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Psychological and Medical Anthropology


Program Description

Psychological and Medical Anthropology seeks to understand the psychological dimension of being human as an integral and dynamic part of social and cultural life. The UCSD 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, subjectivity and intersubjectivity, illness and disease, psychiatric disorder and psychic well-being, religion and healing, embodiment and perception. 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 and Medical Anthropology at UCSD have gone on to teach and pursue research at colleges, universities, and research centers across the United States. 

Psychological/Medical Anthropology at UCSD is devoted to understanding human experience from an anthropological perspective. The program at UCSD is holistic, pursuing an understanding of the lives and experiences of persons based on the knowledge of society, culture, biology, and psychology. Training in psychological anthropology is integrated into the graduate program so that students can obtain a thorough-going and well-rounded training in social, cultural, linguistic, archeological, and biological anthropology. The Psychological/Medical Anthropology program also forges interdisciplinary links with other fields including psychiatry, cognitive science, global health, psychology, and human development.

The program in Psychological/Medical Anthropology allows students to develop research projects focusing on person, self, and experience in cultural context. This focus of the program stresses the integration of approaches that have been developed within Psychological/Medical Anthropology and related fields. Students have the opportunity to pursue research interests in the areas of ethnopsychology, cultural psychology, and psychoanalytic anthropology, psychiatric anthropology, and phenomenological anthropology. The faculty teach students to develop a strong repertoire of research skills and theoretical concepts. The goal is to enable students to use anthropological concepts and methods to explore in depth the psychology of persons in culture and society.

  • For information regarding laboratories please see the Special Facilities page.
  • For information regarding the graduate program requirements visit the Program Requirements page
  • For undergraduate students, Psychological Anthropology falls under the Sociocultural Anthropology program. Program requirements can be found on the Undergraduate Studies page.
  • For information regarding books, journals and databases please see Library Resources page.