SOAS University of London

Department of Anthropology and Sociology

MA Medical Anthropology and Intensive Language (2020 entry)

Select year of entry: 2020 2019

  • Overview
  • Combinations
  • Structure
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Fees and funding
  • Employment
  • Apply

Overview

Our MA Medical Anthropology 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.  

This two-year intensive language pathway is directed at students who want to engage with a country in a professional as well as academic way, as the intensive language courses will enable them to reach a near proficient knowledge of the language.

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. 

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings

Start of programme: September

Mode of Attendance: Full-time or Part-time

Email: ob8@soas.ac.uk

Entry requirements

  • Minimum upper second class honours degree (or equivalent)

Featured events

duration:
2 years full time, 4 years part time

Fees 2019/20

UK/EU fees:
£9,685
Overseas fees:
£19,930

Fees for 2019/20 entrants. This is a Band 1 fee. The fees are per academic year. Please note that fees go up each year. Further details can be found in the Fees and Funding tab on this page or in the Registry Postgraduate Tuition Fees page

Convenors

Combinations

May be combined with:

The following Intensive Language pathways are available with the MA Medical Anthropology

Structure

Students must take 315 credits in total, comprised of 255 taught credits (45 of which are taught abroad as part of a Summer School) and a 60-credit dissertation as outlined below. 

In their first year, students on this two-year Intensive Language programme take 60 credits of intensive language instruction and 60 credits in the discipline. During the summer, they participate in a Summer School abroad. In the second year, they take another 30 language credits as well as 30 credits in the discipline; they also complete their dissertation in the discipline. 

Students are also required to audit 15PANH002 Ethnographic Research Methods, i.e. to attend lectures for this module (without attending seminars or submitting any assessments). The module does not count towards the total of 315 credits.

There are two different pathways for the Medical Anthropology component of this programme: one for students without a background in Anthropology, and one for students with previous knowledge of the subject. Please note that for the latter, the balance of credits between the two years differs slightly from the standard

For information on the programme structure for the four-year part-time version of the programme, please see the pdf programme specification at the bottom of this page.

Please see the relevant web pages in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures and in the School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics for information on the Intensive Language part of the programme.

Two years without background in Anthropology
Year 1 (two years full time)
Discipline Component
Module Code Credits Term Availability
Medical Anthropology in Global Perspective 15PANC093 30 Full Year
Theoretical Approaches to Social Anthropology 15PANC008 30 Full Year
Plus
15PANH002 Ethnographic Research Methods (non-credit bearing component)

This will not count towards the total of 315 credits, but students are required to audit this module, i.e. to attend lectures (without attending seminars or submitting any assessments).

Language Component

Students take 60 credits in the selected language.

Summer Abroad

Students participate in a Summer School abroad for the selected language.

Year 2 (two years full time)
Discipline Component

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

Plus

Modules from List A or List B below to the value of 45 credits.

Language Component

Students take 30 credits in the selected language.

Dissertation
Module Code Credits Term Availability
Dissertation in Anthropology and Sociology 15PANC999 60 Full Year
Two years with background in Anthropology
Year 1 (two years full time)
Discipline Component
Module Code Credits Term Availability
Medical Anthropology in Global Perspective 15PANC093 30 Full Year
Plus

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

Plus
15PANH002 Ethnographic Research Methods (non-credit bearing component)

This will not count towards the total of 315 credits, but students are required to audit this module, i.e. to attend lectures (without attending seminars or submitting any assessments).

Language Component

Students take 60 credits in the selected language.

Summer Abroad

Students participate in a Summer School abroad for the selected language.

Year 2 (two years full time)
Discipline Component

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

Language Component

Students take 30 credits in the selected language.

