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Dr Glenny Howarth
01225 386 852

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Press Release - 08 March 2006

New course gives chance to study death in its social context

The UK’s only research centre devoted to the study of death and society has launched a new postgraduate course that will help students develop a greater understanding of death in its social and cultural context.

The MSc in Death and Society, based at the Centre for Death and Society at the University of Bath, will also analyse professional practices and governmental policies associated with death.

“There are many people who work with dying or bereaved people who are interested in exploring the wider issues associated with death, dying and loss,” said Dr Glennys Howarth, Director of the Centre for Death and Society (CDAS).

"The course will appeal to a broad range of people; to professionals in health and social care, counselling, chaplaincy, RE teaching, museums, and the funeral industry, but also anyone who has an interest in the subject and wishes to explore it with leading scholars in the field.

“Since the 1990s, the UK research community has been at the forefront of research in this area, and now produces some of the best research on the social aspects of mortality.

“The people who graduate from the MSc in Death and Society will be well placed to continue this tradition, or bring new levels of understanding to workplaces where death is a common feature.”

The postgraduate degree will be taught at CDAS by teachers of international standing in sociology, social policy, history, law, nursing, and visual arts.

“The multi-disciplinary approach we are offering through the course will stimulate thinking beyond professional boundaries,” said Dr Howarth, who also edits the international journal Mortality.

“It will also foster a sense of inquiry as to how societies, in the present and the past, organise, theorise, symbolise and ritualise death.”

Some of the areas to be addressed by the MSc in Death and Society include:


The course is subject to final approval from the University Senate this spring.

The Centre for Death and Society is the only centre in the UK that is devoted to the study and research of social aspects of death, dying and bereavement, and facilitates research, education and training, policy development and community awareness. Students taking the MSc Death and Society will be able to take advantage of CDAS resources and its network of international scholars.

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