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Master Medical Anthropology and Sociology

Meet the people

Medical Anthropology and Sociology (Msc)

Student testimonials

Michou Benoist
Michou Benoist (Photo: Marte van Liere)

Michou Benoist

'For me, medical anthropology is the most applied specialisation of anthropology as this field enables you to combine the cultural layer of life, politics, gender and our embodied reality with psychology and philosophy. By matching a theoretical view with the experience of people, I feel anthropologists can play an important role at the intersection between patients and citizens, management, policymakers and medical professionals.'

  • Read more from Michou Benoist

    My name is Michou Benoist and I am from The Netherlands. Before applying to the Master’s programme Medical Anthropology and Sociology (MAS) at the University of Amsterdam, I followed the Bachelor’s programme Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology at the University of Utrecht (also in The Netherlands). 

    You could say I was the odd one when I chose to do my research in a Dutch elderly care center on diapers and dirt

    I wrote my Master's thesis on incontinence. In a class full of people traveling to all corners of the world to do research on topics such as HIV, pregnancy and traditional medicine, you could say I was the odd one when I chose to do my research in a Dutch elderly care center on diapers and dirt. Still, it was a logical choice considering my interest in 'non-events,' moments of life that are not considered as important, or so private that they remain hidden. And, since it could be argued nothing is more private and routine than toileting, I saw it as a challenge to look behind that closed toilet door, and explore the role ideas on bodily control, dignity and privacy play in everyday life of residents and their care workers.

    The atmosphere in this programme was good and lecturers were interested in students and open to questions and suggestions

    It is a special moment, the point you wrap up your life as a student. I am glad to say I look back at a good year: this Master's programme has a quite demanding planning, but the atmosphere within the programme was good and lecturers were interested in students and open to questions and suggestions. Lecturers represented a variety of interests and regularly invited guest lecturers to broaden their scope. Our class was nice and eclectic, with students with different backgrounds ranging from anthropology, sociology and psychology to nursing, medicine and dietetics. Following classes and having the occasional drink together, we found a nice mixture between studying and fun.

    A start of something new

    I mostly view my study period at the University as a start of something new. It is up to me to hang on to all the curiosity and enthusiasm I collected over the years. My advice to students would be to combine their personal interests and experiences and find themes and topics that you can relate to.

    I would love to continue doing research

    I hope to further specialize in the field of elderly and nursing. I would love to continue doing research and hope that the stories that people shared with me during my research can be of use. Although I am aware that jobs in research are not up for grabs, I know this is where my heart lies and I hope I will find a way to put my interests to good use.

    I feel anthropologists can play an important role at the intersection between patients and citizens, management, policymakers and medical professionals

    For me, medical anthropology is the most applied specialisation of anthropology as this field enables you to combine the cultural layer of life, politics, gender and our embodied reality with psychology and philosophy. By matching a theoretical view with the experience of people, I feel anthropologists can play an important role at the intersection between patients and citizens, management, policymakers and medical professionals.

Ryoji Noritake
Ryoji Noritake (Photo: Nicole Thijssens)

Ryoji Noritake

'Working as a director for a health policy think-tank in Tokyo was definitely an experience. However, while implementing various projects and publishing various policy proposals, a question occurred to me. We, health policy makers, always talk about health policy but we hardly ever talk about health per se. Then, I heard of medical anthropology. Before that, I had little attention for anthropology and to be honest I had never heard of medical anthropology. Luckily I won a scholarship from a Japanese foundation to study anywhere in Europe, and my choice was the University of Amsterdam.' Read what Ryoji tells about Medical Anthropology and Sociology.'

  • Read more from Ryoji Noritake

    Working as a director for a health policy think-tank in Tokyo was definitely an experience. We, the Health and Global Policy Institute, Japan, are an independent, non-partisan, non-governmental health focused think-tank and have implemented various projects including global health and patient advocacy. I started there as an associate in 2007 and became a director in 2011.

    As a bachelor of public affairs and policy management, I found the field of health policy quite intriguing

    As a bachelor of public affairs and policy management, I found the field of health policy quite intriguing. Parliament was a five minute walk from our office in the middle of Tokyo. Discussing with policy makers, ministries, industry and patient advocates, how to shape better and multi-stakeholder-committed policies was a busy yet lively and exciting time of my life. However, while implementing various projects and publishing various policy proposals, a question occurred to me. We, health policy makers, always talk about health policy but we hardly ever talk about health per se. Moreover, we tend to take a systematic and controlling approach for health but discussion on health has been paradigm shifted these days into health promotion and a community-family approach.

