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Postgraduate Taught

MA Cultures and Environments of Health

Please note: The below is for 2025 entries. Click here for 2024 entries.
UCAS code 1234
Duration 1 year full time
2 years part time
Entry year September 2024
Campus Streatham Campus
Discipline History


Typical offer

View full entry requirements

2:2 Honours degree

Contextual offers


  • Based in the inter-disciplinary Wellcome Centre for Cultures & Environments of Health, you will benefit from engaged and transformative research, which draws on medical humanities, social sciences and medical sciences.
  • Examine how experiences of health, illness and medical knowledge are shaped by diverse environments, cultural practices and beliefs.
  • Explore how diverse types of evidence about health and wellbeing are used across different disciplines and sectors, and the impacts this has on the ways we conceive, respond to, and experience health and social care.
  • Investigate how evidence from the medical humanities and social sciences can be used to help develop and evaluate innovative and effective public health initiatives.
  • Upon graduation, you will be equipped to become a leader in transforming health research and health and social care practice within a range of professions.

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View 2024 Entry

Fast Track (current Exeter students)

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Programme Director: Dr Felicity Thomas

Web: Enquire online

Phone: +44 (0)1392 72 72 72

Develop transferable skills, specialist knowledge and professional experience through interdisciplinary teaching

Opportunities for health and social care professionals to undertake reflective learning through focused project work

Learn how to engage with, and communicate complex ideas across diverse publics, practitioners and policy makers

Our Public Health research is 11th in the UK for Research Power

Submitted to UoA2 Public Health, Health Services and Primary Care. REF 2021

Course variants


The MA Cultures and Environments of Health (Medical History and Humanities) offers an unusually large choice of modules, enabling students to take a rich and interdisciplinary approach. The modules available are from across the social sciences, medical sciences and humanities, with expert tuition in all areas including health inequalities, life-course approaches, biosocialities, mental health, urban health and methodological innovation.

Students will be members also of the Centre for Medical History, and its programme of seminars, research workshops, reading groups, skills workshops and social events. This includes also the annual Postgraduate Medical Humanities Conference and The Postgraduate Journal of Medical Humanities (PMJH) - an interdisciplinary journal open to postgraduate students across the world.

  • Gain an in-depth, focused and critical degree which is based on the latest health research across social and medical sciences and medical humanities, and which combines a wide-ranging choice of modules from across these disciplines.
  • Develop academic and individual skills that equip you for further study, employment, or further professional development, and to foster intellectual agility and adaptability, which will enable you to deploy these skills to implement systematic and balanced judgements in a variety of circumstances.
  • Gain methodological skills and specialist knowledge, for advanced study or research in various fields, for professional development, or for employment.
  • Students will benefit from a stimulating and supportive environment that is informed by research.

Please note that the PG Cert and PG Dip is not available for this course variant.


The Wellcome Centre, where the MA programme is based, offers purpose-built facilities including shared common room, computing facilities and meeting pods. The Centre has attracted over £5 million from the Wellcome Trust to develop transdisciplinary and engaged health research, and hosts a vibrant postgraduate and research community. 

The Centre runs a series of events and symposia every year, is home to the WHO Collaborating Centre on Culture and Health, and has close links with a range of other groups and organisations including the Centre for Medical History, Digital Humanities Lab, Peninsula Applied Research Collaboration, the Sexual Knowledge Unit, and UNESCO. 

Entry requirements

We will consider applicants with a 2:2 Honours degree with 53% or above, or international equivalent, in the social sciences, humanities or medical sciences.

Applications from industry professionals, or applicants with relevant work experience will also be welcomed. All applicants should provide a personal statement explaining their interest in the programme and how it fits with their earlier studies.

While we normally only consider applicants who meet this criteria, if you are coming from a different academic background which is equivalent to degree level, or have relevant work experience, we would welcome your application.

Entry requirements for international students

English language requirements

International students need to show they have the required level of English language to study this course. The required test scores for this course fall under Profile B2. Please visit our English language requirements page to view the required test scores and equivalencies from your country.

Course content

This exciting, interdisciplinary programme examines the intersections between the medical humanities, social sciences and medical sciences in addressing some of the most urgent global challenges confronting human health and wellbeing. The programme is ideal for graduates who are planning, or already undertaking a career within public health, health promotion, or health and social care, and those working in health and wellbeing related fields within the statutory, third or community sectors.

