Planning Your Minor

The Medical Humanities minor requires an application and approval by the committee to enroll. Applications are read in March and October each year; the minor is not open to students beyond October of their junior year.

Minor courses should be selected in relation to your major and your interests. Try to take the required Introductory course, ENGL 2212, as early as possible in the minor, as it will introduce you to a range of disciplinary approaches (and to several BC faculty) that will help you to choose subsequent courses. Try to shape your electives around one of the following thematic clusters:

  • Global/Public Health
  • Values and Ethics
  • Mind and Body
  • Health Care Delivery
  • Medical narrative, writing, and representation

The Courses link will show you which courses will be offered in the minor in 2017-2018. If you have questions about courses that you’ve taken previously, please check with the Director; this list is not exhaustive.

Application Procedures for the Minor in Medical Humanities, Health and Culture

Medical Humanities, Health and Culture requires an application. Students are eligible to apply as early as spring of freshmen year and as late as fall of junior year. Applications consist of 2 parts.

Part 1 consists of the official degree audit, please print-out and sign the application authorizing Medical Humanities to request a copy of your Degree Audit and bring it to Gasson 104 (in a sealed envelope labeled “Medical Humanities Application”) by September 25 (fall) or February 25 (spring).

Medical Humanities Application

Students who are abroad at the time of application should fax the attached pdf for their degree audit and their personal statement “Attn.: Medical Humanities Application” to +1-617-552-0625 by end of business day, EST, 9/25 or 2/25, respectively.

Part 2 of the application consists of a brief personal statement (200-300 words) stating why you are drawn to the minor; how (and why) interdisciplinary work appeals to you; what kinds of experiences have prepared you for this work; and how you think you might draw from an interdisciplinary minor in health and culture in your future endeavors. Email your statement by October 1 (fall) or March 1 (spring) to the Graduate Assistant to the Medical Humanities minor, Alicia Oh (ohae@bc.edu).

The committee will read and review applications and respond by the end of October or the end of March, prior to the pre-registration meeting each term.

Electives taken prior to enrolling in the minor will count once you enroll. For students weighing study abroad: we are now able to offer credit for an elective taken overseas, but that depends on approval by the curriculum committee on your return.

Thanks for your interest in the minor; feel free to e-mail the Director, Prof. Boesky at boesky@bc.edu with any questions, or drop by office hours if you want to talk about courses, the structure of the minor, or the application process.


In order for a course taken abroad to be considered for MHHC minor credit, it should be consistent with the Medical Humanities as the interdisciplinary, humanistic and cultural study of illness, health, health care, and the body. Consideration requires an application and approval by the Medical Humanities Program.

Courses must be taken in a program approved by the Office of International Programs. Courses should not be substantially similar to a course that the student has already taken at Boston College. No more than one course taken abroad can be applied toward the minor.

Deadlines for submitting courses for approval are October 1 and March 1. Along with the syllabus and a brief description of the course, please submit your work that fulfilled a representative assignment (i.e. your paper that constituted the largest part of your grade). If the course required only tests or another form of evaluation, please write a paragraph about your learning through the testing or evaluation process. Students must submit these materials to Medical Humanities at medical.humanities@bc.edu. If necessary, the program will ask for additional information.

Structure and Requirements

The Medical Humanities Minor consists of 18 credits, or six courses:

  • ENGL 2212, required for all minors, to be taken as early as possible in your career
  • Four electives, drawn from a designated list
  • An approved advanced elective, to be taken in the junior or senior year
  • A senior presentation. Minors can give a brief (3-4 minute) presentation in May of their senior year or write a short (250 words) reflective piece that will be shared with the senior class.
  • One elective towards the minor may be taken abroad upon approval from the Curriculum Committee. Ordinarily, credit will only be granted on returning from the program, on evaluation of the syllabus and graded work done in the course.

Courses beyond ENGL 2212 must be drawn from at least three different departments, but one of these can be from your major. In Arts and Sciences, students need 15 “unique” credits towards the minor, but the remaining three credits (one course) may “co-count” for your major or the Core.

Several three-week courses offered through the Office of International Programs count towards elective credit in the minor. See the OIP website for more information.

One elective from an OIP-approved program can be counted towards the minor.

Advising: Informal advising sessions are held before fall and spring registration. In addition, minors are encouraged to meet with either Professor Boesky (boesky@bc.edu) or Alicia Oh (ohae@bc.edu) to set up advising sessions when needed.

Advanced Electives

The following courses count as advanced electives in 2016-2017 (all writing intensive):

  • ECON 3390 Applied Health Economics
  • ENGL 4434 Writing Mental Health
  • HIST 4485 History of Medicine and Public Health in the African Diaspora
  • PHIL 5598 Law, Medicine and Ethics
  • PSYC 4436 Clinical Fieldwork in Psychology
  • THEO 3598 Law, Medicine and Ethics
  • THEO 5498 HIV/AIDS and Ethics
  • TMCE 7052 Theological Bioethics: From the Basics to the Future
  • TMPS 7148 Poverty and Mental Illness
  • TMCE 8072 Human Genetics and Biotechnologies: Challenges for Science and Religion

Note: Even if you have already taken one of these courses, you are required to take one in your junior or senior year.