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School of Social and Political Science: Graduate school


MSc by Research in Medical Anthropology

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The application deadline for this programme is 13th July 2018

MSc by Research in Medical Anthropology Programme Handbook 2016/17

This MSc by Research develops students' research expertise in medical anthropology. Students receive hands-on training in social research skills and complete an individually supervised project on a topic of their choice. Students usually progress to a PhD in Social Anthropology after completing the MSc by Research, but the degree can also be taken as a one-year degree in its own right. 

The programme was awarded ESRC recognition in 2007 and is affiliated with the University's Global Health Academy:

Aims and Outcomes

The MSc by Research in Medical Anthropology trains you in advanced research skills. The Programme enables you to:

  • take part in key debates in contemporary medical anthropology
  • apply conceptaul tools from anthropological theory to the understanding of health and medicine
  • design appropriate ethnographic methods to study health, illness and healing
  • develop your own doctoral-level fieldwork project in medical anthropology


The MSc Res consists of the following training courses offered by the Graduate School of Social and Political Science:

  • Research Skills in the Social Sciences: Data Collection
  • Core Quantitative Data Analysis for Social Research I & II
  • Qualitiative Methods: Ethnographic Fieldwork

Three further courses build key expertise in medical and social anthropology: 

  • Advanced Issues in Anthropological Research
  • Anthropology of Health and Healing
  • Anthropology and International Health

In addition to the courses, students work through the year with their supervisor towards an up-to-date review of the literature in their area of research. Supervisors also advise students in the best preparation towards their research project. 


The dissertation constitutes the key part of the MSc by Research. The dissertation takes the form of an extended research proposal with the following components:

  • a review of the literature, both theoretical and empirical
  • an outline of the specific questions to be addressed, a statement of research design and methods to be employed
  • an evaluation of the expected contribution of the study to knowledge
  • a discussion of the practical, political and ethical issues that emerge from the research
  • a presentation of the schedule for the research and its estimated budget

Some example dissertation titles:

  • Autonomy and Agency of Psychiatric Patients from the Perspective of Psychiatrists
  • Negotiating Reproduction: the Making of Fertility Decisions in the Ecuadorian Amazon
  • Autism in India: Therapeutic Choice after Changes to Intellectual Property Law