Medical Humanities

Minor in Medical Humanities

The College of Arts and Sciences minor in Medical Humanities is designed for the health care pre-professional who wants to have a richer and broader program of study than just the required major or courses.

By pursuing this minor, students will explore questions in the Humanities and Social Sciences that have a direct bearing on health care today. Courses such as Medical Ethics and Health Law, for example, will take the students into current issues of health care practice through the prism of ethical and legal concerns. Courses such as Chinese Medicine and Our Primate Heritage will extend the student's thinking into the history of health care and the growing field of evolutionary medicine. While this minor and most of these courses are not required for medical school or any other health care graduate program, students will find that the minor will strengthen their application for those programs both for what it says on their transcript and for what it does to their thinking, writing and speaking.

This minor is for those students who want a bit more than the standard preparation for their health care field of choice. The minor is administered by the College of Arts and Sciences.

Requirements & Application

For course information, visit the Undergraduate Bulletin and for 2017-18 and earlier, visit the Program of Study.

Any undergraduate student in the University may apply to be in the minor in Medical Humanities. In order to participate in the minor a student must have a 3.3 overall GPA at time of application, and this GPA must be maintained to graduate with the minor. Applications must be submitted to the attention of the Minor in Medical Humanities Committee (MMHC) for review and approval. Any student, regardless of major, may apply, and students accepted into the minor may take any Honors College courses that are offered for the Minor.

Minor Requirements: 15 hours

Additional, relevant courses may be offered as Selected Topics by departments or as HON courses from The Honors College. Such courses may be included for the minor with approval of the Minor in Medical Humanities Committee (Director of The Honors College, Director of Health Professions Advising and contributing faculty members from various departments contributing courses to the minor).

Examples of such courses that have been offered previously include:

  • Chinese Medicine
  • Personal and Family Health
  • Ancient Medicine
  • Biotech and Society
  • Social Deviance
  • Genocide
  • Humans and Nature
  • Brains, Behavior and Sex

Additional resources:



These are frequently asked questions regarding the Minor in Medical Humanities.

What can you do with a minor in Medical Humanities?

As with any aspect of a university education, the question really is: What can the minor in Medical Humanities do for you? And the answer is that taking courses from the listed selections will expose the student to problems and approaches to health care issues that would not be addressed in the normal course of study followed for these professions. It will elevate the student's awareness of and appreciation for the myriad issues surrounding health care practice and delivery. This will prepare the student to think and talk about the health-related issues of today in a far more sophisticated and well-rounded way, hopefully contributing to the student's success and impact in the field.

What careers will a minor in Medical Humanities help with?

This minor is intended for students pursuing careers related to health care. It will be especially valuable to pre-medical and pre-dental students, but students interested in physical therapy, pharmacy, health-care management or other health-provider fields will find many of the courses of interest, and may wish either to complete the minor or at least take some of the suggested courses.

Do I have to be in the Minor to take these courses?

No. Most of these courses are regularly offered Appalachian courses that anyone who meets the prerequisites may take.

The exception is the Honors courses; students do not have to be in the Minor to take those, but do have to be in Honors, UNLESS they are in the minor. Thus the minor has the additional advantage of allowing a student not in Honors to take an Honors course in the minor.

How many people are accepted into the minor every year?

There is no limit; applications will be considered as they arrive by the MMH Committee.

What does Medical Humanities mean?

This is an increasingly common way to refer to studies of medical practice, research and health care from the social science and humanities perspectives. Most students pursuing health care careers focus on the sciences and certain social sciences, such as psychology and sociology. This minor broadens students' thinking to include examinations of the economics, communication, anthropology and history of health care, among many topics, in addition to studying the literature and arts associated with those areas. Recent efforts to raise the public's awareness of diseases like breast cancer through dance and other creative arts would be an example of the latter.