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master's in medicine,
science & technology studies

Apply now for UCI's MA in Medicine, Science, Technology and Society

The Department of Anthropology at the University of California, Irvine - ranked #8 among all anthropology programs in the country (Center for a Public Anthropology) - offers an M.A. in Medicine, Science and Technology Studies (MSTS). This program prepares students for Ph.D. programs in Anthropology, Science and Technology Studies (STS), and other disciplines. It also prepares students for professional practice in health, law, journalism, public administration, and other domains where developments in medicine, science, and technology are key concerns. This degree is the only terminal M.A. degree in either medical anthropology or STS in the University of California system. The program is designed to be completed in one year, and welcomes students from diverse educational, cultural and national backgrounds, and at various career stages.

Cover art for Lissa: A Story about Medical Promise, Friendship, and Revolution, co-authored Sherine Hamdy, UCI anthropology professor.

MSTS students investigate how science, technology and medicine develop in different contexts, shape people's lives, and are addressed in media, law and politics. They study the cultural dimensions of scientific research, digital technologies and data, and environmental problems. They also study how health is understood and cared for in settings around the word, how technologies (including drugs, smartphones and prosthetics) are used in health care, and how scientific developments move "from bench to bedside." Students learn to identify and characterize diverse stakeholders in science, technology and medicine, different ways of recognizing and solving associated problems, and impacts on social well-being and inequality.

MSTS students learn an array of social science methods and approaches to qualitative research design. They learn to address diverse audiences, both orally and in writing, and how to facilitate discussion across cultures, disciplines, and generations. MSTS students can plan either theoretically or practically-oriented plans of study.


Cover art for Advocacy after Bhopal: Environmentalism, Disaster, New Global Orders, by Kim Fortun, UCI anthropology professor and chair.

Medicine, Science, Technology, and Society students:

  • Recognize the matrix of factors (economic, technical, biophysical, cultural, etc.) that shape societal problems as well as the factors that constrain their solutions
  • Recognize factors contributing to health inequalities and vulnerability
  • Study and compare health care systems in different settings
  • Analyze the role of technology in shaping social beliefs and practices

  • Cultivate global perspective and understanding of cultural differences
  • Creatively access, interpret, and apply research resources, working collaboratively with researchers from other disciplines
  • Apply social science knowledge to real-world challenges
  • Analyze and formulate ethical ideas and policy positions to support health equality
  • Value and facilitate knowledge pluralism

UCI anthropologist Tom Boellstorff, author of Coming of Age in Second Life: An Anthropologist Explores the Virtually Human, depicted as his Second Life avatar, Tom Bukowski.

Medicine, Science, Technology, and Society students select from a wide array of courses:

MSTS Proseminar / STS in Practice / Ethnographic Methods / Medical Anthropology / Science Writing / Globalizing Social Theory / Urban Anthropology / The Cultural Politics of Visual Representation / Digital Technology, Culture, and Media /Humanism and Posthumanism / Medicine, Food and Health

UCI Anthropology faculty and students research:

  • Chinese medicine and medical entrepreneurship
  • The scientific and clinical challenges of environmental public health
  • How religion shapes understandings of health and health care
  • How virtual worlds influence culture, identity, and the body
  • The health impacts of migration and racism
  • Patterns and response to HIV/AIDS
  • How social media is shaping shaping health behavior
  • The ethics of clinical trials in the Global South
  • Different understandings of research and medical ethics
  • How people use and think about reproductive technologies
  • Health impacts of watershed governance
  • How the World Health Organization has changed over time
  • Household responses to the nuclear and toxic disasters

Faculty in the department publish regularly in the field's top academic journals and graduate students have incredible opportunities to publish alongside them.

And if that wasn't enough, the UCI campus is located less than 10 miles from Newport Beach, is the #1 university committed to economic diversity and upward mobility (The New York Times College Access Index), and the #9 ranked public university in the U.S.(U.S. News & World Report).

So what are you waiting for?

Contact us today to learn more about UCI's M.A. in Medicine, Science and Technology Studies.

Kim Fortun, Department Chair | 949.824.0646

Leo Chavez, Graduate Director | 949.824.4054

Tom Boellstorff, Graduate Admissions Director | 949.824.9944

John Sommerhauser, Graduate Advisor | 949.824.4074

application deadline:

March 15

Apply today!

Department of Anthropology

School of Social Sciences
University of California, Irvine
Irvine, CA 92697-5100