Taught course

Medical Anthropology

SOAS University of London · Department of Anthropology and Sociology

Entry requirements

We will consider all applications with 2:ii (or international equivalent) or higher. In addition to degree classification we take into account other elements of the application including supporting statement and references.

Months of entry


Course content

Our MA Medical Anthropology comprises two pathways catering for candidates with or without anthropological training. The degree is suitable for students with an intellectual interest in anthropological approaches to the study of health as well as for those who work in health care.

The programme is distinctive not only in its comparative approach and focus on health issues pertaining to the so-called Global South, but also in it being informed by clinical, STS, as well as anthropological perspectives. It offers insights into the evolution of modern medicine and its key institutional, cultural, and ethical tenets as well as discourses and practices. The key aim is to engage in a cultural critique of biomedical assumptions, while also upholding a serious engagement with biomedical knowledge/mindsets in order to explore what they can offer anthropology. The programme provides a historical overview of the sub-discipline of medical anthropology as well as an understanding of interpretive medical anthropology and critical medical anthropology.

The degree combines anthropological theory with ethnographic research in order to examine historical and contemporary dilemmas in medicine and to cover a range of topics including health in relation to gender, race, language, memory, psychoanalysis, science and technology, and religion. Students will also be introduced to the moral implications of ongoing cultural and technological shifts, and will be asked to consider these debates as frameworks to engage with current affairs and global conditions pertaining to health, inequality, conflict, and justice.

Notions of health, illness are shaped by social, cultural, political, and technological forces. Questions of health and disease are thus inextricably linked with questions of science, technology, modernity, religion, gender, race, colonialism, capitalism, globalisation, and humanitarianism. As such, this programme focuses on epistemological issues arising from conceptualisations of the body, the politics of disease, as well as the social construction of health and illness, of patient and physician, of the normal and the pathological.

Introducing students to relevant theoretical framework as well as ethnographies, the programme will underscore phenomenological perspectives as well as analyses of the political economy of health. There is a strong cross-cultural and comparative approach in this module, manifest in our engagement with ethnographic and theoretical contributions from the so-called Global South.

This programme has a first-rate graduate employability record, with graduates moving on to find employment in academia and beyond in areas such as healthcare, information and technology, government service, the media and tourism.

Information for international students

For details, including English language requirements, please see SOAS website

Fees and funding

For details of postgraduate fees, please see SOAS website

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MA
    part time
    24-36 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    full time
    12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

Postgraduate Enquiries
+44 (0)20 7898 4700