Scientific and technological advances are constantly pushing the bounds of medical possibility. But what role is played by the humanities? How is the practice of medicine represented in art, literature, film and other media, and how do those representations, in turn, determine how we understand and experience our own bodies and the realities of sickness and health?
Taught across our School of Arts and our School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy, Birkbeck’s interdisciplinary MA Medical Humanities explores human health through the lenses of culture and history, covering topics including infectious disease, diet and exercise, mental health and wellbeing, and disability.
The course draws together students and staff working across different disciplines, different historical periods and different geographical regions, to offer an interdisciplinary approach to the fascinating, complex relationship between medicine and the humanities. The interdisciplinary option modules are taught collectively by staff from across English, law, modern languages, philosophy, history, psychosocial studies, gender and sexuality, film and media studies and the history of art.
You will consider the development of clinical practices and institutions, the formation of medical expertise and authority, and the role of medical ethics and law. You will also learn about the history of the medical humanities as an academic field and the debates that have shaped its identity and role. The course is aimed at arts, humanities and social science graduates, and you will develop your analytical, research and writing skills.
- The programme, run jointly by our Department of English, Theatre and Creative Writing and Department of History, Classics and Archaeology, has been awarded a number of fully funded MA studentships by the Wellcome Trust as part of its commitment to building an influential and diverse population of future researchers in the medical humanities.
- Arts and humanities courses at Birkbeck are ranked fourth best in London and 18th in the UK in the Times Higher Education 2017-2018 World University Subject Rankings.
- Eric Hobsbawm Scholarships are available for Home, EU and Overseas Master’s students in the Department of History, Classics and Archaeology.
- Birkbeck is at the heart of academic London with easy access to world-class research resources such as the British Museum and the British Library, and our School of Arts is housed in a building that was once home to Virginia Woolf and frequented by members of the Bloomsbury Group.
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