Medical Anthropology at Oxford offers a full programme of teaching and research at Oxford’s Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology (ISCA).
The one-year MSc degree in Medical Anthropology is a conversion course, which provides extensive teaching that combines social and bio-anthropological approaches to the study of health and healing in diverse societies and cultures (3 papers and one option paper). It allows students to engage in a broad range of health-related topics, from both social and biological anthropology frameworks, in cross-cultural perspective. Across the first two terms teaching is mainly lecture-based, in concert with weekly tutorials. During the final term MSc students sit four written exams and write an original 10,000 word dissertation on the topic of their choice.
The two-year MPhil degree in Medical Anthropology consolidates this knowledge through intensive training in anthropological research methods. It is a research degree that consolidates the knowledge acquired in the first year through intensive training in anthropological research methods and immersion in a one year-long research project. It is undertaken independently by the student on a topic of their choice but with guidance by senior staff in individual supervisions. It provides the same broad teaching as the MSc course in the first year, while the second year allows students to engage deeply in anthropological research methods and practice. The main emphasis is on writing an original 30,000 word dissertation, which students develop through one-on-one tutorials with their supervisor. Students also prepare for longer-term anthropological research through classes in critical reading, qualitative field methods and quantitative analysis.
Full details about the programme, entry requirements, resources, and funding and costs can be found here (MSc) and here (MPhil).
Applicants for the MSc or MPhil who know that they intend to pursue a DPhil (PhD) in the School of Anthropology & Museum Ethnography, via a MSc + DPhil (1+3-year) route or MPhil + DPhil (2+2-year) route, are encouraged to indicate and elaborate this in their Statement of Purpose/Personal Statement, as this will allow them to be considered for 1+3-year or 2+2-year Clarendon or UK Research Council funding awards at the time of application. For this purpose their personal statement may be up to four pages in length and should include a proposal outlining their intended Doctoral research.
Applicants should note that if they are not at this stage clear about whether they wish to pursue DPhil research in the future this will not affect their likelihood of securing a place on an MSc or MPhil now, or of securing DPhil funding at a later date. Anybody who subsequently applies to continue to study for a DPhil (whether after MSc or MPhil) will be considered again for nomination to the award competitions at that time.
These Master's courses provide graduates from diverse disciplinary backgrounds with the necessary basis to go on to further research and teaching in anthropology, but many graduates also decide to pursue healthcare-related careers. There is a single doctoral degree, the DPhil in Anthropology, offered by the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography.
Students may progress from either the MSc or the MPhil degree in Medical Anthropology to the DPhil in Anthropology within ISCA. The DPhil degree involves long-term fieldwork (typically a minimum of one year) and culminates in the 80,000 word thesis, which may have a medical anthropology focus.
At all stages of their studies students are expected to contribute to ISCA’s rich seminar and discussion culture. This includes attendance at established seminar series, particularly the Medical Anthropology Research Seminars, as well as participation in informal discussion groups and student-led seminars.
At Oxford we welcome collaboration with Post-doctoral Researchers working in any field of medical anthropology. In recent years three research clusters have emerged:
Researchers within these groups convene ongoing seminars, which we encourage our students to attend in line with their particular interests.
MSc in Medical Anthropology
This one-year course offers a coordinated learning programme in both biological and social anthropological approaches to health and illness. It provides the necessary basis for future anthropological research and an excellent cross-cultural grounding for those aiming to pursue a career in global health, clinical medicine or other health-related fields.
The course is open to university graduates in any field who can demonstrate motivation and purpose for incorporating medical anthropology into their longer-term career goals. Applicants from any country are welcome, provided that their English is proficient (e.g., they have passed the IELTS or TOEFL test).
The MSc course consists of four Papers (examined in June) and a 10,000 word dissertation (submitted in late August). The three core Papers, taught across Michaelmas and Hilary Terms, each comprise 16 lectures, 3 tutorials, and 1 debate. Students also select an Option Paper, which may have a topical or regional focus, based on their own interests.
Further information about the three core Papers and Option Papers: