University of Heidelberg

Program Structure and Courses

Core Courses and Study Trajectories

  • Introduction to Medical Anthropology
  • Healing in South Asia
  • Methods in Medical Anthropology
  • Medical Anthropology Forum
  • Scientific Working Skills
  • Master’s Thesis Preparation
  • Master’s Thesis Colloquium

Students can further choose between a variety of optional courses which focus on South Asia and Medical Anthropology and related anthropological fields. The Master's thesis should be based on a work placement or a short field work research in South Asia, however, it can also rest upon literary research.

Students who do not yet speak a South Asian language are required to attend two courses in a South Asian language as part of their studies (recommend schedule a). Students who already speak one or more South Asian languages attend two additional selective courses in Medical Anthropology or related anthropological fields instead of language courses (recommended schedule b). Please consult the module description and the recommended schedule (valid from October 2015) below for more details.

For courses offered this term please visit LSF MAHASSA

Semester Plan

The first semester provides students with an introduction to the field of Medical Anthropology generally and the medical anthropology of South Asia specifically. All students take two core introductory courses: Introduction to Medical Anthropology and Healing in South Asia. Students who do not speak a South Asian language also begin to study a South Asian language (recommended schedule a). In addition to these courses, students choose thematic and regional courses that reflect their thematic and regional interests. Thematic and regional modules vary from year to year. Proposed courses in Medical Anthropology deal with:

  • Mental Health
  • Gender and reproductive Health
  • Medical Anthropology and Modernity
  • Ritual Healing
  • Traditional Medical Systems of South Asia (Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha, Homeopathy, Tibetan Medicine) and their transformation
  • Health and Environment
  • Health and Ethics
  • Public Health
  • Health Tourism

The second semester focuses on anthropological research methods and dynamic relations between traditional concepts of health/ suffering/ healing and the impact of modern developments and changes. Besides proceeding in their South Asian language, students choose additional regional or thematic courses.

The third semester focuses on the design and realization of a relevant research project. All students take a core module on Master's thesis preparation, during which they choose a relevant topic for anthropological inquiry, do an intensive literature research on their proposed topic, and design a proposal and work-plan for its realization. Additionally, they choose further regional and thematic courses.

The summer vacations and the fourth semester are used for fieldwork or work placement and for writing the Master's thesis. Former MAHASSA students have worked on research topics such as infertility in Pakistan, the experience of yoga as preparation for childbirth in Germany, the role of practiced Islam in mental health nosology in Bangladesh, or undocumented migrants' access to healthcare in Germany.

Last modified 18th May, 2021

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