Course Descriptions

Medical and Health Humanities Required Courses

• MHH 201: Introduction to Medical and Health Humanities
• BIO 211: Anatomy and Physiology I (counts toward core)
• BIO 212: Anatomy and Physiology II
• PHL 310: Medical Ethics
• ENG 305: Literature and Medicine
• MHH 350: Fieldwork (can be taken for 1-6 credits)
• MHH 301: Narrative Medicine
• HIS 342: History of Medicine and Health OR PHL 315: Philosophy of Medicine
• MHH 401: Senior Seminar OR MHH 450: Senior Thesis

Note: Students will be required to complete MHH 201: Introduction to Medical and Health Humanities before taking any of the other MHH-designated courses; students will be advised to complete MHH 201: Introduction to Medical and Health Humanities before taking (or concurrent with) ENG 305: Literature and Medicine, HIS 342: History of Medicine and Health, PHL 310: Medical Ethics, and PHL 315: Philosophy of Medicine


  • ENG 225: Disability in Literature
  • FA 213: Themes in Medical Humanities
  • FA 361: Music and the Mind
  • FA 374: Anatomical Drawing
  • PSY 277/GER 277: Adult Development and Aging
  • HIS 165: The History of Human Rights
  • HP 220: American Sign Language
  • MHH 385: Special Topics in Medical and Health Humanities
  • MHH 380: Independent Study
  • PHL 202: Environmental Philosophy
  • PHL 210: Philosophy of Person
  • PSY 310: Gender Studies
  • RLS 117: Christian Health Care Ethics
  • RLS 215: Death and Dying
  • ADC 340A/SWK 340A: Chemical Addictions and Dependency
  • SWK 320: Trauma and Resiliency

  • Medical and Health Humanities Required Course Descriptions

    MHH 201: Introduction to Medical and Health Humanities

    Introduction to Medical and Health Humanities introduces students to primary concepts and issues within the field of Medical and Health Humanities. Students will look at concepts of health and illness, as viewed from the perspective of the patient, the practitioner, and the public, and through the lens of humanistic study including history, philosophy, religion, art, music, and literature. Students will be exposed to a broad understanding of how different disciplines approach issues in the medical and health fields, including concepts regarding patient autonomy, human dignity, and social justice.

    BIO 211/BIO 212: Anatomy and Physiology I and II

    Involve detailed study of the structure and same function of the human body. Emphasis on physiology phenomena and concepts. Lecture: 3 hours. Laboratory: 2 hours. Prereq: BIO 211 for BIO 212,or permission from instructor

    PHL 310: Medical Ethics

    Explores the ethical questions related to modern science and the health professions. Topics such as abortion, human experimentation, genetic engineering, patient-rights, and the delivery of health care are analyzed. Prereq: PHL core

    ENG 305: Literature and Medicine

    Explores the intersection between literature and medicine in three key arenas: the patient, the practitioner, and the public. The course focuses on issues of social justice and human dignity and considers how literature represents, engages with, and challenges medical language, narrative, and diagnosis. Prereq: ENG core

    MHH 350: Fieldwork, 1-6 credits

    Students will choose either an internship with a medical/health non-profit or an observational rotation at a medical/health facility. For the internship option, students will apply academic knowledge to work experience; for the observation rotation, students will attend clinical meetings and participate in on-site observations. Students will also attend regular class meetings with the instructor.

    MHH 301: Narrative Medicine

    Narrative Medicine uses a narrative approach to explore the relationship between health, healing and social justice. Assessing how all forms of discrimination are linked to health status provides students with a fundamental understanding of the connection between economic status, political power, social rights, opportunities and social justice. The narrative approach gives voice to the vulnerable and disadvantaged and encourages an understanding and articulation of the human dimension in health care. Narrative practice is concerned with issues of trauma, body, and intersubjectivity. This course examines the interconnectedness of social identity and the larger social, political, and cultural realities by combining theoretical articles and illness narratives. The challenge is how to honor the illness narratives and transform the stories of injustice and discrimination into stories of health, healing and social justice.

    HIS 342: History of Medicine and Health

    Provides an overview of developments in Western medical science and health care from antiquity to the present. Themes covered include: the evolution and transmission of medical knowledge, the impact of epidemic disease, the patient experience, and role of the practitioner in society. Students in History of Medicine and Health will explore the links between medicine and health and their cultural, social, political, and intellectual contexts. Prereq: HIS core

    PHL 315: Philosophy of Medicine

    Examines the philosophical foundations of various models of the practice of medicine, focusing on philosophical conceptions of human health and well-being. The emphasis of the course is on understanding medicine within a human and humane context. This approach is occasioned by the prevalence of what is known as the biomedical model, a model that sees the human being primarily as a biological manifestation, emphasizing cure over care and healing. This course examines the epistemological, metaphysical, social and ethical frameworks of this model as set against a variety of alternative humanistic models and their respective philosophical underpinnings, from the biopsychosocial model to the narrative model. Prereq: PHL core

    MHH 401: Senior Seminar

    Students engage in a semester-long research project that integrates concepts from the MHH program and related fieldwork experiences as they relate to a chosen topic(s). Students will be exposed to advanced concepts in Medical and Health Humanities. Texts will vary depending on instructor. Must be taken if MHH 4xx: Senior Thesis is not chosen.

    MHH 450: Senior Thesis

    Students will write an independently-chosen critical thesis under the careful supervision of a faculty member teaching in the MHH program. Students will master all the phases of the research process, including the gathering of research from traditional and electronic bibliographical sources, standard systems of bibliographical citation, and organization of a developed and original argument. Must be taken if MHH 4xx: Senior Seminar is not chosen.

