Skip to main content Skip to navigation

MA History of Medicine

MA History of Medicine

The Warwick History Department is recognised internationally as a centre for innovative and influential research and is consistently ranked among the best history departments in the UK. The MA in the History of Medicine aims to introduce students to the advanced study of the history of medicine, and to equip them with the conceptual and practical skills to carry out independent historical research in this field. The students on the MA are encouraged to engage with a range of concepts, and to place developments within medical theory and practice in a broad social and cultural framework.

Course overview

The Term One core module ‘Themes and Methods in Medical History’ is designed to introduce students to some of the main historiographical approaches and debates within the history of medicine from the early modern period to the twenty-first century. The module focuses on the evolution of ideas, institutions and practices within medicine, the reception of new approaches and lay responses, the structure of medical practice and the medical professions, and the scientific, social and cultural context of medical intervention. Students are encouraged to situate illness, disease and health care in a broad context, and to frame discussions in seminars in response to a detailed and critical survey of the literature in this area.

 'Matters of Life and Death' is the Term Two core module for the MA in the History of Medicine. The module, taught in the Spring Term, may also be taken by students following any other MA programme in the History Department. 'Matters of Life and Death' will address a range of topics in the history of medicine via selected books and articles authored by teaching and research staff in the Centre for the History of Medicine and Department of History. In each seminar, they will be joined by the author of the week's text(s). Student-led discussions with the authors will enable close study and reflection on each text's sources, methodologies and historiographical and theoretic approaches. This will enable students to consider the emergence of new histories of health, embodiment and medical history, as well as the new challenges of work in the medical humanities. All students are encouraged to relate the module's discussions to their own dissertation research and approaches.

Prospective students may be nominated for Wellcome Awards, as well as Departmental, University and ESRC funding.

A wide range of activities, including a seminar series and regular workshops, are organised by the Centre for the History of Medicine.

Autumn term

Spring term

Summer term

  • Dissertation (20,000 words) (60 CATS)

Optional modules

This team-taught one-term option complements other modules by focusing on the (vast) role of religion in early modernity. Rather than following a chronological structure or dealing with individual denominations, it examines religious issues through (a) the perspectives of different academic disciplines and (b) coverage of key themes. Students will be able to engage with the multiplicity of approaches pursued in the field more generally and by members of the History department in particular.

This optional module is intended to give a critical overview of one of the fastest growing and most dynamic areas of modern historical enquiry - the history of gender and sexuality. It aims to provide students with an understanding of how feminist and queer history has emerged from earlier approaches to the study of history, what makes it distinctive and what its principal strengths and weaknesses might be. It spans geographical period and chronological period.

This module draws on the considerable expertise throughout the department to consider how historians engage with the question of 'empire.' It spans geographical area and chronological period.

This module draws on the considerable expertise throughout the department to consider how historians engage with the question of 'consumption.' It spans geographical area and chronological period.

How can we understand the social and natural world in which we live? Concepts such as ‘nature’, ‘environment’, ‘the body’, ‘the economy’, or ‘society’ help us to classify and order the endless phenoma in the material and natural world that we encounter every day. Yet while such concepts are vital, and seem fixed, transhistorical and objective, they emerged at particular moments in history, their meanings changed, and they were often deployed for particular purposes.

This module investigates the rise, changing meanings and purposes of such ordering concepts and the practices which go with them. It also explores how such concepts and practices reflected the social, economic, and political contexts in which they emerged and flourished.

Outside Option List

Given the availability of History Options in Term 2, students will be allowed to take approved options offered by the Sociology and Philosophy Departments only under exceptional circumstances.

Please contact the Postgraduate and Research Coordinator for more information.

Please note: Please note that only those modules for which there is sufficient demand will actually run.

How to apply


Part-time study

Funding your studies


Master of Arts (MA)


1 year full-time, 2 years part-time


PGT Director, Dr Colin Storer or course director Prof Roberta Bivins