Medical humanities (intercalated MSc for medical students)
2004 intercalated graduating class and friend (photo taken during the Manchester Cow Parade.) Courtesy of Dr Penny Gouk.
This intercalated MSc in Medical Humanities brings together history, arts, humanities, and culture to enrich the learning and practice of medicine. Engagement with these disciplines enables students to develop and nurture skills in observation, analysis, empathy, and self-reflection – skills essential for humane medical care. The MSc provides an opportunity for you to reflect on what modern medicine is all about; how it has evolved over time; and how medical practice is influenced by, and responsive to, public and patient perceptions and experiences of healthcare.
The course promotes transferable, clinically relevant skills: in research, interpretation, critical writing, presentation, discussion and debate. Interactive lectures, seminars and tutorials will enable you to develop these skills through exploration of the ethical, cultural, political, social and historical contexts of medical practice. You will study alongside non-medics from a range of backgrounds, including humanities and physical sciences. The course combines a general introduction to medical humanities and the history of medicine with a range of more specialist studies such as the historical development of medical technologies in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
“The practice of medicine is an art, not a trade; a calling, not a business, a calling in which your heart will be exercised equally with your head”
William Osler, Physician, 1849-1919
For the dissertation, you will either research and write an extensive dissertation on a specialist topic or create a portfolio of your own work (e.g. poetry or fiction). All dissertations will be supervised by experienced academics.
This MSc is suitable for students studying medicine at the University of Manchester and other universities. The course is open to all United Kingdom medical and dental students who have successfully completed their third or fourth year of study.
Dr Elizabeth Toon, CHSTM, and Dr Sarah Collins, Manchester Medical School.
For further information, please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
- To consider social, historical, political, cultural and global contexts of personhood, illness, and health service provision;
- To gain insights into a range of disciplines in arts, histories, culture and humanities and their applications to medicine;
- To promote empathy, respect, self-awareness and reflective practice;
- To develop understanding of personal and patient perspectives of illness and health care;
- To explore therapeutic uses of arts and humanities in medical practice;
- To promote understanding of the responsibilities doctors carry toward themselves, their peers, and their patients;
- To promote transferable writing, debating and presentational skills.
- To pursue original, independent research on a topic of your choice (or develop a portfolio of your own creative work) in your dissertation.
You are required to complete 180 credits in the following course units to be awarded this MSc:
Semester 1 course units (60 credits)
- Major themes in Medical Humanities (30)
- Research methods and study skills (30)
Semester 2 course units (60 credits)
In this semester you will choose two modules, each one worth 30 credits. At least one of your options must be in CHSTM. You can then choose one other module either from CHSTM or from a range of approved modules in allied subject areas, including, among others, Humanitarian and Conflict Response Studies, Health Care Ethics and Law, English and American Studies, Art History and Visual Studies.
Dissertation in Medical Humanities (60 credits)
The culmination of your year of study will be an independent research or creative project, which you will begin planning in Semester 2 and complete by the end of August. Depending on your interests and skills, you may choose to research and write a traditional academic thesis, or choose instead to prepare a portfolio of creative and artistic work. Whichever route you decide upon, the programme directors will ensure that you receive appropriate guidance and supervision from amongst the many faculty and subject areas collaborating in our programme.
Other programme activities
In addition to formal coursework, you will maintain a journal and build up a portfolio of coursework, which will allow you to reflect on your learning in Medical Humanities, and facilitate your continuing professional development. Likewise, throughout the year evening events will offer you further opportunities to put your work into practice, by participating in discussions about books, films, and art, by performing or presenting your own work, and by debating social and ethical questions about medicine.
Students who have previously intercalated with CHSTM have taken a variety of paths in medical practice drawing on the improved writing, speaking, and thinking skills acquired in their degree. Areas in which you can apply the skills and knowledge acquired through the MSc in Medical Humanities include: patient care; legal and ethical concerns; institutional and public policy making; academic research and administration; cross-cultural and disability awareness; media involvement and writing for or speaking to the general public.