About the Program

Designed to allow you to investigate healthcare connections across the humanities, the Medical Humanities program examines the intersection of human experience and medical knowledge by engaging in a discursive dialogue centered on what medicine means in relation to the individual and society. You will be in classes with students who come from diverse backgrounds; nurses, doctors, lawyers, pharmaceutical professional, hospital administrators, social workers, writers, pre-professional college graduates, clergy, psychologists and others interested in engaging the complex issues facing healthcare and patients.

The demand for professionals who understand and can convincingly synthesize the ethical, historical, and practical aspects of medicine as they relate to the implementation, control and dissemination of health care continues to grow. In our present society, where advances in science and technology often outpace our ability to understand and cope with new concepts and situations, the need for medical humanitarians is particularly acute.

All tracks can be pursued full-time or part-time, allowing you to have flexibility in your studies. To ensure ethical conduct in medical research or medical and health services, Drew also offers a Certificate in Research Ethics.  The Certificate can be earned alone or may be applied to the master’s or doctoral degree in Medical Humanities.

The Medical Humanities program is conducted jointly by the Caspersen School of Graduate Studies at Drew University and Saint Barnabas Medical Center and Atlantic Healthcare Systems.

More Information

Learn more about Dr. Bill Campbell, 2015 Nobel Prize winner and former Caspersen faculty member.

Program Core

The Core of Our Program: Medical Humanities at Drew

While many graduate and medical schools now offer a course in bioethics, the Caspersen School has chosen to go beyond a curriculum comprised solely of the “ethics of” types of courses. In addition to a required Biomedical Ethics course, all students enrolled in the Medical Humanities program must take a Medical Narrative and complete a Clinical Practicum at Raritan Bay Medical Center in Perth Amboy, New Jersey as part of the program requirements. This unique combination of experiences form the backbone of our program.

Biomedical Ethics allows students to explore the major medical care issues which face the discipline, including discussions of ethical and religious concerns involving abortion, death and dying, and human experimentation. In this course, students learn the language of ethics and how to break down and understand the ethical issues highlighted nightly on the evening news.

In Medical Narrative, students explore how to both “tell” and “read” the stories of illness, various narrative approaches to medical knowledge, focusing on the narrative of illness, ethics and clinical care. Students also explore the varieties of medical narrative, such as anecdote, medical history and case presentation.

The Clinical Practicum offers a hands-on experience which complements and expands classroom learning. During the course of the practicum, students attend 10 clinical sessions (supervised hospital conferences and rounds). The clinical sessions are individualized according to each student’s needs and interests. The sessions range from attending the hospital’s Bioethics Committee meeting, to a Humanities Conference, to ER observation, ICU rounds, or a Nursing Home visit. This is a seminal experience for Medical Humanities students. Often times, students use their experience in Clinical Practicum as the basis for their theses and dissertations.

Degree Requirements

Certificate in Research Ethics

The Certificate in Research Ethics (C.R.E.) requires the completion of five courses (15 credit hours) with a cumulative GPA of no less than 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale). The five mandatory courses (Foundations of Research Ethics, International Research Ethics, Research Ethics and Law, Social, Cultural and Religious Issues in Research, and Ethical Conduct of Research & Research Oversight Practicum) may be completed as a certificate or may be applied to the master’s or doctoral degree in Medical Humanities.

The Certificate in Medical Humanities (C.M.H.)

The Certificate in Medical Humanities (C.M.H.) requires the completion of five courses (15 credit hours) with a cumulative GPA of no less than 2.0 (on a 4.0 scale). Three of the courses (Biomedical Ethics, Medical Narrative, Clinical Practicum) are mandatory. The remaining two courses are taken as seminar electives.

The Masters of Medical Humanities (M.M.H.)

The Masters of Medical Humanities (M.M.H.) requires the completion of ten courses (30 credit hours) with a cumulative GPA of no less than 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale). Four of the courses (Biomedical Ethics, Medical Narrative, Clinical Practicum, Thesis Research) are mandatory.

The remaining six courses are taken as seminar electives. Applicants who already hold the C.M.H. or its equivalent from an accredited institution may be granted up to five course units (15 credit hours) of advanced standing upon application to the master’s program.

All M.M.H students must prepare a thesis of 50-75 pages.

The Doctor of Medical Humanities (D.M.H.)

The Doctor of Medical Humanities (D.M.H.) requires the completion of ten courses (30 credit hours) with a cumulative GPA of no less than 3.1 (on a 4.0 scale). Four of the courses (Biomedical Ethics, Medical Narrative, Clinical Practicum, and Joy of Scholarly Writing) are mandatory. The remaining six courses are taken as seminar electives.

All D.M.H students must prepare and successfully defend a nine-credit (for a total degree requirement of 39 credits) doctoral dissertation of 150-220 pages.


