Universität Fribourg Université de Fribourg Suisse | Universität Freiburg Schweiz Course offerings

Medical Humanities

Fribourg profile

The PhD in Medical Humanities at the University of Fribourg is framed either by questions and methods in historiography (of medicine) or in literary studies or it connects both. Research questions target contemporary medicine and illuminate specific aspects from a historical point of view; precisely from the perspective of cultural and literary history, history of medicine and media history. The approach is rather hermeneutical than empirical: representative sources such as texts, images, films, practices, spaces, techniques will be analysed, contextualised, interpreted and embedded in a coherent line of argumentation. The final aim of the PhD is an independently written monograph that contributes to a better understanding of the current medical system and its core features such as global or local public health, doctor-patient-relationship, clinical communication, scientific practices, scientific institutions and actors, cultural conceptions of health and illness and their change over time; finally the mutual interplay between medicine, art and media.

The PhD thesis can be written in either English, German or French.

The PhD is suitable for career plans in a worldwide expanding, vibrant academic field Medical Humanities or Health Humanities that blossoms mainly at American, British and French universities; also at some Scandinavian and Swiss institutions. Additionally, this PhD may promote careers in extra-academic fields which require a critical perspective on the medical system such as medical, scientific and health journalism, work in museums, archives and other institutions of cultural heritage, health management or positions in public health. Given the transdisciplinary approach which connects historiographical methods with scientific subjects, we require a double academic training at bachelor level as precondition for the PhD.

Responsible professors
The PhD theses in Medical Humanities will be supervised by Prof. Martina King.

Studies organisation

Structure of studies

No ECTS credits can be earned.

Doctoral school



– Candidates holding a master's degree in medicine, global health, public health, health sciences, health management (or similar) and a bachelor's degree in history or any type of literary studies;
– Candidates holding a master's degree in history or any type of literary studies and a bachelor's degree in medicine, global health, public health, health sciences, health management (or similar);
– Candidates who hold a master's degree in Medical Humanities from a European or American university.

Given the multitude of potential combinations of academic trainings who can count as entrance criteria for a PhD in Medical Humanities, we strongly suggest that future candidates contact us personally.