The MA in the History of Medicine aims to introduce you to the advanced study of the history of medicine, and to equip you with the conceptual and practical skills to carry out independent historical research in this field. You are encouraged to engage with a range of concepts, and to place developments within medical theory and practice in a broad social and cultural framework.
The Term One core module Themes and Methods in Medical History introduces some of the main historiographical approaches and debates within the history of medicine from the Renaissance to the twenty-first century. It focuses on the evolution of ideas, institutions and practices within medicine; the reception of new approaches and lay responses; the structure of medical practice and the medical professions; and the scientific, social and cultural context of medical intervention. You will be encouraged to situate illness, disease and health care in a broad context, and to frame discussions in seminars in response to a detailed and critical survey of the literature in this area. The Term Two core module, 'Matters of Life and Death', addresses two to three topics in the history of medicine (broadly construed), which you will select from a long menu of possible options. This flexible structure ensures the module is always focused on subjects closely related to your own interests and dissertation research. Possible topics span the expertise of teaching and research staff in the Centre for the History of Medicine, and of our academics in the wider University context.
You will engage with a wide range of sources available to the historian of medicine (e.g. medical texts, practice records, diaries, case records, public health reports and health propaganda, and visual sources). The programme will particularly appeal if you wish to acquire the conceptual and practical skills needed to conduct PhD research in the history of medicine, or if you are interested in engaging the public with the history of medicine.
On the MA Modern History, MA in Early Modern History, MA in Global and Comparative History, and MA in the History of Medicine, your study will be anchored in a theoretically and methodologically challenging core module on the practice of historical research. These degree courses will develop your understanding of methods and approaches to historical study, and help you gain useful research skills. Taught elements are complemented by a 15,000 word dissertation (20,000 for MA in History of Medicine students), which you will complete under the supervision of one of the Department’s faculty members. The research skills you develop will leave you well placed to pursue further MPhil and PhD research.
Outside academia, postgraduates from these courses have entered careers including teaching, publishing, curatorial and heritage positions, political campaigning, and roles in the creative sector.