About the course

This course is open to students already studying medicine, dentistry or veterinary sciences at Bristol or at other universities.

It is a year-long intercalation, usually undertaken after your second year (but it can be after your third or fourth year), at the end of which you transfer back to your home faculty or university and pick up where you left off.

For Bristol students, the degree builds on humanities exposure from the first two years of the MB ChB course, in particular the Human Basis of Medicine and Whole Person Care.

Course aims

This course aims to develop the student's interest in and knowledge and understanding of the contribution of humanities to the accomplished practice of medicine and medical research. It is grounded in the following three disciplines:

  • English literature;
  • Philosophy;
  • History.

We will show you how the humanities can illuminate the context in which medicine and medical research are practised. You will learn some of the knowledge and skills of literary and philosophical analysis and apply these to a broadened conceptualisation of the suffering individual, their medical care and carers, and the historical and epistemological basis on which that care is delivered.

The course seeks to fulfil the General Medical Council's recommendations for a curriculum that is "intellectually challenging", with time for "reflection and personal growth" leading to an "understanding of the social and cultural environment in which medicine is practiced" and an ability to "critically evaluate evidence".

Our aim is to produce better doctors - emotionally and cognitively intelligent, culturally aware and philosophically enquiring.

Units

In addition to two core units specifically focusing on medical humanities, you will  study a general unit in each of the three disciplines. This gives you ample opportunity to learn from and with fellow students in the Faculty of Arts.

Dissertation

For your dissertation you will be required to explore a particular aspect of the medical humanities theme and demonstrate advanced research and writing skills.

More about units

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