Taught course

Global and Planetary Health

Durham University · Department of Anthropology

Entry requirements

Normally a minimum 2:1 Honours degree from a UK institution (or the overseas equivalent) in a relevant subject. This requirement may be waived for applicants with particularly high levels of relevant practical or professional experience

Strength of personal statement, experience in a non-academic engagement with sustainability or development issues (whether salaried, volunteer or self-directed) and quality of references will be taken into consideration.

IELTS at least 6.5* (and with no component under 6*) or equivalent scores in an alternative accepted English language test. Details of alternative accepted tests and the requirements for your subject and level of study can be found here. In some cases, English language proficiency can also be evidenced in other ways. You can find further information regarding this, here.

Months of entry


Course content

Our MSc in Global and Planetary Health offers an in-depth study into the challenging and complex issues which have emerged around global health and environmental sustainability and are making a real impact on the conditions and resilience of daily life across the globe.

This course will be perfect if you are a social scientist and you want to broaden your academic interests or you are from another field, such as natural science or engineering, and you want a better understanding of the social context and consequences of issues such as climate change and conflicts over natural resources.

You will study core modules on the history, theories and practices of health and healthcare at local, national and global levels as well as resilience, the environment and the socio-politics of energy and their links to the emerging subject of planetary health.

A module on society, health and wellbeing will introduce key ideas if you don’t have a specialised social science and health background, and you will also be supported by a carefully curated induction programme to help you work in a cross-disciplinary fashion.

You will have the opportunity to follow specialised routes through the course by choosing from an extensive list of option modules drawn from the wider University.

The MSc includes the choice of two forms of dissertation. The first enables you to carry out independent research into an agreed topic while the second is a vocational project which will be completed with a private, voluntary or public sector partner.

Course structure

Core modules:

Anthropology of Global Health examines the range of theoretical perspectives and approaches in medical anthropology that considers how health and illness are experienced and understood in society and how they would be applied to modern-day issues in global health.

Society, Energy, Environment and Resilience introduces anthropological and other social science perspectives in the study of relationships between people, the environment and the production and use of energy.

Planetary Health in Social Context provides a defining understanding of planetary health and encourages you to study and critique the current debates and issues it features such as climate change, emerging infectious diseases and population growth.

Plus either

The Dissertation is an independent research project based on a specialist area of your degree of particular interest, using the knowledge gained in the research methods modules. You will be expected to write a literature review, collect data through fieldwork, laboratory work or from published sources, conduct data analysis and be able to initiate discussion of your findings.


Vocational dissertation applies the skills and the methods learnt in core and optional modules to a vocational project on a subject devised in consultation with a partner in the private, voluntary or public sector. You will write a research diary and a consultancy-style report and ultimately acquire a high level of knowledge and understanding of a specialist sub-field of global and planetary health and its relationship to your topic.

Examples of optional modules:

  • Statistical Analysis in Anthropology;
  • Fieldwork and Interpretation;
  • Field Study;
  • Context and Challenges in Energy and Society;
  • Society, Health and Wellbeing;
  • Anthropology and Development;
  • Interrogating Ethnography;
  • Thinking Anthropologically;
  • Understanding Society and Culture;
  • Advanced Studies in Anthropological Skills for Climate Change;
  • Advanced Studies in Anthropology of Tobacco;
  • Advanced Studies in Capitalism in Ruins;
  • Advanced Studies in Development, Conflict, and Crisis in The Lower Omo Valley;
  • Advanced Studies in Power and Governance;
  • Advanced Studies in The Anthropology of Health Inequality;
  • Advanced Studies in Poison, Pollution, and The Chemical Anthropocene;
  • Choice of modules from across other departments.

Information for international students

If you are an international student who does not meet the requirements for direct entry to this degree, you may be eligible to take a pre-Masters pathway programme at the Durham University International Study Centre.

Fees and funding

UK students
International students

For further information see the course listing.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MSc
    full time
    12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    part time
    24 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

Recruitment and Admissions