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School of Social and Political Science: Graduate school


Maria Mekhael

What were you doing before you applied to the MSc in Anthropology of Health and Illness?

Before applying for the Masters programme I was at Edinburgh University studying for an undergraduate degree in Social Anthropology. I did consider going to another city for further study, but after looking into this course at Edinburgh, I decided to stay on. I felt this programme offered much more flexibility and freedom of choice for students when selecting outside courses to complement the core anthropological components, (such as from the Faculty of Public Health in the Medical School).

Why did you apply to the programme?

I did my undergraduate dissertation on the relationship between traditional healing and biomedicine in Tanzania, which ignited my interest in medical anthropology. I wanted to explore the applied element of anthropology – and see how theory could be of relevance in real-life terms; looking at bioethics and biotechnology, international global inequalities in access to medicines, and how cross cultural comparisons between different healing systems could inform public health policy and action for international development.

What are your best memories from your time studying here?

Edinburgh is still my favourite city– the landscape is extraordinarily beautiful, and the architecture is steeped in history. Everything in Edinburgh is very accessible, and I really miss just being able to pop into an art gallery on my way back from university! My fondest memories are of the people I met - I had a fairly small group on the MSc programme, which was great as we all got on really well and met for coffee or lunch after lectures. I really enjoyed socialising and learning with people from a variety of countries and cultures.

What are you doing now? Did the degree help you to get where you are?

I am currently working for a small research institute in London, and we are applying for funding to look at organisational issues within the NHS. My MSc in the Anthropology of Health and Illness has been invaluable – both in helping me get this job, and giving me insight within my professional role. I see daily how anthropology can inform multidisciplinary health research, both conceptually and methodologically.

Edinburgh Students