Applied Minor

Medical Humanities Applied Minor

The medical humanities applied minor is designed to help you develop a deeper, more holistic understanding of health care, healing, illness and human dignity. Through relevant classes in the social sciences and humanities, you will gain valuable insight into the ways in which health care is mediated by social and cultural categories, how technology transforms the practice of medicine, the differences between evidence-based and narrative approaches to medicine and the lived experience of illness and healing.

The medical humanities minor was developed thanks to a generous grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities awarded to Earlham professor of psychology Vince Punzo and professor of chemistry Mike Deibel.

Program Details

The medical humanities applied minor consists of 1) humanities and social sciences courses focused on health, illness and medicine; 2) civic engagements related to the medical allied health fields or public health; and 3) an integrated culminating experience.

In your research and course work, you will explore the cultural and psychological influences that shape experiences of health, healing and illness as well examine global models and personal narratives of health care. Civic engagements will provide the opportunity for you to experience the ways in which conceptual notions of empathy, care and dignity are instantiated in health care settings.


The courses for this applied minor are organized into two categories, humanities and social sciences. You must take four or five approved courses (totaling 15 credit hours) with at least one course from the humanities division and one course from the social sciences division) along with one co-curricular activity and one culminating experience.

Below is a listing of some of the courses currently available. Keep in mind that other newly developed courses not listed here may also count toward the applied minor. If you are wondering about whether a social science/humanities course related to health and medicine can count toward the minor, please contact the medical humanities convener, Vince Punzo.

Core humanities courses that count toward the applied minor:

Course Code
Credit Hours
Sub-Total Credit Hours

Core social sciences courses that count toward the applied minor:

Course Code
Credit Hours
Sub-Total Credit Hours

Co-curricular activity

Complete one of the following co-curricular activities:

  • On-campus leadership in the planning, development, implementation, and evaluation of events such as
    • the Health Club Blood Drive
    • National Health Week
    • Special Olympics
  • Volunteering at regional health care settings such as Reid Hospital, Wayne County Health, Friends Fellowship, Premier Hospice, and Richmond State Hospital or job shadowing with doctor and nurse practitioners, physical therapists, or optometrists at regional health care settings.
  • Other options as approved by the Medical Humanities convenor

Co-curricular activities should be supervised and facilitated through the Center for Global Health.

Culminating experience

Complete one of the following:

  • Relevant summer research or projects
  • A medical narrative project
  • Public presentation at the Spring Celebration of Learning
  • Other options as approved by the medical humanities point people
  • Medical Humanities students who begin jobs directly after graduation tend to have jobs related to public health, health access, or research positions in health- or medicine-related labs. Many students pursue advanced degrees in medicine (MD, DO), nursing, public health or other healthcare fields.

  • Students who want to become licensed healthcare providers will need to earn advanced degrees and pass relevant licensure exams. Students should review prerequisites for various healthcare pathways and be in touch with the Center for Global Health early in their Earlham career.