Health, Medicine and Illness
Questions related to health, medicine and illness are widely researched and debated in the social sciences. There is a need to understand how different ideas about the causes of health and ill health do not just suggest different kinds of interventions, but raise important questions for our understanding of contemporary society, processes of inclusion and exclusion, and ideas of personhood. What is the relationship between community, sustainability and health? And how can we develop new ways of understanding how social identity and disadvantage impact health in the context of a diverse and increasingly fluid world? How do shifts in the biosciences affect medical knowledge and practice, and what is the relationship between biomedicine, governing, and our ideas about ourselves and the family? And what are the major ethical and political dimensions of new forms of biomedical science and technology? In societies preoccupied with autonomy, independence, mobility and self-regulation who cares about those with long term complex social and health needs? How is health care organised and what are the political and personal consequences of how medical and health care, as vital life chances, are distributed?
Cardiff is one of the premier academic institutions in Britain and Europe for the social study of medicine and bioscience, and health and well-being. Our staff are at the forefront of health and medicine studies research. This degree programme is supported by two major research centres: first, The Cardiff Institute of Health and Ethics, and second, the Economic Social Research Council’s Centre for the Social and Economic Aspects of Genomics. In addition, through the School’s strong ties to both the School of Medicine and to Nursing and Health Studies, students have access to experts in all areas of health and medicine.
Degree candidates typically come from a wide range of countries, with very different experiences, and from a range of academic disciplines. This mix makes for an exciting and rich exchange of views, experiences and understandings. Graduates of the Cardiff programme go on to a variety of successful careers in academia, business, government, health services, international agencies, and non-governmental organisations.
The Health, Medicine and Illness specialism is offered within the MSc in Social Science Research Methods under the Sociology Pathway. This MSc provides an excellent preparation for research-based careers in the field of Health, Medicine and Society Studies. Applicants are welcome to take the MSc as a stand alone programme, either as a preparation for other study or as a post-experience qualification. Students may apply for ESRC funding to study the course as part of the ‘1+3’ scheme or after successfully completing the course, can apply to the ESRC for ‘+3’ funding.
The degree scheme is designed to meet the generic and subject specific requirements set out in the ESRC's postgraduate training guidelines.
To obtain the masters degree students must successfully complete taught courses to the value of 120 credits and a 20,000 word dissertation. The programme is divided into the following elements:
- Generic Methods modules: These modules are designed to meet the generic research methods training requirements of the ESRC. They provide a thorough grounding in core social science skills including philosophy of social science, research design and the collection and analysis of qualitative and quantitative data.
- Specialist Health, Medicine and Illness modules: These modules are designed to meet the specialist requirements of the ESRC’s Sociology pathway. They provide a systematic introduction to the specific challenges and approaches found within the field of Health, Medicine and Illness Studies. Topics covered include key theoretical approaches in the social study of health and medicine, and practical issues arising from the investigation of complex, interdisciplinary topics. These include, the contemporary relationship between health, social identity and disadvantage; the impact of biosciences on medical practice, families and individuals; changing patterns and organisation of health care organization; and contemporary forms of medical dominance.
- Methods and Specialist options: These optional modules provide students with the chance to tailor the degree studies to their own research interests by developing additional skills in a particular methodological and/or substantive domain.
- Dissertation: Given the emphasis on research methods training throughout the scheme, the dissertation is a crucial element, giving students the opportunity to apply the methodological and analytic skills developed in the taught element of the scheme to a specific topic.