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Study information

Programme Specification for the 2023/4 academic year

MA Cultures and Environments of Health

1. Programme Details

Programme nameMA Cultures and Environments of Health Programme codePTA1HPSHPS81
Study mode(s)Full Time
Part Time
Academic year2023/4
Campus(es)Streatham (Exeter)
NQF Level of the Final Award7 (Masters)

2. Description of the Programme

This interdisciplinary Masters 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 designed for graduates who are seeking high-level training prior to embarking on a doctoral career, and those 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.

Interdisciplinary health research at Exeter
Our Masters programme offers excellent opportunities to broaden and deepen your understanding of the intersections between cultures and environments of health. The MA Cultures and Environments of Health offers an unusually large choice of modules 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.

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, and UNESCO.

Advice and guidance on your programme can be sought from your personal tutor and programme director. All staff offer regular office hours that you can drop into without a prior appointment for this purpose.

3. Educational Aims of the Programme

  • To offer 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.
  • To develop academic and individual skills that equip you for further study, employment, or further professional development, and to foster intellectual agility and adaptability, so as to enable you to deploy these skills to implement systematic and balanced judgements in a variety of circumstances.
  • To provide methodological skills and specialist knowledge, for advanced study or research in various fields, for professional development, or for employment.
  • To provide a stimulating and supportive environment for you that is informed by research.

4. Programme Structure

5. Programme Modules

The following tables describe the programme and constituent modules. Constituent modules may be updated, deleted or replaced as a consequence of the annual programme review of this programme.

The MA Cultures and Environments of Health is a one-year full-time programme of study at National Qualification Framework (NQF) level 7 (as confirmed against the FHEQ). If the programme is taken part-time, 60 credits are taken in year 1 and 60 credits plus a further 60 credits (dissertation) are taken in year 2.

Stage 1

120 credits of compulsory Wellcome Centre modules, 60 credits of optional modules

Compulsory Modules

CodeModule Credits Non-condonable?
HUMM017 Dissertation 60Yes
HUMM018 Cultures and Environments of Health 30No
HUMM019 Making, Using and Contesting Evidence 30No

Optional Modules

CodeModule Credits Non-condonable?
HISM048 Critical Approaches to the Medical Humanities: Health and Disease in the Past 30No
MA Cultures and Environments of Health optional modules 2023-4 [See note a above]
ANTM006 Gardening, Wellbeing and Community 15 No
EASM154 The Body and Identity 30 No
EASM171 Expanding Queerness: Critical Debates in Theory, Literature, Film and Television 30 No
HPDM029Z Nature, Health and Wellbeing 15 No
HPDM033Z Global Public Health and Environmental Change 15 No
HPDM093 Systematic Reviews for Policy and Practice 15 No
HPDM118 Structuring and Solving Public Health Problems 15 No
HPDM122 Planetary Health 15 No
HPDM124 Health Protection 15 No
HPDM141 Pandemics: Drivers, Preparedness and Response 15 No
SOCM016 Cultures of the Life Sciences 30 No
SOCM019 Research Methods in the Social Sciences 15 No
SOCM020 Research Methods in the Social Sciences 30 No
SOCM022 Food, Body and Society 30 No
ANTM021 Food, Body and Society 15 No
HPDM164Z Disability, Social Justice and Climate Resilient Development 15 No
CLAM262 Pandemics and disease in the ancient Mediterranean 15 No
HASM002 Histories of Health in the Middle East and North Africa 30 No

6. Programme Outcomes Linked to Teaching, Learning and Assessment Methods

Intended Learning Outcomes
A: Specialised Subject Skills and Knowledge

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)
On successfully completing this programme you will be able to:
Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) will be...
...accommodated and facilitated by the following learning and teaching activities (in/out of class):...and evidenced by the following assessment methods:

1. Demonstrate an advanced and autonomous ability to explain how diverse disciplinary perspectives influence understandings of health and wellbeing.
2. Demonstrate a sophisticated and intellectually mature ability to analyse literature and other forms of health-related evidence, and to relate its core concerns to broader cultural and environmental contexts.
3. Demonstrate an advanced ability to identify, digest and organise interdisciplinary material and to track debates across disciplinary boundaries.

The taught components of the MA Cultures and Environments of health are delivered in the first two terms, leaving the third for your dissertation.

Modules are taught in seminar groups, with ample time for discussion and interaction. In seminars, you will be expected to take part in debate and present your work. You will be encouraged to discuss your ideas and interact with fellow students and academic staff. Throughput your programme, you will develop and enhance your communication, analytical, and critical thinking skills.

