UCL Health Humanities Centre


Announcing a New MA programme for 2016/7 - MA Health Humanities

Health humanities explore the place of health and illness in society, and how methods from the humanities and social studies may be brought to bear on biomedicine, clinical practice, the politics of health care, and experiences and portrayals of health and illness in literature, film and contemporary culture.

What will I learn?

The programme gives students the ability to think about issues related to health and illness historically and in contemporary society. It will enable them to approach such issues from a variety of a disciplines, including anthropology, history, philosophy, sociology, science and technology studies, global health, literature and film studies, and to work in an interdisciplinary manner.

Degree Structure

Availability: Full-time 1 year; Part-time 2 years; Flexible up to 5 years;

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits. The programme consists of 2 core modules (30 credits each), and a combination of elective modules of 15 or 30 credits to be made up to a total of 60 credits.

PG Diploma and Certificate also available – full-time nine months; part-time two years; flexible up to 5 years

Postgraduate certificate (60 credits for completion of the 2 core modules).

Postgraduate diploma (120 credits for completion of the 2 core modules and two electives of 30 credits each).

Core Modules

The core modules will be topic orientated, and will introduce students to different disciplinary approaches in the health humanities. They will be led by the course convenors together with relevent course faculty who run the elective courses, so they will also introduce students to the electives.

  • HHUMG002 Illness (James Wilson) (30 credits)
  • HHUMG001 Madness (Sonu Shamdasani) (30 credits)


A total of 60 credits from the from the following recommended list of options (or other related courses at UCL):

  • PHILGA57 Philosophy, Politics and Economics of Health (James Wilson) (15 credits)
  • PHILGA04 Global Justice and Health (James Wilson) (15 credits)
  • ANTHGD12 Medical Anthropology (Joe Calabrese) (15 credits)
  • ANTHGD11 Anthropology and Psychiatry (Roland Littlewood) (15 credits)
  • CIHD3003 Conflict, Humanitarianism and Health (Maria Kett) (15 credits)
  • CIHDG043 Death, Dying and Consequences (Rodney Reynolds) (15 credits)
  • CIHDG039 Global Health and Development: Emerging Policy Debates (Mike Rowson) (15 credits)
  • EPIDGS42 Health inequalities over the lifecourse (Mel Bartley) (15 credits)
  • PUBLG002 Health Policy and Reform (Albert Weale) (15 credits)
  • PUBLG084 Social Value and Public Policy, Health and the Environment (Albert Weale) (15 credits)
  • HISTG012 Classical Chinese Medicine (Vivienne Lo) (15 credits)
  • HPSCGA20 Medieval Science and Medicine in Global Perspective (William MacLehose) (15 credits)
  • ARCLG175 Cultural Memory (Beverley Butler) (15 credits)
  • GERMG055 German Literature and Psychology (Martin Liebscher) (30 credits)
  • PSYCG025 Culture and the Clinic (Sushrut Jadhav) (15 credits)
  • HPSCGA23 Science, Art and Philosophy (Chiara Ambrosio) (15 credits)
  • HPSCGA29 Disease in History (Carole Reeves) (15 credits)
  • HPSCGA46 Science, Technology, and Identity (Simon Lock) (15 credits)
  • Medicine on Screen (Michael Clark and Brian Glasser) (30 credits) (taught at King's College)


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


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.

English level required: Advanced

Who can apply? 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.

What are we looking for?

When we assess your application we would like to learn:

  • why you want to study Health Humanities at graduate level
  • why you want to study Health Humanities at UCL
  • what particularly attracts you to the chosen programme
  • how your academic and professional background meets the demands of this challenging programme
  • where you would like to go professionally with your degree

Together with essential academic requirements, the personal statement is your opportunity to illustrate whether your reasons for applying to this programme match what the programme will deliver. Applicants who have a portfolio are strongly recommended to submit it when they apply.


The Health Humanities Centre can nominate one candidate to apply for a Wellcome Trust Master's Award.

Full details of funding opportunities can be found on the UCL Scholarships website

From 2016/7 home and EU students on a Master's course will now be able to take a government post-graduate loan. For EU students, see here.

Why should I study this degree at UCL?

Setting within UCL’s new Health Humanities Centre, which draws together world leading researchers on medicine and health in history, philosophy, sociology, anthropology, literature, cultural and film studies, global health and science and technology studies, bioethics medical humanities, history of medicine, psychology and psychiatry, together with the involvement of leading clinicians in UCL’s acclaimed medical school and school of psychiatry engaged in humanities and social science research.

Setting within UCL’s new 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.

Your Career

The MA provides an outstanding foundation for those hoping to undertake PhD research and pursue an academic career, ranging from interdisciplinary work

in the health humanities, as well as in a broad spectrum of more specialised disciplines, such as in medicine, the philosophy of medicine, history of medicine, medical sociology or medical anthropology among others. It is also a suitable preparation for careers in science and medical journalism, bioethics, health care policy, NGOs, museum and heritage, among others.


The programme gives students the ability to think about health and illness historically and in contemporary society, to approach such issues from a variety of a disciplines and to work in an interdisciplinary manner. It gives students the opportunity to engage in debate and develop their presentation skills. Students will gain experience in writing essays and training in conducting original research and applying the appropriate methodology for issues at hand. There are many additional activities available, within the Centre for Health Humanities and Institute of Advanced Studies and the wider UCL community, to help students develop employability skills.

Admitting Department: Centre for Multicultural and Interdisciplinary Inquiry For further details, contact Prof. Sonu Shamdasani (s.shamdasani@ucl.ac.uk) and Dr. James Wilson (james.wilson@ucl.ac.uk)