Research Social and Behavioral Sciences

Care and health at the heart of two new Master's tracks

Tilburg University is starting two new Master’s tracks: Health, Wellbeing & Society and Health Humanities. Both tracks start in September 2019, and tie in with the university’s impact theme of Enhancing Health and Wellbeing, in which Tilburg University concentrates on academic research and education aimed specifically at improving people’s health and wellbeing.

From a sociological perspective, the Health, Wellbeing & Society Master’s track focuses on the question how people’s health and wellbeing can be improved as part of creating a stronger and more resilient society, capable of withstanding the new risks posed by a globalized world.

In the Health Humanities Master’s track, the focus is on how the concepts of health, sickness, and good care are viewed in in our present-day culture, and how and why, seen from a historical and cross-cultural perspective, the meaning of these concepts tends to change over time.

1.      Health, Wellbeing & Society Master’s track

The Health, Wellbeing & Society Master’s track is a specialization within the Sociology Master’s program, and is offered in collaboration with Tranzo, the Scientific Center for Health and Wellbeing. The track is introduced in response to the growing need for a society of healthy and resilient citizens. From a sociological perspective, the track concentrates on how health and wellbeing figure in bringing about such a resilient society, addressing questions like: What is the relationship between societal developments such as globalization, labor market flexibility, or the aging of the population and health and wellbeing? Which groups in society are more at risk when it comes to health and wellbeing? Which resources, both at individual or environmental level, can increase the resilience of vulnerable groups? From a practice point of view, the track addresses the question: How can research findings and insights translate into public health policies?

Link with the field
One of the special features of this Master’s track is that students can work on their Master’s thesis in collaboration with the Academic Collaborative Centers and the Tranzo science practitioners in the field, affiliated to over 100 partners in the world of health care and wellbeing. These partners in turn also benefit greatly from this Master’s track, because they are looking for (future) professionals that can link scientific insights to the development and implementation of policies, which is precisely the core aim of the Health, Wellbeing & Society Master’s track.

The job prospects for graduates are good. Potential employers are health care and wellbeing facilities, municipalities, provinces, and nation-wide knowledge and policy institutions. Graduates can land jobs as policy advisors, policy officers, data analysts, researchers or trainers at (health) care facilities, local, regional, national and international health care organizations, NGOs, public health care organizations, insurance companies, and research institutes.

2.      Health Humanities Master’s track

The Health Humanities Master’s track studies health care issues from a variety of disciplines. Cultural, philosophical, historical, and anthropological perspectives are combined to investigate the meaning of health and sickness in our society. In this, attention is paid to theoretical and normative reflection, but also to concrete applications within the health care sector. Think of issues like: How is the boundary between healthy (normal) and sick (abnormal) determined? What is the influence of visual culture (photos, films, videos, etc.) on the way scientific knowledge regarding health and sickness is established? What are the effects of technological advancements and the new media on communication and image formation on health.

This track was initiated by Jenny Slatman, Professor of Medical Humanities in the Culture Studies department. In 2017, she received an NWO-VICI grant of 1.5 million euros for research on ‘the body’ in medical practices, in relation to three major health problems in the Netherlands:  somatically inexplicable physical complaints, obesity, and depression. The track links theory and research to practice. The Master’s track wants to contribute to a better fit between health care provision and health communication on the one hand and the needs of individuals and groups on the other.

Health Humanities is an interesting program particularly for students and professionals who want to work as researchers in health care, or for those active in or pursuing positions in health care journalism, health promotion, health communication, health policy, or health management. The program also provides students with a solid foundation for positions on ethical and scientific boards and advisory bodies, and for emerging professions such as patient counselor and/or professional counselor to be consulted on ethical or existential issues.

More information on the Health, Wellbeing and Society track.

More information on the Health Humanities track.

On Saturday, April 6, information will be given on both Master’s tracks during the Master’s Programs Open Day. If you are interested in attending, please register for the event via the website.