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Medical Humanities MSc

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Find answers to intriguing questions such as what is health? What is illness? What can the humanities contribute to healthcare? How do they differ from the sciences? And what can they tell us about illness? Explore the links between the humanities and medicine on one of the most established course in Medical Humanities in Europe.  Medical Humanities are a growing field of study that produces powerful, innovative analyses of today’s healthcare issues. 

Key benefits

  • Unrivalled central London location, giving immediate access to important medico-historical and cultural resources, including libraries, galleries, archives and museums, eg The Wellcome Collection and Library, the Hunterian Museum, the National Portrait Gallery, the British Library etc.
  • World class expertise in a breadth of subject areas, including: History of Psychiatry, Literature & Medicine, Philosophy of Medicine & Mental Disorder, Medical Portraiture, Nursing & Film, Bioethics.
  • Taught at the Wellcome-funded Centre for the Humanities & Health, which supports the research activities of internationally renowned scholars in the field; has a vibrant and active post-graduate and post-doctoral community; and hosts a lively programme of seminars, conferences and events.
  • Close links between the Faculty of Arts & Humanities and one of the largest Schools of Biomedicine in Europe.

Key information

Application status Open

Duration One year FT, two years PT, September to September

Study mode Full-time, Part-time

Credit value UK 180/ECTS 90

Course intake No set number.

Course leaders Professor Brian Hurwitz -  brian.hurwitz@kcl.ac.uk

Further details

Course contact for further information Postgraduate Admissions Team, Admissions Office tel: +44 (0) 20 7848 7000 fax: +44 (0) 20 7848 7200

Course contact form Postgraduate admissions

Awarding institution King's College London

Faculty Faculty of Arts & Humanities

Department Department of English



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Course detail


The Medical Humanities are a growing field of scholarship that produces powerful, innovative analyses of today’s healthcare issues. You will study the fundamentals of the field and develop analytical and critical skills that will enable you to address questions such as:

  • Does studying the humanities make us more humane
  • How are the humanities different from the sciences, and what new angles do they offer on old ethical dilemmas?
  • What is health? What is illness?
  • What kind of evidence about illness does literature provide?
  • What is narrative and how embedded are narrative ways of thought in health care practice?
  • You will leave us with a deep understanding of how a variety of humanities disciplines conceive of health and illness and of the contributions these can make to healthcare. The disciplines we cover include Philosophy, Literature, Film, Psychiatry, Art History and Nursing, leading to skills in the visual, bioethical, literary, historical and philosophical analyses of healthcare.
  • Based on our previous Literature & Medicine MA, this MSc allows you to choose from a broader range of modules, interact with a wider range of students, and gain a firm grounding in the medical humanities by following common required modules. Your fellow students will come from a wide variety of academic and health backgrounds, from biosciences such as medicine, nursing, psychology and from health law, social work and humanities such as philosophy, film and literary studies.

Further literature

https://www.kcl.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/apply/enquiry-form.aspx www.kcl.ac.uk/prospectus/graduate/medical_law; www.kcl.ac.uk/prospectus/graduate/index/name/philosophy_of_mental_disorder

Course format and assessment


If you are a full-time student, we will give you five to nine hours of teaching each week through lectures and seminars, and we will expect you to undertake 34 hours of self-study.

You will write your dissertation in your summer, for which we will give you four hours of supervision.

Typically, one credit equates to 10 hours of work.

Your performance will be assessed mainly through written coursework or presentations. Forms of written assessment typically include essays. Coursework contributes approximately 100% and examinations approximately 0% to your final mark.

This course is primarily taught at the King’s College London Strand Campus. Our location in the heart of London gives you easy access to important medico-historical and cultural resources, including libraries, galleries, archives and museums, for example The Wellcome Collection and Library, the Hunterian Museum, the National Portrait Gallery and the British Library. You will also be studying in one of the world’s most vibrant and dynamic cities with a huge number of cultural and social opportunities.

Regulating body
King's College London is regulated by the Office for Students.

Extra information


Year 1

Courses are divided into modules. You will normally take modules totalling 180 credits.
Required Modules

You are required to take:

  • Themes in Medical Humanities (40 credits)
  • Advanced Skills for the Medical Humanities (20 credits)
  • Dissertation (60 credits)
Optional Modules

In addition, you are required to take three modules (totalling 60 credits) from a range of optional modules that may typically include:

  • Illness Narrative as Life Writing (20 credits)
  • The Concept of Mental Disorder (20 credits)
  • Narrative Medicine (20 credits)
  • Medicine on Screen (20 credits)
  • Medical Discourses (30 credits)
  • The Clinical Encounter in 20th century French Literature (20 credits)
  • Genres of Science Writing in the Nineteenth Century (20 credits)
  • The History of the Senses, 1680–1820 (20 credits)
  • Body & Society in Early Modern Europe (20 credits)
  • People, Portraits & Things (20 credits)
  • London Histories of Medicine & Science (20 credits)
  • Law & Reproduction I and II (20 credits each)
  • Up to 30 credits from master’s modules offered by the Faculty of Social Science & Public Policy, subject to approvals

King’s College London reviews the modules offered on a regular basis to provide up-to-date, innovative and relevant programmes of study. Therefore, modules offered may change. We suggest you keep an eye on the course finder on our website for updates.

