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Medical Humanities Scholarly Concentration

This concentration offers an interdisciplinary course of study drawn from the Liberal Arts. The field of Medical Humanities provides medical students with qualitative humanistic and socio-cultural perspectives on health care. Students will study more comprehensively, and in-depth, the social, cultural, and humanistic determinants and consequences of health, disease, and healing from literary, historical and bioethical perspectives. This is a collaboration with the Medical Humanities and Health Studies Program in the School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI, which will serve as the primary integration site for student work.


Topic-specific courses and scholarly work will take place on the Indianapolis campus

Curriculum and Timeline

Students completing the Medical Humanities concentration fulfill the same core curriculum as students in other concentrations. The didactic components provide a strong academic and experiential foundation in the humanities as it relates to health and medicine that will be vital for completion of the core curriculum project and product.
Please note that this concentration requires in-person attendance at the two above courses. There is no asynchronous or virtual content in the topic-specific courses.

Recommended Pathway

This table shows that the first and third topic specific course should be completed during the summer between first and second year of med school. The second topic specific course should be taken during phase one in year two. The two remaining courses, project and product, are longitudinal. The project can begin as soon as the summer between first and second year of med school, while the product should begin during phase one in year two and conclude on or before the end of fourth year.

Students determine if a concentration pathway will fit in their schedule by contacting concentration co-directors. 

Scholarly Project Topic Examples

Students work with faculty to complete a project in a relevant topic based on student interests. Students are welcome to come up with their own project idea. Potential project topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Narrative Medicine
  • Clinical and Narrative Ethics, Intersection of Ethics and Law
  • History of Medicine
  • Clinician-patient communication, The ethics of prognostication, Ethics and oncology
  • Bioethics and Policy and Research Ethics
  • Radiology, Literature and Medicine, Philanthropy Flu shot access to homeless populations
  • Medical Sociology Health policy
  • Literature and Medicine
  • Radiology, Fetal Imaging, Philosophy
  • Medical Anthropology and Linguistics, Genomic Medicine and Ethics
  • Playwriting and Medical Ethics
  • Patient-provider interaction, communication skills training/interventions and digital/mediated technology


Students should reach out to co-directors with any questions about this concentration.

2788-Beckman, Emily

Emily Beckman, DMH

Director, Medical Humanities and Health Studies, School of Liberal Arts

Bio and Contact Information

Jane A. Hartsock, JD, MA

Director; Clinical and Organizational Ethics

Bio and Contact Information

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MD Student News

In their words: Scholarly Concentration Q&A with Medical Humanities co-directors

Emily Beckman, DMH, and Jane Hartsock, JD, MA, share details on the Medical Humanities Scholarly Concentration, which provides medical students with qualitative humanistic and socio-cultural perspectives on health care.