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

The programme offers an integrated, inter-disciplinary education in emerging issues at the interface of global health and environmental sustainability. Led by the Anthropology Department, students will study core modules in Global Health, Planetary Health, Energy and Climate, with opportunities to take optional modules across a range of other disciplines. It will therefore be relevant both to social scientists keen to expand their horizons and to those with backgrounds in other disciplines (e.g. natural science, engineering, medicine, public health) who want to gain in-depth understanding of the social contexts and implications of current global challenges (such as climate change, conflicts over natural resources) in relation to health, equity and sustainable futures.

The programme aims to develop critical, analytical, interpretative, integrative and presentation skills and to provide an opportunity, through the dissertation, for students to pursue and report original research under expert supervision. The programme also aims to prepare students for doctoral research in relevant fields and/or a career in applied and international development contexts.

The core modules will address history, theories and practices of: health and healthcare at multiple scales (local, national, global); resilience, environment and the socio-politics of energy today; and how these relate to the emerging field of planetary health. Students without a specialised social science and health background will be introduced to key theoretical concepts through the module Society, Health & Wellbeing, and to research and analytical approaches through taking one or more of modules in research methods.

Students will have the opportunity to follow specialised routes through the programme by choosing from a wide array of elective modules that draw on options from across the university’s four faculties. This will allow students from different backgrounds to specialise further in areas of their choice (e.g. engineering, health, anthropology, geography, law or politics). To accommodate inclusion of students from diverse backgrounds, a careful induction and support programme will provide them with access to skills learning and support to help them work across inter-disciplinary boundaries.

Course structure

Core modules:

Anthropology of Global Health

Planetary Health in Social Context

Society, Energy, Environment and Resilience

Plus one dissertation module:


Vocational Dissertation (including placement)

A maximum of two from this list:

Fieldwork and Interpretation

Field Study

Statistical Analysis in Anthropology

Examples of optional modules:

Context and Challenges in Energy and Society

Society, Health and Wellbeing

Advanced Studies in Anthropological Skills for Climate Change Survival

Anthropology and Development

Interrogating Ethnography

Thinking Anthropologically

Understanding Society and Culture

*Advanced Studies in Anthropological Skills for Climate

Change Survival

*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

*Environmental Economics and Policy (Economics)

*Environmental Valuation (Economics)

*Natural Resource Management (Economics)

*Hydrology and Water Resources (Engineering)

*Critical Medical Humanities: Frameworks and Debates (English Studies)

*Understanding Risk (Geography)

*Climate, Risk and Society (Geography)

*Using Geographical Skills and Techniques (Geography)

*Risk, Science and Communication (Geography)

*Hydro-Meteorological Hazards (Geography)

*Risk Frontiers (Geography)

*Climate Change Law and Policy (Law)

*Global Environmental Law (Law)

*Medical Law and Ethics (Law)

*Contemporary Issues in Medical Law (Law)

*Science, Medicine and The Enlightenment (Philosophy)

*Ethics, Medicine and History (Philosophy)

*Philosophical Issues in Science and Medicine (Philosophy)

*Sociology of Health and Illness (Sociology)

*Communities, Civil Society and Social Justice (Sociology)

*Participatory Action Research (Sociology)

A credit-bearing language module offered by the Centre for Foreign Language Studies

*may not run every year

NB The optional modules in English and Modern Languages are both subject to the approval of new Master’s degrees in Medical Humanities and Environmental Humanities respectively.

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
£12,000 per year
International students
£25,250 per year

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