BSc (Hons) Medical Sciences (Medical Humanities)

BSc (Hons) Medical Sciences (Medical Humanities)

Medical Humanities is about exploring the experience of medicine, health and illness of doctors, patients and others, and is a rapidly expanding field in and beyond the UK, the value and importance of the humanities in the training of doctors now being widely recognised.

Following the recommendations of the General Medical Council in successive editions of Tomorrow's Doctors, there is some Medical Humanities provision in almost all MBChB degrees. But the intercalated degree programme allows students to study several aspects of Medical Humanities in much greater depth and also to pursue a substantial piece of research in the field, potentially leading to a publication.

Degree details

The intercalated degree programme offers students an opportunity to study the perspectives of several of a wide range of disciplines on medicine, health and illness, including, for example: anthropology, divinity and religious studies, economics, education, history, law, literature, philosophy, politics and sociology.

It will improve students' information retrieval, analytical writing, and presentation skills, and will enhance both their own self-awareness and their awareness of the social and cultural context in which they will later operate.

The University of Aberdeen's Medical Humanities programme offers maximum flexibility for students to follow their own special interests. It consists of one-year's worth of full-time study in the College of Arts and Social Sciences, comprising a research project and 10,000 word dissertation, and three taught courses.

At least two of the taught courses must be chosen from among those normally taken by Aberdeen MA students in their fourth year of study. One taught course may be a course normally taken in third year. The dissertation, and at least two of the taught courses, must be medicine/health related, but a free choice is possible for one taught course, allowing students to take any third or fourth year course in the College of Arts and Social Sciences, subject to the approval of the relevant Head of School. In some cases (eg for music performance or language courses), appropriate previous qualifications/experience may be necessary.

Other courses which might appeal (apart from non-health/medicine related courses in the disciplines mentioned above) include archaeology, film studies, geography, gender studies, politics, history of art, international relations, etc. Quite apart from the flexibility that the Aberdeen programme allows, it has the added advantage of allowing the intercalating students to mix in classes, seminars and tutorials with senior students in the College of Arts and Social Sciences.  

Examples of health/medicine-related taught courses that may form part of the degree include:

  • Cultural History of Medicine
  • Medical Anthropology
  • Spirituality, Health and Healing
  • Literature and Medicine
  • Frankenstein to Einstein: Literature and Science in the 19th Century
  • Body Work and Body Workers
  • Health Economics
  • Law and Medical Ethics
  • Medical Journalism

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