To download the HPSM Programme Handbook for 2011/12 please see below.
- HPSM Programme Handbook 2011/12_updated 18.10.11 (last modified: 31 October 2011)
Components of the Programme
As a student reading for the HPSM MA, you will complete four modules and a dissertation:
I. Core Modules
- Research Methods and Resources- Trains students in the competent use of library resources, key reference works, IT and internet databases, primary sources and various styles and bibliographical conventions appropriate to writing in the fields of history and philosophy. Following from this, the module introduces key methodological concepts need for students researching the interactions between the philosophy of science and medicine, the history of science and the history of medicine.
Dissertation - In this final module to be taken from April to mid-September, you will write a dissertation (12,000 words) on a topic of your choice. You will pursue independent, thoroughly supervised, in-depth research involving extensive study and critical assessment of secondary literature and, where appropriate, several primary sources. This is done by training students in developing a research plan and presenting a detailed argument on an issue from the History of Medicine, or the History of Science, or the Philosophy of Science and Medicine; advancing student skills in research, analysis, and writing relevant to your field of study; instilling a firm understanding of the inter-related nature of historical and philosophical aspects of the dissertation topic.
II. Optional Modules
(You have to choose one module from List A and one module from List B, plus one further module from either List A or List B.
List A (at least one module)
- History of Medicine - Introduces students to ancient, medieval, early modern, and modern medicine in its different historical and cultural contexts by identifying changes and continuities in medical knowledge and practice; special attention is paid to the historicity of the human body, concepts of health and disease, differnet forms of health care provision and health-related institutions.
- Ethics, Medicine and History - This modules engages students with ethical issues arising in medicine and medical science, past and present, and introduces the central ethical concepts relevant to these issues.
- Science and the Enlightenment - Focussing on the intersection and divergence of the natural sciences and philosophy, this module digs into the cultural and personal factors that affected seven questions that gripped the attention of thinkers during the Enlightenment.
List B (at least one module)
- Language, Evolution and Thought - The first two seminars will respectively address a biological perspective on language evolution and a perspective that subsumes language evolution under cultural evolution. The current 'question of questions' in the field is introduced: What, if anything, is special to the human language faculty, and what of it is unique to humans? Subsequent seminars address further topics.
- Phenomenology and Sciences of Mind - The first seminar will provide students with an overview of recent work in phenomenology and cognitive science.
- Current issues in Metaphysics - Following an introduction, this module looks at Universals, Levels of Being, Dispositions, Persistence and Time, Essentialism and Truthmakers.
- Philosophical Issues in Science and Medicine - This module engages students with philosophical issues arising in science and medicine, introducing central philosophical theories and concepts relevant to these issues.
III. Research Seminars
You are expected to attend the Department of Philosophy's research seminar as well as seminars and other events organised by the Centre for the History of Medicine and Disease. You will also benefit from the events organised by the Northern Centre for the History of Medicine, the Department of Philosophy, the School for Health and other departments and institutes in Durham that offer seminars relevant to HPSM studies. On many of these occasions, you will have the chance to debate with visiting speakers from the UK and abroad on a broad range of key topics. In addition to Durham's resources, you will also be presented with the opportunity to attend (on a voluntary basis) the seminars of the Newcastle MA in History of Medicine.
Teaching and Learning
The core modules convene during the academic year and consist of a format that includes lecture, seminars, personal tutorials and workshops. The wide spectrum of academic staff from the Department of Philosophy and the School for Health allows you to focus your research on a wide variety of topics, some of which include bioethics and medical ethics, the history of medicine, the history of the body, the history and philosophy of science and environmental philosophy.
Assessment of the core modules is determined by three formative assessed short essays (2,000 words), three summative assessed essays (5,000 words) on a topic distinct from that of the short essays, a bibliographical essay (3,500 words), a dissertation proposal (1,500 words) written on topics of your choice, and the dissertation (12,000 words), again on a topic of your choice. The essays have to be submitted at the end of each module.