Global Health (Evolutionary Global Health Sciences), PhD

The PhD program in global health draws on the premise that sustainable and satisfying solutions to the most pressing global health challenges require a sophisticated understanding of how cultural context, social and ecological processes, and disease are really related.

The transdisciplinary graduate program trains students broadly in cutting-edge health social science research theory and methods. While it leverages the strength in medical anthropology at ASU (including the 15 medical anthropologists on campus), it also takes advantage of a much wider set of skills offered by such fields as medical sociology, demography, human geography and epidemiology. It is designed to train those who anticipate working in transdisciplinary academic settings, medical schools or nonacademic health settings such as commercial sector, government agencies or nongovernmental organizations.

Some particular thematic foci of the program are:

  • biocultural approaches to human coping
  • computer-based complexity modeling
  • culture and health
  • health in the Americas
  • indigenous and minority health
  • mathematical epidemiology
  • nutritional anthropology
  • social justice and vulnerable populations
  • social networks
  • urban and environmental health

The program draws together some 80 faculty members from throughout the university to consider how cutting-edge social science can be applied not only to understand, but also to substantively improve the health of populations. The program favors community-based research and runs collaborative projects in which students are encouraged to gain experience and conduct research, from large U.S. cities to hunter-gatherer communities. Students generally enter the program with a master's degree in a relevant field.

The concentration in evolutionary global health sciences requires training in universal principles of research design (from experiments to systematic qualitative and quantitative description), data analyses, methods (quantitative and qualitative), and anthropological interpretation (or the identification of determinants of the origins and distribution of health phenotypes in past and present human populations). Students choose from a wide range of data collection and inferential tools in order to address specific questions, through a combination of lecture and guided reading courses designed to master the highly diverse literature in evolutionary global health sciences that best pertains to their career goals.

Degree Offered

Global Health (Evolutionary Global Health Sciences), PhD
Liberal Arts & Sciences, College of


Plan of Study

The Plan of Study is the required curriculum to complete the program.

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