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Course content

This MA allows you to develop an in-depth understanding of the history of health, medicine and society.

You’ll be trained in historical research methods and conceptual and methodological approaches to the history of health, medicine and society. You can combine British, European and African history under the guidance of leading researchers in History, History and Philosophy and Science and Medieval Studies. You’ll have the chance to focus on topics and periods that suit your own interests, whether that’s the history of health, medicine and society in the Middle Ages or the First World War.

Looking at the health of individuals, families and communities, you could study the human life course from birth to death, the experiences of medical practitioners and caregivers, medicine during periods of war and conflict, or the impact of health policy in different societies. It’s an exciting opportunity to explore how health and medicine have always been shaped by the social and cultural context.

Specialist resources

We have an exceptional range of resources to help you explore the topics that interest you. The world-class Brotherton Library holds a wealth of resources in its Special Collections, including historical works on health, medicine, cookery and medicinal uses of food, as well as extensive archival material about the history of medicine, surgery and nursing during the First World War and across the region since the eighteenth century.

You’ll be encouraged to participate in events run by the School of History’s lively ‘Health, Medicine and Society’ research group, including seminars, reading group sessions and a postgraduate symposium. You’ll also be able to attend a huge range of other events at the University of Leeds, including seminars at the Centre for History and Philosophy of Science and the Leeds Centre for Medical Humanities.

You’ll also have access to the University’s Museum of Science, Technology and Medicine, which is especially rich in its medical collections, and we have close links with the Thackray Medical Museum in east Leeds and its 47,000 medical objects.

Course content

The first semester will lay the foundations of your studies, introducing you to historical research methods, and key sources, debates and methodologies in the history of health, medicine and society. You’ll take part in a source analysis workshop and gain practical knowledge of documentary, visual and material sources in the university and local area which can be used to study the history of health, medicine and society.

You’ll also develop specialist knowledge of the development of the history of medicine and the social history of medicine as historical sub-disciplines, and the place of health and medicine within the discipline of history.

In Semester Two, you’ll build on this knowledge with your choice from a wide range of optional modules, including specialist topics such as birth , death and illness in the Middle Ages; Medicine and warfare in the 19th and 20th centuries or disease and sexuality in Africa. You’ll also have the opportunity to work collaboratively with partner organisations, such as the West Yorkshire Archive Service, by studying the ‘Making History: Archive collaborations’ module.

Throughout the programme, you’ll develop your knowledge across a variety of areas as well as key skills in research and critical analysis. You’ll showcase these skills when you complete your dissertation, which will be independently researched on a topic of your choice and submitted by the end of the programme in September.

If you choose to study part-time, you’ll study over a longer period and take fewer modules in each year.

Course structure

Compulsory modules

  • Research Methodology in History 30 credits
  • Dissertation (History of Health, Medicine and Society) 60 credits
  • Approaches to the History of Health and Medicine 30 credits

Optional modules

  • Making History: Archive Collaborations 30 credits
  • Medicine and Warfare in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries 30 credits
  • Women, Gender and Sexuality: Archives and Approaches 30 credits
  • Sexuality and Disease in African History 30 credits
  • Lifecycles: Birth, Death and Illness in the Middle Ages 30 credits
  • Special Option (History of Science) 30 credits
  • Science in the Museum: Interpretations & Practices 30 credits
  • The Origin of Modern Medicine (Birth of the Clinic) 30 credits

For more information on typical modules, read History of Health, Medicine and Society MA Full Time in the course catalogue

For more information on typical modules, read History of Health, Medicine and Society MA Part Time in the course catalogue

Learning and teaching

We use a range of teaching and learning methods. The majority of your modules will be taught through weekly seminars, where you’ll discuss issues and themes in your chosen modules with a small group of students and your tutors. Independent study is also crucial to this degree, giving you the space to shape your own studies and develop your skills.

Assessment

We use different types of assessment to help you develop a wide range of skills, including presentations, research proposals, project reports and essays, depending on the subjects you choose.

Career opportunities

This programme will heighten your cultural and social awareness as well as allowing you to build your historical knowledge. You’ll also gain high-level research, analysis and communication skills that will prove valuable in a wide range of careers.

Graduates have found success in a diverse range of careers in education, research and the private sector. Many others have continued with their studies at PhD level. Your knowledge and skills will appeal to a wide range of employers, including in the charitable, education, healthcare, and heritage sectors .

We offer different forms of support to help you reach your career goals. You’ll have the chance to attend our career groups, meeting students with similar plans, or you could become a paid academic mentor to an undergraduate completing their final-year dissertation. You could also apply for one of the internships we offer each year.


Visit the History of Health, Medicine and Society MA page on the University of Leeds website for more details!

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