MA Medical Anthropology

General

Program Description

Mode of Attendance: Full-time or part-time


Our MA Medical Anthropology comprises two pathways catering for candidates with or without anthropological training. The degree is suitable for students with an intellectual interest in anthropological approaches to the study of health as well as for those who work in health care.

The programme is distinctive not only in its comparative approach and focus on health issues pertaining to the so-called Global South, but also in it being informed by clinical, STS, as well as anthropological perspectives. It provides an introduction to the practices and perspectives of medical anthropology by offering a historically contextualised analysis as well as critiques of specific assumptions in biomedical cultures.

The degree combines anthropological theory with ethnographic research in order to examine historical and contemporary dilemmas in medicine and to cover a range of topics including health in relation to gender, race, language, memory, psychoanalysis, science and technology, and religion. Students will also be introduced to the bioethical implications of ongoing cultural and technological shifts and will be asked to consider these debates as frameworks to engage with current affairs and global conditions pertaining to health, inequality, conflict, and justice.

The key aim of the programme is to offer insights into the emergence and evolution of modern medicine and its key institutional, cultural, and ethical tenets as well as discourses and practices. Notions of health, illness, and life, in general, are shaped by social, cultural, political, and technological forces. Questions of health and disease are thus inextricably linked with questions of science, technology, modernity, religion, gender, race, colonialism, capitalism, globalisation, and humanitarianism. As such, we focus on epistemological issues arising from conceptualisations of the body, the politics of disease, as well as the social construction of health and illness, of patient and physician, of the normal and the pathological.

The programme provides a historical overview of the sub-discipline of medical anthropology as well as an understanding of interpretive medical anthropology and critical medical anthropology.

While it underscores phenomenological approaches, it places them within broader cultural, political, and economic context. The aim is to ask how medicine has transformed experiences and expectations of health and disease and how new medical interventions into the biological conditions are based on new understandings of the normal and the pathological. There is a very strong cross-cultural and comparative approach in this module, manifest in our engagement with ethnographic as well as theoretical contributions from the so-called Global South.

This programme has a first-rate graduate employability record, with graduates moving on to find employment in lectureships and professorships throughout the world in areas such as information and technology, government service, the media and tourism.

Employment

A Masters in Medical Anthropology helps you to understand the world, other peoples’ ways of life and how society is organised.

This programme will endow you with a specialist understanding of producers, audiences, and other cultural and social aspects of mass media. Over the years the SOAS department has trained numerous leading anthropologists who have gone on to occupy lectureships and professorships throughout the world. Equally, students gain skills during their degree that transfer well to areas such as information and technology, government service, the media and tourism.

Postgraduate students leave SOAS with a portfolio of widely transferable skills which employers seek, including analytical and critical skills; ability to gather, assess and interpret data; high level of cultural awareness; and problem-solving.

A postgraduate degree is a valuable experience that provides students with a body of work and a diverse range of skills that they can use to market themselves with when they graduate.

Structure

The programme consists of 180 credits in total: 120 credits of modules and a dissertation of 10,000 words at 60 credits.

NB: All students must audit the compulsory module, Ethnographic Research Methods during term 1. This will not count towards the 180 credits. Students will be expected to attend only lectures and do not attend seminars or submit any assessments. Students may choose to take this module (worth 15 credits) as part of their 120 credits from the option lists.

Dissertation

All students must complete a Dissertation (10,000 words)

  • Dissertation in Anthropology and Sociology

For students without previous Anthropology degree

Core Module

  • Medical Anthropology in Global Perspective

Compulsory Modules

  • Ethnographic Research Methods
  • Theoretical Approaches to Social Anthropology

and

  • Choose a module from the List A below to the value of 15 credits.

and

  • Choose module(s) from the List A or List B below to the value of 45 credits.

or

  • Choose Post Graduate Language modules to the value of 45 credits.

For students with previous Anthropology degree

Core Module

  • Medical Anthropology in Global Perspective

Compulsory Module

  • Ethnographic Research Methods

and

  • Choose a module from the List A below to the value of 15 credits.

and

  • Choose module(s) from the List A or List B below to the value of 75 credits.

or

  • Choose Post Graduate Language modules to the value of 75 credits.

List A

  • Issues in Mind, Culture and Psychiatry
  • Perspectives On Development
  • African and Asian Cultures in Britain
  • African and Asian Diasporas in the Modern World
  • Anthropology of Globalisation (PG)
  • Issues in the Anthropology of Gender
  • Ethnographic Research Methods
  • Theoretical Approaches to Social Anthropology
  • Aid and Development
  • Development Practice
  • Famine and food security
  • Gender and Development

List B

  • Anthropology of Human Rights (PG)
  • Anthropology of Law
  • Culture and Society of China
  • Culture and Society of East Africa
  • Culture and Society of Japan
  • Culture and Society of South Asia
  • Culture and Society of South East Asia
  • Culture and Society of Near and Middle East
  • Culture and Society of West Africa
  • Ethnographic Research Methods
  • Media Production Skills (Group B)
  • Religions on the move: New Currents and Emerging Trends in Global Religion
  • Tourism and Travel: A Global Perspective
  • Buddhism in Tibet
  • Death and Religion
  • East Asian Buddhist Thought
  • Eastern and Orthodox Christianity
  • Religious Practice in Japan: Texts, Rituals and Believers

Learn a language as part of this programme

Degree programmes at SOAS - including this one - can include language courses in more than forty African and Asian languages. It is SOAS students’ command of an African or Asian language which sets SOAS apart from other universities.

Important notice

The information on the programme page reflects the intended programme structure against the given academic session.

Admissions and Applications

You can apply for this course via the online application form.

We aim to assess a complete application and provide a decision within a 5-week time frame. Overseas students who require a Tier 4 visa and wish to join SOAS should bear in mind visa applications can take several weeks, so you should apply as soon as possible.

Consideration of Application

The whole application, including transcript and references, is considered before a decision is reached. You are therefore advised to submit a complete application including references and transcript (where required). An incomplete application will add considerable delays to the decision-making process.

Students will receive an acknowledgement of their application. Each application is carefully considered and although we try and respond as quickly as possible, we do ask that students should expect to receive a response within five weeks of receipt.

Candidates who are available in the United Kingdom may be called for an interview. The absence of academic members of staff (or instance on study leave) may affect the timing of decisions.

Entry Requirements

Minimum upper second class honours degree (or equivalent).

English Language Entry Requirements

You must be able to show that your English is of a high enough standard to successfully engage with and complete your course at SOAS. Please note that we take our English language requirements seriously and failure to meet them exactly may well result in your application to SOAS being rejected. It is not possible to negotiate if your scores are below our required levels, with the expectation that because they are 'close enough' they will be accepted. It is important that you plan appropriately, well in advance, so that your English language test comes in good time and so that you have time to retake the test if necessary. We do not accept reasons of inconvenience or financial hardship for not submitting or retaking an English test.

International students

For EU and International students who need a visa, if unconditional entry scores are achieved we accept qualifications from several countries, as well as a range of international qualifications and tests.

If a Tier 4 entry visa is required then a SELT, such as UKVI IELTS may be needed. For this reason, we recommend all Tier 4 visa students to choose the UKVI IELTS Academic test as the test of first resort.

Last updated Oct 2019

About the School

SOAS University of London welcomes the brightest minds to study on its central London campus with like-minded individuals who feel passionately about contemporary world issues.

SOAS University of London welcomes the brightest minds to study on its central London campus with like-minded individuals who feel passionately about contemporary world issues. Read less
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