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Teaching and Supervisions

  1. Teaching
  2. Supervisions
  3. Research methods
  4. Other events
  5. Undergraduate courses

The four core modules are the main teaching resource for this course. All students should attend all 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 Lent term, and you should attend at least two of these. A dissertation workshop is held in Easter term, which gives you the opportunity to present and discuss your own work with your peers.

The modules being offered in 2018-19 are listed below. Current HMS students can find resources on the course moodle site, and view the timetable on the University's timetable site.

Core modules (Michaelmas term):

1. History of medicine
2. Medical anthropology
3. Medical sociology (Sociology of Health and Illness)
4. Philosophy and ethics of medicine

Optional variable modules (Lent term):

1. History of medicine: Reproduction
2. History of medicine: Public and environmental health
3. Philosophy and ethics of medicine: Non-epistemic values in biomedical research
4. Philosophy and ethics of medicine: Measuring health
5. Medical Sociology: Reproduction, technology and society
6. Medical Sociology: The political economy of biomedical innovation
7. Medical Anthropology: Anthropology of cancer
8. Medical Anthropology: Ethnographies of laboratories


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.

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.

Research methods

The Social Sciences Research Methods Centre (SSRMC) is an interdisciplinary centre providing training for staff and postgraduate students across the University. Courses cover qualitative, and quantitative research methods, from basic training to advanced statistical analysis. You can work with the course managers and your supervisors to identify relevant training

Social Sciences Research Methods Centre website

Other events

Though the core and optional modules form the basis of the MPhil, students are encouraged to integrate themselves into the research culture of the departments by attending relevant lectures, research seminars, reading groups, workshops and conferences. You can consult with the MPhil Manager, Subject Managers or your supervisors 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.

HPS seminars and reading groups

Social anthropology events

Sociology lunchtime seminar series

Challenges of Experimental Government and Public Policy: evening seminar series

Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences, and Humanities (CRASSH)

Undergraduate courses

Undergraduate lectures can provide systematic introductions to subject areas that are new to you, and point to research topics and reading material even in areas you are reasonably familiar with. Lecture series can be found on the relevant department websites and on the University timetable website.

History and Philosophy of Science

Social Anthropology