Year of entry2017
Start dateOctober 2017
2 years part-time
1 evening a week, September to July
Other entry years for this course2018
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.
- Arts and humanities courses at Birkbeck are ranked third best in London and 11th in the UK in the Times Higher Education 2015-16 World University Subject Rankings.
- In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), English Language and Literature at Birkbeck achieved 100% for a research environment conducive to producing research of the highest quality, while 91% of eligible staff submitted research, of which 75% was recognised as world-leading or internationally excellent.
- Learn how the humanities disciplines conceive of key aspects of human existence, the body and culture.
- Find new ways to reflect upon and develop your clinical practice, and enhance patient care.
- Learn about indigenous and non-Western medical traditions.
- In addition to its own library, Birkbeck’s location in Bloomsbury offers excellent access to all the major research libraries in London, including Senate House Library, the British Library and the Wellcome Collection.
- The School of Arts offers a number of bursaries for postgraduate students.
- Find out more about our range of world-class research resources.
- Find out what our students say about studying English and humanities at Birkbeck.
- Watch videos of our postgraduate students discussing their experience of studying at Birkbeck.
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.
Year 1 compulsory modules
Year 2 compulsory modules
We welcome a wide range of qualifications, from the UK and abroad, and we will also consider your non-academic achievements.
You must have graduated from a UK medical school or hold an equivalent first degree from an overseas medical school.
Applicants from other healthcare or professional backgrounds may be admitted to the programme. Such applicants must hold relevant professional qualifications and/or a first degree (2:2 or above).
International entry requirements
If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, the requirement for this programme is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 7.0, with not less than 6.5 in each of the sub-tests.
If you don't meet the minimum IELTS requirement, we offer pre-sessional English courses, foundation programmes and language support services to help you improve your English language skills and get your place at Birkbeck.
Visit the International section of our website to find out more about our English language entry requirements and relevant requirements by country.
Fees and finance
We offer advice on all the options for financing your studies. You can pay your fees interest-free by direct debit and postgraduate loans are available for all Home/EU students.
FeesPart-time home/EU students: £ 3975 pa
Part-time overseas students: £ 7225 pa
Teaching and assessment
Our innovative, engaging teaching is designed to support students who are juggling evening study with work and other daytime commitments.
Through seminars, tutorials, group work and fieldwork.
Principally by written coursework: both essays and a 15,000-word dissertation. You will continue to be supported in your acquisition of academic writing skills throughout the course in various ways.
Careers and employability
To help you get ahead in your career, we offer free advice and training and our recruitment consultancy, Birkbeck Talent, can connect you with employers.
Careers and employability
Graduates go in to careers in healthcare, medicine, education, and management. Possible professions include healthcare service manager, general practice or hospital doctor, or health promotion specialist. This degree may also be useful in becoming a higher education lecturer, management consultant, or science writer.
Find out more about the destinations of graduates in this subject.
We offer a comprehensive Careers and Employability Service to help you advance your career, while our in-house, professional recruitment consultancy, Birkbeck Talent, works with London’s top employers to help you gain work experience that fits in with your evening studies.
How to apply
Once you've found the course that's right for you, here's what to do next to get your place at Birkbeck.
How to apply
You apply directly to Birkbeck for this course, using the online application.
Need help with your application? Watch videos featuring our academic experts giving advice on applying to Birkbeck and answering some of the most frequently asked questions.
Birkbeck can give you all of the information and help you need to complete your application form, including our online personal statement tool, which will guide you through every step of writing your personal statement.
Application deadlines and interviews
We recommend you apply as early as possible. Later applications may also be considered, subject to availability of places.
Life at Birkbeck
Birkbeck offers a unique combination of evening study and a matchless central London location, right in the geographic and academic centre of the city, giving you exceptional opportunities.
Accommodation and living costs
Most of our students live in private accommodation, but we also offer student accommodation and access to the professional services of the University of London Housing Services.
The Birkbeck experience
Birkbeck is different: our classes are held in the evening, so your days are free - to study, work, volunteer or just do your own thing.
Financial support and postgraduate loans
Birkbeck offers advice on all the options for financing your studies. You can pay loans by interest-free direct debit and postgraduate loans are available for all Home/EU students. Find out about the support we provide.
How to apply
Once you've found the course that's right for you, here's what to do next to get your place at Birkbeck. We can give you the advice and support you need.
Birkbeck is one of the world’s leading research universities. Discover more about our vibrant, intellectually challenging and exciting research culture.
Boost your career
Discover how Birkbeck's unique evening teaching, coupled with our comprehensive careers and employability services, can help you get ahead in a highly competitive job market.
Fees and payment
With government loans for undergraduate and postgraduate study, fantastic financial support packages and flexible payment options, there’s never been a better time to study at Birkbeck.
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