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History of Welfare & Medicine in Society

This innovative MA programme enables you to critically engage with debates in welfare and medical history in the modern period, within Ireland and internationally. Themes include eugenics; migration; institutionalisation and patients’ experiences, analysed through social, gender, class and post-colonial history.
-The MA has a reputation for excellence taught by lecturers with international profiles.
-Modules are taught through seminars. You will develop expertise in presenting, analytical thinking, effective communication, and writing with clarity and precision.
-The dissertation, at the core of the MA, allows you to engage your own research-based interests.

Medicine, illness and welfare occupies a central place in all our lives. The MA is designed to enable students who want to understand the place of medicine and welfare in society and history (c1750-1980) and to engage with some critical debates. Students will have the opportunity to explore themes through various media including film, literature, and art, amongst others.
-How did culture and society respond to disease, health campaigns, new medical theories and innovations? Is there a relationship between medicine, welfare, ethnicity and identity?
-How is medical and lay knowledge of sickness and therapeutics formed?
-Can an understanding of these questions help in the development of current public health policy?
-The MA provides a comprehensive understanding of historical methodologies and their potential application to current debates about disease and welfare.
-The practical skills – project-management, writing with clarity and precision, and communication skills – garnered are essential for a range of careers including teaching, all forms of media, politics and academia.

Entry requirements

MA in Social and Cultural History of Medicine

You will need:
- A primary degree in an appropriate field such as a Bachelor of Arts, or in a cognate discipline such as medicine and nursing.
- You must supply details of any third level institutions you have attended and professional qualifications you have attained.

- Excellent academic grades (3.2 GPA; B-). Transcripts will be required

- You will be asked to complete a supporting statement outlining your reasons and motivation for wishing to undertake the course

- Two references from referees who are in a position to assess your intellectual ability, maturity and motivation.

If English is not your native language, unless you have done your primary degree through English in an English speaking country, an English language qualification is required for all programmes.


Z240: 1 year full-time or Z241: 2 years part-time.

Careers or further progression

You will be equipped to excel in numerous careers that place critical thinking, precision in writing and communication, and time- and project-management at the heart of success.

Graduates secure employment media, teaching, politics and in private and public sector management and policy.

Some graduates proceed to PhD studies at Irish, British, and European institutions, securing prestigious external funding.

Further enquiries

Contact Name: Dr Catherine Cox
Contact Number: +353 (0)1 716 8100

Subjects taught

The MA is associated with the Centre for the History of Medicine in Ireland, School of History, UCD. The Centre is home to a graduate and postdoctoral community; it runs a lively seminar series and hosts a series of workshops and conferences. All students are welcome at these events.

Stage 1 Core:


CHOMI Research Forum

Disseminating History

Welfare, Health & Gender in Modern Europe, c. 1850s to 1950s

Approaches to History


Who should apply?
Full Time option suitable for:

Domestic(EEA) applicants: Yes
International (Non EEA) applicants currently residing outside of the EEA Region. Yes

Part Time option suitable for:

Domestic(EEA) applicants: Yes
International (Non EEA) applicants currently residing outside of the EEA Region. No

Your fellow students will be from diverse academic backgrounds including, but not confined to, those with a humanities degree. Students come from Irish, European and North American universities. The MA is popular among health-care professionals keen to understand historical contexts that shaped current practices and systems.

Application date

FT (Z240), (Z241)
Courses will remain open until such time as all places have been filled, therefore early application is advised

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