Psychological and Psychiatric Anthropology MSc

  • Overview
  • Course Content
  • Special Features
  • Teaching & Assessment
  • Employability
  • Fees
  • Entry Criteria

About the Course

  • Do our categories of behaviour – normal and abnormal – translate across cultures?
  • Why do ethnic minorities have different experiences of mental health?
  • Is there a ‘human nature’ underneath all the cultural differences?

Anyone interested in psychological processes, feeling and expression, memory and trauma, culture and personality, will have asked themselves questions of this kind. However, they are less likely to have asked themselves how (or if) we can recognise and analyse different emotions in other cultural settings.

In this new MSc degree, the first of its kind anywhere in Europe, we tackle these and other issues from an anthropological perspective, looking at the social and cultural dimensions of human experience. By engaging with debates on these important topics and through the examination of world ethnography (including the UK), participants will learn about selfhood, emotion, madness and identity in cultural context.

Anthropology at Brunel is well-known for its focus on ethnographic fieldwork: as well as undertaking rigorous intellectual training, all our students are expected to get out of the library and undertake their own, original research – whether in the UK or overseas – and to present their findings in a dissertation.  Students take this opportunity to travel to a wide variety of locations across the world – see “Special Features” for more details.

Aims

This MSc aims to give candidates a solid grounding in key topics in psychological and psychiatric anthropology. Through detailed consideration of cases from Britain and around the world, we explore the ways in which person, emotion, and subjectivity are shaped through cultural practices.

Candidates from backgrounds in health, therapy, social work and psychology will be able to challenge the categories and assumptions inherent in standard approaches to psychological and behavioural issues.

Enquiries

Admissions and Course Enquiries
Web: Admissions Enquiries Information
Tel (before application): +44 (0)1895 265599 (Course Enquiries)
Tel (after application): +44 (0)1895 265265 (Admissions Office)
Contact Admissions or Course Enquiries Online

Course director: Dr Andrew Beatty

Related Courses

Course Content

Modules are subject to variation and students are advised to check with the College on whether a particular module of interest will be running in their year of entry.


Full-time

  • Dissertation in Psychological and Psychiatric Anthropology (60 credits)

Term 1 (September to December)

  • Ethnographic Research Methods 1 (15 credits)
  • Compulsory Reading Module: Political and Economic Issues in Anthropology (0 credits)
  • Themes in Psychiatric Anthropology (15 credits)
  • Themes in Psychological Anthropology (15 credits)

Term 2 (January to April)

  • Ethnographic Research Methods 2 (15 credits)
  • Compulsory Reading Module: Contemporary Anthropological Theory (0 credits)

Approved options to the value of 60 credits – 30 credits each term

Term 1 (September to December)

  • The Anthropology of the Body (15 credits)
  • The Anthropology of Childhood (15 credits)
  • The Anthropology of Youth (15 credits)
  • Ethnicity, Culture and Identity (15 credits)
  • Medical Anthropology in Clinical and Community Settings (30 credits)

Term 2 (January to April)

  • Anthropology of the Person (15 credits)
  • Kinship, Sex and Gender (15 credits)
  • Anthropology of Global Health (15 credits)
  • Applied Medical Anthropology in the arena of Global Health (15 credits)
  • Anthropology of Education (15 credits)
  • Anthropology of Learning (15 credits)


Part-time

Year 1

Term 1 (September to December)

  • Themes in Psychiatric Anthropology (15 credits)
  • Themes in Psychological Anthropology (15 credits)
  • Compulsory Reading Module: Political and Economic Issues in Anthropology (0 credits)

Term 2 (January to April)

  • Compulsory Reading Module: Contemporary Anthropological Theory (0 credits)

Year 2

  • Dissertation in Psychological and Psychiatric Anthropology (60 credits)

Term 1 (September to December)

  • Ethnographic Research Methods 1 (15 credits)

Term 2 (January to April)

  • Ethnographic Research Methods 2 (15 credits)

Approved options to the value of 60 credits

Year 1

Term 1 (September to December)

  • The Anthropology of Childhood (15 credits)
  • The Anthropology of Youth (15 credits)
  • Medical Anthropology in Clinical and Community Settings (30 credits)

Term 2 (January to April)

  • Anthropology of Global Health (15 credits)
  • Applied Medical Anthropology in the arena of Global Health (15 credits)
  • Anthropology of Education (15 credits)
  • Anthropology of Learning (15 credits)

