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Image from LitMedCult Orientation
Michele Rivkin-Fish speaking at the LMC Symposium.


The area of study called “medical humanities” or “health and humanities” has flourished over the past several decades. Researchers in the health humanities seek to understand how patients interpret illness, how definitions of disease are shaped through cultural understandings, and how health professionals can better reflect on their values and communicative practices.

If you are interested in this program, you can earn an M.A. in English and Comparative Literature with a concentration in Literature, Medicine, and Culture. Our interdisciplinary faculty members bring diverse disciplinary backgrounds and experiences to the study of health: students in the program have the opportunity to study with literary critics, anthropologists, philosophers, rhetoricians, doctors, and bioethicists. We seek students who have a solid grounding in the humanities, experience with interdisciplinary study, and some background in the life sciences or biomedical fields.

The M.A. in English concentration in Literature, Medicine, and Culture is housed in the Department of English and Comparative Literature, a program ranked 20th nationally in the U.S. News & World Report. However, students enrolled in the concentration are expected participate in interdisciplinary coursework and research projects with faculty from across the University of North Carolina. Faculty in the Literature, Medicine, and Culture concentration come from over dozen departments across the University, as well as the Honors Program, which offers an interdisciplinary undergraduate minor in the field. Among the many distinctions of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is its School of Medicine, ranked first in Primary Care by U.S. News & World Report. With its hospital and allied schools of Nursing and Social Work, the school stands only a few minutes’ walk from the College of Arts and Sciences, where over a dozen departments rank among the top 25 nationally in their fields. Students benefit from close proximity between top-ranked programs in the healthcare and the liberal arts.