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Anthropology×

Brunel University London, Full Time MSc Degrees in Anthropology

We have 4 Brunel University London, Full Time MSc Degrees in Anthropology

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Brunel was the first university in Europe to establish a Master's degree in Medical Anthropology. Since then we have continued to develop our programme to reflect the changing world in which we live. Read more

About the course

Brunel was the first university in Europe to establish a Master's degree in Medical Anthropology. Since then we have continued to develop our programme to reflect the changing world in which we live.

In short, Medical Anthropology can be described as the study of cultural beliefs and practices associated with the origin, recognition and management of health and illness in different social and cultural groups.

Literally hundreds of students – doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, social workers and other medical professionals among them – can testify to the quality of our programme, having used it either to enhance their professional practice, to change career or to develop their research interests for future studies.

Anthropology at Brunel is well-known for its focus on ethnographic fieldwork: as well as undertaking rigorous intellectual training, all our students are expected to get out of the library and undertake their own, original research – whether in the UK or overseas – and to present their findings in a dissertation. Students take this opportunity to travel to a wide variety of locations across the world – see “Special Features” for more details.

Attendance for lectures full-time: 2 days per week - for 24 weeks
Attendance for lectures part-time: 1 day per week - for 24 weeks (in each of 2 years)

Aims

The degree aims to equip students with a broad, general understanding of anthropology and how it might be applied to medical and health-related problems.

You will develop a deeper understanding of how people’s ideas about the world, as well as the structural constraints within which they find themselves, have an impact on their understanding and experience of health, sickness and disease.

You’ll achieve this through close study of key texts in medical anthropology, the original fieldwork experiences of your lecturers, and through designing and undertaking your own research project.

If you’ve wondered about some or all of the questions below – all of which are addressed in the degree – this could be the course for you:

How does poverty contribute to the profiles of diseases such as diabetes and tuberculosis?
Why are some diseases, such as leprosy or AIDS/HIV, feared and stigmatized?
Why do some biomedical interventions seeking to control infectious and non-infectious diseases work, and others fail?
What might stop some patients seeking conventional treatments for cancers and other conditions – even when they are offered for free – despite the apparent efficacy of the medicines available?
How does one make the distinction between the healthy and the pathological? Is being ‘disabled’, for example, always a negative state, or might some consider it just another, equally valid, way of being?
What are the effects of political, economic and other social conditions on people’s experiences of what, from a biomedical perspective, might be considered the same diseases?
How and why is it appropriate to combine insights emerging from clinical and epidemiological research with ethnographic understandings of health, illness and disease?

The Brunel Medical Anthropology MSc addresses these issues and more in a lively and challenging way, through a programme of lectures, class discussions, and your own – personally directed – final dissertation research project.

Course Content

The main objectives of the course are to provide a rigorous grounding in key topics and perspectives in medical anthropology, and to equip candidates with a range of research skills to enable them to complete research successfully.

The MSc consists of both compulsory and optional modules, a typical selection can be found below. Modules can vary from year to year, but these offer a good idea of what we teach.

Full-time

Compulsory modules:

Compulsory Reading Module: Political and Economic Issues in Anthropology
Compulsory Reading Module: Contemporary Anthropological Theory
Dissertation in Medical Anthropology
Ethnographic Research Methods 1
Ethnographic Research Methods 2
The Anthropology of Global Health
Applied Medical Anthropology in the Arena of Global Health
Medical Anthropology in Clinical and Community Settings

Optional modules:

The Anthropology of the Body
Anthropology of the Person
Kinship, Sex and Gender
Anthropological Perspectives of Humanitarian Assistance
Anthropological Perspectives of War
Ethnicity, Culture and Identity

Part-time

Year 1

Medical Anthropology in Clinical and Community Settings
Compulsory Reading Module: Political and Economic Issues in Anthropology
Compulsory Reading Module: Contemporary Anthropological Theory
The Anthropology of Global Health
Applied Medical Anthropology in the Arena of Global Health

Year 2

Dissertation in Medical Anthropology
Ethnographic Research Methods 1
Ethnographic Research Methods 2
and optional modules

Assessment

Assessment is by essay, practical assignments (e.g. analysis of a short field exercise) and a dissertation of up to 15,000 words. This dissertation is based upon fieldwork undertaken by the candidate. There are no examinations.

