Sociology of Health and Illness MSc
- Special Features
- Course Content
- Teaching & Assessment
- Entry Criteria
About the CourseThis course is one of a few in the UK to combine the inter-disciplinary approaches of Medical Sociology with Media and Communications to critically examine the key themes in the sociology of health and illness.
Health and illness are central to our lives and are major areas of work, policy and debate in society. This programme explores key topics including: the experiences of health and illness; the nature of the health professions; health inequalities; the rise of new health technologies; and the ways in which social class, gender, age and ethnicity shape private troubles and public issues in relation to health.
AimsSpecifically, the programme aims to:
- equip students with the sociological skills necessary to engage with the key debates in Sociology of Health and Illness;
- enable students to critically apply the key theories and concepts used in the Sociology of Health and Illness to understand important dimensions of modern society;
- equip students to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of classic and contemporary sociological debates in the Sociology of Health and Illness;
- understand and critically review historical, current and emerging developments in the broad and dynamic field of the sociology of health and illness;
- apply critical arguments to current problems, debates and controversies on the relationships between health, medicine and society;
- provide a stimulating teaching and learning environment in a small and friendly Department by enabling students to benefit from first hand exposure to world class staff research;
- provide an open and supportive learning environment by encouraging students to draw on their own experiences and relate them to the courses;
- offer skilled supervision, encouraging students to attain a high level of competence in the design and execution of a Sociology of Health and Illness research project which forms a major element of their assessment.
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- The only Sociology Department to offer a cluster of complementary Master’s programmes covering health, medicine and technology from a sociological/science studies perspective:
- MSc Medicine, Bioscience and Society
- MSc Science, Technology and Contemporary Society
- MSc Sociology of Health and Illness
- This choice of programmes enables students to specialise within this exciting field.
- A unique and inter-disciplinary approach enables students to explore modules across Medical Sociology and Anthropology, Science and Technology, and Media and Communications.
- Internationally renowned, the Centre for Biomedicine and Society (CBAS) has an expanded research remit (including forensics and media studies), offering the opportunity to study in a large, vibrant and innovative research community.
- Professors Clare Williams and Steven Wainwright are editors of the Journal of Sociology of Health and Illness.
- Strong links with international institutions and the opportunity to study abroad. These include the Rathenau Institute in The Hague, Europe’s leading centre for Science Policy Research, and Goethe University in Frankfurt, a leading international research university.
- The widest choice of modules and related programmes in South East England and one of only a few universities to provide options in Anthropology and Psychology.
- A focus on real world issues such as experiences of health and illness, inequalities in health, and the changing role of the health professions.
- Taught by renowned experts who are actively engaged in the media and are sought-after by policy makers – find out more about our course team and their research projects.
Cluster programme guide:
Medicine, Bioscience and Society MSc
- Primary focus on medicine and bioscience from a sociological/science studies perspective
- Minimimal discussion of natural and environmental sciences, non-bio technologies and the social shaping and experiences of health and illness
- Primary focus on science and technology from a sociological / science studies perspective
- Minimal discussion of the life sciences and health technologies
- Primary focus on sociology and illness from a sociological perspective
- Secondary focus on innovative health technologies
Typical ModulesAll modules are subject to change.
- Sociology of Health and Illness
- Dissertation in Sociology of Health and Illness
- Body, Media and Society
Sociology and Communications
- Bioethics and Society
- Forensic Science and Society
- Global Media
- Issues and Controversies in Media and Communications
- Making Web Cultures
- Media Audiences
- Medicine, Bioscience and Society
- Popular Culture
- Qualitative Methods in Social and Cultural Research
- Quantitative Data Analysis
- Science, Technology and Contemporary Society
- Science and Policy Engagement
- The Creative Industries
- Anthropology and Global Health
- Anthropology of Biomedicine and Psychiatry
- Anthropology of Disability and Difference
- Anthropology of the Body
- Anthropology of the Person
- Kinship and New Directions in Anthropology
- Medical Anthropology in Clinical and Community Settings
- Multidisciplinary Approaches to Health
- Psychology of Managing Illness
- Understanding Health
Typical DissertationsExamples of dissertations in previous Master’s programmes run by CBAS:
- ‘Some babies are more special than others’: overcoming the shortage of donor oocytes in the UK
- A Bourdieusian approach to the shifting paradigms shaping the ‘good doctor’; what can widening access contribute to the medical habitus?
- A social approach to HIV/AIDS prevention in South Africa
- An investigation into whether extremely premature babies should be resuscitated
- Changing perspectives of egg donation in the United Kingdom: a social science review
- Cultural stigma and depression
- How has the doctor-patient relationship changed and what role do sociological factors play in this change?
- How do social factors affect perceptions of health and illness? The case of the Tamil diaspora from Sri-Lanka in London
- Brunel students will benefit from our inter-disciplinary research-led approach (informed by our research centre CBAS) and our international opportunities, developing ‘distinctive graduates’ who will be highly desirable to employers.
- Students will develop their critical thinking skills and will be encouraged undertake effective independent learning though a variety of student-centred teaching methods, assessment and a major research project.
- The programme is relevant to those who work in the healthcare sector, and aims to encourage knowledge transfer (from ‘University to work’ and vice versa) by encouraging a critical engagement with the worlds of bioscience and medicine.
- Further study – PhD in a similar subject and an opportunity to study/collaborate with our international partners.
- Further professional study e.g. as a bridge to a degree in Medicine or Dentistry.
- A wide range of careers in the health and bioscience sectors – potential jobs after completing this course include clinical trials manager in a pharmaceutical company, research associate in clinical and non-clinical research studies at the interface of medicine and society, science writer, roles within medical charity organisations, and many more.
UK/EU students: £5,800 full-time; £2,900 part-time
International students: £13,500 full-time; £6,750 part-time
Fees quoted are per annum and are subject to an annual increase.
Entry RequirementsA relevant UK honours degree of 2:1 standard or overseas equivalent.
We expect the programme will appeal to students from social science, humanities, and biological and other natural science backgrounds.
English Language Requirements
- IELTS: 6.5 (min 6 in all areas)
- TOEFL Paper test: 580 (TWE 4.5)
- TOEFL Internet test: 92 (R20, L20, S20, W20)
- Pearson: 59 (51 in all subscores)
- BrunELT 65% (min 60% in all areas)
Brunel also offers our own BrunELT English Test and accept a range of other language courses. We also have a range of Pre-sessional English language courses, for students who do not meet these requirements, or who wish to improve their English.