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Discover the history of health and medicine

History: Medical and Health Humanities

Discuss the relevance of medical history

In this interdisciplinary specialisation you will learn to contextualise medical ideas within their time and culture and to analyse a diverse range of sources, including historical artefacts, comics and films, medical texts and health journalism publications. Drawing on methods from across disciplines, you will broaden your access to tools of investigation beyond the written word to also include the sounds, smells, and the look and feel of the past, as well as its lessons and legacies in the present day.

Learn from our experts

The specialization courses are taught by staff from the Chair of Cultural History (dr. Caro Verbeek and dr. Ab Flipse) and the Chair of Medical History (prof. dr. Manon Parry), as well as by a variety of guest lecturers from universities and medical centres in the Netherlands.

A variety of perspectives

Your fellow students will come from a broad range of backgrounds and disciplines, ranging from historians to physicians in training to former patients and healthcare workers. This will give you the opportunity to learn from a wide variety of perspectives while you critically reflect on issues of great human significance, from birth to death.

The start date of this programme is September 1st.

Study Programme

In addition to the core courses of the master’s programme in History, you will take specialised courses. In the first semester (period 2-3) we offer the first specialisation course: Introduction to Medical and Health Humanities: Themes and History. In the second semester you can choose Knowing by Sensing and Objects of Knowledge (both in period 4).

Students who wish to complete the full master Medical and Health Humanities are required to take all three specialization courses or may replace one course in the second semester by a relevant internship, and also complete a MA-level thesis on medical and health humanities (free choice of subject) under the supervision of participating core or guest staff. External students may enroll in just one, two, or three of the specialization courses offered.

Find an overview of the courses below. Or view all the courses in our Study Guide.

Change your future! Take the Master’s in History: Medical and Health Humanities

Change your future! Take the Master’s in History: Medical and Health Humanities

Your analytical, reading and reporting skills offer ample opportunities. Among other areas students that took our programme hold jobs in public and private organizations, including NGOs. In addition, after a further specialised year of master’s courses, you could find a position in teaching or research.

Explore your future prospects
 Chinese characters in an old book about the human body

Want to know more?

For questions about the Master's Programme:

Contact the coordinators dr. Ab Flipse: a.c.flipse@vu.nl or prof. dr. Manon Parry: m.s.parry@vu.nl.