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The M.A. degree in English with concentration in Literature, Medicine, and Culture has three major requirements: (1) 30 credit hours of coursework that align with requirements listed below, (2) a non-thesis option/capstone project, and (3) foreign language proficiency.

Program Requirements

Conforming to Graduate School requirements for the M.A., each candidate will complete thirty hours of study in the field, organized as follows.

  • Students will satisfy six hours through the following required courses:
    • ENGL 763: Introduction to Methods in Health Humanities, a broad-based exploration of theories and concepts within the field and the required Research Practice course,
    • ENGL 695: Research Seminar (Health Humanities: Intensive Research Practice), a lab-based introduction to interdisciplinary research methods that includes participation on faculty-directed research teams and development of new, student-generated projects.
  • Recommended: ENGL 610: Practicum in Health Humanities or 611: Narrative, Literature and Medicine: Advanced Interdisciplinary Seminar. ENGL 610 offers a hands-on introduction to health humanities topics, methods, and concepts, while ENGL 611 offers an introduction to principles of close reading and theories of genre, with an emphasis on analysis of life writing.
  • Capstone Project: At least three hours of ENGL 992 (non-thesis) or ENGL 993 (thesis) or the equivalent course in another department. Normally, the non-thesis option will involve work on a substantial article developed for scholarly publication, but other options are possible. The thesis is a more formal, critical and scholarly research project that prepares students for PhD-level work. The thesis generally takes at least two semesters to complete. All projects can be based on fieldwork in clinical settings, purely scholarly research, or a combination of the two. Both the thesis and non-thesis culminate in an oral defense before a capstone director, reader, and optional second reader.  Note: Students may opt to take up to six credit hours of ENGL 992 or 993.
  • For the remaining courses, students should choose courses that allow them to explore their interests, including a foreign language if desired.
  • One foreign language: Students are required to show proficiency in one foreign language. Students who plan to practice in a health profession in the United States are strongly encouraged to take courses in Spanish like PUBH 610: Spanish for Health Professions. This requirement may be fulfilled in the following ways:
    • An undergraduate major in an approved language.
    • A grade of “Pass” on an examination supervised by the Graduate School and administered by the foreign language departments.
    • Completion of one special reading course for graduate students offered in Classics, German, and Romance Languages Departments (601 or 602). Note: These course credits may not count toward degree requirements.
    • One or two semesters of any accelerated introductory language course at the 400-level or above that is the equivalent of 101 and 102 (e.g. Latin 601, Spanish 401) for course credit. Note: These language courses can fulfill a maximum of six credit hours toward the 30 credit-hour requirement. Per Graduate School policy, these courses must be taken for a grade (and cannot be taken pass/fail) to be eligible for program credit.
    • Completion, with at least a grade of B, of an undergraduate literature course in a foreign language taken after the B.A. is awarded.
    • Students whose first language is not English may use English to fulfill the foreign language proficiency requirement.
    • By petition to the Director, with a 300-500 word explanation for the request, may include a course or certification in sign language, a computer programming language, medical terminology, linguistics, history of the English language, style, or other related skills.
  • Oral Defense: The oral defense of the non-thesis option project constitutes the comprehensive exam for this MA.

Topics of Study

This interdisciplinary program encompasses a broad range of disciplinary perspectives, so students should complete the remainder of their credit hours by choosing from among the topics below. Students should choose a major area (at least 2 courses) based on their interests and career goals:

  • Anthropology of Health
  • Disability Studies
  • Health and Social Justice
  • Global Health
  • Bioethics
  • Narrative and Rhetorical Studies of Health
  • Science, Technology, and Society
  • History of Medicine
  • Other (consult Director)

Students should be encouraged to think broadly about how graduate courses may be relevant to their interests and should contact professors in advance to ask about how they can focus course assignments around their interests. For example, a student interested in Narrative and Rhetorical Studies might find a course in 19th century American literature useful and create a course project that examines neurasthenia and hysteria in literature from that time period. A student interested in bioethics and gender would benefit from a course in feminist philosophy. We encourage students to seek input from their advisors in selecting relevant courses.

Students may also petition the LMC Director(s) to create an alternative topic of study provided that there are sufficient course offerings and an appropriate rationale to support the topic. Students will need to provide a description of the topic, proposed courses, and a short statement of how the courses satisfy work in the proposed topic.

Candidates should note that courses listed under the “Courses” tab on this website may not be offered every year, that enrollment may be limited, and that permission of the instructor may be required. Candidates are encouraged to contact instructors at their earliest opportunity to determine when or if courses they intend to take will be available, and to obtain permission to register, if necessary. Please note as well that this listing will change as new courses come online; candidates are advised to review this list before the registration period every semester.