Special Features

All our degrees (whether full- or part-time) combine intensive coursework, rigorous training in ethnographic research methods, and a period of fieldwork in the summer term (final summer term if part-time) leading to up to a 15,000 word dissertation.

Students are free to choose their own research topic and geographic area, in consultation with their academic supervisor. In all cases, the dissertation research project provides valuable experience and in many cases it leads to job contacts – forming a bridge to a future career or time out for career development.

In recent years, students have undertaken fieldwork in locations across the world, including India, Mexico, Bolivia, Papua New Guinea, China, Nepal, Peru, Morocco, and New Zealand as well as within the UK and the rest of Europe.

Special scholarships

Cecil Helman Scholarship Fund
Set up to honour the life and work of leading light in international medical anthropology Professor Cecil Helman (1944-2009), the Doctor Cecil Helman Scholarship Fund provides fieldwork support for between two and four students on our MSc Medical Anthropology course.

Dr Helman taught at Brunel University London from 1990, and became a Professor of Social Sciences in 2005. In 2004, he was awarded the American Anthropological Association’s career achievement award, and the following year he won the Royal Anthropological Institute's Lucy Mair medal.

As well as leading the way in Medical Anthropology, Dr Helman exercised his artistic talents through his paintings, poems, fables, and short fiction – all of which revolved around a theme of the human side of medicine and the narratives that surrounded the doctor-patient relationship.

Scholarship
The Cecil Helman Scholarship Fund offers between two and four students up to £1,000 to help them to complete field research for their dissertations.

Selection
The scholarship will be awarded to MSc Medical Anthropology students who demonstrate excellent academic performance and the ability to undertake an original field research project.

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Do our categories of behaviour – normal and abnormal – translate across cultures?. Why do ethnic minorities have different experiences of mental health?. Read more

About the course

Do our categories of behaviour – normal and abnormal – translate across cultures?
Why do ethnic minorities have different experiences of mental health?
Is there a ‘human nature’ underneath all the cultural differences?

Anyone interested in psychological processes, feeling and expression, memory and trauma, culture and personality, will have asked themselves questions of this kind. However, they are less likely to have asked themselves how (or if) we can recognise and analyse different emotions in other cultural settings.

In this new MSc degree, the first of its kind anywhere in Europe, we tackle these and other issues from an anthropological perspective, looking at the social and cultural dimensions of human experience.

By engaging with debates on these important topics and through the examination of world ethnography (including the UK), participants will learn about selfhood, emotion, madness and identity in cultural context.

Anthropology at Brunel is well-known for its focus on ethnographic fieldwork: as well as undertaking rigorous intellectual training, all our students are expected to get out of the library and undertake their own, original research – whether in the UK or overseas – and to present their findings in a dissertation. Students take this opportunity to travel to a wide variety of locations across the world – see “Special Features” for more details.

Attendance for lectures full-time: 2 days per week - for 24 weeks
Attendance for lectures part-time: 1 day per week - for 24 weeks (in each of 2 years)

Aims

This MSc gives candidates a solid grounding in key topics in psychological and psychiatric anthropology.

Through detailed consideration of cases from Britain and around the world, we explore the ways in which person, emotion, and subjectivity are shaped through cultural practices.

Candidates from backgrounds in health, therapy, social work and psychology will be able to challenge the categories and assumptions inherent in standard approaches to psychological and behavioural issues.

Course Content

The MSc consists of both compulsory and optional modules, a typical selection can be found below. Modules can vary from year to year, but these offer a good idea of what we teach.

