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Teaching and Supervisions

Teaching programme

The four core modules are the main teaching resource for this course. All students 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 students are advised to follow at least two of these. In Easter term students attend a Dissertation Workshop, which gives them the opportunity to present their
own work.

The modules being offered in 2017-18 are listed below. Current HMS students can find resources on the course moodle site. Other interested parties may access reading lists for each module by following the links below.

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: Epistemology of medical 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: Anthropologies of food and nutrition
8. Medical Anthropology: Global health


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.

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 are often advertised to student mailing lists.

HPS seminars and reading groups

Social Anthropology events

Sociology seminars

Students are also encouraged to attend relevant events elsewhere in the University - these may also be promoted via mailing lists.

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

  • CRASSH runs seminars, conferences, and other events in the arts, humanities and social sciences.

  • A browsable database of talks happening in Cambridge.