A second-class honours degree in a humanities subject.
Months of entry
This Master's degree in history explores how the formidable forces of science and medicine have fundamentally shaped who we are. The history of science and medicine covers the history of ideas, technologies and interventions, but it also takes into consideration the history of everyday experiences of health, illness and wellbeing. 'Ordinary' people turn out to be the extraordinary lens through which we can reflect on our past. Pain and illness change the way we look at the world: certain forms of suffering are increasing, with chronic pain, for example, now affecting around 40% of people in Britain and America. The provision of healthcare is also undergoing major shifts and history can teach us valuable lessons about how medicine and caregiving has been understood in the past.
This programme explores the historical roots and the social and conceptual foundations of modern science and medicine, equipping you with a deep understanding of how scientific and medical ideas and institutions relate to their broader historical context. It offers you the chance to study this fascinating, expanding area of social and cultural history at a department in which teaching is research-led, delivered by core staff with world-renowned research expertise. This is a growing field in which exciting new questions are being asked and new methodological approaches are being created and applied. Birkbeck is at the forefront of these advances and, unlike similar MA programmes, we cover the period from the ancient world to the present, and from global perspectives.
The programme provides a framework within which you can develop your research techniques and prepare for doctoral, professional or other research, but the primary focus is on providing a rich and varied experience of studying history at postgraduate level, allowing you to satisfy and expand your passion for the subject. The programme will also appeal to healthcare professionals and caregivers who may benefit from knowing more about the history of medicine, health and care.
The compulsory core course will introduce you to the systematic study of historiography and the methodologies used in the analysis and interpretation of historical source material. You can explore the enormous breadth of research interests in the department via the 3 option modules you choose, which span from the ancient to the contemporary. Finally, the dissertation gives you the chance to pursue your own interests and undertake your own research and critical thinking under the supervision of a member of staff with relevant expertise.
Information for international students
If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, our usual requirement is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 6.5, with not less than 6.0 in each of the sub-tests.
Fees and funding
The government's new postgraduate loan scheme allows you to borrow up to £10,000 to cover the cost of your tuition fees, living costs or other study expenses – and you don't have to start repaying until 2019.
Named in memory of Birkbeck’s former President, and one of the greatest historians of the twentieth century, the Eric Hobsbawm Postgraduate Scholarship fund offers a full fee-waiver for Home, EU and Overseas Master’s students in the Department of History, Classics and Archaeology (part-time awards are pro-rata).
Students are eligible to apply for Wellcome Trust studentships.
Find out more about funding and financial support at postgraduate level.
Qualification and course duration
Course contact details
- Student Advice Service
- +44(0) 20 3907 0700