Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I study Medical Humanities?

3 Good Reasons to Enroll in the Certificate Program in Medical Humanities

  • To gain a better understanding of the many factors that influence health care and that affect interactions between patients and medical practitioners. Such knowledge and sensitivity can help any member of a medical team be more empathic and effective. Published studies repeatedly indicate that trust between patient and physician promotes healing and avoids legal complications.
  • To rethink illness, aging, and dying as human experiences (rather than medical conditions) which generate complex ethical and emotional dilemmas as well as opportunities for insight. Studying these circumstances in the safety of the classroom gives us time to reflect on how we might handle such situations, regardless of our roles. Even those of us not engaged in medical professions are likely to become care-givers and even patients.
  • To enhance preparation for the MCATs and other medical graduate programs. Starting in 2015, MCATs will include sections on sociology and psychology. Our interdisciplinary program creates a venue for exploring how these and other disciplines in the humanities and the social sciences apply to a medical context. Having a Certificate in Medical Humanities on your transcript calls attention to the intellectually integrated training you have had.

What is the difference between a certificate and a minor?

Whereas a certificate requires 18 credits in a wide range of related disciplines, a minor requires 24 credits in more specific areas of study.

Are there required courses?

Yes, Hum 315, “Perspectives on Medical Humanities” the introductory course, and ENGL 470, “Capstone Seminar in Medical Humanities”, three credits each.

Can I use my electives for my major and for the certificate?

Yes. Some courses in almost any discipline are applicable to the Certificate Program in Medical Humanities. Check the website and consult with the Co-Directors, Emilie S. Passow, PhD and Stacey Ake, PhD in the Department of English and Philosophy.

What majors can take the Medical Humanities Certificate?

Students in any major are welcome including those in the Honors Program with appropriate modification of their course work. (See “3 Good Reasons for enrolling in the Certificate Program in Medical Humanities).

How do I enroll and how soon?

Begin by contacting either Co Director of the program: Stacey Ake, PhD at or Emilie S. Passow, PhD at They will supply you with additional details best suited to your goals. Students can enroll as early as the end of their 1st undergraduate year at Drexel in any of the colleges and no later than the beginning of their 3rd year.