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Health Humanities - MA/PGDip/PGCert

Course Description

Health humanities seeks novel ways of understanding health and illness in society, and how methods from the humanities and social studies may be brought to bear on biomedicine, clinical practice, and the politics of healthcare. Experiences and portrayals of health and illness in literature, film and contemporary culture are also studied.

Degree information

The programme enables students to approach issues relating to health and illness from both a historical and contemporary perspective and from a variety of a disciplines, including anthropology, history, philosophy, sociology, science and technology studies, global health, literature and film studies. Students will also learn to work in an interdisciplinary manner.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of two core modules (60 credits), elective modules of 15 or 30 credits each (up to a total of 60 credits) and a research dissertation (60 credits). A Postgraduate Diploma (120 credits), two core modules (60 credits) and two electives (60 credits) is also offered. A Postgraduate Certificate (60 credits), two core modules is also offered.

Core modules

Optional modules - students may choose from the list of recommended modules below, or other relevant modules in UCL, with the approval of the convenors.
-Anthropology and Psychiatry
-Classical Chinese Medicine
-Clinically Applied Cultural Psychiatry
-Conflict, Humanitarianism and Health
-Cultural Memory
-Death, Dying and Consequences
-Disease in History
-German Literature and Psychology
-Global Health and Development: Emerging Policy Debates
-Global Justice and Health
-Health Inequalities Over the Lifecourse
-Health Policy and Reform
-Medical Anthropology
-Medieval Science and Medicine in Global Perspective
-Science, Technology, and Identity
-Social Value and Public Policy, Health and the Environment
-From Imperial Medicine to Global Health, 1860s to present
-Medicine on Screen

All students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of 10,000-12,000 words.

Teaching and learning
The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures and seminars. Assessment is through essays and a dissertation. There is no unseen examination.


This MA provides an exceptional foundation for those hoping to undertake PhD research and pursue an academic career, ranging from interdisciplinary work in the health humanities to a broad spectrum of more specialised disciplines, such as medicine, the philosophy of medicine, history of medicine, medical sociology or medical anthropology, among others. It is also a suitable preparation for a range of careers including science and medical journalism, bioethics, healthcare policy, NGOs and museum and heritage.

The programme gives students the opportunities to work in an interdisciplinary manner, and to engage in debate and develop their presentation skills. Students will gain experience of writing essays and training in conducting original research and applying the appropriate methodology. There are many additional activities available, both within the UCl Health Humanities Centre and the Institute of Advanced Studies, and the wider UCL community, to help students develop employability skills.

Why study this degree at UCL?

Health Humanities MA is based in UCL's new Health Humanities Centre which draws together world-leading researchers from different disciplines including medicine and health in history, philosophy, sociology, anthropology, and cultural and film studies.

Leading clinicians at UCL's acclaimed Medical School and Division of Psychiatry, who are engaged in humanities and social science research, are also actively involved with the centre. The centre was formed through the merger of the Centre for Philosophy, Justice and Health and the Centre for the History of Psychological Disciplines.

UCL Health Humanities Centre forms part of the new UCL Institute of Advanced Studies, which showcases and fosters multidisciplinary research within the humanities and the social sciences, with an active programme of events and visiting international scholars.

Visit the Health Humanities - MA/PGDip/PGCert page on the University College London website for more details!

Entry Requirements

Normally a minimum of an upper second-class Bachelor's degree in a relevant discipline from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard.

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