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Course content

Oxford Brookes University is the home of the Centre for Medical Humanities, which is renowned nationally and internationally for its innovative and cutting-edge scholarship.

The MA History (History of Medicine) is a distinctive strand within our MA History. The strands offers you the unique chance to focus specifically on the social, scientific and cultural history of medicine, as well as the relationship between medicine and the humanities (history, philosophy, sociology, literature and art) through a course of research training. It also gives you the flexibility to pursue taught modules in other aspects of history if you wish.

See the website http://www.brookes.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/history-of-medicine/

Why choose this course?

- You will benefit from being taught by a team of nationally and internationally recognised scholars. We are all active researchers and we include all aspects of our own research on the course, teaching specialist modules in our areas of expertise and supervising dissertations in our specialist subjects.

- The knowledge and expertise you gain is grounded in the latest scholarship within the field.

- You will have the opportunity to conduct advanced research on a dissertation subject of your choice.

- The course provides an excellent preparation for students intending to continue with PhD research. It will also be of interest to health care professionals and to graduates in history or the social sciences seeking further personal development.

- All classes are held in the evening. There are no exams - assessment is by written work only.

We welcome further enquiries – please contact the MA Subject Co-ordinator, Dr Viviane Quirke, or the History Programme Administrator, Poppy Hoole, email:

Teaching and learning

The MA course is taught through small-group seminars, workshops and individual tutorials. Assessment is entirely by written work. There are no examinations.

Specialist facilities

Oxford Brookes is home to the Centre for Medical Humanities (CMH). The Centre was established in early 2015. It marks an exciting expansion and diversification of the work previously conducted through the Centre for Health, Medicine and Society which over the past 15 years has been the beneficiary of substantial support from both Oxford Brookes University and the Wellcome Trust. The CMH is building on this track record of outstanding research and grant successes, innovative teaching, career development and public outreach. Engaging with the expanding field of medical humanities, the CMH brings historians of medicine together with scholars from History, History of Art, Philosophy, Social and Life Sciences as well as Anthropology and Religion. It thus aims to foster genuine interdisciplinary collaboration amongst staff and students through a range of new research and teaching initiatives, which reflect the new concerns with the relationship between medicine and the humanities in the twentieth first century.

Students have access to Oxford Brookes University’s special Welfare collection, as well as numerous local medical archive resources. They also have access to the world famous Bodleian Library, a copyright library, which houses all books published in the United Kingdom and Ireland. In addition to the Bodleian and its unparalleled collection of books and rare historical manuscripts, there are affiliated libraries such as Rhodes House, home to the Bodleian Library of Commonwealth and African Studies, and the Vere Harmsworth Library of the Rothermere American Institute, where students will find one of the finest collections of publications on the Political, Economic and Social History of the United States from colonial times to the present.

Oxford is a lively centre for events, exhibitions, seminars and open lectures in various specialist areas of history, which staff and students at Brookes regularly attend.

It is also an easy bus or train ride to London for convenient access to a wider resource of historical materials. These include various seminars and lecture series offered by the University of London and the Institute of Historical Research. In addition, The National Archives at Kew, The British Library and other specialised libraries will be of particular interest to students.

Oxford is also within easy reach of other archival collections in Birmingham, Cambridge, Reading and Bristol.


Students who have completed an MA have developed a variety of careers. A significant number have gone on to undertake PhD study and secondary school history teaching. Others have taken up careers in archive management; law; accountancy; local government and the civil service as well as GCHQ - all jobs which require excellent research and analysis skills.

Free language courses for students - the Open Module

Free language courses are available to full-time undergraduate and postgraduate students on many of our courses, and can be taken as a credit on some courses.

Please note that the free language courses are not available if you are:
- studying at a Brookes partner college
- studying on any of our teacher education courses or postgraduate education courses.

Research highlights

The department boasts a wealth of research expertise and is home to two important research centres:

- Centre for Medical Humanities (CMH)
The centre seeks to promote the study of medical humanities. , It is one of the leading research groups of its kind in the UK and has research links with a wide network of associates, both national and international. The centre also provides associate status opportunities to researchers from outside the University who wish to advance their studies and gain experience in the field.

- Centre for the History of Welfare
The centre provides a base for collaboration between all those with an interest in the history of welfare both within Oxford Brookes and across the wider academic and professional communities. It acts as a focus for research in this field. It aims to support and disseminate research which makes connections between historical research and current welfare policy, and thereby fosters links between historians of welfare and policy makers.

Research areas and clusters

Our thriving research and postgraduate culture will provide you with the ideal environment in which to undertake a research degree on a broad range of topics from 16th century to the present day, and to engage in interdisciplinary research. Research skills are developed in preparation for your dissertation and provide a potential pathway to PhD study.

You will have the opportunity to work alongside scholars of international standing as well as receiving comprehensive training in research methods. Principal research areas in which our teaching staff specialise include:
- History of fascism
- History of race
- Social history
- History of crime, deviance and the law
- History of religion from the Reformation onwards

As well as meeting to discuss and analyse central texts in the field, each group undertakes a number of activities. This includes organising work-in-progress seminars, and offering support and feedback for external grant applications.

Visit the History of Medicine (MA/ PGDip/ PGCert) page on the Oxford Brookes University website for more details!





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