During your modules, you will be assisted by the coursework you produce, such as presentations and essays. The final assessment piece will be your dissertation. You will identify, plan, research and write an independently researched 15,000 word dissertation that will display your subject knowledge and methodological skills. The dissertation is your opportunity to explore a topic that interests you in greater detail, and may be something that forms the basis of further research or other portfolio.

Modes of assessment are combined in a varied way across each module in line with the module’s intended learning outcomes. You should consult module descriptors for a detailed breakdown of assessment modes within each module. The range of assessment modes employed across the programme include the following:

  1. individual and group presentations
  2. critical review
  3. essay
  4. policy brief
  5. dissertation

Intended Learning Outcomes
B: Academic Discipline Core Skills and Knowledge

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)
On successfully completing this programme you will be able to:
Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) will be...
...accommodated and facilitated by the following learning and teaching activities (in/out of class):...and evidenced by the following assessment methods:

4. Demonstrate a detailed knowledge of the area under investigation, engaging critically and analytically with selected conceptual and theoretical approaches from a range of disciplinary perspectives
5. Demonstrate a detailed understanding of theories and methods and how diverse disciplinary perspectives inform critical debates on health and wellbeing
6. Define a research topic and sustain a complex process of independent research reflecting the inter-relations between cultures and environments of health

As above

4. Methods 1-5 as listed above
5. Methods 1-5 as listed above
6. Dissertation

Intended Learning Outcomes
C: Personal/Transferable/Employment Skills and Knowledge

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)
On successfully completing this programme you will be able to:
Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) will be...
...accommodated and facilitated by the following learning and teaching activities (in/out of class):...and evidenced by the following assessment methods:

7. Demonstrate initiative and originality in problem solving, act autonomously at a professional level
8. Work effectively independently and in a group, clarifying tasks and making use of personal resources to achieve advanced research and problem solving tasks
9. Think critically, analyse, challenge and identify convergences across diverse disciplinary understandings relating to health and wellbeing
10. Engage confidently in academic discourse and develop critical communication skills that enable you to engage effectively across multiple audiences

As above

7. Methods 1-5 as listed above, especially the dissertation
8. Individual and group presentations, critical review, essay, policy brief
9. Methods 1-5 as listed above
10. Methods 1-5 as listed above

7. Programme Regulations


Full details of assessment regulations for all taught programmes can be found in the TQA Manual, specifically in the Credit and Qualifications Framework, and the Assessment, Progression and Awarding: Taught Programmes Handbook. Additional information, including Generic Marking Criteria, can be found in the Learning and Teaching Support Handbook.

8. College Support for Students and Students' Learning

In addition to the centrally provided services detailed in section 9, the Department provides:

  • Team Skills Development Programme
  • Student Handbooks and module guides (available in print and on the department websites)
  • ELE based learning support materials and activities (Hercules)
  • Access to teaching staff – times when staff are available are posted on office doors and contact email addresses provided in student handbooks
  • Student representation at department meetings and College Teaching Committee
  • Student progress review and reporting via reserved agenda items at department meetings

9. University Support for Students and Students' Learning

Please refer to the University Academic Policy and Standards guidelines regarding support for students and students' learning.

10. Admissions Criteria

Undergraduate applicants must satisfy the Undergraduate Admissions Policy of the University of Exeter.

Postgraduate applicants must satisfy the Postgraduate Admissions Policy of the University of Exeter.

Specific requirements required to enrol on this programme are available at the respective Undergraduate or Postgraduate Study Site webpages.

11. Regulation of Assessment and Academic Standards

Each academic programme in the University is subject to an agreed College assessment and marking strategy, underpinned by institution-wide assessment procedures.

The security of assessment and academic standards is further supported through the appointment of External Examiners for each programme. External Examiners have access to draft papers, course work and examination scripts. They are required to attend the Board of Examiners and to provide an annual report. Annual External Examiner reports are monitored at both College and University level. Their responsibilities are described in the University's code of practice. See the University's TQA Manual for details.

(Quality Review Framework.

14. Awarding Institution

University of Exeter

15. Lead College / Teaching Institution

Faculty of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (HASS)

16. Partner College / Institution

Partner College(s)

Not applicable to this programme

Partner Institution

Not applicable to this programme.

17. Programme Accredited / Validated by


18. Final Award

MA Cultures and Environments of Health

19. UCAS Code

Not applicable to this programme.

20. NQF Level of Final Award

7 (Masters)

21. Credit

CATS credits ECTS credits

22. QAA Subject Benchmarking Group

23. Dates

Origin Date


Date of last revision