Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2020-2021 (archived)

Module ANTH46215: Advanced Specialised Aspects in Health and Medical Anthropology (15 credits)

Department: Anthropology

ANTH46215: Advanced Specialised Aspects in Health and Medical Anthropology (15 credits)

Type Open Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Available in 2020/21 Module Cap None.


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Excluded Combination of Modules

  • Students who previously studied at Durham are not permitted to take topics that have substantially similar content to modules taken at Level 3.


  • To develop an understanding of specialised aspects of health and medical anthropology, chosen from a list of topics representing the main areas of research in the Anthropology of Health Research Group.


  • One topic, as available. It is envisaged that 6-8 topics will be offered annually, selected to be representative of the core research areas in health and medical anthropology, which may include:
  • Life history theory
  • Human reproductive ecology
  • Infant and maternal health
  • Global health
  • Human ecology
  • Western diseases
  • Reproduction and ethics
  • Medical humanities
  • Critical medical anthropology

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • At the end of the module, students will be able to: 
  • Demonstrate advanced levels of current knowledge and intensive understanding in one specific area of health and medical anthropology research. 
  • Demonstrate in depth knowledge of a particular area of health and medical anthropology, with emphasis on interpretation, critical evaluation and comprehensive understanding of primary data.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Deploy analytical skills specific to specialised aspects under study in the Anthropology of Health Research Group. 
  • Be competent in accessing and assimilating specialised research literature of an advanced nature. 
  • Show an ability to synthesize data, concepts and theories in a sophisticated manner
Key Skills:
  • Preparation and effective communication of research methods, data, interpretation and arguments in written form. 
  • Advanced critical evaluation skills

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Classes will integrate lecture, tutorial and practical components, with the balance dictated by appropriateness to the research topic in question.
  • Lecture elements will provide students with an outline of key knowledge and debates in the topic area, discuss the literature that students should explore, and provide relevant examples and cases studies.
  • Tutorial elements will develop topics introduced in lectures and required reading to analyse aspects or case studies in greater depth and to prepare students for their summative assignment.
  • Practical components will provide students with hands-on experience of the research.
  • Advanced discussion classes will allow students to develop their skills of critical thinking and evaluation, as well as how to synthesise and interrogate material at a level commensurate with postgraduate attainment. This will support the critical reading log, an annotated bibliography in which the evidence and arguments presented in readings selected by the student and relevant to the written assignment are evaluated and critiqued. This along with the written assignment should show evidence of a higher level of engagement than would be expected at Level 3.
  • Student preparation and reading time will allow engagement with specific references in advance of tutorials and general and particular reading related to the assessment, which will be a written assignment (such as an essay or report).

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Classes 15 Specified in module handbook 1 15
Assessment support class 1 Specified in module handbook 1 1
Preparation and reading 134
Total 150

Summative Assessment

Component: Written assignment Component Weighting: 80%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Written assignment 3500 words 100% yes

Formative Assessment:

You will be given the opportunity to submit a one page formative plan for your written assignment, which will form the basis of the discussion in the assessment support class. Other formative guidance on assessments may differ by topic, and full details will be provided in classes. Typical additional formatives may include presenting ideas related to your assignment topic in class, or an extended essay plan.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University