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Minor in Medical Humanities

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Advisor: Mark Greene

The University of Delaware offers an interdisciplinary minor in Medical Humanities, administered by the Department of Philosophy. The minor explores how different kinds of humanistic inquiry inform and are informed by the science and practice of medicine.


CURRICULUM                                                                                                                     CREDITS    

Grounding                                                                                                                               3-4                                  

One of the following (3-4 credits):

BISC 103 or BISC 104               Principles of Biology

BISC 106                                       Elementary Human Physiology

BISC 276                                       Human Physiology

BISC 306                                       General Physiology

KAAP 220                                     Anatomy and Physiology         

Humanistic Approaches                                                                                                      12

One three credit course from each of the following three disciplinary groups (9 credits), plus one additional course from any one of the groups (3 credits).

Ethics and Policy

PHIL 241                                     Ethical Issues in Health Care

PHIL 313                                     Killing and Letting Die

PHIL 444                                     Medical Ethics

Art, Literature, and History

HIST 382                                     History of Western Medicine

Human Sciences

SOCI 343                                     Society, Politics, and Healthcare

SOCI 311                                     Sociology of Health & Illness

WOMS 389                                Topics: Women and Health Issues        

Capstone                                                                                                                                     1

1 Credit Independent Study (pass/fail)

A short (1000 word) discussion of how humanistic studies can inform and improve the practice of healthcare, with specific reference to the content of one or more classes taken (must include specific reference to any classes substituted for a listed class). Restriction: must be in senior year or have completed 12 units of the minor to enroll.        

Class substitutions: Relevant alternative classes, or 3 credit independent study, may be substituted within each group if approved by the minor's faculty advisor.

he Capstone requirement requires a little explanation - here is some info on the substance and logistics of the capstone...


Capstone Essay: General idea

The idea is to give you a chance to reflect on your overall experience of the minor. Beyond that, what you choose to write on is very much up to you. For example, you might focus on something that stuck with you from one particular course, or a theme that has struck you over the various courses you have taken in the minor, or you might reflect on how you expect medical humanities to inform you in your career going forward. The opportunity to talk with you and read about what you have done in the minor also helps me to find out what is happening in classes that I don't teach myself. This should not be an onerous requirement. The general expectation is that you will meet with the MHM advisor to discuss the project, you will submit a first version of the capstone essay in plenty of time to talk about it with the advisor and complete any needed revisions before the end of the semester.

Capstone: Logistics

You do the capstone as a one credit independent study. When the time comes, you do this by:

  1. Enroll in PHIL366-000 either before the semester begins or during free drop add. You do this by emailing the minor advisor who will sign you up for a one credit, pass/fail independent study. Do this near the beginning of the semester: the class won't fill up, so just make sure to do it before the end of free drop/add.
  2. Once you are registered, go to this webform and complete it - routing it to the minor advisor, Mark Greene. Do not select discovery learning or honors or anything like that. Here's an example of roughly what the webform should look like - you can just cut and paste the language from the example as needed.
  3. Contact the advisor early in the semester to organize meeting times and to get your capstone project underway.


Due to the limited range of regular classes in the minor, timetabling can be an issue for some people. You can increase your options by looking for classes that might make suitable 3 credit substitutions for listed classes. Basically, suitable substitutions will have a significant portion (at least more than half) of the class content devoted to medical related issues from the perspective of some humanities discipline.

Relevant 3 credit alternative classes may be substituted for listed classes - if approved by the minor's faculty advisor. It is wise to discuss such plans with the advisor ahead of time. You are particularly encouraged to consider taking an independent study relevant to the minor; working closely with a faculty member with whom you share interests can be a very valuable experience... and can provide a good basis for recommendations.

If you are looking for substitution options, a good bet is to use the UDSIS Course Search for the semester of interest. In the 'Course number' box, enter just the letter code for the subject area of interest and scan the listing for promising titles. Good subject codes to try include...

  • English (ENGL)
  • Anthropology (ANTH)
  • Philosophy (PHIL)
  • Sociology (SOCI)
  • Art and Science (ARSC)
  • Theatre (THEA)

Here are a few examples of classes that have been approved as substitutions in the Minor. Please do let me know if you spot other possibilities - even if you are not planning to take them yourself.

  • Grounding Requirement
  • Ethics and Policy Group
    • HLTH320 - Chronic Illness in America: From Person to Policy (or Human Sciences)
  • Human Sciences Group
  • Art, Literature, and History Group
    • ARSC390 - The Art of Medicine. (Topics vary in ARSC 390 - not all are relevant to MHM)


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Minor in Medical Humanities
  • Department of Philosophy
  • 24 Kent Way
  • University of Delaware
  • Newark, DE 19716, USA
  • Phone: 302-831-2359