Entry requirements & how to apply

Medical Humanities Entry Requirements
Minimum requirements 2:1 An undergraduate clinical qualification, eg in Medicine or Nursing, or at least a 2:1 bachelors degree in a humanities or a science discipline. Other relevant degree-level qualifications will be considered.
International requirements   Visit our admissions webpages to view our International entry requirements.
English Language requirements Band C Visit our admissions webpages to view our English language entry requirements.


Application procedure

Please contact Professor Brian Hurwitz by email in the first instance to express interest in this MSc.

Applications must be made online using King’s online application portal apply.kcl.ac.uk and a non-refundable application fee of £70 applies.


Personal statement and supporting information

You will be asked to submit the following documents in order for your application to be considered:

Document checklist
Personal Statement Yes A personal statement of up to 4,000 characters (maximum 2 pages) is required. Applicants should use their personal statement to explain why they think they are suitable for the course.
Previous Academic Study Yes A copy (or copies) of your official academic transcript(s), showing the subjects studied and marks obtained. If you have already completed your degree, copies of your official degree certificate will also be required. Applicants with academic documents issued in a language other than English, will need to submit both the original and official translation of their documents.
References Yes Two references are required with at least one academic. Professional references will be accepted if you have completed your qualifications over five years ago.
Other  Optional You may wish to include a CV (Resume) or evidence of professional registration as part of your application.


Application closing date

We recommend that you submit your application as soon as possible. Our first application deadline is the 31 March 2020. After this date, applications will remain open if places are available, but programmes will be closed as soon as they are full. For programmes with spaces remaining, no further applications will be accepted from non-EU (Overseas) nationals after 31July 2020 or from UK/EU nationals after 28 August 2020.

Please note you will not be eligible for an application fee refund if you apply after the first application deadline and places are filled before the final deadlines above and we are unable to process more offers.

Help and support

If you don't have a suitable qualification for direct entry to a UK university, or if English isn't your first language, our academic preparation courses can help you get ready for study in the UK.

Preparation courses

Fees and funding

  • Full time Home/EU fees: £9,990 per year (2020/21)
  • Full time overseas fees: £22,350 per year (2020/21)
  • Part time Home/EU fees: £4,995 per year (2020/21)
  • Part time overseas fees: £13,275 per year (2020/21)

Students starting their programme in 2020/21 who are eligible to pay EU fees will pay the same rate of tuition fees as UK students. This will apply for the duration of their programme, but may be subject to change by the UK Government for subsequent cohorts from 2021/22.

These tuition fees may be subject to additional increases in subsequent years of study, in line with King’s terms and conditions.


When you receive an offer for this course you will be required to pay a non-refundable deposit to secure your place. The deposit will be credited towards your total fee payment.

The UK/EU deposit is £500.

The INTERNATIONAL deposit is £2,000. 

  • If you receive an offer on or before 31 March 2020, payment is due by 30 April 2020.
  • If you receive an offer between 1 April 2020 and 30 June 2020, payment is due within one month of receiving the offer.
  • If you receive an offer between 1 July 2020 and 31 July 2020, payment is due within two weeks of receiving the offer.
  • If you receive an offer on or after 1 August 2020, payment is due within 2 days of receiving the offer.

    If you are a current King’s student in receipt of the King's Living Bursary you are not required to pay a deposit to secure your place on the programme. Please note, this will not change the total fees payable for your chosen programme.

 Additional costs/expenses

In addition to the costs above, you can also expect to pay for: 

  • Books if you choose to buy your own copies 
  • Clothing for optional course related events and competitions 
  • Library fees and fines 
  • Personal photocopies 
  • Printing course handouts 
  • Society membership fees 
  • Stationery 
  • Graduation costs
  • Travel costs for travel around London and between campuses 

Please visit our web pages on fees and funding for more information.

Financial help and support

Visit the fees and funding webpages to find out more about bursaries, scholarships, grants, tuition fees, living expenses, student loans and other financial help available at King's.

Career prospects

The course will appeal to you if you are a medical or health professional, a student of health policy or if you want to pursue further academic study in medicine and/or the humanities, if you are hoping to study on a Medical Humanities PhD course, or if you are thinking about a career in journalism or bioethics.


Next steps

View our postgraduate guide

Learn more about postgraduate degree programmes at King's. Download or view our guide in PDF format.

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