Sociology of health and illness (masters level)

Key features

This 20 credit masters-level module considers the extent to which health and illness are affected by social factors. 

You will explore social processes and structures and their impact on individuals and social groups and examine contemporary healthcare practices within political and cultural contexts.

You will gain the theoretical and analytical skills to analyse health, illness and medicine in modernist and post-modernist terms and enable you to understand health and illness from structural, cultural and personal perspectives.

Module code




FHEQ level

Level 7 - masters degree


Blended learning approach with face to face delivery in Plymouth

Course details

On successful completion of this module you will be able to:

  • identify and critically appraise the dynamics of social, economic, environmental and political determinants of health and illness
  • critically compare and contrast sociological and biological accounts of health, illness, disability and medicine
  • identify and critically evaluate the biomedical model through sociological theory
  • critically reflect on the significance of sociological explanations in explaining trends in health, illness and medicine in contemporary societies
  • critically explore how sociological theory can contribute to understanding personal accounts of health and illness experiences.


The assessment for this module is a written assignment.

(Please note that these assessment details are provisional - if you require further information please contact the module lead or the Professional Development Unit).

Module dates

28, 31 March and 5, 7, 12, 13 April 2022. 

Please be aware that all modules run to minimum numbers. In the event that there are low numbers, this module may be rescheduled to an alternative date. Some modules are also subject to maximum numbers.

This module can be studied as a standalone module or as an optional module towards some MSc Advanced Professional Practice pathways - please contact the Professional Development Unit for further information.

Admissions information 

Additional information and documentation required for the application process.

Access to: 

  • application forms 
  • change of name forms
  • pre-course information
  • downloadable guides
  • student card.

Visit our admissions homepage for full details.

Entry requirements

To undertake this module as part of a professional development pathway you must be:

  • a registered health and social care practitioner or health and social care worker
  • ideally in possession of previous study at degree level.

Individuals without a degree may be eligible to apply providing they have appropriate practice-related experience relevant to the programme, please discuss with the Professional Development Unit prior to application.

Fees and funding


Please see our professional development module fees page.


Funding for this module may be available through your employing organisation. Please contact your organisation’s education coordinator in the first instance.