Institution / University College Cork
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Health & Society

Health and wellbeing are critical issues in society. The M.A. in Health and Society is a new and innovative programme which addresses health and its determinants from a rich interdisciplinary perspective. It is aimed at graduates from a broad range of disciplines in the sciences and humanities and is designed to provide a unique and critical analysis of contemporary discourses and issues from an individual, societal and global perspective.

Entry requirements

Applicants should hold a 2.1 degree (or equivalent) in either the disciplines of Philosophy, Public Health, Sociology, Social Science, Geography, Government, Politics, Law, Medicine, Nursing and other health professional programmes. Candidates who hold a 2.2 level may also be considered, based on the information provided in a supplementary statement and/or interview acceptable to the Department selection committee.


1 year Full-time; 2 years Part-time

Careers or further progression

Skills and Career Information
Students will acquire a variety of analytical skills, which will allow them to analyze health from many different perspectives. This MA will enhance opportunities to work in the health sector, at all levels. Careers in the private sector, especially pharmaceutical companies, will also be a possibility for graduates of this programme.

Further enquiries

Contact us
Dr. Alessandro Salice
P: 00 353 21 4903871

Subjects taught

This course is about health, and not exclusively healthcare. Health is both a medical and a social issue. Students taking this course will explore health from a variety of different angles. The unique nature of this course is its interdisciplinary approach, as it brings together experts on issues of health from a vast range of disciplines and colleges, including medicine, epidemiology, philosophy, ethics, sociology, social policy and law. The M.A. in Health and Society is aimed at graduating students in Philosophy, Epidemiology and Public Health, Sociology, Geography and related disciplines and at graduates with continuing education needs, for example managerial staff working in the Health sector.

The M.A. in Health and Society aims to support the development of a set of advanced skills necessary in the practice and management of health and healthcare: practice skills, research skills, critical appraisal skills and clinical reasoning skills.

Students will take three core modules on the following topics: Principles and Practice of Public Health (10 Credits); Critical Social Science Perspective on Public Health (10 Credits); Philosophy and Health (10 credits). They will then choose from a range of modules offered by different disciplines, including law, sociology, social policy, applied psychology, epidemiology and public health, and philosophy. Finally, students will be asked to submit a minor dissertation, of approximately 10,000 words.

By the end of the course, students will be expected to demonstrate in-depth expertise in relation to philosophical, epidemiological sociological and psychological factors which contribute to health and well-being. This MA will open new career options in the health sector, as well as research opportunities in the humanities and social sciences.

Students take 90 credits as follows:

Core modules (60 credits)
EH6025 Principles and Practice of Public Health (10 Credits)
PH6047 Philosophy and Health (10 credits)
SS6019 Critical Public Health (10 credits)

Students select one of the following research modules:

PH6020 Dissertation in Philosophy (30 credits)
EH6040 Dissertation in Public Health and Epidemiology (30 credits)

Elective Modules

Students select 30 credits from the following postgraduate and undergraduate modules (max. 10 credits for undergraduate modules are allowed):

Postgraduate Modules

AP6129 Health Psychology (5 credits)
EH6026 Applied Research for Public Health (10 credits)
LW6531 EU Health Law and Policy (5 credits)
LW6576 The Rights of Persons with Disabilities in International Law (10 credits)
LW6592 Mental Capacity Law (5 credits)
LW6609 Mental Health Law (5 credits)
PH6012 Human Rights 1 (10 credits)
PH6048 The Philosophy of Death and Dying (10 credits)

Undergraduate Modules

Student may select a maximum of 10 credits from the following undergraduate modules
EH4005 Health Services (5 credits)
PH2002 Reasoning and Argument (5 credits)
PH2019 Philosophy of Science (5 credits)
PH2028 Applied Ethics (5 credits)
SC1011 Sociology of Health, Public Health and Health Promotion (5 credits)
SC3023 Sociology of Health and Illness : New Directions and Current Debates (5 credits)
SC3025 Health and Scientific Deviance (5 credits)

Postgraduate Certificate in Health and Society (NFQ Level 9, Minor Award)

Students who pass taught modules to the value of at least 30 credits (but less than 60 credits) may exit the programme and be conferred with a Postgraduate Certificate in Health and Society.

Postgraduate Diploma in Health and Society (NFQ Level 9, Major Award)

Students who pass taught modules to the value of 60 credits may exit the programme and be conferred with a Postgraduate Diploma in Health and Society.


Unique Aspects of the Course
This is an interdisciplinary course that overcomes the boundaries between disciplines in medicine, social sciences and humanities. While health is the focus, students will learn how to approach this complex issue from a variety of methodologies: medical, sociological, philosophical, psychological and legal.

Course Practicalities
There will be approximately 9 hours of lectures/seminars per week. Students will be expected to conduct on average 20 hours of reading per week, on top of the time spent in class.

Who Teaches The Course

Dr Vittorio Bufacchi
Professor John P. Browne
Professor Ivan Perry
Dr. Orla O’Donovan

Assessment method

Each module will be assessed by continuous assessment, end-of-semester examination or a combination of both. The continuous assessment element will take the form of essays and assignments including class presentations. There will also be a final year dissertation of approximately 10,000 words.

Application date

Applications for 2017-18 intake are now open.

While UCC operates a rounds system for Postgraduate Taught courses (detailed below) we would advise you to apply as soon as possible.

Deadline for receipt of Applications: Offers will be made:

For all completed applications received by January 16th 2017 Offers will be made by January 30th 2017

For all completed applications received by March 1st 2017 Offers will be made by March 15th 2017

For all completed applications received by May 1st 2017 Offers will be made by May 15th 2017

For all completed applications received by July 3rd 2017 Offers will be made by July 17th 2017

Late applications may be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis for any courses that have remaining capacity for places.

Non-EU Applicants:

Please visit the following page for further information for Non EU applicants

Course fee

2017/2018 Irish/EU fees: €6,000 full-time; €3,000 per year part-time

Enrolment and start dates

Next Intake: 11 September 2017

Remember to mention gradireland when contacting institutions!