The University of Massachusetts Amherst
Home / Certificates / Certificate in...

Certificate in Medical Humanities

What is Medical Humanities?

Medical Humanities brings the methods and concerns of humanities disciplines to bear on the study of health and health care. This interdisciplinary certificate provides the opportunity to approach medical issues—such as illness, treatment, disability, death, and health policy—from historical, philosophical, literary, and cultural perspectives. It also aims to nurture the skills of analysis, empathy, and self-reflection.

Who should pursue the certificate?

The certificate is open to all UMass Amherst students, regardless of major. It will benefit students who plan to pursue careers in health care, by broadening their skills in analysis and communication, and by increasing their awareness of the cultural, social, and political dimensions of medical issues, practices, and services. However, it will also be of value to students in almost any field who have an interest in the subject.

It is possible to complete the certificate entirely online, thereby opening it to both matriculated and non-matriculated students. There are also a number of face-to-face courses, providing on-campus and Five College students with flexibility and choice.

What are the requirements?

To complete the certificate, students must take two required courses and three electives.

Required Courses Electives
  • Philosophy 164: Medical Ethics (AT)
    Summer 2020 (Online) & Fall 2020 (F2F and Online)
  • History 264: History of Health Care and Medicine in the United States (HS)
    Summer 2020 (Online) & Fall 2020 (F2F)
  • Classics 250: Classical Origins of Western Medicine and Medical Terminology (HS)
    Fall 2020 (F2F)
  • Comp Lit 397G: Death and Dying
  • Comp Lit 397M: The Mind and its Discontents
  • Comp Lit 552: Medical Interpreting
  • English 217: (Dis)Ability and Literature
  • English 391NM: Narrative Medicine: How Writing Can Heal
    Summer 2020 (Online) & Fall 2020 (F2F)
  • History 190S: Sex in History (HS, G)
  • Italian 333: Representing Women’s Bodies: Poetry, Politics, and Power (AL, G)
  • Japanese 397A: Japan through its Afflictions
  • WGSS 205: Feminist Health Politics
  • WGSS 285: Introduction to the Biology of Difference (SI, U)