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Edinburgh Centre for Medical Anthropology: Studying Medical Anthropology


Intercalated Degree in the Anthropology and Sociology of Medicine

New Degree starts September 2018


Programme organisers:

Ian Harper, Social Anthropology

School of Social & Political Science

Chrystal Macmillan Building

15a George Square
Edinburgh EH8 9LD

+44 (0)131 650 3816


Fadhila Mazanderani, STIS

School of Social & Political Science

High School Yards

Old Surgeons’ Hall
Edinburgh EH1 1LZ

+44 (0)131 651 4743


Programme Overview

It is widely recognised that social and cultural factors play an important role in shaping medicine and healthcare. The intercalated year in the Anthropology and Sociology of Medicine is designed to give aspiring medical practitioners a critical scholarly understanding of the social dimensions of modern medicine. This includes: the social meanings of healthcare, health and illness; the role and limits of biomedical science and technology; and what healthcare can deliver for individuals and societies in resource-rich and resource-poor settings. Students will develop a theoretical and practical appreciation of the different concepts and approaches used within anthropology and sociology, with a particular focus on how they can contribute to pressing debates about the role, aims and organisation of contemporary biomedical research, healthcare practice and policy-making.

The programme will provide students with a well-rounded academic grounding in anthropology and sociology as distinctive scholarly disciplines with their own approaches, histories and traditions. Students will be encouraged to apply social scientific thinking to issues of particular relevance and interest to them. This could include, for example: what counts as ‘good’ healthcare in different settings; how culturally specific understandings of health and healing might influence infection control; how medical innovation is shifting understandings of disease and illness; how the role of medical professionals is changing with the rise of digital technologies. The programme is particularly well suited to students who enjoyed the Health and Society Course and the Social Science and Public Health vertical theme of the University of Edinburgh’s MBChB programme.

Students will develop valuable transferable skills in critical thinking, written and verbal presentation, and project management. They will be exposed to a range of different types of social science research, case studies, and data, and will learn to make effective use of different forms of evidence in their personal, professional, and community life. The programme aims to enhance students’ ability to proactively adapt to different social and cultural contexts, while maintaining their personal and intellectual autonomy.


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