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An introduction to the intercalated BSc in Humanities, Philosophy and Law

An introduction to the intercalated BSc in Humanities, Philosophy and Law
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Introduction

The intercalated BSc in Medical Sciences with Humanities, Philosophy and Law is a unique course that integrates approaches from medical science, ethics, law, philosophy, history and the arts. This BSc provides an intellectually stimulating and inventive learning opportunity for students who care about core values of medicine in the changing landscape of healthcare provision. The cultural contexts of medical science will be a key theme throughout the course.

Teaching is structured around three main themes: ‘the body’, ‘the mind’ and ‘death and dying’, followed by a project module for which you can choose a topic for focused, supervised study. The course is assessed through a variety of methods, for example, essays, presentations, recordings, posters and reports. There are no formal examinations.

The course is led by experienced experts in the field who have all been recognised for their excellent teaching. You will also have the opportunity to engage with renowned scientists and artists working at the cutting edge of interdisciplinary medicine and its contexts.

The London location of Imperial College offers a wealth of opportunities for field trips to museums, galleries, courts and archives. The programme emphasises creative, interactive, small-group teaching, team working, and experiential and playful learning. You will master transferable skills in critical analysis and research, and develop narrative and visual competencies. The programme will also enhance your capacity for creative problem-solving, resilience and reflection, helping to develop strategies to preserve work–life balance as you prepare to enter a demanding profession.


Location

Most teaching takes place at the South Kensington and Charing Cross Hospital (in Hammersmith) campuses, although some classes may take place at other campuses within London. Field trips are likely to include museums, galleries and archives across London and perhaps further afield, as well as a visit to the Coroner's Court.

Entry requirements

Students must be registered on a General Medical Council-recognised MBBS degree (or equivalent) and have successfully completed the first two years of that programme. No break in studies is permitted between the programme at the other institution and the beginning of the programme for the BSc degree.

Imperial College London Medicine candidates who have successfully completed their third year are required to undertake a BSc, of which Medical Sciences with Humanities, Philosophy & Law is one option. 

Applicants from universities other than Imperial College will apply through a process which requires an academic transcript, one academic reference and a personal statement. Intercalating students need to demonstrate that they are likely to receive a 2:1 or 1st by supplying an academic transcript from their home institution.

Learning outcomes

  1. Recognise, explain, analyse and critique key concepts in the fields of medical ethics and law, medical humanities, history of medicine and medical philosophy through engaging in formal and self-directed learning activities and assessment.
  2. Demonstrate how integrating approaches from the fields of medical ethics and law, medical humanities, history of medicine and medical philosophy can complement and enrich understanding and analysis of key issues in medicine relating to the mind, the body and death through verbal, written and visual communication.
  3. Situate present-day medical ideas, practices and institutions within broader historical, cultural, legal and social contexts, demonstrating direct relevance to clinical practice.
  4. Explain and evaluate the ways in which creativity and creative practice can inform approaches to complex conceptual and practical problems in medicine through sustained reflective practice.
  5. Cross traditional subject boundaries to appraise and interpret knowledge from a range of academic disciplines to reflect critically on an integrated approach to issues in the role of the body, the mind and issues around death and dying.

Scholarships

Students applying for this BSc are encouraged to apply for a Medical School Intercalated BSc Scholarship from the Institute of Medical Ethics. Application Forms and Guidelines are available here.  

What Students Say

‘The most enlightening course one should feel privileged to undertake!’

‘I do not know anyone else, across all courses and universities, who has experienced the amazing tutoring and care I have received at my year intercalating at Imperial College London. Thank you very much!’


With the exception of BSc Management and BSc Biomedical Engineering, all of Imperial College's intercalated BSc courses are comprised of three modules. Module 1 is the taught component, Module 2 is self-directed learning, and Module 3 is a 12-week project.

The BSc project for Humanities, Philosophy and Law is a research project that gives students a valuable opportunity to learn about research at the intersection of medicine and the humanities. The project is assessed via an oral presentation of the project (25% of Module 3 marks) and a project write-up (75% of Module 3 marks). Students will agree a project topic with their project coordinator, and may choose whether to focus on medicine and history, the arts, philosophy, ethics, or law. The project includes a ‘thinking-through-making’ component in which students make an artwork to express an aspect of their research. The artwork itself is not assessed, although the artistic choices and reflection on practice are explained in the project report which is assessed.

 

Student project exploring 'the gift of life metaphor' for organ donations. (Sculpture: Janaki Desai)

Student project exploring 'the gift of life metaphor' for organ donations. (Sculpture: Janaki Desai)

Field trip to the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Field trip to the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Thinking about representing anatomy in a sculpture workshop.

Thinking about representing anatomy in a sculpture workshop.

Enhancing understanding of the body in an optional life drawing class.

Enhancing understanding of the body in an optional life drawing class.

Getting creative in a craft workshop.

Getting creative in a craft workshop.

Field trip to the Coroner's Court.

Field trip to the Coroner's Court.

Seminar in Hyde Park.

Seminar in Hyde Park.

Using photography to highligh uneven wealth distribution and how it affects access to healthcare. (Image: Shoaib Rizvi)

Using photography to highligh uneven wealth distribution and how it affects access to healthcare. (Image: Shoaib Rizvi)

Student project exploring 'boundaries' in relation to the landscape of the body. (Image: Jess Campbell)

Student project exploring 'boundaries' in relation to the landscape of the body. (Image: Jess Campbell)

Visual poetry workshop

Visual poetry workshop.