The programme has been designed to enable you to recognise and assess the cultural and environmental contexts of health and wellbeing anywhere in the world, and to build your skills to engage effectively with diverse stakeholders to enact meaningful and transformative change.

What is the difference between an MA, a Postgraduate Diploma and a Postgraduate Certificate?

To gain an MA you must complete 180 credits of specified modules.

However, you may apply to study for the shorter PG Cert or PG Dip awards, by completing the following modules:

  • Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert): complete the two core 30 credit modules. See below for details.
  • Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip): complete the two core 30 credit modules, plus optional modules to the total value of 60 credits. See below for details.

PGCert and PGDip students do not complete the 60 credit Dissertation. Only MA students must complete the dissertation to receive their award.

Please note that PGCert and PGDip options are only available for the MA Cultures and Environments and Health. They are not available for the Medical History and Humanities variant.


2024/25 entry

UK fees per year:

MA: £12,000 full-time; £6,000 part-time

PGDip: £7,500 full-time; £3,750 part-time

PGCert: £2,025 part-time

International fees per year:

MA: £24,300 full-time; £12,150 part-time

PGDip: £15,600 full-time; £7,800 part-time

PGCert: £4,125 part-time


We invest heavily in scholarships for talented prospective Masters students. This includes over £5 million in scholarships for international students, such as our Global Excellence Scholarships*.

For more information on scholarships, please visit our scholarships and bursaries page.

*Selected programmes only. Please see the Terms and Conditions for each scheme for further details.

I chose to do the Cultures and Environments of Health MA after gaining an initial interest in health inequalities and the social determinants of health during my undergraduate studies. The course content is diverse and engaging, allowing me to build upon these interests and think about them in different ways from different perspectives.

The core module on Making, Using and Contesting Evidence provided a great opportunity to think and reflect on types of evidence about health and wellbeing and the impacts of these on health and healthcare.

The Wellcome Centre for Cultures and Environments of Health is a really great environment to learn in. I enjoyed how the core modules had a variety of guest lecturers from within the centre and other areas of the university, giving an opportunity to see how the principles taught on the course were being applied to a diverse range of research into health and wellbeing. The support provided for the dissertation was excellent. I found the group sessions on various aspects of the dissertation, from ethics to evidence analysis, to be really useful. My supervisor was excellent and challenged me to develop my work.

I feel this course has prepared me really well for a career in research. I am currently working as a graduate research assistant - I felt confident in drawing on the skills developed throughout the programme during the application process.

Read more from Hayley


Cultures and Environments of Health MA student

Teaching and research

Drawing on the teaching expertise of researchers from across the medical sciences, social sciences and the humanities, this MA delivers transformative learning opportunities that will help tackle health challenges of national and global importance.

Learning and teaching

The taught component of this programme is delivered in the first two terms (full time programme) or five terms (part time programme). During this time, you will also be helped to develop a dissertation project to be completed within the remaining six months. We encourage students to develop their project alongside existing Wellcome Centre activities or in conjunction with the wide range of organisations we collaborate with. Part-time students may be able to develop dissertation projects within their workplace settings if appropriate.

How will I learn

All materials are designed for Masters level and will involve lectures, case studies, seminars and group discussions. Across and within modules, there is considerable scope for you to direct your learning towards particular fields of interest, especially through your choice of dissertation project.


Taught modules will be assessed through essays, written reports and presentations. We use case studies and problem-based learning approaches to encourage you to work collaboratively and learn from each other. Where possible we will include field trips to local community health projects to contextualise your learning.

Read more


Graduates of this Masters programme are well placed to become leaders in transforming health research and health and social care practice within a range of professions. Some examples include:

  • Public Health
  • Health Promotion
  • National and international NGOs
  • Statutory sector e.g. housing, social care
  • Civil society and social enterprise innovating in transformative health

The programme also prepares you for further research, and some graduates may want to go on to PhD study within the Wellcome Centre or elsewhere.

It was a pleasure to learn from researchers with diverse disciplinary backgrounds. I gained a greater understanding of the ways in which cultural ideas about what it means to be 'healthy' are shaped, including by colonialism, medical science and political ideologies. 

I developed my ability to conduct research, drawing on the humanities and social sciences, which imagines different ways of conceptualising health and illness.

Read more from Sally


Cultures and Environments of Health MA student