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Certificate Programs
Medical Humanites and Health Studies

The Graduate Program in Medical Humanities offers an interdisciplinary course of study drawn from the humanities and social sciences disciplines of Liberal Arts, as well as courses and participation of faculty from other schools. The field of Medical Humanities provides students with the qualitative humanistic and socio-cultural perspectives on health care, in contrast to the clinical/objective approach traditionally taken in biomedicine.

The science, study, and practice of medicine and health are multi-faceted in scope and impact. Many factors affect the outcome of health practice, which in turn, affect patients, families, and the greater public. This graduate program is interdisciplinary in nature and health-related in focus. It permits graduate students to study more comprehensively, and in-depth, the social, cultural, and humanistic determinants and consequences of human health, illness, and care. It takes advantage of the unique wealth of health-related graduate courses already offered by the School of Liberal Arts, the whole of which is even greater than the sum of its parts.

This program will be of great interest to students whether they go on to specialized training – i.e., in medicine, allied health professions, and graduate-level disciplinary or interdisciplinary studies – or for those entering (or continuing in) the health workforce.

Admission Requirements

  • Undergraduate degree from an accredited institution required.
  • Minimum GPA of 3.0 required
  • Personal statement
  • Two letters of recommendation
Graduate Certificate in Medical Humanities

The primary goal of the Graduate Certificate in Medical Humanities (15 credit hours) is to enrich students’ humanities-based education and professional development as they prepare for graduate work in the health professions, or to supplement and enrich their existing degree and/or health-related career.  The program provides graduate students with the opportunity to study, in-depth, medicine, health, and illness from the perspective of such disciplines as literature, philosophy, history and social science. Students view past, present, and future problems in health care from multiple and varied standpoints and work to resolve them using narrative, visual, ethical, historical, and social science methods. Through this approach, students gain greater insight into the human condition, the value of human life, the nature of suffering, and efforts to alleviate it.

In additional, the inclusion of the social sciences in the curriculum allows students the opportunity to focus on the investigation of the social and cultural construction of health, illness, and provision of healthcare using the tools of social science research. This includes understanding the cultural definitions of life/death and health/illness, the geographic and economic provision and constraints to medical and healthcare, the social and power structures that impact access to healthcare, and a familiarity with the analysis, application and limitations of social science research methods. In this way, this program develops informed graduates with analytical skills, cultural awareness, and ethical sensitivity through application, evaluation, critical analysis and synthesis.

For specific requirements and options for cross-listed courses, see the Medical Humanities web site or meet with an academic advisor. Students in other graduate programs who wish to add the Graduate Certificate to their program of study must formally apply to the Medical Humanities program separately.

Required Courses in Medical Humanities Graduate Certificate (15 credit hours)

The Medical Humanities and Health Studies Graduate Certificate consists of 15 credit hours of course work, including a required introductory course (3 cr.), a clinical practicum (3 cr.), and a choice of three courses (9 cr.) from a list of approved electives.

All courses must be passed with a grade of B or above to count for the certificate or the minor. The Clinical Practicum must be approved by a faculty advisor prior to registration.  For students currently engaged in a clinical practice, a substantial research and writing project based on their clinical practice, or an additional elective, may be substituted for the practicum.  Those students will register for and enroll in the Clinical Practicum, but will not be required to undertake additional clinical time to complete the course.  In either case, students will work closely with a faculty mentor to complete the practicum.

Graduate Certificate requirements (15 cr.)

  • MHHS M501 The Human Condition (3 cr.)
  • MHHS M595 Clinical Practicum in Medical Humanities (3 cr.)
  • Approved Electives (9 cr.)