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COURSE TITLE Master of Arts in Health, Medicine and Society








M.A. (Melit.)

Second Cycle

Level 7

5 Semesters

Part-time Evening


Gillian M. Martin

This M.A. programme includes a taught component of 60 ECTS credits and a research based dissertation worth 30 ECTS credits. It explores the intersection between the medical world (health, illness, professions) with social context and social relations.

The programme will be rooted within the department of Sociology, however teaching synergies across disciplines and faculties will augment the scope and breadth of the programme. The multidisciplinary academic grounding offered in the taught units will then inform the empirical research carried out at the dissertation stage. The programme is expected to lead to a varied profile of research projects which will leave a legacy of relevant and useful data and analysis. The programme will emphasize the importance of dissemination and public communication of results, offering training in the transferable skills required in this respect.

Taught study-units will place the practice of medicine and the experience of health and Illness within a broad historical, geographical and socio-cultural framework and will offer the opportunity to critically engage with topics as varied as the impact of gender on health and illness experience, to power dynamics within the medical context, to chronic illness, stigma and self.

This will be done by using a multi-faceted programme which is built on three key areas of focus:

• the social context of health and illness experience, and practice of medicine
• the interface of medicine and health with beliefs, place, culture and history
• social science research design, practice and analysis
LEARNING OUTCOMES Students will enhance their understanding of the ways individuals and social groups experience and navigate through health and illness, and be critically aware of the negotiation of personal/medical interface and institutional control.

They will be able to critically engage with medical, health and population issues within a broad socio-cultural framework. The programme will focus on four key topics:

1) The sociological perspective of health, Illness and medical practice.
Key learning outcomes: Students will apply sociological theory to the discussion and critical analysis of core topics such as i) the social patterning of health and illness, ii) the lived experience of health and illness iii) the social construction of illness iv) power and knowledge in the medical profession v) citizen health, social movements and social policy in health and medicine.

2) The intersection of medical science with the arts/humanities.
Key learning outcomes: Students will be able to situate the experience of illness and the practice of medicine within a broad cultural, geographical and historical perspective. They will be able to draw on a broad base of academic literature to investigate core topics which will include: i) the concept of the body and embodiment in its cultural context ii) the impact of place on health and illness iii) the history of ideas in medicine iv) epistemology and practical reason in the medical setting .

3) Social science research design and analysis
Key learning outcomes: a) students will be able to critically evaluate published research evidence, demonstrating comprehension and assimilation of quality indicators within both qualitative and quantitative research designs. b) Students will apply scientific and ethical methods in the design of their own empirical research programme to demonstrate comprehension and assimilation of i) philosophical underpinnings of methodological choices ii) reliable and valid sampling techniques iii) sound ethical considerations, iv) analysis of data that is clear, convincing (qualitative) and/or statistically valid (quantitative).

4) reflective analysis for professional development
Key learning outcome: students will demonstrate ability to synthesize and reflect on their experience throughout the course, and outline and update their particular needs for professional development . This will be facilitated by an ongoing online (VLE) reflective portfolio under the tutorship of a specialist mentor .

Key transferable skills will be nurtured and consolidated by using them throughout the programme , demonstrating assimilation through practice during routine assessments. These will include:

1) Critical thinking - analysis, review and commentary of the literature.
2) Bibliographic skills: use of online sources (HYDI), citation methods (REFWORKS).
3) Presentation skills: verbal techniques and use of IT tools.
4) Research analysis IT tools : SPSS (quantitative) nVIVO (qualitative)
5) Dissemination and public communication: use of text, online social media, audio visual presentations.
CAREER OPPORTUNITIES AND ACCESS TO FURTHER STUDY This M.A. has been formally recognised by the Nursing Services Directorate as part of the professional advancement of the nursing profession. It will also add to the CV profile of graduates by providing essential transferable skills related to critical analysis and critical writing , together with those related to conducting research within the social and health contexts.
COURSE INTENDED FOR This M.A. course is open to anyone with an interest in exploring the ways that the experience of health and illness, and the practice of medicine are impacted by social institutions, beliefs and behaviour.

It will appeal to students with a general academic interest in health and society, and also those working in health or medical settings in the public, independent, or voluntary sectors. Graduates with any degree may apply as theoretical concepts will be taught from first principles however it will be of particular relevance to graduates in social science, health/medical science, social wellbeing and the arts.
The Course shall be open to applicants who are in possession of:

(i) a first cycle degree obtained with at least Second Class Honours or Category II in any subject or

(ii) a first cycle degree obtained with at least Third Class Honours or Category III in any subject, provided that they satisfy the Board that they are in possession of other qualifications, including relevant experience, obtained following their first cycle degree.

The admission requirements are applicable for courses commencing in October 2017.

For more detailed information pertaining to admission and progression requirements please refer to the bye-laws for the course available here.



Last Updated: 20 June 2017
The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
Unless for exceptional approved reasons, no changes to the programme of study for a particular academic year will be made once the students' registration period for that academic year begins.

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