Global Health

There is a growing recognition that the solution to any global health problem – whether environmental pollutants, HIV, reproductive cancers, childhood diarrhea, malaria, depression, substance abuse, domestic violence, under-nutrition, obesity or diabetesrequires a sophisticated understanding of the social roots of disease. Identifying social, cultural, economic and behavioral factors associated with diseases and their transmission is an essential component of effective health care policy and delivery.

Large-scale globalization and urbanization has created an urgent need for researchers and practitioners with a strong background in both the cultural and social aspects of health. To fill this demand, ASU offers the new interdisciplinary Ph.D. in global health, housed within the School of Human Evolution and Social Change in collaboration with over 70 faculty across campus. Equipped with the ability to combine health knowledge and the latest social science research about how people live and interact with one another, graduates with this degree will be in high demand not only in academic settings, but also in commercial enterprises, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and government agencies.

Students are free to develop their dissertations on a wide range of health-related topics in any world region. A normal curriculum would involve training in social science health theories; both quantitative and qualitative methods; practicum-based training in assessment, intervention and/or health education; and epidemiology, research design, and ethics/social justice, along with the student’s chosen areas of interest.

As an interdisciplinary program that values real-world application, we seek students with a wide range of backgrounds and training and will accommodate those entering directly from a bachelor’s program or with a different background. However, a master's degree is preferred and recommended.

Global Health Graduate Program Concentrations:

Note about medical anthropology: The Ph.D. in global health steps off from the insights and comparative approaches of medical anthropology; however, the goal for the program is to move outward from this perspective into a broader approach to health. Students interested in careers in classic medical anthropology should apply for the health tracks of our Ph.D. in anthropology.

Primary Global Health Specializations:

  • Links between Culture, Society and Health
  • Social Justice
  • Health in the Americas
  • Community-Based Research
  • Indigenous and Minority Health
  • Nutritional Health and Nutritional Anthropology
  • Sustainability and Environmental Health
  • Urban Health
  • Biocultural and Life History Approaches to Health
  • Social Complexity and Social Networks
  • Health in the Past


Culturally and Socially Oriented Health Research, including Ethnography, Survey, Spatial Analysis, Participatory Action Research, Demography, Epidemiology, Social Networks, Computer-Based Modeling

Current Regional Strengths:

  • Central America
  • South America
  • Southwest US 

Megan Jehn 

For a list of affiliated faculty and their specializations, please see the Graduate Faculty page and select the appropriate degree from the drop-down menu.

See also: 
Faculty Specializations   
Medical and Health-Related Anthropology