University of Heidelberg

Program Structure and Courses

Core Modules

  • Introduction to Medical Anthropology
  • Healing in South Asia
  • Methods in Medical Anthropology

Students can further choose between a variety of optional courses which focus on South Asia and Medical Anthropology. We put great emphasis on teaching students presentation skills and offer an optional module in Academic English. 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.

For courses offered this term please visit LSF MAHASSA
Further information

Semester Plan

The first semester gives an introduction into the field of Medical Anthropology generally and the medical anthropology of South Asia specifically. All students take two core introductory modules: in Medical Anthropology and in systems of healing in South Asia. Students also begin to study a South Asian language. In addition, they must choose two of several thematic and regional modules that reflect on the one hand the thematic interest in Medical Anthropology and on the other hand the regional interest in South Asia. Thematic and regional modules may vary from year to year. Proposed courses deal with:

  • Mental Health
  • 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 proceding in their South Asian language students choose another regional or thematic module.

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. They continue to study one South Asian language, and choose another regional or thematic module.

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.

During the first three semesters students can optionally take a module in either academic English, or other courses that teach presentation skills.

Last modified 21st August, 2018

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