Medical & Health Humanities

Humanizing medicine and care by fostering moral practices and institutions is the mission of the low-residency Medical & Health Humanities program at Drew University. Created almost three decades ago, our certificate, master’s and professional doctorate were a first of its kind and continue to innovate and serve local, national, and internationally based care contexts. These degrees meet the growing need for advanced training in health humanities, care ethics, health policy, contemplative care, and narrative medicine. Robustly interdisciplinary, the program encourages explorations of issues and concerns that give expression to the human being as an entangled being, part of complex moral, natural, and socio-political ecologies that impact our health and well-being.

The curriculum integrates academic inquiry and professional experience to prepare students for careers throughout the healthcare industry, community care settings and beyond. Professionals serve as clinical or public health ethics consultants, moral case facilitators, policymakers, applied and humanities researchers, administrators, leaders of initiatives that foster health and well-being, or work as care professionals in education, health care and social care settings.

Program Requirements

Certificate in Medical Humanities (15 credits)

Requires the completion of five courses. Four of the courses (Medical and Health Humanities Seminar, Medical Humanities Practicum, Biomedical Ethics, and Introduction to Narrative Medicine) are mandatory. The remaining course may be taken as an elective.


Master of Arts in Medical Humanities, Health & Society (30 credits)

Requires the completion of nine courses plus thesis, or if on the non-thesis track, a total of eleven courses. Five courses are required. The remaining courses are taken as seminar electives.


Doctor of Medical & Health Humanities (45 credits)

Requires the completion of twelve courses. Seven courses are required. The remaining five courses are taken as seminar electives. All Doctor of Medical and Health Humanities students must prepare and successfully defend a nine-credit doctoral dissertation of 150-220 pages.


Flexible, Low-Residency Program

Our unique low-residency program, accredited by Middle States, consists of on-campus and fully online course options, allowing a diverse group of students to be on our Madison campus once or twice a year, and attend all coursework remotely via video conference during synchronous sessions, fostering a sense of exchange, learning, and community.

Our program is committed to diversity and inclusivity and can be completed on a full- or part-time basis, providing flexibility to accommodate your schedule. Designed with working professionals in mind, courses are offered in the late afternoon and early evening. Our courses allow for online, synchronous learning, making Drew an excellent choice for distance-based students.

Addressing Today’s Urgent Concerns

There is an ever-growing demand for professionals who understand the ethical, political, historical, cultural, and practical aspects of care practices and who can influence the debate on good medicine and care in society, to ultimately foster a caring society. Drew’s program in Medical and Health Humanities engages today’s urgent concerns, such as

  • the quality and experience of care in consulting rooms, hospital wards, residential care facilities, and local homes.
  • the relationship between health care as scientific knowledge and evidence-based medicine and the intangible needs and qualitative experience of professionals, patients and their families.
  • the contributions of the creative arts, ethical theory, and socio-political analysis to humanizing medicine and increasing wellbeing and healing for the individual and society.

Program Partners

The Medical & Health Humanities program is conducted in partnership with Atlantic Health Systems and one of New Jersey’s top hospitals, Morristown Medical Center. In addition we have partnerships with a vast number of educational programs and health care institutions both locally and internationally. This results in opportunities to assist you in developing your internship or practicum at hospitals and non-profits—always tailored to your professional goals—to be completed in your local area. Our University library and research support are always available to Drew students no matter where they live. You can work with Drew’s national and internationally renowned faculty through unique courses and independent study, while receiving personalized support to reach your educational goals.

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