MSc Anthropology of Health

The Anthropology of Heath is an optional specialization programme within the structure of our general MSc in Anthropology.

To complete the programme the student will need to choose one optional anthropological course within this field of expertise. Furthermore the fieldwork and master thesis must also concern subjects within the anthropology of health. At the end of the master programme the students who have completed these requirements can ask for a special certificate in Anthropology of Health along with the master degree diploma.

Study Programme

Health, illness, and treatment are conditions that touch all human beings; therefore, all societies must address them by developing medical knowledge, training practitioners, preventing illness, and caring for those who nevertheless become ill. When human beings become ill, many challenges often lie before them. Doctors and other health specialists are sought out, therapeutic options are negotiated and agreed upon, family life is coordinated, etc.

In addition to these changes and challenges to daily life, periods of illness or diagnoses can also trigger personal and family crises. Because of the ethnographic method’s focus on human relations, sense of self, and meaning-making, anthropology has demonstrated special strengths in studies of how individuals, families and other communities understand, manage, and treat illness, and strive for a healthy life.

In particular, the Anthropology of Health looks at how human beings’ efforts to secure health and treat illness are shaped by and contingent on local, national, and international institutions and political processes, and how inequalities in health are thereby created, maintained, or challenged. Another important focus is the use of new biomedical technologies that often raise difficult medical, moral and socioeconomic questions. In this way, during the last decades, the Anthropology of Health has become a well-established and internationally recognized subdiscipline within anthropology, while it has remained a central point of departure for research of societies and cultures in general.