Durham University

Have you ever wondered how the medical practices you are learning fit into wider society, and how the wider world is likely to impact on your medical practice? Do you wonder about cross-cultural, trans-global and interdisciplinary forms of knowledge and understanding? If so, an intercalated MSc in Medical Anthropology from Durham University might be for you!

Medical Anthropology and the Anthropology of Health

There is a strong tradition of health-related research and teaching at Durham, particularly in the Faculty of Social Sciences and Health, where the Department of Anthropology is located. Compared to many Anthropology departments in the UK, Durham is distinctive in combining both social and biological anthropological theories and methods under one roof. We also take an approach to medical anthropology that is ‘health’ as much as ‘disease’ oriented. Our offerings in what we call the Anthropology of Health span cultural interpretations of bodies, health and illness, critical perspectives and political economy, human ecology and evolutionary approaches to disease.
As well as issues of health and disease in low and middle income countries (the ‘global South’ where anthropologists have traditionally worked), medical anthropology has much to say about health in the global North and the world as a whole, a situation which has become much clearer in recent years as the planet has faced the coronavirus pandemic, and as obesity and other risk factors for what are collectively termed ‘diseases of western civilization’ have proliferated.

Why intercalate at Durham University?

As an intercalated medical student taking our MSc Medical Anthropology, you would become an active participant in our thriving Anthropology of Health Research Group. Members include MSc Medical Anthropology students, a large cohort of PhD students, as well as staff and post-doctoral researchers. The group hosts high-profile seminar speakers, and offers the chance to meet others to discuss grant applications, fieldwork projects, future research, etc. As a student in the health field you will also become a member of the wider staff and student community who coalesce around our health@durham strategy. Durham University is located in a region with profound socioeconomic problems and inequalities, and members of staff have connections with many agencies working in the region as well as NGOs and other stakeholders working in other parts of the world. Faculty members in Anthropology have ongoing research projects in public health, global and planetary health, the medical humanities and science and technology studies. All these connections will help you not only to get to grips with the subject area covered by medical anthropology, but to be a more effective and reflective practitioner in the future.

Degree Structure and Content

The degree consists of two core modules (Health, Wellbeing and Society; Anthropology of Global Health) as well as a Dissertation module that you undertake under the supervision of an experienced member of staff. You also take methods courses, and choose from a range of specialised modules in the Anthropology of Health as well as other relevant modules in Social and Evolutionary Anthropology. After that, the sky is the limit, with a range of optional modules offered in other departments/Faculties that support and complement our programme, including the possibility of a credit-bearing language module from Durham’s Centre for Foreign Language Studies. The intercalated programme runs from the end of September until the end of June each year, with all teaching completed by Easter (in order to give you more time at the end for your supervised dissertation research). We run a special exam board for intercalating students in September each year which gives plenty of time for your results to be fed back to your medical school in time for them to be of advantage to you in progressing to the next stage of your medical career.

Entry Requirements

Apart from an enthusiasm for the subject, the only requirement is that you should have successfully completed at least one social and behavioural sciences strand in the course of your MBBS programme to date. If needed, you should also have an IELTS of 7.0 overall (with at least 7.0 in writing).

Closing Dates

July each year