The interdisciplinary Master's programme History: Medical and Health Humanities combines the history of health and medicine with a wide array of arts and humanities approaches. Classes explore the different ways that bodies and minds have been investigated and understood, and how these various ways of knowing shape everyday life, medical practice, and public health policy. Participants learn to contextualise medical ideas in the time and culture, and to analyse a diverse range of sources, including historical artefacts, comics and films, medical texts and health journalism. Drawing on methods from across the disciplines, students will broaden their tools of investigation beyond the written word to also consider the sounds, smells, and the look and feel of the past and its lessons and legacies in the present day.
- Master: History
- Specialization: Medical and Health Humanities
This joint degree is offered by the Faculties of Humanities of VU Amsterdam and the University of Amsterdam, and by the Faculties of Medicine of the Universities of Maastricht, Amsterdam and Rotterdam. The programme runs annually from February through June and is English taught. Sessions are led by scholars from several Dutch universities, and students come from a broad range of disciplines - historians or physicians in training, or former patients and caregivers. This offers the opportunity to compare and contrast worldviews and to critically reflect on issues of great significance, from birth to death.
The programme is taught by staff from the Chair of Cultural History (prof. dr. Inger Leemans) and the Chair of Medical History (prof. dr. Manon Parry).
A programme that trains you to become a professional
This programme is a specialisation within the Master’s degree programme in History, which trains students to become professional historians with specialised knowledge and transferable skills such as writing, presenting and analytical skills. Students, personally mentored by a member of the academic staff throughout their studies, take several core courses and choose specialised tutorials or opt for an internship.
A combination of core courses and specialisations
The Master’s degree programme History at VU Amsterdam has a unique character due to the combination of a broad common curriculum and specialisations. All students follow an introductory core subject, two research subjects and the subjects ‘History and Theory’ and ‘Key works in Contemporary Historical Thought’.
The subjects of the broad master’s course offer a basis from which you can specialise. The introductory course and the course ‘History and Theory’, given in the same period, ensure a common basis from which to progress, regardless of your disciplinary background. ‘Key works in Contemporary Historical Thought’ helps you to develop your specialisation. In the research courses you examine a specific historical problem in depth and develop your research skills. It is also possible to do an internship.
Those who specialise, in addition to the general subjects, take research seminars and specialised tutorials. Students interested in pursuing an internship as part of their study programme can propose a project with a collaborating institution, subject to approval from the university. You choose the subject of your master’s thesis from the field of your specialisation. You become acquainted with new methods of the e-Humanities and are brought regularly into contact with the working practices of historians. The choice of subject for your master’s thesis is free.
Master of Arts
A master’s title in History make you an attractive employment prospect because you have broad-based knowledge and have developed an analytical way of reading and writing. Among other areas you could work for government institutions, business or international institutions. Many historians do not enter the business world but go into politics or journalism. In addition, after a further specialised year of master’s courses, you could find a position in teaching or research.
With a master’s title in History you can embark on PhD research at a university or research institute. If you aim at an academic career you could also consider following the two-year research master’s degree course in History. This master’s degree course trains you specifically as a (university) researcher.
Why VU Amsterdam
Studying in the city of Amsterdam is a unique experience. The urban setting and the multicultural mind-set of the people of Amsterdam, combined with the presence of a thriving cultural city life give your education a special dimension.
The track is a unique interdisciplinary Humanities’ programme in medicine and health taught in English, that is jointly offered by the Faculties of Humanities of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and the University of Amsterdam, and by the Faculties of Medicine of the Universities of Maastricht, Amsterdam and Rotterdam. Sessions are led by scholars from universities around the country, as well as those involved in medical history in other venues, including online and in museums. Students come from a broad range of disciplines - historians or physicians in training or former patients and caregivers. This offers the opportunity to compare and contrast worldviews and to critically reflect on issues of great significance, from birth to death.
Admission is based on a strict selection procedure. The Faculty’s Admission Board will decide upon your admission after having evaluated your complete online application.
In order to gain admission to one of our Master’s programmes, you will need to have at least a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited research university including at least three full years of academic study amounting to a minimum of 180 ECTS or equivalent.
Specific admission requirements for the Master’s programme History:
The Master’s History is designed for students with an academic Bachelor’s in history. You may also be accepted if you have an academic Bachelor’s in other disciplines of the Humanities (including theology or philosophy) or in anthropology or sociology, with a significant historical interest, apparent from a major or specialization equal to a minimum of 30 ECTS.
For international students the level of studied academic theory needs to be based on the course description, literature list and sample of academic writing, due to a lack of distinction between applied and academic universities abroad.
You must always present official test results proving your proficiency in English. Only students who have completed a full high school/International Baccalaureate in English or bachelor’s degree in Canada, USA, UK, Ireland, New Zealand, or Australia may be exempted. You can already apply online without having the test results. In case you haven’t taken a test yet we advise you to plan a test date as soon as possible. Below you will find the minimum English test scores for the English taught programmes at the Faculty of Humanities:
- TOEFL score (score 600 paper based with a minimum of 55 in each of the subtests plus 4.0 in TWE, score 250 computer based or score 100 internet based with a minimum of 20-23 in each of the subtests).
- IELTS score of 7.0 overall band score (with none of the separate section scores dropping below a minimum score of 6.5).
- Cambridge English: Cambridge Proficiency Exam A, B, C, or Cambridge Advanced Exam A, B, C.
Please refer to the Admission and language requirements page for the general requirements.
If you have read the admission criteria below and feel you are eligible for admission, please take the following steps to submit your application. Note that the initial application procedure is fully online and that scans of your relevant documents are required.
Step 1: Meet admission criteria
Step 2: Prepare documents and apply online
Please prepare the following documents. You can find an explanation of each document on the application page. All documents should be provided in English.
- Copy of your valid passport or ID (ID only for EU residents)
- Curriculum Vitae
- Motivation Letter
- Two Letters of Recommendation
- Transcript of records
- Thesis (or another sample of academic writing, at least 5 pages plus a list of used literature)
- A description of the relevant courses you have taken during your previous higher education and a list of all the main literature
After having prepared the required documents, please follow the online application procedure. After you have completed the application, our international student advisors will contact you via email.
Step 3: Await decision on admission
The admission board will review your application as soon as it is complete. Normally this takes about four weeks, but it might take longer in busy periods so be sure to apply as soon as possible. If you gain admission, you will receive a letter of conditional admission by email. You can start planning your move to Amsterdam!
Step 4: Finalize your registration and move to Amsterdam!
Make sure to finalize your registration as a student before the start of the programme. Here you will find an explanation what to do after admission. When all conditions are met you will be ready to start your programme at VU Amsterdam!
Overview History: Medical and Health Humanities
- LANGUAGE OF INSTRUCTION: English, Dutch
- DURATION: 1 year
- APPLICATION DEADLINE: 1 June for Dutch and EU-students. 1 April for non-EU-students.
- START DATE: 1 September
- STUDY TYPE: Full-time
- FIELD OF INTEREST: Art, Culture and History
About the School
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is an internationally renowned research university founded in 1880. The university offers over 175 English taught programmes at Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD level to over ... Read More