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 (2024/25)
Overseas tuition fees (2024/25)
1 academic year
2 academic years
Programme starts
September 2024
Applications accepted
Applicants who require a visa: 16 Oct 2023 – 05 Apr 2024
Applications close at 5pm UK time

Applications open

Applicants who do not require a visa: 16 Oct 2023 – 30 Aug 2024
Applications close at 5pm UK time

Applications open

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.)

The English language level for this programme is: Level 4

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.

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.

*Should you experience any issues with the drop-down below, try de-selecting the country and re-selecting it. If this doesn't work, then you may refer to this page which may help you find the same equivalencies - check the Entry requirements above beforehand. Please note the table is indicative only, revisiting when the dropdown is working to confirm is recommended.

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 fourth in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2023, 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. A number of recent graduates are also currently doctoral candidates on the UCL ESRC Soc-b biosocial or ESRC UBEL doctoral training programmes.


This programme will prepare 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.


Students will benefit from a range of networking opportunities with scholars, professional bodies, and funding organisations focusing on biosocial research. Students will be invited to a weekly departmental Medical and Biosocial Anthropology Seminar Series during term, where scholars external to UCL present their latest biosocial research. Students will also have the opportunity to network with biosocial scholars across UCL, including, for example, through engagement with UCL’s Health, Mind, and Society Network and the Biosocial Birth Cohort Network. Further, students will be introduced to funding bodies supporting biosocial research, including the ESRC’s Soc-B Doctoral Training Programme and the Parkes Foundation.

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 compulsory module typically involves around 63 contact hours (a mix of 2h or 3h seminars). The three optional modules (15 credit) usually amount to 54 contact hours (assuming 2 hour weekly seminar) but will vary depending on the choice of modules. Estimated time in dissertation supervision is around 2h (30 minute meetings).


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 will also be methodological training components that 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.

Students take their compulsory module and at least one optional module in the first year. In the second year they take their remaining optional module(s) and complete the dissertation.

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 are subject to change. Modules that are in use for the current academic year are linked for further information. Where no link is present, further information is not yet available.

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 and Wellbeing team.

Online - Open day

Graduate Open Events: Biosocial Medical Anthropology MSc

An opportunity to ask any questions you have about studying the Biosocial Medical Anthropology MSc, from programme content, structure and entry requirements to life in the Department of Anthropology, career prospects and support and wellbeing provisions.

Online - Open day

Graduate Open Events: Biosocial Medical Anthropology MSc

An opportunity to ask any questions you have about studying the Biosocial Medical Anthropology MSc, from programme content, structure and entry requirements to life in the Department of Anthropology, career prospects and support and wellbeing provisions.

Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time Part-time
Tuition fees (2024/25) £19,300 £9,650
Tuition fees (2024/25) £31,100 £15,550

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

If a student decides to undertake field research (optional), the cost is normally borne by the student.

In recent years our students have received fieldwork funding from the department’s Turing Scheme and the Anna Sturm Law Travel Prize.

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

Value: Full tuition fees (equivalent to 1yr full-time) (1yr)
Criteria Based on financial need
Eligibility: UK

UCL East London Scholarship

Deadline: 20 June 2024
Value: Tuition fees plus £15,700 stipend ()
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 (or one application for the Law LLM) in any application cycle.

Choose your programme

Please read the Application Guidance before proceeding with your application.

Year of entry: 2024-2025

Got questions? Get in touch

UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.