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The curriculum addresses the following objectives:

  • To develop awareness of foundational theories, approaches, and methods of this rapidly-developing interdisciplinary field, with particular emphasis on exploring what demarcates a discipline and what it means to cross disciplinary lines. Students will become familiar with the similarities and differences between the distinct cultures of medicine and the humanities, how those cultures shape our knowledge of ourselves, our bodies, illness and its treatment—and, especially, how they shape (and sometimes distort) how each views the other.
  • To provide a broad knowledge of core topics traditionally comprised within the medical humanities.  Students completing this degree will become familiar with approaches to specific topics within several fields, such as disability within literary studies and anthropology. The fundamental competency in this area involves mastering information, but even more it requires learning to distinguish relationships among a variety of ideas, practices and theoretical frames of reference.
  • To provide students from humanities and healthcare backgrounds a common ground, on which to exchange insights into and perspectives on illness, diagnosis and treatment, allowing them to transcend the disciplinary boundaries that shape the terrain of scholarship and healthcare.

To address these objectives, admitted students will work with the director to develop a plan of study for their coursework.

Here are two sample plans of study. (Courses change each year; these schedules represent an example of possible offerings that fulfill the distribution requirements).

Major: Anthropology of Health

A Two-Year Plan of Study

Year 1: FallYear 1: Spring Year 2: FallYear 2: Spring
ENGL 763 – Introduction to Methods in Health HumanitiesENGL 695 – Research Seminar in Health Humanities
ENGL 610 - Practicum in Health Humanities
ENGL 611 - Narrative, Literature, and Medicine
ANTH 448 - Health and Medicine in the American South
SOCI 469 - Health and Society
ENGL 992 – Non-thesis OptionENGL 992 – Non-thesis Option
MTEC 123 - Social Health Systems 2 (2 credit hours) + ANTH 901 - Research & Reading (1 credit hour)
ANTH 750 - Seminar in Medical Anthropology

Major: Narrative and Rhetorical Studies of Health*

*This is an example of a student who was able to transfer 6 credit hours of graduate work. The one-year plan of study is not recommended for students who are not able to transfer at least 6 credit hours of previous coursework.

An Intensive One-Year Plan of Study


ENGL 763 – Introduction to Methods in Health Humanities
ENGL 695 – Research Seminar in Health HumanitiesENGL 992 – Non-thesis option

ENGL 768 - Introduction to Graduate Study in ECL
ENGL 611 - Narrative, Literature, and Medicine
ENGL 610 - Practicum in Health HumanitiesENGL 861 - Literary and Cultural Theory
MTEC 123 - Social Health Systems 3 (2 credit hours)Engl 992 – Non-thesis option