Course Requirements

Ph.D. students are required to take the four core courses plus thirty-nine hours of MEHU elective courses, pass written and oral qualifying examinations, and write and defend a doctoral dissertation.

M.A. students are required to take the four core courses plus fifteen hours of MEHU elective courses and write a master's thesis.

All students in the Medical Humanities Graduate Program are required to take and demonstrate proficiency in the following four core courses:

  • MEHU 6101- Ethics of Scientific Research (1 credit hour)
  • MEHU 6375-Humanism and the Humanities
  • MEHU 6378-Humanism and the Medical Humanities
  • MEHU 6382-Clinical Ethics Practicum

All students in the Medical Humanities Graduate Program are required to take and demonstrate proficiency in fifteen to thirty-nine hours of the following elective courses:

  • MEHU 6146-Practicing Ethics in Clinical Research
  • MEHU-6283-Art Practicum (2 credit hours)
  • MEHU 6306-Foundations of Bioethics
  • MEHU 6308-Topics in the Medical Humanities
  • MEHU 6315-Clinical Ethics
  • MEHU 6317-Advanced Practicum in Health-Care Ethics
  • MEHU 6331-Introduction to the History of Medicine (same as MEHX 6000-081)
  • MEHU 6332-History of Medical Research Ethics (same as MEHX 6000-086)
  • MEHU 6343-Social Justice in International Research
  • MEHU 6344-Law, Science, and Society
  • MEHU 6351-Qualitative Methods in Social Medicine
  • MEHU 6361-Trauma, Narrative, and Resilience
  • MEHU 6363-Narratives of Illness
  • MEHU 6367-Introduction to Literature and Medicine
  • MEHU 6370-Philosophical Ethics
  • MEHU 6386-Psychoanalysis, Consciousness, and Neuroethics
  • MEHX 6000 and MEHU6396-Special Topics 

Students will be assigned an advisor when they enter the program and are encouraged to choose new advisor(s) as their interests or needs evolve. Each student and his or her advisor in consultation with the graduate program director will determine the sequence of courses.

Ordinarily, four years of full-time study are required for the Ph.D. degree. The M.A. degree usually requires two years of full-time study. Students pursuing both an M.D. and a Ph.D. in the medical humanities may apply to the M.D./Ph.D. Combined Degree Program. Completing the M.D./Ph.D. Combined Degree Program takes seven to eight years of full-time study.

Every student is required to submit an annual progress report due on January 15. This report must be signed by both the student and his or her advisor. If the report has not been submitted by January 31, the student will receive a reminder notice. If the report has not been submitted by February 15, the graduate program director will request that the dean place the student on academic probation. The goal of the report is to encourage the student to assess his or her development over the course of the year and to allow the advisor to give feedback, suggestions, encouragement, and constructive criticisms. The report will be used in the faculty's annual review of students and placed in each student's file.

Student Yearly Progress Reports:

After the first year, Ph.D. students will ordinarily begin focusing their course work on areas of specialization to prepare for the qualifying examinations and dissertation proposal. Subjects not treated in regular courses may be pursued under Topics in the Medical Humanities or Special Topics courses. Students may elect major and minor areas of specialization, which are administered by area coordinators in collaboration with the faculty advisors.

Areas and coordinators include:

  • Health Care Ethics (Michele A. Carter, PhD)
  • Health Law and Policy (E. Bernadette McKinney, JD, PhD)
  • History of Medicine (Jason E. Glenn, PhD)
  • Literature and Narrative Studies in Health Care (Anne Hudson Jones, PhD)
  • Religion and Health (Arlene Macdonald, PhD)
  • Social Medicine (Rebecca Hester, PhD)

 Major areas of specialization require fifteen hours (usually five courses); minor areas require nine hours (usually three courses). Because many elective courses qualify for more than one area of specialization, the actual course content of areas of specialization may vary from student to student. Each student’s particular array of courses will be determined in collaboration with the area coordinator, advisor, and graduate program director. 

Note:  the degree offered through the program is a Ph.D. or M.A. in Medical Humanities.  Students are not required to declare major or minor areas, but, in collaboration with their advisors, may design their own focus of study (within the parameters of the overall program requirements).   

M.A. Thesis Submissions

Once students complete the master’s thesis, they must submit an electronic copy (in Word) to the graduate program director, who will insure that the thesis is checked, through the currently adopted Graduate School software, for any problems with appropriate citation of research sources.  This procedure is in accordance with GSBS Policy adopted in 2011.  Medical humanities master's theses generally run between 75-100 pages.  Though the GSBS allows students to use a published article as an alternative to a thesis, the Medical Humanities Graduate Program does not, at this time, allow this substitution.    

2-Year Curriculum

View the 2-year curriculum in Adobe Acrobat (pdf) format.

2-Year Curriculum

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