About Admissions

The Medical Humanities program offers graduate-level studies which explore the human element of healthcare. Degrees offered: Certificate (C.M.H.), Masters (M.M.H.) and Doctorate (D.M.H.). Students may also wish to enroll in Medical Humanities as a Non-Degree Student.

Requirements for Application

A complete application for either the C.M.H., M.M.H., D.M.H., or C.R.E. requires:

  • Completed Application
  • $35 Application Fee (non-refundable)
  • Resume
  • Personal Statement
  • Response Essay/Writing Sample
  • Official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions
  • Two letters of recommendation

The Graduate Record examination (GRE) is not required.

Please note that an M.M.H. or other recognized master’s degree in medicine, a medically-related field, or the humanities is a prerequisite for applying to the Drew Doctor of Medical Humanities program.

International Applicants

In addition to the above materials, international applicants whose first language is not English are required to submit TOEFL scores that are not more than two years old.  Applicants who have received their Bachelor’s degree from a foreign university, even if English was the language of instruction, must submit TOEFL scores that are not more than two years old and a transcript evaluation from a credential evaluation service.  Students from the following countries are exempt from this requirement: Canada, UK, New Zealand, the Republic of Ireland, and Australia. Applicants who have an advanced degree from a US institution may receive a TOEFL waiver and should reach out to Graduate Admission at 973-408-3111 or gradm@drew.edu for more information.

For more information on being an international student at Drew please visit our International Student & Scholar Services webpage or for more information on the I-20 process please visit our Caspersen School I-20 Process webpage.

Application Timeline

Please keep in mind this timeline for application:

  • Completed applications are accepted for all three terms (fall, spring and summer).
  • Notification of acceptance is usually sent 2-3 weeks after the complete application is received.
  • All applications must be received at least two weeks prior to the start of the semester for which the student is applying. Contact the Graduate Admissions Office for term start dates.

Non-degree seeking students

Those who hold a bachelor’s degree and would like to take a course before matriculating into the Arts & Letters or Medical Humanities programs may apply for admission as a non-matriculated, or “Graduate Special” student.  This is an excellent opportunity for prospective students to familiarize themselves with graduate study at Drew before committing to a degree program.

Graduate Special students may enroll in up to two courses for a total of up to 6 credits, pay fees and tuition, earn course credit, and have their work recorded on their transcript. Admission as a Graduate Special student does not guarantee an offer of admission to a degree program, however credits completed as a Graduate Special student may be used to fulfill requirements for a degree program if he/she applies and is accepted as a matriculated student in the future.  Graduate Special students are not eligible for financial aid or scholarships.

The Graduate Special application is available online. A complete Graduate Special application requires:

  • Completed Application
  • $35 Application Fee (non-refundable)
  • Resume
  • Personal Statement
  • Official transcripts showing completion of a bachelor’s degree from an accredited four-year college or university

Costs and Aid

Cost of Attendance

Tuition for C.M.H., M.M.H., D.M.H., and C.R.E. can be found on the Business Office site.

Financial Aid

There are three forms of financial aid for Medical Humanities students:

  • There is a limited number of merit scholarships available for full-time Medical Humanities students. These awards range from 25% to 75% of tuition and are awarded based on the academic record presented through the application. Please contact the Graduate Admissions office for more information.
  • Senior citizens age 62 or older are entitled to a half-tuition reduction. Qualified applicants should make an appointment with the Office of Financial Aid where they need to present legal proof of age and complete a Senior Citizen Certification form. Note that this discount does not apply to the optional summer term.
  • Master’s and Doctoral students may apply for federal financial aid by completing a Free Applications for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).  Forms are available online at www.fafsa.ed.gov.

Learn more about financial aid in the graduate school.


Course Descriptions

PDF of Medical Humanities 2014-2015 Course Catalog.
PDF of Medical Humanities 2015-2016 Course Catalog.
The courses listed in the catalog are subject to change. For the most up to date course listing please go to Treehouse or the Course List and select the appropriate start term.

For course descriptions, please view the graduate studies course catalog.

Our Students

Meet Our Students

Joe Boney

Program | Doctor of Medical Humanities

"The support from everyone at Drew has been tremendous. This “Drew Experience” literally begins from admission and continues into the classroom. It’s clear that Drew staff and professors want students to be successful. My expectations have been exceeded" - Read more
Katie Grogan

Program | Doctor of Medical Humanities

"I was thrilled to discover Drew’s D.M.H. program, which has allowed me to draw from multiple fields of study to construct my own concentration." - Read more
Nancy Gross

Program | Master of Medical Humanities

"All of my courses enriched my knowledge, especially courses in ethics, medical narrative and clinical practice of medical humanities, which introduced me to a whole new world and helped me shape my new path." - Read more