Full-time

Compulsory modules:

Compulsory Reading Module: Political and Economic Issues in Anthropology
Compulsory Reading Module: Contemporary Anthropological Theory
Dissertation in Psychological and Psychiatric Anthropology
Ethnographic Research Methods 1
Ethnographic Research Methods 2
Themes in Psychiatric Anthropology
Themes in Psychological Anthropology

Optional modules:

Anthropology of the Body
Anthropology of the Person
Kinship, Sex and Gender
The Anthropology of Childhood
The Anthropology of Youth
The Anthropology of Global Health
Applied Medical Anthropology in the arena of Global Health
Anthropology of Education
Anthropology of Learning
Ethnicity, Identity and Culture
Medical Anthropology in Clinical and Community Settings

Part-time

Year 1

Compulsory Reading Module: Political and Economic Issues in Anthropology
Compulsory Reading Module: Contemporary Anthropological Theory
Themes in Psychiatric Anthropology
Themes in Psychological Anthropology

Year 2

Dissertation in Psychological and Psychiatric Anthropology
Ethnographic Research Methods 1
Ethnographic Research Methods 2
and optional modules

Assessment

Assessment is by essay, practical assignment (e.g. analysis of a short field exercise), and dissertation. There are no examinations.

Special Features

This degree looks at psychological and psychiatric topics from an anthropological perspective. There is an overlap with psychology and psychiatry in the things we look at (identity, consciousness, cognition, mental health, etc), but the approach is quite different; indeed, the findings can be startlingly different.

In all cases, we explore the point of view and experience of the insider, the ‘native’, in a range of cultures, we analyse this inside view in relation to the social and cultural environment. What we seek is a dynamic conception of human nature that is true to experience as well as illuminating broader social processes of which the individual may be only partly aware.
 
This degree challenges standard assumptions about normality and deviance, social and personal identity, the boundaries of the self, and the constituents of experience.

For those employed in the health, social and educational sectors, it will enhance professional practice and broaden understanding. But for every student it will open up new avenues.

The programme is run by experts in their field, who have worked in countries across the globe including Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, sub-Saharan Africa, Melanesia, India and Sri Lanka, as well as Britain.

All our degrees (whether full- or part-time) combine intensive coursework, rigorous training in ethnographic research methods, and a period of fieldwork in the summer term (final summer term if part-time) leading to an up to 15,000 word dissertation.

Students are free to choose their own research topic and geographic area, in consultation with their academic supervisor. In all cases, the dissertation research project provides valuable experience and in many cases it leads to job contacts – forming a bridge to a future career or time out for career development.

In recent years, students have undertaken fieldwork in locations across the world, including India, Mexico, Bolivia, Papua New Guinea, China, Nepal, Peru, Morocco, and New Zealand as well as within the UK and the rest of Europe.

Read less
The Anthropology of Childhood, Youth and Education MSc was the first degree of its kind in the world when it was established and is still unique in its thoroughgoing anthropological perspective on what it is to be a child or to be young. Read more

About the course

The Anthropology of Childhood, Youth and Education MSc was the first degree of its kind in the world when it was established and is still unique in its thoroughgoing anthropological perspective on what it is to be a child or to be young.

Its key organising principle is that understanding children requires the study of how their relations with others - peers, older and younger children, parents, teachers and other adults - inform their practices, identities and world views.

This course addresses the following issues from an anthropological perspective:
Do children of ‘different cultures’ live ‘different worlds’?
How does education impact upon children’s worlds and upon social and cultural practices more broadly?
How do everyday processes of learning – both formal and informal - help to shape children’s ideas of and engagement with society at large?
What is the role of schools in the transmission and acquisition of cultural values to children and youth?
And why are adults’ ideas about childhood and youth so important for what children learn and aspire to become?

The distinctiveness of this degree derives from an anthropological approach that focuses on the importance of children’s and youth’s perspectives, and on the role that education (formal and informal) plays in children’s learning processes and in the transmission and acquisition of cultural knowledge.

