MSc War and Psychiatry
Introduction to the MSc in War and Psychiatry
by Professor Edgar Jones
The MSc in War and Psychiatry at King’s College London is a cutting-edge course with an international reputation. Established in 2005, the research-led programme is designed to tackle pressing contemporary issues in the field of war, conflict and terrorism. The course draws on the wealth of evidence accumulated since World War One and combines this with the very latest findings.
The programme team have won awards for teaching excellence and the course scores consistently highly on the Post-graduate Taught Experience Survey (PTES). A particular strength of the MSc is its multi-disciplinary and multi-national qualities, attracting students from a range of subjects (notably psychology, nursing, war studies, international relations, psychiatry and history) and from many different cultures.
The key feature of the MSc in War and Psychiatry is the accumulated expertise that underpins the programme. The Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience has its origins in the Maudsley Hospital which was opened in 1916 to treat shell-shocked soldiers during World War One and ran some of the first training courses on the psychological effects of combat. Its staff treated civilians traumatised by air-raids in World War Two and recent study conducted by King’s Centre for Military Health Research has addressed rates of post-traumatic stress disorder in UK armed forces deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan and the issue of violence in military families. The programme also calls on external speakers from the armed forces, emergency services, counter-terrorism agencies and military charities.
War and conflict are two of the constants of modern life. They have played a major part in recent history and continue to dominate much of the international agenda. Hence, the psychological impact of war and terrorism lie at the heart of this programme. Where there are physical wounds, psychiatric casualties will follow and they require equal attention and understanding.
This course seeks to explain how people prepare themselves for conflict, protect themselves against extreme or prolonged stress and examines the short- and long-term effects to explore what can be done to mitigate or resolve psychological disorders experienced in conflict. Why young people are drawn to radical movements and what motivates them to take part in violent protest are also explored, together with the impact on societies subjected to these acts.
Meet The Students
Having left the US Navy in 2006, I entered the world of combat journalism and returned to the place I was deployed - Afghanistan. It was there that I came to see up close the psychological impact of modern conflict, both among Nato troops and among Afghan civilians. Of course, little was known then in mainstream media about such challenges and the peculiarities of how they played out in active theatres like Iraq and Afghanistan. The War and Psychiatry MSc was - and still is, to my knowledge - the best medical, historical and psychiatric view into the lives of an entire generation of veterans. As I work towards completion of my Master of Divinity - and ultimately ordination in the priesthood - I bring with me a greater understanding of many of the psychological and spiritual needs of my parish, many of whom will be veterans.
Every lecture and seminar covered a unique fascinating topic, following the development of combat-related psychiatry from its inception to the present day.
The small numbers allowed me to feel confident in sharing my thoughts and questions and nothing was ever too much trouble for my long-suffering supervisor!
Whilst the course was certainly challenging, I felt inspired and supported every step of the way and encouraged to develop my own areas of interest; something which I have taken away with me and continue to use today.
Having graduated in psychology a few years previously, the MSc gave me specialised insight into this fascinating, much needed and increasingly expanding area of mental health.
As a direct result of the MSc I was offered an Assistant Psychologist position at Combat Stress (The Ex-Services Mental Welfare Society) and am thoroughly enjoying being able to apply what I learned and researched in practice.
For me, undertaking an MSc in War and Psychiatry has been one of the best choices I have ever made. I studied history as an undergraduate, and coming from Japan, I have always been interested in exploring how my grandparents’ generation has come to understand their experiences at war. An inter-disciplinary approach to the very important debate surrounding military psychiatry has meant that the course has allowed a level of intellectual creativity, fully nurturing my existing knowledge of history, without losing sight of various academic fields that contributes greatly to the study of military mental health.
That the course attracts a variety of people, from military psychiatrists to people from a business background, is one of its strongest assets. My classmates came from a variety of backgrounds and from all walks of life. Because our programme leader, Prof. Edgar Jones, allowed the floor to be ours during the second half of seminars, we often engaged in a stimulating debate.
