Biosocial Medical Anthropology MSc

London, Bloomsbury

The MSc in Biosocial Medical Anthropology is for those wishing to gain proficiency and understanding of biosocial approaches in examining disease, health and medicine. It draws from cross-disciplinary expertise in medical anthropology, human ecology and biological anthropology. It aims to equip students with the theoretical knowledge and practical skills to develop careers that make use of a biosocial approach.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2022/23)
Overseas tuition fees (2022/23)
1 academic year
2 academic years
Programme starts
September 2022
Applications accepted
All applicants: 18 Oct 2021 – 30 Jun 2022

Applications closed


Application closes at 17:00 GMT.

Entry requirements

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. For the ‘Open Pathway’ statistical background training will be required (A level or equivalent.)

If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency.

The English language level for this programme is: Advanced

UCL Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English courses are for international students who are aiming to study for a postgraduate degree at UCL. The courses will develop your academic English and academic skills required to succeed at postgraduate level. International Preparation Courses

Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.

Equivalent qualifications

Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.

International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below. Please note that the equivalency will correspond to the broad UK degree classification stated on this page (e.g. upper second-class). Where a specific overall percentage is required in the UK qualification, the international equivalency will be higher than that stated below. Please contact Graduate Admissions should you require further advice.

About this degree

The degree introduces students to key themes in biosocial medical anthropology, including evolutionary medicine, disease ecology, `multi-species’ ethnography, biocultural approaches, developmental plasticity, biosocial difference and embodied inequalities. It provides training in quantitative and qualitative methods (including statistical analysis). Practical class-based exercises enable critical engagement with biosocial approaches that address public and global health challenges, including epidemics, chronic disease and the environmental health effects of the Anthropocene.

Who this course is for

The programme is aimed at those seeking to apply biosocial approaches to address health care challenges and interventions in their professional work or for those wishing to gain appropriate bio-social training that might lead to a PhD in medical anthropology and/or biological anthropology.

What this course will give you

UCL Anthropology is the first department in the UK to provide a cross-disciplinary Master's degree in Biosocial Medical Anthropology drawing on expertise in medical anthropology, human ecology and biological anthropology. It provides a unique blend of social and biological anthropological training in examining biosocial aspects of health and disease, including mental health, chronic and infectious disease. It provides students with the skills to address contemporary and urgent health care challenges on a global level, engaging with issues such as climate change and the Anthropocene, epidemics such as Covid-19 and health inequalities from a biosocial perspective.

UCL Anthropology ranks sixth in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2021, making it the top ranked institution in London, and third in the UK and Europe for the subject. The degree is taught by those with expertise in biological anthropology, including evolutionary medicine and human ecology as well as medical anthropology. This provides a solid cross-disciplinary foundation for engaging with and developing biosocial research in addressing health care challenges.

Students are encouraged to take full advantage of the wider anthropological community in London, European Universities and International Institutes. The department also has strong links with other departments at UCL including Global Health, the Medical School and Medical Sciences. 

The foundation of your career

Biosocial medical anthropology is a new and cutting-edge interdisciplinary approach that will equip students with the skills to think critically about and engage with the biosocial contexts of health, disease and medicine, including those related to epidemics, climate change and the Anthropocene. We expect graduates of this programme to be able to apply the skills and expertise learnt from the programme to develop careers in academia, clinical research, public and global health care, government and non-governmental organisations. Two recent graduates are currently doctoral candidates on the UCL ESRC Soc-b biosocial training programme.


This programme will equip students for careers in research related to biosocial approaches to health, disease and illness and also working across a wide range of health care arenas including public and global health, international development. Students will gain skills in the practical application of qualitative and quantitative approaches, including ethnography and statistics, with a particular emphasis on developing expertise in 'mixed methods' approaches.

Teaching and learning

Seminars, lectures and tutorials form a core part of the learning approach. Students will be encouraged to develop critical and independent thinking and to be able to engage and make use of cross-disciplinary perspectives on the biosocial topics related to health, medicine and disease. Assessment is through examination, essays, dissertation and optional module requirements.


The programme will consist of two pathways:

  1. ‘Statistics Training Pathway’: (for those without statistics training).
  2. ‘Open Pathway’: (for those with demonstrable statistics training e.g. at A level or equivalent)

The compulsory module will run across two terms. Term 1 will introduce you to key themes in the field of biosocial medical anthropology. Topics covered may include evolutionary medical anthropology, disease ecology, biocultural approaches to health, developmental plasticity and local biologies. There may also be compulsory methodological training components that will focus on providing skills in both quantitative and qualitative research, including statistical analysis, and the integration of these methods.

Teaching in Term 2 will critically apply aspects of biosocial medical anthropology using practical class based exercises, discussions and examples. It will consider the methodological opportunities and challenges of developing biosocial research and approaches for public and global health, including infectious and chronic disease. Guest speakers from inside and beyond the academy will be invited to participate.

Students must take two or three optional modules depending on the pathway, as outlined below:

Statistics Training Pathway:

  • Introduction to Statistics for Social Research module
  • Two optional modules available within the department (out of the total, up to one module can be taken from appropriate options in other departments, with approval from the programme tutor and host department).

Open Pathway:

  • Three optional modules available within the department (out of the total, up to one module can be taken from appropriate options in other departments, with approval from the programme tutor and host department)

You will work closely with a dissertation supervisor to develop an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of 15,000 words.

Please note that the list of modules given here is indicative. This information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability is subject to change.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits. Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded an MSc in Biosocial Medical Anthropology.


As part of the dissertation component of the degree students are offered the opportunity, if they wish, to undertake field research. The scope and nature of fieldwork is formulated in discussion with appointed supervisors and subject to departmental approval.


Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support & Wellbeing team.

Online - Open day

Programme Introduction to Biosocial Medical Anthropology MSc

This is the programme introduction video for Biosocial Medical Anthropology MSc. This programme is for those wishing to gain proficiency and understanding of biosocial approaches in examining disease, health and medicine.

Online - Open day

Graduate Open Events: Applying for Graduate Study at UCL

The Applying to UCL for graduate study session took place in December 2021. The session, covered by our Graduate Admissions and Student Recruitment teams, provides helpful information about the process of applying for graduate study, as well as offering an insight into what we consider to be a competitive application.

Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time Part-time
Tuition fees (2022/23) £16,500 £8,250
Tuition fees (2022/23) £26,600 £13,300

The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Where the programme is offered on a flexible/modular basis, fees are charged pro-rata to the appropriate full-time Master's fee taken in an academic session. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website:

Additional costs

For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.

Funding your studies

Parkes Foundation Grants: Small grants of maximum £1000 pounds are available for fieldwork costs to help MSc and PhD students conducting biosocial research. Applications are considered in April/May.

For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.

Aziz Foundation Scholarships in Social and Historical Sciences

Deadline: 11 July 2022
Value: Full tuition fees (1yr)
Criteria Based on financial need
Eligibility: UK

Next steps

There is an application processing fee for this programme of £90 for online applications and £115 for paper applications. Further information can be found at Application fees.

When we assess your application we would like to learn:

  • why you want to study Biosocial Medical Anthropology at graduate level
  • why you want to study Biosocial Medical Anthropology at UCL
  • what particularly attracts you to this programme 
  • how your personal, academic and professional background meets the demands of a challenging academic environment 
  • 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.

Please note that you may submit applications for a maximum of two graduate programmes in any application cycle.

UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.