Medical Humanities (MA)

Year of entry


Start date

October 2017


Central London


Fully Approved
Applications for this course will open in October


2 years part-time


1 evening a week, September to July

Other entry years for this course


What is ‘the art of medicine’ and how can it improve patient care? This new degree programme in medical humanities allows you to reflect on and develop your daily clinical practice, through a deeper understanding of the humanities - art, literature, music, myth and culture.

The programme draws together the emergent fields of medical humanities and intercultural medicine to explore and develop the lived experience of clinicians in the everyday complexities of real-life clinical settings as they interact with patients and cultures.

You will encounter the rich insights of the humanities about culture, the body and what it means to be human, and find ways to integrate these with medical science, to develop a richer understanding of your clinical practice. As part of this engagement, you will have the opportunity to explore non-Western models of medical practice, and to consider how far they complement biomedicine, from the viewpoints of cultures, patients and practitioners. You will acquire and refine skills in verbal and written communication, as well as in research and critical analysis.

This programme combines world-class, research-led humanities teaching with an established understanding of the real-life experience of clinical practice and patient care.

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Course structure

In Year 1, you take core module 1 (Perspectives, Practices and Patients) in Term 1 and you take your first option module from the designated group of medical humanities options in Term 2. In Term 3, you take Psycho-Social Research - Working Below the Surface; this is preparation for your summer task, which is to ‘negotiate entry’ into a placement within another medical tradition, such as British herbalism, acupuncture or TCM (traditional Chinese medicine) or another medical speciality that is distinct from your own. A six-week observation of an ‘alternative’ medical practice and tradition forms a fundamental part of the structure of core module 2 in Year 2.

In Year 2, you take core module 2 (Third Spaces - Working with Your Own and Other Cultures) in Term 1 and take your second option module in Term 2, which you can choose from the wide range of courses on offer within the School of Arts, the School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy, and the School of Law. In Term 3, you attend a course on research skills and then undertake a 15,000-word dissertation, for submission at the end of September.

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