Skip to content

Bachelor of Arts in Health Humanities

Location: Boston
Start Term: Fall

Drawing from existing resources, courses, and expertise, MCPHS offers a degree program combining study of health with humanities, construed broadly to include literature, philosophy, the arts, history, anthropology, and sociology. Our baccalaureate degree program in Health Humanities will provide students with a rigorous program that will prepare them for further study and careers in healthcare, public health and policy, law, education, journalism, and related fields.

First-year applicants can view their admission requirements on the Undergraduate Applicants page.

Students can transfer into the first or second year of the program. Transfer courses must have been completed at a regionally accredited college or university with a grade of C or better for transfer. Math and science courses taken more than ten years prior to the anticipated date of matriculation to MCPHS will not be accepted. While there are no specific required courses for entry into the first or second year of our program, transfer credit will be reviewed and awarded for each applicant at the time of admission. For admission into the program, the admission committee will look for success in your prior college coursework.

Students will satisfy their general education requirements. The Health Humanities Major will consist of 12 required classes: five program requirements and seven program electives. Students can take additional program requirements to satisfy their elective requirements provided that there is no significant replication of course material from previously taken program requirement classes as agreed to by the Program Director.

The program requirements are the following (one each):

Introduction to health humanities

  • A course on global health issues
  • A course on anthropology, sociology, and history of health
  • A course on narrative and health/medicine
  • A capstone seminar

Majors can also enroll in a Directed Study course with a suitable curriculum, if a particular required course is unavailable.

The Health Humanities major has elective openings that permit completion of minors.

Available Courses for our Major


Courses that satisfy the Introduction to Health Humanities component:


  • HUM 230: Introduction to Health Humanities


Courses that satisfy the Global Health component:


  • PBH 350: Global Health


  • CHEM 221: Cultural Ecology and Sustainability (a travel course to Iceland)
  • SOCI 245: Global Health
  • WGST 200: Women, Nation, Culture


Courses that satisfy the Anthropology, Sociology, and History of Health component:


  • SSC 230: Cultural Anthropology
  • SSC 356: Politics of Food
  • SSC 432: Medical Anthropology (pre-req: SSC230)
  • SSC 495: Evolution of the Health Professions
  • SSC 444: Cigarettes in American Culture
  • SSC 349: Introduction to Women's and Gender Studies
  • SSC 354: The Family in Society


  • AST/SOCI/WGST 232: Race, Gender and Health
  • SOCI 241: Health, Illness and Society
  • SOCI 275: Birth and Death
  • SOCI 249: Inequalities
  • SOCI 345: Health Systems and Policy
  • SOC 2200: Drug and Society


Courses that satisfy the Narrative and Health/Medicine component:


  • HUM 340.O: Cancer and Comic Books
  • HUM 375.O: Modern Novels of the Afterlife
  • HUM 444: Creative Writing
  • HUM 450.AJ.O: Graphic Medicine
  • HUM 456: Narrative and Medicine (Narrative)


  • ETHS 3800-01: Literature and Madness
  • HUMN3800 (Special Topics): Illness and Metaphor

Courses that satisfy the Program Elective component (7 total):


  • BEH 250: Health Psychology
  • BEH 254: Death and Dying
  • BEH 260: Lifestyle Medicine
  • BEH 340: Psychology of Aggression
  • BEH 345: Myths and Misconception in Psychology
  • BEH 350: Abnormal Psychology
  • BEH 351: Social Psychology
  • BEH 352: Human Development through the Life Cycle
  • BEH 356: Gender Roles
  • BEH 357: Positive Psychology
  • BEH 358: Theories of Personalities
  • BEH 454: Stress and Illness
  • BEH 458: Child and Adolescent Development (pre-req: LIB120 and BEH352)
  • HUM 355: Science, Technology and Values (pre-req: LIB512, HUM340, or HUM450)
  • PBH 330: Human Sexuality
  • PBH 450D: Public Health Perspectives on Trauma
  • PBH 450S: Infectious Diseases Epidemiology
  • PBH 450C: Chronic Diseases Epidemiology


  • POLSC 2801: Food Policy and Social Justice
  • PHIL 3110: Philosophy of Psychiatry
  • HONOR 2503: Ethics and Mental Health
  • ECON 3113: Economics of Health Care


  • PHIL 139: Environmental Ethics
  • PSYC 239: Psychology of Aging
  • PSYC 237N: Life Span Development
  • SW 251: Human Behavior in the Social Environment


  • PHIL 3800: Designing the Good Life
  • HUMN 3800 (Special Topics): Greek and Roman Elements of Medical Terminology
  • PSYC 4160: Sports Psychology


An undergraduate major in Health Humanities helps prepare the next generation of healthcare leaders. There is a growing recognition of the value of interdisciplinary humanities study as preparation for advanced graduate work and professional practice. With a focus on the study of creativity, cultural expression, and key concepts organizing human experience, a degree in Health Humanities fosters

  • imagination
  • empathy
  • critical thinking

Health humanities study, practiced through the skills of reading, writing, research, and artistic expression

  • promotes self-awareness;
  • brings critical perspective to the discourses of illness and wellness; and
  • bridges gaps in communication and understanding amongst professional and lay audiences.

The Schwartz Center: How to Deliver Compassionate Care to the Silver Tsunami

Panelists at Silver Tsunami event.

Three panelists offered insight on how to deliver empathetic care to an aging population.

Read More