Medical Anthropology, advanced course

Course content

In this course, we will examine changing contours of human life including the experiences of health and illness and conceptions of life and death. Moreover, looking into the entanglement of biomedical knowledge, policy and medical technologies in everyday life, we will explore how life itself is made into an object of technological intervention. We will furthermore explore how this process, rather than simply offering solutions to given problems, also might reshape our bodily experiences of and relations with the (social) world while engendering novel ethical and cultural problems for us to deal with. We will do so by delving into a particular field such as reproduction, chronic care, ageing, mental health, epidemics, dying or other topic. The specific topic for the advanced course will be introduced by the teacher at the beginning of the semester. In this course we will engage in extensive reading, contemplation and discussion of literature in and around medical anthropology as well as related disciplines. The format, with teacher introductions, interactive class activities, oral and written assignments will require students’ active participation.

The aim of the course is to develop students’ knowledge of the sub-field of medical anthropology to help prepare for a health-related Master’s thesis.


From spring 2023 the course is also offered to students at the

- Master Programme in Social Data Science

- Master Programme in Psychology

- Master programme in Global Development


Enrolled students register the course through the Selfservice. Please contact the study administration at each programme for questions regarding registration.

Learning outcome


- be able to identify a relevant medical anthropological research problem related to the topic in focus in the course

- be able to locate and analyze empirical material by applying analytical perspectives from the course literature (using anthropological concepts and theories) in order to make an anthropological argument

-be able to write a well-structured essay on a chosen field/case drawing on the literature from the course, anthropology more broadly and other related disciplines



-be able to demonstrate how biomedical knowledge and medical technologies are shaped in specific sociocultural and politico-economic contexts and further reshape our (bodily) experiences of health and illness



-be able to utilize concepts and methods of medical anthropology and Science and Technology Studies in analyzing a concrete, empirical case

The course will be based on a combination of lectures and interactive seminars where students contribute actively through group work, discussions, readings and oral and written presentations.

BSc students and MSc students: 500 pages obligatory literature.

The teacher will publish 200-300 pages of supplementary literature.

Course literature will be available through Absalon.


The course serves as a part of the specialised track in the Anthropology of Health.

Continuous feedback during the course
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Portfolio, .
Type of assessment details
Length: Portfolio exam can be written individually or in groups of Max. 4 students. Portfolio exams consist of 2-7 submissions. For MA students, there is a submission more than for BA students, i.e. if the BA student has to submit five submissions, the MA students must submit six submissions. The number of submissions is set by the lecturer. The total length of all of the submissions must be max. 30,000 keystrokes for one student. For groups of two students, Max. 40,000 keystrokes. For groups of three students, Max. 45,000 keystrokes and for groups of four students, Max. 50,000 keystrokes.

Information of level and contribution:
In the case of group assignments, the contribution of each individual student must be clearly marked in the assignment. For groups with both BA and MA students, the same number of submissions is required as for MA students. The assignments are assessed jointly with a single grade.

1st and 2nd re-exam: A new essay must be submitted. The new assignment must be submitted by the deadline for the re-exam.

Essay Length:
One BA student: 21.600-26.400 keystrokes. For group responses, Min. 6,750 and Max. 8,250 extra keystrokes per extra group member.

One MA student: 27,000-33,000 keystrokes. For group responses, Min. 8,450 and Max. 10,300 extra keystrokes per extra group member.

For groups with both BA and MA students:
One MA + one BA student: 31,900-38,975 (BA:14.175-17.325 KA:17.725-21.650)
One MA + two BA students: 38,050 – 46,475 (BA:11,700-14.300 KA:14.650-17.875)
One MA + three BA students: 44,525-54,375 (BA:10.475-12,800 MA:13.100-15.975)
Two MA + one BA student: 41,000-50,050 (BA:11,700-14.300 KA:14.650-17.875)
Two MA + two BA students: 47,150-57,550 (BA:10.475-12,800 MA:13.100-15.975)
Three MA + one BA student: 49,775-60,725 (BA:10.475-12,800 MA:13.100-15.975)

MA students must include supplementary literature in the exam assignment. The supplementary literature is chosen by the student.

Information of level and contribution
Students must indicate on the first page of the assignment whether they are a BA or MA students. In the case of group assignments, the contribution of each individual student must be clearly marked in the assignment.
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Criteria for exam assessment

See learning outcome

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 42
  • Preparation
  • 100
  • Exam
  • 64
  • English
  • 206


Course number
7,5 ECTS
Programme level
Bachelor choice
Full Degree Master choice

1 semester

See timetable
Department of Anthropology, Study Council
Contracting department
  • Department of Anthropology
  • Department of Psychology
  • Social Data Science
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Social Sciences
Course Coordinators
  • Line Hillersdal   (15-526f746b344e6f72726b78796a67724667747a6e787534717b346a71)
  • Kristina Grünenberg   (2-706c456673796d777433707a336970)
Saved on the 16-11-2022

Are you BA- or KA-student?

Are you bachelor- or kandidat-student, then find the course in the course catalog for students:

Courseinformation of students