The MSc in War and Psychiatry is such a unique and distinguished programme that it often sets me apart from other people with postgraduate degrees. After graduating, I interned at the Embassy of Japan in the UK and am currently working for a strategic communications consultancy. When involved in these types of jobs, knowledge of human resilience and psychological response to conflicts are invaluable. And I strongly believe that international students, especially from Asian countries, should be encouraged to study this very important academic discipline that has global relevance.
In summary, if I could do it all over again, I would – that’s how much I have loved it!
Dr Kumaran Gohula Thevan BMedSci, MBBS, MRCPsych, MSc
Being a Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist, this MSc was very much the first time I have undertaken a course of study purely for interest in the subject and I am very glad that I did. The course has a plethora of interesting seminars, none of which were difficult to understand. I found writing the assignments actually enjoyable and found it really useful combining the analytical approach to history research with the scientific methods I have been more used to in medicine. The topics of seminars were all very relevant to political and cultural current affairs.
I very much enjoyed the approaches to seminars, where students were selected to provide a presentation on their own take on the topic, followed by Prof Jones' teaching. Prof Jones is one of the best teachers I've had the opportunity to experience and students were actively encouraged to discuss their views. These open debates were interesting as the course attracts a wide variety of disciplines, from military psychiatrists and mental health nurses, psychologists, journalists and historians. As a civilian psychiatrist I found understanding how historically psychiatry was formed in the UK and understanding how manifestations of distress and trauma reactions across a general population very useful for my clinical work. My dissertation on the topic of child soldiers has also allowed me to present in clinical forums and conferences, as well as undertaking a clinical and teaching post in Uganda in July 2014. I would definietly, therefore recommend this course to psychiatrists outside of the military.
This was very much the most interesting piece of study I have ever taken in my 15 years of training!
The MSc War and Psychiatry course is an immensely interesting and challenging course that allows the student to explore the history of military psychiatry from WWI up to the Vietnam War.
The second part of the course jumps into the present and investigates topics which are extremely relevant for our time (such as disaster response, international aid, etc.) as well as encouraging the student to pursue his/her own interests in the field.
Discussion groups are small, facilitating animated discussions which are moderated by Programme experts. The course combines an interesting mixture of research-based information with fascinating first-hand experience.
As someone who has successfully completed the course, as well as thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it, I can only recommend it to anyone considering this option.
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The majority of the seminars take place at the Strand Campus in Central London , whilst others are delivered at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at the Denmark Hill Campus in Camberwell, South London .
The course can be taken either in one year (full-time) or two years (part-time), and provides a qualification that seeks to place military psychiatry in its appropriate cultural, historical and social context. The qualification, like the teaching team, holds international recognition.
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Fees and Military Discount 2017-18
Applications for 2017-18
Applications are now being considered for 2017-18. For more information on courses, please see the King's College Admissions Page . Alternatively, you can make an online application now by registering here and following the onscreen instructions.
For those who have applied and are waiting to hear from the Admissions Team, you will receive an email to confirm receipt of your application, which also contains your application number. Please use the application portal to correspond with the Admissions Team.
Alternatively, please contact our Admissions Office.
Note: Some applicants have had difficultes uploading documents to the Admissions portal when using Internet Explorer. Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome usually work well with the portal.
Applications for 2018-19
Applications for the follwoing academic year, 2018-19, will be accepted from mid October 2017 onwards.
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The fees for the 2017-18 academiic year:
Part time tuition fees - Home/EU: £5,200 p.a.
Part time tuition fees - Overseas: £12,975 p.a.
Full time tuition fees - Home/EU: £10,400 p.a.
Full time tuition fees - Overseas: £25,950 p.a.
These tuition fees may be subject to additional increase in subsequent years of study, in line with King's terms and conditions.
Serving members of HM Armed Forces are eligible for a militarry discount. Please contact the Programme Administrator for further details.
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