2023 entry

MA Health in Social Science

UCAS code: 2D50

Duration: 4 years

Delivery: Full-time

School: Health in Social Science

College: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Study abroad

Introducing MA Health in Social Science

This programme provides you with the opportunity to explore health, illness and the provision of care through the lens of the social sciences.

We seek to understand patterns of disease and wellness locally, nationally and globally by drawing on current knowledge from a wide range of disciplines, including:

  • geography
  • sociology
  • psychology
  • ethics
  • public health and nursing studies

You will also study other disciplines to help you examine how individuals, communities and cultures make sense of health experiences including:

  • marketing
  • counselling
  • health promotion
  • cultural studies

The third strand of the programme examines health and social care provision.

We also provide training in professional skills such as active listening and leadership development.

We welcome anyone with an interest in health, wellbeing and society.

Year 1

You will explore the social causes of health and illness, and their often equal impact on different communities and social groups, drawing upon examples from around the world.

This leads on to the study of individual and cultural understandings of:

  • health and illness
  • associated beliefs and behaviours
  • the related concepts of deviance and stigma

Optional courses

You will select four courses from a wide range of options from Schools across the university.

Year 2

You will:

  • study current key health issues of local and global importance, with expert researchers in the fields.
  • gain an understanding of how knowledge is produced and used in real-life situations.
  • be introduced to how language shapes societies and individuals.
  • focus on the role of language in communicating about health in society (such as through the media and health promotion literature) and in healthcare settings.
  • gain hands-on experience in developing your own communication skills.

Again, a wide range of option courses are available, from which you will choose four.

Year 3

You will:

  • learn research skills
  • explore compassion, empathy and ethics as critical to care
  • examine care alongside consideration of the concept of the person, spirituality, individuality and dignity
  • also study mental health problems and the therapeutic alliance

You will also choose three option courses from a wide range.

Year 4

In your final year, you will examine:

  • critical challenges in interdisciplinary work
  • effective health and social care partnerships
  • leadership and change management
  • public health initiatives
  • community collaborations for enhancing health at individual and community scales

You will produce an individual research project (dissertation) supported by a member of teaching staff.

The year will be completed with two option courses chosen from a wide range. This will include our own option provisions which places the body at the centre of a sociological exploration of wellbeing.

Programme structure

Find out more about the compulsory and optional courses in this degree programme.

To give you an idea of what you will study on this programme, we publish the latest available information. However, please note this may not be for your year of entry, but for a different academic year.

Programme structure (2022/23)

Our facilities

The School of Health in Social Science is in the University's Central Area with easy access to the University's Main Library and computer facilities.

Study abroad

In Year 3, you may have the option to study abroad through the University's international exchange programme.

What are my options for going abroad?

How will I learn?

Courses are taught through a combination of:

  • lectures
  • tutorials
  • seminars
  • online resources
  • group work

How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed primarily through coursework and you will complete an individual research project in your fourth year.

Graduates may pursue careers in areas such as:

  • health services management
  • policy and research
  • health journalism
  • health education
  • patient advocacy
  • health promotion
  • community services
  • the voluntary sector
  • liaison roles in health and social care
  • project management/coordination

The programme provides a foundation for further professional career development.

You may also continue your studies at postgraduate level in:

  • social science fields
  • social care
  • healthcare

Standard entry requirement

The standard entry requirement is:

  • SQA Highers: ABBB by end of S5 or AABB/ABBBB by end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
  • A Levels: ABB.
  • IB: 34 points with 655 at HL.

Minimum entry requirement

The minimum entry requirement for widening access applicants is:

  • SQA Highers: ABBB by end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
  • A Levels: ABB.
  • IB: 34 points with 655 at HL.

More information for widening access applicants

Required subjects

The grades used to meet our entry requirements must include:

  • SQA: Highers: no specific Higher subjects required. National 5s: English at C.
  • A Levels: No specific A Level subjects required. GCSEs: English at C or 4.
  • IB: HL: no specific subjects required. SL: English at 5.

Find out more about entry requirements

International applicants

We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.

Entry requirements by country

International Foundation Programme

If you are an international student and your school qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to the University you may be eligible for admission to this degree programme through our International Foundation Programme.

International Foundation Programme

Mature applicants

We welcome applications from mature students and accept a range of qualifications.

Mature applicant qualifications

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.


For SQA, GCSE and IB students, unless a higher level is specified in the stated entry requirements, a pass is required in English at the following grades or higher:

  • SQA National 5 at C
  • SQA Standard Grade at 3
  • GCSE at C or 4
  • Level 2 Certificate at C
  • IB Standard Level at 5 (English ab initio is not accepted for entry)

English language tests

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

  • IELTS Academic: total 6.5 with at least 5.5 in each component.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 92 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 176 with at least 162 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: total 62 with at least 54 in each component.

We also accept a wider range of international qualifications and tests.

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

English language requirements

This information is part of a government initiative to enhance the material that higher education institutions provide about their degree programmes.

It is one of many sources of information which will enable you to make an informed decision on what and where to study.

Please note that some programmes do not have Discover Uni data available.

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees for MA Health in Social Science

Additional costs

There are no compulsory additional costs on this programme.

You may wish to buy books and there may be a small expense for public transport fares involved in the optional community engagement courses.


For more information on how much it will cost to study with us and the financial support available see our fees and funding information.

Fees and funding