Dissertation
Module Code Credits Term Availability
Dissertation in Anthropology and Sociology 15PANC999 60 Full Year
List of Modules (subject to availability)
List A
Module Code Credits Term Availability
Issues in Mind, Culture and Psychiatry 15PANH032 15 Term 1
Perspectives On Development 15PANH033 15 Term 1
African and Asian Cultures in Britain 15PANH009 15 Term 2 Not Running 2019/2020
African and Asian Diasporas in the Modern World 15PANH010 15 Term 1
Anthropology of Globalisation (PG) 15PANH061 15 Term 2 Not Running 2019/2020
Issues in the Anthropology of Gender 15PANH024 15 Term 2
Ethnographic Research Methods 15PANH002 15 Term 1
Theoretical Approaches to Social Anthropology 15PANC008 30 Full Year
Aid and Development 15PDSH027 15 Term 2
Development Practice 15PDSH013 15 Term 1
Famine and food security 15PDSH022 15 Term 2 Not Running 2019/2020
Gender and Development 15PDSH010 15 Term 1
List B
Anthropology and Sociology
Module Code Credits Term Availability
Anthropology of Human Rights (PG) 15PANH058 15 Term 1 Not Running 2019/2020
Anthropology of Law 15PANH056 15 Term 2 Not Running 2019/2020
Culture and Society of China 15PANH062 15 Term 2
Culture and Society of East Africa 15PANH063 15 Term 1
Culture and Society of Japan 15PANH065 15 Term 1
Culture and Society of South Asia 15PANH064 15 Term 2
Culture and Society of South East Asia 15PANH066 15 Term 1
Culture and Society of Near and Middle East 15PANH067 15 Term 2
Culture and Society of West Africa 15PANH068 15 Term 2
Ethnographic Research Methods 15PANH002 15 Term 1
Media Production Skills (Group B) 15PANH050 15 Term 2
Religions on the move: New Currents and Emerging Trends in Global Religion 15PANH055 15 Term 1
Tourism and Travel: A Global Perspective 15PANH059 15 Term 1 Not Running 2019/2020
History
Religions and Philosophies
Module Code Credits Term Availability
Buddhism in Tibet 15PSRH008 15 Term 1
Death and Religion 15PSRC162 30 Full Year Not Running 2019/2020
East Asian Buddhist Thought 15PSRH018 15 Term 2
Eastern and Orthodox Christianity 15PSRC055 30 Full Year Not Running 2019/2020
Religious Practice in Japan: Texts, Rituals and Believers 15PSRC071 30 Full Year Not Running 2019/2020

 

Programme Specification

Important notice

The information on the programme page reflects the intended programme structure against the given academic session. If you are a current student you can find structure information on the previous year link at the top of the page or through your Department. Please read the important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules.

Teaching and Learning

Year abroad

Yes (summer)

Teaching & Learning

The aim of the degree is to provide:
  • to introduce students to anthropological studies of health, science, and medicine, as well as biomedical and institutional belief systems and practices
  • to provide students with an understanding of the social, cultural, political, and technological forces that shape modern medicine and discourses of health
  • to ask how health and disease are linked with discourses of science, technology, modernity, capitalism, and globalisation
  • to provide a historically and culturally situated understanding of bioethical discourses  and the ethical stakes of biomedical practices
Modules

In the Department of Anthropology and Sociology, most postgraduate modules have a one or two-hour lecture and a one hour seminar every week. Lectures and seminars are often taken by different teachers to provide a variety of angles on the subject.  The majority of the student’s time will be through their own independent study. Students become more active in class through their reading and essay-writing and should greatly enhance their participation in discussion groups.

The Dissertation

These are taken by final-year students only, its aim is to provide an opportunity for students to conduct original historical research on their own initiative, to engage in in-depth analysis of particular subjects and to use a range of primary historical sources. It is assessed by a single 10,000-word dissertation (including notes but excluding bibliography).

Fees and funding

Tuition Fees

Full details of postgraduate tuition fees can be found on the Registry's Postgraduate Tuition Fees page.

This is a Band 1 tuition fee.

Fees for 2019/20 entrants. The fees below are per academic year. Please note that fees go up each year. 2 year full-time programmes have 2 years of full-time fees - the fee in the second year will be higher than the fee for the first year (the full time fee below is for the first year only).

Full-time
UK/EU
Students
Overseas
Students
£9,685 £19,930
Scholarships
Felix Non- Indian Scholarship

Application Deadline: 2020-01-31 15:00

Felix Scholarships

Application Deadline: 2020-01-31 15:00

Sasakawa Postgraduate Studentship

Application Deadline: 2020-02-20 15:00

Tibawi Trust Award

Application Deadline: 2020-06-05 15:00

For further details and information on external scholarships visit the Scholarships section

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 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.

For more information visit our Graduate Destinations from this department.

A Student's Perspective

My time within the Anthropology and Sociology Department at SOAS has afforded a number of opportunities to fine tune my research skills and broaden my academic horizons. The calibre of research among members of my cohort has been particularly inspiring.

Caitlin Robinson

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