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    Faculty of Arts & Humanities Logo
  • Study Type

    Full time & Part time available

  • Subject Areas


  • Start Date


  • Course Duration

    One year FT, two years PT

  • Course Type


  • Course Fees


  • Last Updated

    02 May 2019

Our course lets you explore the links between the humanities and medicine from a humanities point of view. Among the questions it considers are: What can the humanities contribute to healthcare? How do they differ from the sciences? And what can they tell us about illness?

Key benefits

• Unrivalled central London location, giving immediate access to important medico-historical and cultural resources, including libraries, galleries, archives and museums, eg The Wellcome Collection and Library, the Hunterian Museum, the National Portrait Gallery, the British Library etc.

• World class expertise in a breadth of subject areas, including: History of Psychiatry, Literature & Medicine, Philosophy of Medicine & Mental Disorder, Medical Portraiture, Nursing & Film, Bioethics.

• Taught at the Wellcome-funded Centre for the Humanities & Health, which supports the research activities of internationally renowned scholars in the field; has a vibrant and active post-graduate and post-doctoral community; and hosts a lively programme of seminars, conferences and events.

• Close links between the Faculty of Arts & Humanities and one of the largest Schools of Biomedicine in Europe.


The Medical Humanities are a growing field of scholarship that produces powerful, innovative analyses of today’s healthcare issues. You will study the fundamentals of the field and develop analytical and critical skills that will enable you to address questions such as:

• Does studying the humanities make us more humane? 

• How are the humanities different from the sciences, and what new angles do they offer on old ethical dilemmas? 

• What is health? What is illness? 

• What kind of evidence about illness does literature provide? 

• What is narrative and how embedded are narrative ways of thought in health care practice?

You will leave us with a deep understanding of how a variety of humanities disciplines conceive of health and illness and of the contributions these can make to healthcare. The disciplines we cover include Philosophy, Literature, Film, Psychiatry, Art History and Nursing, leading to skills in the visual, bioethical, literary, historical and philosophical analyses of healthcare.

Based on our previous Literature & Medicine MA, this MSc allows you to choose from a broader range of modules, interact with a wider range of students, and gain a firm grounding in the medical humanities by following common required modules. Your fellow students will come from a wide variety of academic and health backgrounds, from biosciences such as medicine, nursing, psychology and from health law, social work and humanities such as philosophy, film and literary studies.

Required Modules

You are required to take:

• Themes in Medical Humanities (40 credits)

• Advanced Skills for the Medical Humanities (20 credits)

• Dissertation (60 credits)

If you are a part-time student, you will take your dissertation, along with two modules from the list below in your second year. You will take the rest in your first year.

Optional Modules

In addition, you are required to take three modules (totalling 60 credits) from a range of optional modules that may typically include:

• Illness Narrative as Life Writing (20 credits)

• The Concept of Mental Disorder (20 credits) 

• Narrative Medicine (20 credits) 

• Medicine on Screen (20 credits)

• Medical Discourses (30 credits)

• The Clinical Encounter in 20th Century French Literature (20 credits)

• Genres of Science Writing in the Nineteenth Century (20 credits)

• The History of the Senses, 1680–1820 (20 credits)

• Body & Society in Early Modern Europe (20 credits)

• People, Portraits & Things (20 credits)

• London Histories of Medicine & Science (20 credits)

• Law & Reproduction I and II (20 credits each)

• Up to 30 credits from master’s modules offered by the Faculty of Social Science & Public Policy, subject to approvals

Career prospects

The course will appeal to you if you are a medical or health professional, a student of health policy or if you want to pursue further academic study in medicine and/or the humanities, if you are hoping to study on a Medical Humanities PhD course, or if you are thinking about a career in journalism or bioethics.

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Visit the Medical Humanities MSc page on the King’s College London website for more details!