Medical Anthropology MSc

London, Bloomsbury

This MSc provides students with knowledge of advanced medically related anthropology, enabling students to utilise anthropological approaches in a range of research and professional roles. It trains students in theoretical and applied aspects of the field, preparing them for careers that engage with and impact real-world contexts.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2023/24)
Overseas tuition fees (2023/24)
1 calendar year
2 calendar years
Programme starts
September 2023
Applications accepted
All applicants: 17 Oct 2022 – 31 Mar 2023

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.

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. 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

Students new to anthropology develop an understanding of anthropological approaches to experiences of illness and health, gaining skills required in anthropological field research and analysis. For students with previous social science training, we focus on dimensions particular to medical anthropology (e.g. diversity issues in clinical practice, therapeutic narratives, critical medical anthropology, traditional medical systems, mental health).

Who this course is for

The MSc in Medical Anthropology appeals to a wide and diverse cohort. Students come from diverse backgrounds; while some have medical or anthropological training, others are new to both. The provides in-depth anthropological training for those wishing to progress to a PhD and for those who want to employ anthropological techniques in their professional work. We recruit a mix of clinicians and social scientists, finding that the interaction between these student groups helps create an exciting and vibrant cohort.

What this course will give you

Our approach to Medical Anthropology is broad and open-minded, encompassing applied work, analysis of cultural diversity issues in clinical practice, therapeutic narratives, critical medical anthropology, ageing, infectious disease, global health, studies of traditional medical systems and ritual healing, psychological anthropology, mental health, and biosocial approaches. UCL Anthropology was the first in the UK to integrate biological and social anthropology with material culture into a broad-based conception of the discipline. UCL Medical Anthropology became the fourth major section of the department, integrating interpretive, critical and applied Medical Anthropology perspectives.

UCL Anthropology ranks fourth in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2022, making it the top ranked institution in London, and third in the UK and Europe for the subject. The MSc has a flexible structure, allowing students to create their own path and explore topics of interest to them.

University College London was established in 1826 as an alternative to Oxford and Cambridge, becoming the first university in England to admit students of any race, class or religion. UCL was also the first university to welcome female students on equal terms with men. Students are encouraged to take full advantage of the wider anthropological community in London and the department's strong links with European universities and international institutions.

The foundation of your career

Medical anthropology is a rapidly expanding interdisciplinary field and graduates of our programme have gone on to develop exciting careers in academia, clinical services, social services, government, and non-governmental organisations.


All students will learn valuable skills which are transferrable to a variety of careers. These include the ability to fashion arguments and critically evaluate claims related to health and illness, interventions, human social behaviour and cultural diversity. You will develop skills in research and writing, taking advantage of the wealth of resources made available at a university ranked among the top 10 in the world (QS World University Rankings 2022).

Teaching and learning

The degree is assessed using a combination of formative and summative assessment. Formative assessments, such as presentations and short written exercises receive feedback from staff but marks do not count towards the degree. Summative assessments, such as essays and dissertation, are set throughout the year. Marks contribute to the degree and students receive feedback on their work.

The compulsory modules typically involve around 63 contact hours (a mix of 2h & 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).

In addition, all university students are expected to practice self-directed learning: reading beyond the core materials or from selected reading lists, ensuring you do the necessary work to understand any areas or topics that you might be struggling with or are particularly interested in.


The MSc in Medical Anthropology is divided into four components. Only the first two are taught components:

  1. Medical Anthropology compulsory module (including Anthropological Research Methods)
  2. Optional modules
  3. Research Seminars
  4. Dissertation

In Term 1, the seminar in Medical Anthropology introduces fundamental concepts and literature in this field, and students also attend an overview of research methods.

In Term 2, the Clinical Ethnography Seminar orients students to anthropological reading, and the particular methodological and ethical issues involved in doing ethnographic research.

Students are also required to select three optional modules over both terms. You are free to choose optional modules from across the department, but students must take at least one, if not more, from within the Medical Anthropology section. Out of the total, up to one module can also be taken from appropriate options in other departments (with approval from the programme tutor and host department).

The bulk of the teaching is done in these first two terms, with the work in Term 1 ensuring that students have a secure foundation in social theory and in medical anthropology.

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 Medical Anthropology.


Fieldwork is not required, though some students choose to undertake field projects for their dissertation research.


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.

Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time Part-time
Tuition fees (2023/24) £18,000 £9,000
Tuition fees (2023/24) £29,000 £14,500

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

There are no additional costs for this programme, though students are responsible for funding their own dissertation fieldwork, if they choose to do it.

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

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

Next steps

Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines.

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 Medical Anthropology at graduate level
  • why you want to study 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: 2023-2024

Got questions? Get in touch

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