MA (Hons) Health in Social Science

MA (Hons) Health in Social Science is a 4-year undergraduate degree programme that offers an opportunity to build a robust understanding of the complexity of human experience in the areas of health, illness and the social arrangements for care.

Name MA (Hons) Health in Social Science
UCAS Course Code 2D50
Institution Code E56
Start Date September
Mode of Study 4 years full-time
Programme Director Sally Brown

Please check the Undergraduate Degree Finder to see the specific entry requirements, start date and application deadlines.

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Our MA (Hons) Health in Social Science programme covers a broad range of health-related subjects, drawing on expertise from across the School of Health in Social Science to give students a truly interdisciplinary introduction to the subject. In Years 1 and 2, compulsory courses are delivered through lectures or guided group work and tutorials, which incorporate a variety of classroom activities and small group discussions. In Years 3 and 4, compulsory courses are taught through seminars and workshops and will make use of group and project work to maximise the range of learning opportunities. 

There is also flexibility to study health-related option courses across from the College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine and other College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences subjects. 

Why choose this programme?

Influencing the world since 1583, the University of Edinburgh is the ideal place to explore the complex, changing and topical area of health and social care from an interdisciplinary perspective. You will be guided by world-leading experts in the studies of health and social sciences, utilising a variety of formats to enhance the learning experience.  

Whether you are embarking on your academic journey straight from school or returning as a mature student through less conventional routes, our MA (Hons) Health in Social Science programme offers students a broad-based degree in a field of enduring significance to human societies and leads to a Master of Arts degree upon completion. Our international reputation attests to our excellence in both research and teaching, making us a distinguished choice for those seeking a top-tier education in health and social sciences. 

Our programme also caters for those with a more general curiosity in the subject matter and will prepare them with personal efficacy and skills in analysis, critical thinking, communication, and research and enquiry, as well as giving them experience of materials and ways of working from several disciplines. All students will be well-prepared with understanding and skills to pursue diverse and interesting careers.  

Find out what our students think:


Interdisciplinary Study 

Drawing on a range of interdisciplinary perspectives, students will learn to navigate the intricate interplay of social, political, and cultural forces that shape the experiences of health and care. The degree culminates with consideration of integrated care delivery and the role of communities.  

Our MA (Hons) Health in Social Science allows you to study the relationship between health and illness in diverse social contexts. You will explore the social determinants of health and a range of current priorities in contemporary global health, and aspects of individual experience. Issues of care for both mental and physical health and wellbeing will be introduced throughout the programme.   

Teaching on the MA (Hons) Health in Social Science is lively and uses a variety of formats. Staff come from the range of disciplines represented in the School of Health in Social Science, and bring diverse experience (including health professional experience) and expertise to enrich and support the interdisciplinary nature of the subject matter. 

Community Engagement 

The debate over individual and community is woven through the duration of the course, and draws in the ‘individual’ context of being an individual and the ‘community’ context of wider society and policy. This includes ideas of resilience and the origins of health alongside self-management, responsibility, personalisation, and risk. 

The MA (Hons) Health in Social Science offers the opportunity to learn outside the classroom through an innovative Community Engagement option course which opens up a pathway to new skills, work experience and community-based learning that will enhance your employability.  

Beyond the programme

This programme will interest those considering careers in the expanding health and social care field across the public, independent and voluntary sectors. The field is complex and subject to rapid change, and this multidisciplinary and flexible degree programme equips students to enter this diverse and growing arena for managerial or administrative roles. 

The programme can also be studied as a broad-based degree in an area of perennial and pervasive importance to human societies. For these students, a variety of careers are available such as in journalism, education, international health and social care development, and local and central government. 

Further Study Opportunities

The MA (Hons) Health in Social Science programme equips students for further study, either towards professional accreditation (e.g. in counselling, social work or teaching) or entry onto Masters programmes to advance special interests and/or to extend research competency. 

Find out more about our postgraduate Health options