    Elective Course Descriptions

    ENG 225: Disability in Literature

    Designed to explore literary texts and films from across the globe that address disabilities of various kinds (physical, mental, social). Some of the questions we shall consider include: how has the definition of “disability” shifted in recent years? What, then, is “normal”? Is the very term “disability” problematic? How does disability further impact other social constructs such as race, gender and socio-economic status? In order to investigate these issues, we shall begin the course with the lexicon of disability and subsequently approach texts from the following perspectives: patient perspective; family perspective; disability due to trauma (including war/political strife); and resiliency and self-efficacy

    FA 213: Themes in Medical Humanities

    An interdisciplinary field that attempts to explore, and provide insight into: the human condition, personal identity, ethical and moral responsibilities, as well as individual and collective rights related to personhood. This will be observed, analyzed and applied through the specific lens of the Fine Arts, and how the various disciplines within it are synthesized with medicine and healthcare.

    FA 361: Music and the Mind

    Explores the cognitive foundations of music through the intersection of psychology and music. We will examine the full range of physical, psychophysical, and cognitive mechanisms that lead to musical experience. This survey begins with the physics of musical instruments and the physical qualities of musical pitch. Key topics include: the psychophysics of hearing; perceptual organization; memory; and biological responses to music. Finally, we examine the structures in working memory that allow individual pitch events to be organized into musical expressions. Along the way, we will look at the general principles that govern the structure of music and the ways in which music psychology influences our health and society. Prereq: FA 203 or FA 204.

    FA 374: Anatomical Drawing

    Students will learn to master the shapes and lines of the body, including muscles and bone structure. Movement, shape, speed line and mass will be reviewed and incorporated into the work in an attempt to redefine the human body as a much-needed subject of art making. Students will be required to participate actively in conceptualization and aesthetic critiques as well as discussions on technical issues. The class intends to create in the students a mature aesthetic vocabulary. Readings and other resources of study will be distributed, which will help foster a critical mind as well as a resource of intellectual, art making. Prereq: FA 103

    PSY 277/GER 277: Adult Development and Aging

    This course will provide an overview of adult development from early adulthood through death and will focus on both normative changes and individual differences. Topics to be discussed include: biological changes, changes in health and health habits, cognitive and intellectual changes, sex roles and family roles, work and work roles, development of relationships, changes in personality and motives, mental health and psychopathology, and death and dying. Developmental theories, models, and research methods will also be discussed. Prereq: PSY 123

    HIS 165: The History of Human Rights

    A study of the origin and development of the idea of human rights from the Enlightenment to the present with emphasis on the French Revolution, feminism, liberalism, decolonization, and contemporary human rights issues.

    HP 220: American Sign Language

    Designed to introduce the basic skills of American Sign Language (ASL) to enhance communication with the deaf community. Students will develop skills in both implementing and interpreting the ASL alphabet, basic signs, vocabulary and components of grammar.

    MHH 385: Special Topics in Medical and Health Humanities

    An intensive study of an issue or topic in Medical and Health Humanities. Topics determined by the instructor. Can be taught twice as the same theme. Prereq: MHH 201

    MHH 380: Independent Study

    A special investigate of a selected issue in Medical and Health Humanities, as determined by the student and director of the independent study. Prereq: MHH 201; MHH majors only.

    PHL 202: Environmental Philosophy

    A survey of the fundamental principles and traditions underlying what we call today “environmental philosophy.” Students will explore the roots of our contemporary ideas about nature and ecology, animal rights, whether or not nature has intrinsic or merely instrumental value, ecofeminism, “deep” ecology, non-western perspectives on the environment, population, hunger, global warming and the Gaia theory that the planet is a living organism. Prereq: PHL 100

    PHL 210: Philosophy of Person

    A dominantly phenomenological approach to analyzing the existential structures that constitute a person. Exploration of the possibilities for personal growth and evaluation of the various social forces that limit these possibilities. Prereq: PHL 100

    PSY 310: Gender Studies

    Gender studies on gender issues from the perspective of different disciplines. Specific topics may include: biological, social, and cultural determinants of gender differences, gender roles in the family, philosophical views of men and women, gender in the classroom, gender issues in the workplace, gender issues in the health professions, and men, women and power. Prereq: PSY 123

    RLS 117: Christian Health Care Ethics

    Christian Health Care Ethics will examine health care ethics primarily within a Christian theological context. The course will cover the role of ethics in health care and the process of moral decision making in a health care setting. This includes analysis of a variety of moral problems and dilemmas in health care, including but not limited to abortion, critical care at the beginning and end of life, reproductive technology, research issues, and the health care system itself.

    RLS 215: Death and Dying

    Provides an overview of the topics of death and dying. Specifically, in this course students will examine the topic of death as a universal for cross-cultural analysis and as a site of contested meaning in American society. Among the themes dealt with in this course are the beliefs regarding death held by the world's major religions, the death rituals of representative global societies, the evolution of attitudes toward death and the afterlife in western society, the process of grieving, ethical concerns surrounding the topics of death and dying, and the manner in which hospitals shape the end of life.

    ADC 340A/SWK 340A: Chemical Additions and Dependency

    An introduction to the diagnosis and treatment of alcoholism. Emphasis is placed on contemporary beliefs and attitudes toward alcohol, effects upon the family and implications for treatment.

    SWK 320: Trauma and Resiliency

    Trauma and Resiliency presents the development of trauma theory and resiliency perspectives within the field of social work. The approach to the provision of social work practice to address Post Traumatic and other traumatic sequelae of clients is based upon most current principles of trauma theory. This course is an introduction to these concepts and is not intended to be used as a treatment course.

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