MA Medical Anthropology
Duration: One calendar year (full-time) Two or three years (part-time, daytime only) We recommend that part-time students have between two and a half and three days free in the week to pursue their course of study. The expectation in the UK is of continuous study across the year, with break periods used to read and to prepare coursework.
Minimum Entry Requirements: Minimum upper second class honours degree (or equivalent)
Start of programme: September intake only
Who is this programme for?: 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 in Africa and Asia.
The MA Medical Anthropology comprises two pathways catering for candidates with or without anthropological training. Students come to the course from all over the world, following BA study, work and travel experience or after long careers in other fields. This combination of diverse experience and skills makes for an intellectually exciting atmosphere for both teachers and students.
The course is distinctive in its focus on medical and health issues pertaining to Africa, Asia and Latin America. It covers anthropological theory, cultural understandings of health, and various options. These include combinations of anthropology and food, gender, shamanism and therapy, psychoanalysis, religion and healing in South Asia, China and in Africa, and study of the language and ethnography of a particular region.
The programme consists of four elements, three examined courses and a dissertation of 10,000 words. 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 in Africa and Asia. The aim of the degree is to provide:
- A phenomenological understanding of the body, which implies also subjective attitudes to notions of health, sickness, disease, recovery and personal vulnerability
- an understanding of these experiences within regional, political, economic and cultural contexts
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.
The programme consists of four units in total: three units of taught examined courses and a one unit dissertation of 10,000 words.
- Cultural Understandings of Health - 15PANC093 (1.0 unit).
- Dissertation in Anthropology and Sociology - 15PANC999 (1.0 unit). This is a 10,000 word dissertation on a topic agreed with the Programme Convenor of the MA Medical Anthropology and the candidate’s supervisor.
- Additionally all MA Anthropology students 'audit' the course Ethnographic Research Methods during term 1 - this will not count towards your 4 units.
- Theoretical Approaches to Social Anthropology - 15PANC008 (1.0 unit). This is compulsory only for students without a previous anthropology degree.
Option Courses - Group A and Group B:
- Students then choose TWO 0.5 unit courses from the Group A and B lists below.
- AT LEAST ONE of the two 0.5 unit courses must come from Group A.
- Students not taking Theoretical Approaches to Social Anthropology may then select their fourth unit (either a single 1.0 unit course or two 0.5 unit courses) from the Option Courses list.
- Alternatively, one language course may be taken from the Faculty of Languages and Cultures.
- Cultural Understandings of Health - 15PANC093 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Dissertation in Anthropology and Sociology - 15PANC999 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Theoretical Approaches to Social Anthropology - 15PANC008 (1 Unit) - Full Year
Option Courses List 1
Students must choose two of the following half-unit courses, normally with one from group A.
- Issues in Psychoanalysis and Anthropology - 15PANH032 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
- Perspectives On Development - 15PANH033 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
- Anthropological approaches to agriculture, food and nutrition - 15PANH053 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
- Issues in the Anthropology of Gender - 15PANH024 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
- Gender and development - 15PDSH010 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
- Ethnographic Research Methods - 15PANH002 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
- African and Asian Cultures in Britain - 15PANH009 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
- African and Asian Diasporas in the Modern World - 15PANH010 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
- Aid and development - 15PDSH027 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
- Development practice - 15PDSH013 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
- Theoretical Approaches to Social Anthropology - 15PANC008 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Famine and food security - 15PDSH022 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
Option Courses List 2
Students choose up to one full-unit course or two half courses from the list below.
- Anthropology of Human Rights - 15PANH058 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
- Anthropology of Law - 15PANH056 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
- Culture and Society of China - 15PANC089 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Culture and Society of East Africa - 15PANC084 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Culture and Society of Japan - 15PANC086 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Culture and Society of South Asia - 15PANC087 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Culture and Society of South East Asia - 15PANC088 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Culture and Society of the Near & Middle East - 15PANC097 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Culture and Society of West Africa - 15PANC083 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Mystical Traditions - 15PSRC068 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Buddhism: Theravadin Traditions - 15PSRH003 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1 - Not Running 2014/2015
- Buddhist Arts in Context - 15PSRH001 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1 - Not Running 2014/2015
- Christianity and Social Change in Sub Saharan Africa - 15PSRC157 (1 Unit) - Full Year - Not Running 2014/2015
- East Asian Buddhist Thought - 15PSRH018 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
- Religious Practice in Japan: Texts, Rituals and Believers - 15PSRC071 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Eastern and Orthodox Christianity - 15PSRC055 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Features of Buddhist Monasticism - 15PSRH014 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2 - Not Running 2014/2015
- Buddhism in Tibet - 15PSRH008 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
- History and Doctrines of Indian Buddhism - 15PSRC059 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Buddhist Rituals - 15PSRH012 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1 - Not Running 2014/2015
- Jainism: History, Doctrine and the Contemporary World - 15PSRC024 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Japanese Modernity I - 15PHIH013 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
- Japanese Modernity II - 15PHIH014 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
- Text and Context in Classical Hinduism - 15PSRC007 (1 Unit) - Full Year - Not Running 2014/2015
- Modern Trends in Islam - 15PNMC228 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Death and Religion - 15PSRC162 (1 Unit) - Full Year - Not Running 2014/2015
- Media Production Skills - 15PANH050 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
- Comparative Study of Islam: Anthropological Perspectives A (Masters) - 15PANH047 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
- Comparative Study of Islam: Anthropological Perspectives B (Masters) - 15PANH048 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2 - Not Running 2014/2015 - Must be taken with the first term course - 15PANH047 Comparative Study of Islam: Anthropological Perspectives A (Masters)
- Anthropology of travel and tourism A - 15PANH051 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
- Anthropology of Travel and Tourism B - 15PANH05 (0.5 Unit)
Teaching & Learning
A Masters in Medical Anthropology at SOAS develops students’ understanding of the world, other peoples’ ways of life and how society is organised. This programme will also develop a specialist understanding of social processes and cultural representations of health, illness and the nursing/care practices associated with these. 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.
For more information about Graduate Destinations from this department, please visit the Careers Service website.
How to apply
How to apply
- How to Apply
- Online Application
- Request a prospectus
- Got a question - use our enquiry form (opens a new window)
- Funding options
- English language requirements
- Tuition Fees
- Admissions Contacts
Application Deadline: 2015-03-20 17:00
Application Deadline: 2014-03-20 17:00
Application Deadline: 2015-02-27 17:00
Application Deadline: 2015-05-01 17:00
A Student's Perspective
Shreya Ila Anasuya Sanghani
More than anything, I like the radical spirit nurtured by the SOAS despite attacks on activists and the spirit of protest by all manner of socio-political and economic institutions. The faculty, in what and how they teach, enhanced the analytical tools I have to make myself a better person, trying to make what one of my favourite philosophers, Judith Butler, has called 'a more livable world.' Thank you SOAS.