Dual Degree in Anthropology and Public Health

Overview: M.S. in Applied Anthropology/M.P.H.

The Department of Anthropology at the University of North Texas at Denton the School of Public Health at the UNT Health Sciences Center in Fort Worth have developed a cooperative agreement that allows students to simultaneously pursue the Master’s of Public Health and a Master’s of Science in Applied Anthropology. The dual degree program in Applied Anthropology and Public Health offers an opportunity to strengthen collaboration in public health and anthropology research and practice. Medical anthropology is a field that uses anthropological theories as a framework to understand public health issues. Its emphasis on social and cultural influences on health, illness, and healing are central to the shared goals of improving health and social justice to eliminate local and global disparities. This 2 ½ year program prepares students for careers in research, public health, and public policy planning relating to health and health care in the U.S. or in an international setting.

Curriculum (2013-14)


Total hours for degree: 63

Master’s of Science in Applied Anthropology – 27 hours

Required courses in Applied Anthropology – 21 hours

  • ANTH 5010 Anthropological Thought and Praxis I
  • ANTH 5021 Anthropological Thought and Praxis II
  • ANTH 5031 Ethnographic and Qualitative Methods
  • ANTH 5041 Quantitative Methods
  • ANTH 5050 Preparation for Practice and the Applied Thesis
  • ANTH 5201 Medical Anthropology
  • ANTH 5210 Anthropology and Public Health

Culminating experience in Medical Anthropology and Public Health (Applied Thesis) – 6 hours

  • ANTH 5950 Applied Thesis (topic to overlap with BACH 5397)

Master’s of Public Health – 36 hours

Required courses in Public Health – 21 hours

  • BACH 5300 Theoretical Foundations of Individual and Community Health*
  • BACH 5340 Community Assessment and Program Planning
  • BACH 5345 Participatory Approaches in Improving Community Health
  • BIOS 5300 Biostatistics for Public Health*
  • EOHS 5300 Environmental Health*
  • EPID 5300 Principles of Epidemiology*
  • HMAP 5300 Introduction to Health Management and Policy*
*These classes are available online and on-campus

Elective courses in Public Health – 12 hours (to be decided after consultation with MPH advisor)

Practice Experience: BACH 5397 Public Health Practice Experience (to overlap with ANTH 5950)
Culminating experience in Public Health (Comprehensive Examination and Practice Experience)

Additional Information

  1. New students are encouraged to apply simultaneously to both programs. You can find more information about the Anthropology application process here.  You can find more information about the Public Health application process here.
  2. Students currently enrolled in only the Public Health program or Anthropology program have 18 credit hours to decide if they would like to enter the dual degree program. Before they have completed 18 credit hours, if they wish to enroll in the dual-degree, they must apply to the program in which they are not currently enrolled. If a current Public Health student, they must apply to the Anthropology program for the following fall semester. If a current Anthropology student, they can apply to the Public Health program any semester (fall, spring, or summer). If they are accepted, they must submit new degree plans to both of their programs to ensure that their academic record reflects the dual degree program.
  3. At the end of this program, students will have two degrees – one in public health and one in applied anthropology. The programs share 21 hours and coordinate the culminating experiences that fulfills both degrees.
  4. Students will have a 3-person faculty committee – 2 members from Anthropology and 1 member from Public Health. 
  5. Culminating Experience in Public Health Practice (Comprehensive Examination and Practice Experience) – Students will pass the MPH Comprehensive Examination during their Culminating Experience. In BACH 5397, students will complete a Practicum Portfolio, which will include a poster presentation, notebook, and reflection paper. 
  6. Culminating Experience in Applied Anthropology (Applied Thesis) – Dual degree students must complete a major independent project. This project is completed through 6 hours of Applied Thesis (in applied anthropology). This project will be decided by the student and the student’s committee, and must be broad enough to incorporate the knowledge and tools acquired in both programs.
  7. Although UNT Health Science Center in Fort Worth and UNT Denton are part of the University of North Texas System, they are separate universities. They have separate admissions, separate financial aid offices and different academic calendars. It is important that students let administrative offices know that they are a dual degree student, particularly the financial aid office. Although there is a high level of cooperation between the two programs, students will be enrolled at two universities. They will apply to two universities, submit separate degree plans to two universities, apply for graduation to two universities, and graduate twice.

Suggested Timelines

This program is designed to take 2 ½ years for students taking 4 courses per long semester, plus 1 course each summer. Students are allowed to take fewer classes per semester but should be aware that some classes are only offered once a year or once every two years.

Course sequence for full-time students starting in the Fall:

Fall – Year 1

  • ANTH 5010 Thought and Praxis I (Fall only)
  • ANTH 5031 Ethnographic and Qualitative Methods (Fall only)
  • ANTH 5201 Medical Anthropology (Fall only)
  • BACH 5300 Theoretical Foundations of Individual and Community Health (Fall, Spring, & Summer)

Spring - Year 1

  • ANTH 5021 Thought and Praxis II (Spring only)
  • ANTH 5041 Quantitative Methods (Spring only)
  • ANTH 5050 Preparation for Practice and the Applied Thesis (Spring only)
  • Either ANTH 5210 Anthropology in Public Health (offered every other Spring only) or an SPH 3-hour elective

Summer - Year 1  

  • EPID 5300 Principles of Epidemiology (Fall, Spring, & Summer)
  • SPH 3-hour elective course
  • BACH 5197 (1/2 credit hour professional course)

Fall – Year 2

  • HMAP 5300 Introduction to Health Management and Policy (Fall, Spring, & Summer)  
  • EOHS 5300 Environmental Health (Fall, Spring, & Summer) 
  • BIOS 5300 Biostatistics for Public Health 1 (Fall, Spring, & Summer) 
  • BACH 5340 Community Assessment and Program Planning (Fall & Spring)
  • BACH 5197 (1/2 credit hour professional course)

Spring – Year 2

  • BACH 5345 Participatory Approaches in Improving Community Health (Fall & Summer)  
  • SPH 3-hour elective course
  • SPH 3-hour elective course or ANTH 5210 Anthropology in Public Health (every other Spring only)  
  • BACH 5197 (1/2 credit hour professional course)
  • PHED 5000 CPH Examination

Summer – Year 2

  • ANTH 5950 Applied Thesis
  • SPH 3-hour elective course

Fall - Year 3  

  • ANTH 5950 Applied Thesis
  • BACH 5397 Practice Experience in Public Health