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MPhil in Health, Medicine and Society



The four core modules are the main teaching resource for this course. All students should attend at least two core modules, which run for four weeks during Michaelmas Term. They are led by different senior members of teaching staff and focus on selected readings. Eight optional modules run during Michaelmas and Lent Term, and you should attend at least two of these. A dissertation workshop in Easter Term will give you the opportunity to present and discuss your own work with your peers.

Though teaching terms are 8 weeks long, you are expected to be resident in Cambridge throughout the duration of this 9 month MPhil course. The word 'vacation' has a technical meaning in Cambridge. It does not mean 'holiday', but 'research time', and you will be expected to work for most of these periods (though of course you should take a break for a week or two during the vacations).

Module timetable for 2020-21

Course moodle site

University Timetable site

Other events

Though the taught modules form the basis of the MPhil, we encourage you to integrate yourself into the research culture of the departments by attending relevant lectures, research seminars, research methods training, reading groups, workshops and conferences. Some sources of information on other events are listed on our resources page. You can consult with staff to identify relevant events. Please also keep an eye on your emails as events and training opportunities from the departments and elsewhere in the University are often advertised to student mailing lists.

Staff Roles

You will be introduced to many of the staff involved in teaching and convening the course at the induction meeting in early October, and have regular contact with them throughout the year.

Course managers

MPhil Managers 2020-21: Dr Jacob Stegenga

Subject Managers 2020-21:

  • History of Medicine: Dr Mary Brazelton
  • Medical Anthropology: Dr Kelly Fagan Robinson
  • Medical Sociology: Dr Robert Pralat
  • Philosophy and Ethics of Medicine: Dr Jacob Stegenga

The MPhil Managers take responsibility for day-to-day oversight of the course and liaison with staff and students. You will also be paired with a Subject Manager, who will support you in formulating a programme of study for the year. You will have regular contact with the course managers, to allow you to discuss your plans and progress, and to receive help and advice as needed.


As well as general support from the MPhil and Subject Managers, you will have supervisors for each piece of work you complete, whose role is to help you do the research and writing needed. They do not grade your work; your submitted essays and dissertation will be examined by others, and your supervisor for any one piece of work is never allowed to examine it too.

Your supervisors can see you on a regular basis, but it is up to you to work with them to schedule these meetings according to your needs. As a rule of thumb, you can expect two hours of one-to-one supervision for each essay, and four hours for the dissertation.

Course managers and seminar leaders can help you find appropriate supervisors for each piece of work. However, you can find an overview of people's research interests in the staff directory, and you may also find it helpful to consult the staff directories of individual departments.

Supervision styles can vary according to the supervisor - indeed, we consider this to be one of the benefits of the individual attention that a Cambridge MPhil provides. However, you can expect to receive guidance on your research and advice on draft work. As a rule of thumb, you can expect two hours of one-to-one supervision for each essay, and four hours for the dissertation, and you should talk with your supervisor about how to organise this time according to your needs.

Graduate secretary

The administrator for this course is James Livesey. He can be contacted for general queries relating to the running and administration of the course.