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Medicine is one of the great human activities. The changes that medicine has undergone, and the problems and opportunities it raises, should be of interest to everyone.
In this MA you are introduced to many questions asked about medicine from within the humanities. You have the opportunity to examine the history of Western medicine and to consider how medical practice is presented in, and shaped by, literature and the arts. You have the chance to reflect on what is involved in classifying something as a disease or an abnormal mental state, and to explore various ethical and legal problems that arise within medicine. You will also learn about the history of the medical humanities as a field and the debates that have surrounded its identity and role.
"I absolutely loved the inspiration and passion that grew out of the seminar groups and the stimulating conversations and debates and discussions that took place across age groups, genders and cultures. It was a hugely rich learning experience."
- Emma Isworth, MA Medical Humanities graduate
The programme is aimed primarily at people with a humanities background, but we also welcome healthcare practitioners or those with medical backgrounds who are interested in the growing field of the medical humanities.
As an interdisciplinary programme, the MA is taught by scholars from many different disciplines across the University, including English, Arts, History and Law and the Departments of Philosophy, Classical & Archaeological Studies, Cultures and Languages and Religious Studies. You take four modules across the autumn and spring terms, including one core module and from a variety of optional modules, before undertaking a supervised 15,000-word dissertation over the summer.
As a postgraduate student you’ll join the vibrant academic community in the School of English. You’ll benefit from a lively, confident, and engaged research culture, sustained by a creative, cutting-edge intellectual community.
You are more than your grades
For 2022, in response to the challenges caused by Covid-19 we will consider applicants either holding or projected a 2:2. This response is part of our flexible approach to admissions whereby we consider each student and their personal circumstances. If you have any questions, please get in touch.
A first or second class honours degree or equivalent in a relevant subject.
All applicants are considered on an individual basis and additional qualifications, professional qualifications and relevant experience may also be taken into account when considering applications.
Please see our International Student website for entry requirements by country and other relevant information. Due to visa restrictions, students who require a student visa to study cannot study part-time unless undertaking a distance or blended-learning programme with no on-campus provision.
The University requires all non-native speakers of English to reach a minimum standard of proficiency in written and spoken English before beginning a postgraduate degree. Certain subjects require a higher level.
For detailed information see our English language requirements web pages.
Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of pre-sessional courses in English for Academic Purposes through Kent International Pathways.
Duration: One year full-time, two years part-time
You take two modules in the autumn term and two in the spring term. You are also expected to attend the School's Research Methods Programmes.
You then write the dissertation between the start of the Summer Term and the end of August.
The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This list is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation. Most programmes will require you to study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also have the option to take modules from other programmes so that you may customise your programme and explore other subject areas that interest you.
Compulsory modules currently include:
Optional modules may include:
Assessments vary across the modules. Typically the main assessment is a 5,000 word essay and a dissertation of 12,000 words.
This programme aims to:
You will gain knowledge and understanding of:
You develop intellectual skills in:
You gain subject-specific skills in:
You will gain the following transferable skills:
The 2022/23 UK fees for this course are:
For details of when and how to pay fees and charges, please see our Student Finance Guide.
For students continuing on this programme fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.* If you are uncertain about your fee status please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The University will assess your fee status as part of the application process. If you are uncertain about your fee status you may wish to seek advice from UKCISA before applying.
Find out more about general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent.
Search our scholarships finder for possible funding opportunities. You may find it helpful to look at both:
In the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, research by the School of English was ranked 10th for research intensity and 15th for research power in the UK.
An impressive 100% of our research-active staff submitted to the REF and 95% of our research was judged to be of international quality. The School’s environment was judged to be conducive to supporting the development of world-leading research.
The School of English has a Medical Humanities Research Cluster that fosters interdisciplinary research and teaching. The main research interests of the School of English staff in this area are in illness narrative, literature and public health, phenomenology of health and illness, creative practice, embodiment and disability, the history of blindness, affect and the body, the study of intelligence in literature and conceptions of death and dying. Find out more about our staff and their publications.
Full details of staff research interests can be found on the School's website.
Many career paths can benefit from the writing and analytical skills that you develop as a postgraduate student in the School of English. Our students have gone on to work in academia, journalism, broadcasting and media, publishing, writing and teaching; as well as more general areas such as banking, marketing analysis and project management.
The MA in Medical Humanities is administered by the School of English, drawing on expertise in other Schools and Departments at Kent. This means that students can draw on the excellent resources of a diverse team of teachers with expertise in many key areas.
The Templeman Library is well stocked with excellent research resources, as are Canterbury Cathedral Archives and Library. There are a number of special collections: the John Crow Collection of Elizabethan and other early printed texts; the Reading/Raynor Collection of theatre history (over 7,000 texts or manuscripts); ECCO (Eighteenth-Century Collections Online); the Melville manuscripts relating to popular culture in the 19th and early 20th centuries; the Pettingell Collection (over 7,500 items) of 19th-century drama; the Eliot Collection; children’s literature; and popular literature. A gift from Mrs Valerie Eliot has increased the Library’s already extensive holdings in modern poetry. The British Library in London is also within easy reach. Kent has extensive facilities to support research, and the Templeman Library has excellent holdings in all of our areas of research interest. Special Collections has recently acquired a unique collection of contemporary artists’ books on wellbeing and medicine.
Besides the Templeman Library, School resources include support for attending and organising conferences, and a dedicated postgraduate study space.
Our research centres organise many international conferences, symposia and workshops.
School of English postgraduate students are encouraged to organise and participate in a conference which takes place in the summer term. This provides students with the invaluable experience of presenting their work to their peers.
The School runs several series of seminars, lectures and readings throughout the academic year. Our weekly research seminars are organised collaboratively by staff and graduates in the School. Speakers range from our own postgraduate students, to members of staff, to distinguished lecturers who are at the forefront of contemporary research nationally and internationally.
The Centre for Creative Writing hosts a very popular and successful weekly reading series; guests have included poets Katherine Pierpoint, Tony Lopez, Christopher Reid and George Szirtes, and novelists Abdulrazak Gurnah, Ali Smith, Marina Warner and Will Self.
Staff publish regularly and widely in journals, conference proceedings and books. They also edit several periodicals including: Angelaki: Journal of the Theoretical Humanities; The Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature: 600-1500; The Dickensian; Literature Compass; Oxford Literary Review; Theatre Notebook and Wasafiri.
All students registered for a taught Master's programme are eligible to apply for a place on our Global Skills Award Programme. The programme is designed to broaden your understanding of global issues and current affairs as well as to develop personal skills which will enhance your employability.