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The MPhil in Health, Medicine and Society offers a uniquely interdisciplinary approach to teaching and research, combining world class faculty with outstanding institutional resources. In addition to history, sociology and social anthropology, the course includes ethics and philosophy, thus offering an unparalleled educational experience. No other programme can match Cambridge’s breadth and concentration of expertise in this exciting and rapidly expanding subject area.

The course is a collaborative initiative between the departments of History and Philosophy of Science Social Anthropology and Sociology. It is a full-time, 9 month course that is designed to provide students with combined advanced skills in the social and historical analysis of health and medicine. The course will offer a high-level interdisciplinary approach to theory and methodology, build confidence in conceptual and empirical analysis, and ensure familiarity with key scholarly literatures. Research training is a core component of the course, which will enable students to design individual projects, collect and analyse data, and develop substantial arguments based on original research. 

Its main aims are:

  • to give students with relevant training at first-degree level the opportunity to carry out focussed research in Health, Medicine and Society (HMS) under close supervision;
  • to give students the opportunity to acquire or develop skills and expertise relevant to their research interests;
  • to enable students to acquire a critical and well informed understanding of discourses of the history, philosophy, sociology and anthropology of health and medicine; and
  • to help students intending to go on to doctoral work to acquire the requisite research skills and to prepare a well planned and focussed PhD proposal.


  1. giving students the experience and guidance necessary for them to be able to formulate a realistic research proposal, and to prepare written work based on such a proposal to a strict timetable;
  2. introducing students to relevant research methods across their choice of the four disciplines;
  3. giving students the experience of presenting their own work and discussing the issues that arise from it with an audience of their peers and senior members of the department;
  4. providing lectures, supervisions and research seminars in a range of technical/specialist subjects central to research in the different areas of history, philosophy, sociology and anthropology of health and medicine, and giving students the opportunity to base some of their essays or dissertation on such teaching.