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James Madison University’s newest minor, Medical Humanities, allows students of any major to learn more about health issues through a humanistic perspective. The minor’s coordinator, Dr. Michael J. Klein, has answered a few burning questions about the minor…

1. What (in your words) is the Medical Humanities minor?

MJK: The cross-disciplinary minor in medical humanities provides students with a humanistic perspective of issues of the body, health and illness. This perspective compliments the traditional viewpoint provided by science and medicine.

  1. What made Jstudy3.jpgMU want to add this minor?

MJK: There were two reasons. First, medical schools now want their applicants to have more exposure to the humanities. Second, it provides students in the humanities a means of investigating the creation of medical knowledge.

  1. What majors can go along with this minor?

MJK: Any. This cross-disciplinary minor is appropriate for any undergraduate interested in issues of health and illness.

  1. How many credits would a student need to complete for the minor?

MJK: 18.

  1. What types of classes will students be taking?

MJK: Students will select from among almost two dozen courses, primarily from the humanities, but also from ISAT and health sciences.

  1. What do you hope students take away from the minor?

MJK: There are two primary goals of the minor: think critically about ways in which conceptions of illness, health and the human body are shaped through disciplinary perspectives; and, articulate the ways in Classroom stock photos. Students doing group work in Harrison Hall.which race, ethnicity, sexuality and gender are socially constructed.

  1. Why do you feel this minor is important?

MJK: This is an important way for students to critically engage issues that will affect them throughout their lives.

  1. How will this minor help students in their future careers?

MJ: If the student plans a career in medicine, nursing, dentistry or a related field, then s/he will have an expanded view of the way culture conceptualizes and disseminates issues of the body. But even if the student will be seeking a career in another field, s/he will engage with ideas and concepts that have intrigued humans for thousands of years and continue to shape the way we view ourselves.

  1. Anything else you would like The Daily Duke to know?

MJ: We are rolling out the minor in stages, with only 25 students being accepted for the 2017-18 academic year. An additional 25 students will be allowed to enroll the following year, with a cap of 50 students total at any one time. Students interested in signing up for the minor should contact the minor’s coordinator, Dr. Michael J. Klein, at to schedule an appointment.



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