Taught course

Evolutionary Medicine

Durham University · Department of Anthropology

Entry requirements

A minimum 2:1 Honours degree from a UK institution (or the overseas equivalent) in a relevant subject. Please email us on anth.postgrad-studies@durham.ac.uk for advice on relevant topics. References play an important part in the admissions process. English Language requirements Please check requirements for your subject and level of study.

Months of entry


Course content

Evolutionary Medicine is a growing and exciting new field that is highly interdisciplinary in nature. We currently offer the only MSc in Evolutionary Medicine in the world, taught by a unique grouping of world-class researchers specialising in evolutionary approaches to the study of health and disease. A major theme of the course is the mismatch between the environment in which humans evolved and the contemporary environment, and implications for obesity and related metabolic disorders, reproductive health and infant care. Optional modules previously offered included palaeopathology and cultural evolution, and in the wider anthropology of health.

The full-time course runs for a full year, from October to September. Students attend classes between October and December (Michaelmas Term) and January and March (Epiphany), with further teaching and assessment in April and May (Easter Term), and then work, under the supervision of a specialist supervisor, to complete a dissertation in September. Students take three core taught modules, designed to provide a foundation in evolutionary theory, quantitative methods used in evolutionary medicine, and an introduction to evolutionary medicine. There is also a range of optional modules available to allow students to focus on areas of particular interest.

Each module we offer has a credit value. To obtain a Master’s degree you must register for and pass modules to the value of 180 credits. In recognition of the emphasis we place on independent research skills, the dissertation is a 60 credit module.

Compulsory modules
  • Dissertation
  • Evolutionary Theory
  • Evolutionary and Ecological Topics in Medicine and Health
  • Statistical Analysis in Anthropology
Previous optional modules have included:
  • Academic and Professional Skills in Anthropology
  • Evolutionary Perspectives on Western Diseases
  • Public Health Anthropology
  • Anthropology of Global Health
  • Cultural Evolution
  • Evolutionary Psychology
  • Themes in Palaeopathology
  • Evolutionary Perspectives on Reproductive and Infant Health
  • Foreign language option.

Please see www.durham.ac.uk/anthropology/postgraduatestudy/taughtprogrammes/evolutionarymedicinefor further information on modules.

Fees and funding

UK students
International students

Scholarships and funding


Qualification and course duration


full time
12 months
part time
24 months

Course contact details

Department of Anthropology
(0)191 334 1612