Year 2

Term 1 (September to December)

  • The Anthropology of the Body (15 credits)
  • Ethnicity, Culture and Identity (15 credits)

Term 2 (January to April)

  • Anthropology of the Person (15 credits)
  • Kinship, Sex and Gender (15 credits)

Module descriptions View module descriptions

Special Features

This degree looks at psychological and psychiatric topics from an anthropological perspective. There is an overlap with psychology and psychiatry in the things we look at (identity, consciousness, cognition, mental health etc., but the approach is quite different; indeed, the findings can be startlingly different. In all cases, we explore the point of view and experience of the insider, the ‘native’, in a range of cultures; we analyse this inside view in relation to the social and cultural environment. What we seek is a dynamic conception of human nature that is true to experience as well as illuminating broader social processes of which the individual may be only partly aware.

This degree challenges standard assumptions about normality and deviance, social and personal identity, the boundaries of the self, and the constituents of experience. For those employed in the health, social and educational sectors, it will enhance professional practice and broaden understanding. But for every student it will open up new avenues.

The programme is run by experts in their field, who have worked in countries across the globe including Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, sub-Saharan Africa, Melanesia, India and Sri Lanka, as well as Britain.

All our degrees (whether full- or part-time) combine intensive coursework, rigorous training in ethnographic research methods, and a period of fieldwork in the summer term (final summer term if part-time) leading to a 15,000 word dissertation. Students are free to choose their own research topic and geographic area, in consultation with their academic supervisor. In all cases, the dissertation research project provides valuable experience and in many cases it leads to job contacts – forming a bridge to a future career or time out for career development. In recent years, students have undertaken fieldwork in locations across the world, including India, Mexico, Bolivia, Papua New Guinea, China, Nepal, Peru, Morocco, and New Zealand as well as within the UK and the rest of Europe.

 A few examples of completed dissertations across our Anthropology courses include:

  • Psychological suffering on the borders of Myanmar/Thailand
  • An Inuit trauma unit in Ottawa, Canada
  • NGOs and youth activism in Trinidad
  • Neo-shamanism in Germany
  • Outcast London: attitudes and perspectives among hard-to-reach TB patients
  • Volunteer tourism and its impact on children in Nepal
  • Rap music and politics in Equatorial Guinea
  • Ayahuasca use among Westerners in the Amazon
  • Religious education in London’s secondary schools
  • Mental health in Ghana
  • The Tibetan diaspora in India
  • Life on a forensic psychiatric ward in Britain
  • Gender and sexuality in a hammam in Cairo
  • Youth and unemployment in Bari, Italy
  • Cultural factors and the experience of dementia in the UK
  • Management of diabetes in Cambodia
  • Trachoma and medical pluralism in Ethiopia
  • Training as a transcultural psychic in London

Find out more about our course team and their research interests

Assessment

Assessment is variously by essay, practical assignment (eg analysis of a short field exercise), and dissertation. There are no examinations.

Careers

Candidates will acquire analytical and research skills that can be applied in a vast range of careers (overlapping with those catered for by sociology and anthropology). For those taking time out from an established career, the degree will enhance professional development in such fields as psychology, psychiatry, nursing, social work, education, social policy, charities and development. There is also the opportunity for graduates to do further research for a PhD in psychiatric-focused anthropology.

At Brunel we provide many opportunities and experiences within your degree programme and beyond – work-based learning, professional support services, volunteering, mentoring, sports, arts, clubs, societies, and much, much more – and we encourage you to make the most of them, so that you can make the most of yourself.

» More about Employability

Fees for 2015/16 entry

UK/EU students: £7,000 full-time; £3,500 part-time

International students: £13,500 full-time; £6,750 part-time

Read about funding opportunities available to postgraduate students

Fees quoted are per annum and are subject to an annual increase.

Entry Requirements

A UK first or second class Honours degree or an equivalent internationally recognised qualification

Applicants with other degrees that have relevant experience will be considered on an individual basis.

Applicants will be interviewed either in person or by telephone. 

Entry criteria are subject to change.

English Language Requirements

  • IELTS: 6.5 (min 6 in all areas)
  • Pearson: 58 (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.

Our International Pathways and Language Centre offers a range of foundation and pre-masters courses to provide you with the academic skills required for your chosen course.

Page last updated: Tuesday 11 November 2014