This MSc aims to provide sufficient knowledge of advanced medically related anthropology to enable students to utilise anthropological approaches in a range of research and professional roles. We train students in theoretical and applied aspects of the field, preparing them for careers that engage with and impact real-world contexts.
Students new to social science develop an understanding of a social science approach to the experience of illness and health, and gain skills required in social anthropological field research and analysis. For students with previous social science training, the programme focuses on the dimensions particular to medical anthropology.
Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.
The programme consists of two core module (45 credits), optional modules in three distinct fields (45 credits) and a research dissertation (90 credits).
All MSc students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of 15,000 words.
Teaching and learning
The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars, small-group presentations and discussion, tutorials, laboratory and practical work, independent directed reading, interactive teamwork, and video film and web based courses. Assessment is through one examination, two essays, optional module requirements and the research dissertation.
Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: Medical Anthropology MSc
Medical Anthropology is a rapidly expanding interdisciplinary field and graduates of our programme have gone on to develop exciting careers in academia, clinical services, social services, government, and non-governmental organisations.
Recent career destinations for this degree
Our approach is broad and open-minded, encompassing analysis of diversity issues in clinical practice, critical medical anthropology, psychology/psychiatry, social impact of genetic technologies, demographics, ethics, and studies of traditional healing. UCL is ranked fifth in the QS World University Rankings and our students benefit from a wealth of resources.
Careers data is taken from the ‘Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education’ survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2013–2015 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.
UCL Anthropology was the first in the UK to integrate biological and social anthropology with material culture into a broad-based conception of the discipline. UCL Medical Anthropology at UCL integrates interpretive, critical and applied perspectives.
Our excellent results in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercises and 2014 Research Excellence Framework show that we are the leading broad-based anthropology department in the UK. We are also one of the largest anthropology departments in the UK, offering a breadth of expertise.
Students are encouraged to take full advantage of the wider anthropological community in London and the department's strong links with European universities and international institutions.
The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.
The following REF score was awarded to the department: Anthropology
68% rated 4* (‘world-leading’) or 3* (‘internationally excellent’)
Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.
The first of its kind in the world, Ancestral Studies is an innovative new interdisciplinary programme. Uniting teaching across humanities and sciences, Ancestral Studies explores the social and biological contours of identity, allowing you to study across multiple disciplines, create your own curriculum and pursue self-directed unique research.
This course can be taken full or part time (at the convener’s discretion). It is comprised of two core modules and several optional taught modules. This structure allows you to shape your own curriculum and tailor it to your interests (insofar as staffing and course availability allows). You will work closely with the convener to shape a meaningful and intellectually cogent programme of study. Over the summer you will complete a dissertation or professional report dependent upon your interests.
Research Methods for Ancestral Studies introduces you to key research methodologies and practices drawn from a range of disciplines. You will receive an introduction to specialist and transferable skills such as working with archives and online genealogical resources, visual culture, heritage landscapes, museums and material culture. Emphasis is placed on the interpretation of primary sources.
Approaches to Ancestral Studies provides a conceptual framework for exploring core themes of the discipline through weekly topics drawn from multiple disciplines. You will consider questions of identity (genetic and social), examine current trends in family history and heritage research and address questions of past generations and their experiences of place, language and material culture. You will be exposed to theoretical, critical and practical insights from across the arts, humanities and sciences to explore ancestry, relational identity, intellectual inheritance and memory works.
Optional courses will be drawn from a range of disciplines and will therefore change on a yearly basis. You will work with the programme convener to choose a complement of optional courses that will align with your interests. These courses may be taken from History, Archaeology, Celtic and Gaelic, and more (depending on course offerings in any particular year).
MSc students will complete a dissertation. Innovative, cross-disciplinary dissertations are encouraged and will be supervised/co-supervised within the appropriate Schools.
The combination of practical and theory based learning will equip graduates of Ancestral Studies with a well-balanced and broad set of transferrable skills. You will have practical research skills in primary and secondary sources (from artefacts to archives), the ability to critically evaluate sources, to debate and formulate your own arguments and theories, and to present your research to your peers.
Potential career paths include academic and commercial archaeology, a variety of positions within museums, galleries, archives and libraries, or within the growing Ancestral Tourism sector.