Roosevelt College) Biological anthropology, reproduction and aging, evolutionary theory, demography, evolutionary medicine. Email:
  • Lawrence A. Palinkas (Ph.D. UCSD 1981), professor (Family and Preventive Medicine). Social, medical and psychological anthropology, ethnicity, immigrant communities, epidemiology; Circumpolar regions, North America.
  • Lola Romanucci-Ross (Ph.D. Indiana 1963), professor (Family and Preventive Medicine). Cultural, social and medical anthropology; Melanesia, Mexico, Italy. Email:

Program information:

  • The Department of Anthropology offers graduate training in social, cultural, and psychological anthropology; in anthropological archaeology; and in biological anthropology. The graduate program is designed to provide the theoretical background and the methodological skills necessary for a career in research and teaching anthropology at the university level, and for the application of anthropological knowledge to contemporary problems. It is assumed that all students enter with the goal of proceeding to the doctoral degree.
  • As a component of the regular degree in sociocultural/psychological anthropology, the option exists for intensive study of psychiatric anthropology. (See below)
  • Although medical anthropology is not offered as a specific track, many of the faculty have strong interests in medical anthropology and the department has historically produced many medical anthropologists. Two of our recent graduates have conducted their doctoral research on AIDS and reproductive health in the Caribbean, and on ethical and legal decisions around end-of-life care in Israel; two current doctoral candidates are examining Latina women's health along the border between California and Mexico, and the psychiatric sequelae of the transition away from Communism in Czech Republic, respectively.
  • Admission to the graduate program occurs only in the fall quarter.
  • The psychiatry and anthropology program provides an introduction to interviewing, diagnostic, and psychotherapeutic techniques in psychiatry and their application to anthropological research. The program enables students to observe people suffering from various kinds of psychological disorders and learn how psychiatrists approach the assessment and treatment of their patients.
  • Students in the year-long program take courses in the training program for psychiatric residents in the Department of Psychiatry at the UCSD School of Medicine in conjunction with a seminar in the Department of Anthropology. Topics covered in the residency training program include psychiatric diagnosis and assessment, schizophrenia, depression, personality, adjustment and dissociative disorders, other forms of mental illness, and forms of psychotherapy. The seminar held in the Department of Anthropology is also open to psychiatric residents. It focuses on the implications of the material covered in the psychiatry courses for anthropological research and introduces students to contemporary psychiatric anthropology.
  • Some students may, upon the satisfactory completion of the psychiatry and anthropology sequence and with the permission of faculty, have the opportunity to conduct supervised interviews in a clinical setting.
  • UCSD School of Medicine offers an M.D.-Ph.D. program ( Contact Dr. Paul Insel (, Program Director of the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP), for admission information.


  • Mr. David R. Marlowe
    Department of Anthropology
    University of California, San Diego
    9500 Gilman Drive
    La Jolla CA 92093-0532
    Tel: 1-858-534-0110
    Fax: 1-858-534-5946

Psychiatry and Anthropology at UCSD: