Psychological and Psychiatric Anthropology MSc
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Click here to watch a recording of our most recent Anthropology postgraduate webinar.
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.
Attendance for lectures full-time: 2 days per week - for 24 weeks
Attendance for lectures part-time: 1 day per week - for 24 weeks (in each of 2 years)
- This MSc gives 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.
Contact our Enquiries team.
Course Enquiries: +44 (0)1895 265599 (before you submit an application)
Admissions Office: +44 (0)1895 265265 (after you submit an application)
The MSc consists of both compulsory and optional modules, a typical selection can be found below. Modules can vary from year to year, but these offer a good idea of what we teach.
- Dissertation in Psychological and Psychiatric Anthropology
- Ethnographic Research Methods
- Themes in Psychological and Psychiatric Anthropology
- Thinking Anthropologically*
- Anthropology of the Body
- Anthropology of the Person
- Kinship, Sex and Gender
- Anthropology and Global Health
- Anthropology of Education and Learning
- Understanding Childhood and Youth
- Ethnicity, Identity and Culture
- Medical Anthropology in Clinical and Community Settings
*Strongly recommended for students without a first degree in Anthropology
- Themes in Psychological and Psychiatric Anthropology and 30 credits of optional modules
- Dissertation in Psychological and Psychiatric Anthropology
- Ethnographic Research Methods and 45 credits optional modules
Read more about the structure of postgraduate degrees at Brunel
and what you will learn on the course.
Careers and your future
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 fields such 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
Entry criteria 2019/20
Entry criteria are subject to review and change each academic year.
International and EU entry requirements
If your country or institution is not listed or if you are not sure whether your institution is eligible, please contact Admissions
This information is for guidance only by Brunel University London and by meeting the academic requirements does not guarantee entry for our courses as applications are assessed on case-by-case basis.
English language requirements
- IELTS: 6.5 (min 6 in all areas)
- Pearson: 58 (51 in all subscores)
- BrunELT: 65% (min 60% in all areas)
You can find out more about the qualifications we accept on our English Language Requirements page.
If you require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK, you must prove knowledge of the English language so that we can issue you a Certificate of Acceptance for Study (CAS). To do this, you will need an IELTS for UKVI or Trinity SELT test pass gained from a test centre approved by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) and on the Secure English Language Testing (SELT) list. This must have been taken and passed within two years from the date the CAS is made.
Should you wish to take a pre-sessional English course to improve your English prior to starting your degree course, you must sit the test at an approved SELT provider for the same reason.
We offer our own BrunELT English Test and have pre-sessional English language courses for students who do not meet requirements or who wish to improve their English. You can find out more information on English courses and test options at the Brunel Language Centre.
Assessment and feedback
Assessment is by essay, practical assignment (e.g. analysis of a short field exercise), and dissertation. There are no examinations.
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.
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 an up to 15,000 word dissertation.
- 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.
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
Internationally respected staff
The programme is run by experts in their field, who have worked in countries across the globe including South, West and East Africa, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, India and Sri Lanka, as well as Britain. Find out more about their research interests by following the links:
Dr Nicolas Argenti
Dr Andrew Beatty
Dr Liana Chua
Dr Peggy Froerer
Dr Eric Hirsch
Dr Maria Kastrinou
Dr Isak Niehaus
Dr Will Rollason
Dr James Staples
Fees and funding
Fees for 2019/20 entry
£8,000 full-time; £4,000 part-time
£15,400 full-time; £7,700 part-time
Some courses incur additional course related costs. You can also check our on-campus accommodation costs for more information on living expenses.
Read about funding opportunities available to postgraduate students
UK/EU students can opt to pay in six equal monthly instalments: the first instalment is payable on enrolment and the remaining five by Direct Debit or credit/debit card.
Overseas students can opt to pay in two instalments: 60% on enrolment, and 40% in January for students who commence their course in September (or the remaining 40% in March for selected courses that start in January).
Fees quoted are per year and may be subject to an annual increase. Home/EU undergraduate student fees are regulated and are currently capped at £9,250 per year; any changes will be subject to changes in government policy. International and postgraduate fees will increase annually in line with RPI, or 5%, whichever is the lesser.
There is a range of financial support available to help you fund your studies. Find out about postgraduate student funding options.