Postgraduate study

Medical Anthropology MSc

Awards: MSc

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

Programme website: Medical Anthropology

This programme studies health, illness and healing from a cross-cultural perspective.

With a focus on the understanding of health, illness and medicine in a globalised world, this programme allows you to engage with contemporary debates about old ills and emerging diseases. You will explore both traditional forms of healing and modern medical technologies.

You will examine key questions in current medical anthropology from the perspective of both medical and social sciences, and address relevant issues, such as:

  • the way encounters between patients and professional healers are negotiated in varied cultural settings
  • the importance of political, economic and historical analysis to an understanding of the body
  • the health-related effects of globalisation

Who this programme is for

Intended for a diverse range of students, this distinctive and interdisciplinary programme will complement your background in anthropology or health sciences.

The programme also acts as a conversion MSc for those without training in anthropology who wish to progress to a research career.

This programme is affiliated with the University's Global Health Academy:

The MSc in Medical Anthropology is offered as a one-year full-time or two-year part-time programme.

Teaching combines:

  • lectures
  • seminars
  • tutorials
  • essays
  • assessed coursework

The programme works in close collaboration with the Global Public Health Unit and other subjects in the School of Social & Political Science.

You will complete two compulsory courses and four option courses. You are also encouraged to take the Development Research Methods course.

Dissertation

From May to August you will complete either a work-based project or a standard research dissertation.

The dissertation represents a chance to get to grips with a topic of the student's own choosing, supervised by an appropriate member of academic staff.

Placement-based dissertation

The aim of the placement-based dissertation is to provide students with the opportunity to work on their dissertation within the context of a workplace of their choosing. This could be within a public sector, a voluntary, a charitable or a private organisation, subject to the approval of the Programme Director.

Find out more about compulsory and optional courses

We link to the latest information available. Please note that this may be for a previous academic year and should be considered indicative.

Find out more about compulsory and optional courses

We link to the latest information available. Please note that this may be for a previous academic year and should be considered indicative.

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MScMedical Anthropology1 YearFull-timeProgramme structure 2022/23
MScMedical Anthropology2 YearsPart-timeProgramme structure 2022/23

You will gain the conceptual and methodological skills to understand contemporary health practices in a wider context of social, political, and economic problems, and be able to work in academic and applied health research.

In addition, you will develop a range of highly transferable skills, such as communication and project management, which can be applied to roles in any field.

Our graduates

Graduates of the programme:

  • went on to work for international organizations and for health think tanks
  • won admission to some of the world's most prestigious Medical Schools (including Harvard and Yale)
  • continued to study for a PhD in Social Anthropology

These entry requirements are for the 2023/24 academic year and requirements for future academic years may differ. Entry requirements for the 2024/25 academic year will be published on 2 October 2023.

A UK 2:1 honours degree or its international equivalent.

Students from China

This degree is Band C.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS Academic: total 7.0 with at least 6.0 in each component.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 100 with at least 20 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • C1 Advanced (CAE) / C2 Proficiency (CPE): total 185 with at least 169 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with passes in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: total 70 with at least 59 in each component.

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, Trinity ISE or PTE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries (non-MESC).

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.

Find out more about our language requirements:

Tuition fees

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MScMedical Anthropology1 YearFull-timeTuition fees
MScMedical Anthropology2 YearsPart-timeTuition fees

UK government postgraduate loans

If you live in the UK, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan from one of the UK’s governments.

The type and amount of financial support you are eligible for will depend on:

  • your programme
  • the duration of your studies
  • your tuition fee status

Programmes studied on a part-time intermittent basis are not eligible.

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • Graduate School of Social & Political Science
  • Chrystal Macmillan Building
  • 15A George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LD
Programme start date Application deadline
11 September 2023 30 June 2023

We encourage you to apply at least one month prior to entry so that we have enough time to process your application. If you are also applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible.

References are not usually required for applications to this programme.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • Graduate School of Social & Political Science
  • Chrystal Macmillan Building
  • 15A George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LD