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Medical Humanities - MA

Course Description

Medicine is one of the great human activities. The changes that medicine has undergone, and the problems and opportunities it raises, should be of interest to everyone.

In this MA programme, you are introduced to many questions asked about medicine from within the humanities. For example, you have the opportunity to examine the history of Western medicine and to consider how medical practice is presented in, and shaped by, literature and the arts. You have the chance to reflect on what is involved in classifying something as a disease or an abnormal mental state, and to explore various ethical and legal problems that arise within medicine.

As a interdisciplinary programme, the MA is taught by scholars from many different disciplines across the University, including the Departments of Philosophy, Classical & Archaeological Studies, Comparative Literature and Religious Studies and the Schools of Arts, English, History and Law.


You take four modules across the autumn and spring terms, including one core module and from a variety optional modules, before undertaking a supervised 12-15,000-word dissertation over the summer.

The programme is aimed primarily at people with a humanities background, but we also welcome healthcare practitioners or those with medical backgrounds who are interested in the growing field of the medical humanities.

National ratings

In the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, philosophy was ranked 12th for research impact in the UK. We were also ranked 16th for research intensity and in the top 20 for research power.

An impressive 100% of our research-active staff submitted to the REF and 97% of our research was judged to be of international quality. The School’s environment was judged to be conducive to supporting the development of world-leading research.

Course structure

Modules -

The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This list is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation. Most programmes will require you to study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also have the option to take modules from other programmes so that you may customise your programme and explore other subject areas that interest you.

PL821 - Medical Humanities: An Introduction (30 credits)
CL821 - Ancient Greek Science: Astronomy and Medicine (30 credits)
CP813 - Literature and Medicine (30 credits)
EN835 - Dickens, The Victorians and the Body (30 credits)
HI817 - Deformed, Deranged and Deviant (30 credits)
HI866 - History of Science and Communication (30 credits)
LW862 - Death and Dying (20 credits)
LW863 - Consent to Treatment (20 credits)
LW864 - The Foundations of the English Legal System (20 credits)
LW866 - Medical Practice and Malpractice (20 credits)
Show more... https://www.kent.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/3/medical-humanities#!structure


Assessments vary across the modules. Typically the main assessment is a 5-6,000 word essay and a dissertation of 12-20,000 words.

Programme aims

This programme aims to:

- introduce you to a variety of ways in which medical science and practice can be examined within the humanities and social sciences, and to a range of questions and issues that it raises. In doing so, part of the richness of medical science will be revealed, as well as its problems. The relevant disciplines include history, literature, philosophy and law
- place the study of various materials (such as texts, images, data, legal judgments, etc) at the centre of student learning and analysis
- expose you to a variety of methods, writing styles, researching styles, concepts (etc) that are used across a range of academic disciplines in relation to specific topics and questions in medical science and practice
- expose you to some of the various possibilities and problems that medical science and practice has raised and continues to raise
- develop your capacities to think critically about past and present events and experiences in relation to medicine
- encourage you to relate the academic study of medical science and practice to questions of public debate and concern
vpromote a curriculum supported by scholarship, staff development and a research culture that promotes breadth and depth of intellectual enquiry and debate from different Humanities and related disciplines
- assist you to develop cognitive and transferable skills relevant to their vocational and personal development.


A postgraduate degree in philosophy is a valuable and flexible qualification, which allows you to develop skills in logical thinking, critical evaluation, persuasion, writing and independent thought.

Graduates have gone on to positions in journalism, administration in the civil service, education, advertising and a range of managerial positions. Some go on to pursue research in the area, many continuing with PhDs at Kent or other higher education institutions.

Learn more about Kent

Visit us - https://www.kent.ac.uk/courses/visit/openday/pgevents.html

International Students - https://www.kent.ac.uk/internationalstudent/

Why study at Kent? - https://www.kent.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/why/

Visit the Medical Humanities - MA page on the University of Kent website for more details!

Student Profiles

Graduate School Scholarships - No. of awards TBC

The Graduate School Scholarship Scheme was established in 2009 to celebrate the founding of the University's Graduate School, which is responsible for the strategic development of graduate education and research within the University. The aim of the scheme is enable Kent graduates to continue study at the University in the next academic year after graduation from their undergraduate degree.Candidates can hold the Graduate School Scholarship in conjunction with other awards except where these awards offer full fees and a Research Council UK equivalent maintenance grant. The Graduate School Scholarship cannot be held in conjunction with the University's loyalty discount.Criteria- Candidates must hold a Bachelors degree with honours (or undergraduate Masters degree) awarded in 2016 by the University of Kent. This scholarship offer is not available to those students who have been awarded foundation degrees, HNCs, HNDs or postgraduate degrees.
- Candidates must have satisfied the criteria for admission and register for a postgraduate degree (Masters or Doctorate) with the University of Kent by 1 October 2016. Students considering this offer are advised to check the entry criteria for their favoured postgraduate programme of study prior to application.
- Candidates must be self-funded, i.e. they are paying their tuition fees themselves.
- Open to overseas/home/EU fee paying students.

Value of Scholarship(s)

£1,000 reduction (£500 per annum for part-time students, for 2 years) in tuition fees


Kent 2016 graduates who earn a Bachelor's degree with honours (or undergraduate Master's degree) and register for a postgraduate degree at Kent by 1 October 2016.

Application Procedure

There is no need to make a separate application. The tuition fee reduction will be provided to all eligible 2016 graduates on registration.

Further Information


Entry Requirements

A good degree in a relevant subject, typically 2.1 or above. Those with other qualifications will also be considered.

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