    My choice was right, course lecturers were nice, the atmosphere of the faculty friendly, and I had wonderful classmates

    Then, I heard of medical anthropology. Before that, I had little attention for anthropology and to be honest I had never heard of medical anthropology. Luckily I won a scholarship from a Japanese foundation to study anywhere in Europe, and my choice was the University of Amsterdam. It was not hard to choose. The curriculum looked well organized and concise. The city of Amsterdam was so charming, I had visited here before. The location of Amsterdam was also a plus. Even before entering the school, I knew I would have to make some business trips regarding my previous job, and Amsterdam has full access to anywhere. Geneva, Washington D.C, New York, London and Tokyoare always easy access from Amsterdam. My choice was right, course lecturers were nice, the atmosphere of the faculty friendly, and I had wonderful classmates.

    Right now, I am working on my thesis about disaster medical relief and international humanitarian organization

    Right now, I am working on my thesis about disaster medical relief and international humanitarian organization. The biggest and last project I implemented in Tokyo was disaster relief and international co-ordination after the 2011 Tsunami in Japan. I am writing about an Israeli NGO providing mental health relief in Japan and how the local community has accepted them. I hope this will not be just a narrative of one organization but some kind of policy proposal for future disaster relief. After this master, I will probably go back to the health policy arena. There are several job offers from Tokyo but I have also applied for a few jobs in Europe right now, so fingers crossed! 

Academic staff

The Master Medical Anthropology and Sociology is organised by the Graduate School of Social Sciences of the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences at the University of Amsterdam.

The academic staff of this programme is actively involved in research at UvA's Amsterdam Institute of Social Science Research (AISSR).

mw. dr. G.J.E. (Trudie) Gerrits

Faculteit der Maatschappij- en Gedragswetenschappen

Programmagroep: Anthropology of Health, Care and the Body

dhr. dr. S.S. (Stuart) Blume

Faculteit der Maatschappij- en Gedragswetenschappen

Programmagroep: Anthropology of Health, Care and the Body

dhr. dr. P.R. (Patrick) Brown

Faculteit der Maatschappij- en Gedragswetenschappen

Programmagroep: Political Sociology: Power, Place and Difference

dhr. dr. R.P.M. (René) Gerrets PhD

Faculteit der Maatschappij- en Gedragswetenschappen

Programmagroep: Anthropology of Health, Care and the Body

mw. dr. H.J. (Anja) Hiddinga

Faculteit der Maatschappij- en Gedragswetenschappen

Programmagroep: Anthropology of Health, Care and the Body

mw. dr. K. (Kristine) Krause

Faculteit der Maatschappij- en Gedragswetenschappen

Programmagroep: Anthropology of Health, Care and the Body

mw. dr. E.M. (Eileen) Moyer

Faculteit der Maatschappij- en Gedragswetenschappen

Programmagroep: Anthropology of Health, Care and the Body

dhr. prof. dr. R.C. (Robert) Pool

Faculteit der Maatschappij- en Gedragswetenschappen

Programmagroep: Anthropology of Health, Care and the Body

dhr. dr. D.H. (Danny) de Vries

Faculteit der Maatschappij- en Gedragswetenschappen

Programmagroep: Anthropology of Health, Care and the Body

Study associations 

To meet fellow students and take part in social and study-related activities, you can become a member of a study association, join events organised by SBS International or Amsterdam United or visit the UvA's Sports Centre or CREA.

  • Read more about study associations

    Each discipline within the Graduate School of Social Sciences has its own student association. These associations organise social and study related events and often play an important role in department and faculty committees.

    Anthropology - Kwakiutl

    Geography and Planning - Sarphati

    Political Science - Machiavelli

    Sociology - Sociologisch EpiCentrum

    SBS International

    Especially for international students SBS International organises events in English. SBS International is an initiative of several study associations and organisations within social and behavioural sciences. Students can meet Dutch and international students at social and study related events and can discuss issues that are related to the university or study programmes with fellow students.

    SBS International on Facebook

    Student platform Amsterdam United

    Amsterdam United (AU) is a student platform within the University of Amsterdam with a focus on diversity. AU seeks to make diversity a central theme within the UvA through

    • organising open activities like film screenings, lectures and debates on diversity
    • setting up special projects, like a mentor project in which AU coaches students with various backgrounds during their study period. 

    'Diversity' covers cultural, religious, political as well as sexual diversity. Amsterdam United aims at making students feel comfortable to shape and express their identity.

    Board Amsterdam United

    Amsterdam United on Facebook

    I, Too, Am UvA campaign to raise attention to diversity issues

    Sport, culture and other student organisations

    If you would like to go to a sports & fitness centre before or after class, you can visit the University Sports Centre (USC). Or would you rather take up a creative course in photography or theatre for example? Then visit CREA, the cultural organisation of the UvA.

    For other options to meet fellow students, check the list with student organisations.

    www.usc.uva.nl

    www.crea.uva.nl

    Other international student organisations at UvA