Anthropology at Brunel is well-known for its focus on ethnographic fieldwork: as well as undertaking rigorous intellectual training, all our students are expected to get out of the library and undertake their own, original research – whether in the UK or overseas – and to present their findings in a dissertation. Students take this opportunity to travel to a wide variety of locations across the world – see “Special Features” for more details.

Attendance for lectures full-time: 2 days per week - for 24 weeks
Attendance for lectures part-time: 1 day per week - for 24 weeks (in each of 2 years)

Aims

Through an examination of ethnographic cases from around the world (including the UK), you will learn about the different ways in which childhood and youth are understood and conceptualised.

You will explore the different educational forms and processes through which cultural knowledge is transmitted and acquired, and how culture impacts upon these processes.

Course Content

The course is designed to show postgraduate students how anthropological approaches can be used to gain access to and understand children and young people's lived experience, their ideas about the world and themselves, and their relations with peers and adults. In so doing, it aims to provide a rigorous grounding in key anthropological ideas and research methods and to show how a comparative social analysis illuminates our understanding of ourselves and other people.

The MSc consists of both compulsory and optional modules, a typical selection can be found below. Modules can vary from year to year, but these offer a good idea of what we teach.

Full time

Compulsory modules:

Compulsory Reading Module: Political and Economic Issues in Anthropology
Compulsory Reading Module: Contemporary Anthropological Theory
Ethnographic Research Methods 1
Ethnographic Research Methods 2
Dissertation in Childhood, Youth and Education
The Anthropology of Childhood
The Anthropology of Youth

Optional modules:

Anthropology of the Body
Anthropology of the Person
Kinship, Sex and Gender
Ethnicity, Identity and Culture
Global Agendas on Young People, Rights and Participation*
Foundation Disciplines of Education*
Literature Policy and Analysis*
International Development, Children and Youth

Part-time

Year 1 compulsory modules:

Compulsory Reading Module: Political and Economic Issues in Anthropology
Compulsory Reading Module: Contemporary Anthropological Theory
The Anthropology of Childhood
The Anthropology of Youth
Anthropology of Education
Anthropology of Learning

Year 2 compulsory modules:

Dissertation in Childhood, Youth and Education
Ethnographic Research Methods 1
Ethnographic Research Methods 2
and optional modules

Special Features

Our course team has worked in countries across the globe including South, West and East Africa, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, India and Sri Lanka, as well as Britain.

All our degrees (whether full- or part-time) combine intensive coursework, rigorous training in ethnographic research methods, and a period of fieldwork in the summer term (final summer term if part-time) leading to a 15,000 word dissertation.

Students are free to choose their own research topic and geographic area, in consultation with their academic supervisor. In all cases, the dissertation research project provides valuable experience and in many cases it leads to job contacts – forming a bridge to a future career or time out for career development.

In recent years, students have undertaken fieldwork in locations across the world, including India, Mexico, Bolivia, Papua New Guinea, China, Nepal, Peru, Morocco, and New Zealand as well as within the UK and the rest of Europe.

Teaching and Assessment

Teaching

You will be taught via a combination of lectures, seminars, workshops, tutorials and film.

Assessment

Assessment is variously by essay, practical assignments (e.g. analysis of a short field exercise), and a dissertation of approximately 15,000 words. This dissertation is based upon fieldwork undertaken by the candidate. There are no examinations.

Read less
This degree is unique in its anthropological perspective in studying children and childhood. Its key organising principle is that children are nor just passive recipients of the world in which they live, but actively help to constitute that world, as well as being constituted by it. Read more
This degree is unique in its anthropological perspective in studying children and childhood. Its key organising principle is that children are nor just passive recipients of the world in which they live, but actively help to constitute that world, as well as being constituted by it. The course includes taught modules in the social anthropology of childhood and child development, along with research methods modules leading to a dissertation. Modules reflect cover topics such as: the child in kinship; the anthropology of childhood; children in health and sickness; and cultural processes of learning.

For more information, see http://www.brunel.ac.uk/courses/pg.

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