MA in Medical Humanities and Social Sciences

Application Information | Program Curriculum | Funding Opportunities | Contact Information

Heart and Stethoscope

Because the science and practice of medicine benefit from humanistic and social-scientific perspectives, Ohio State now offers the MA in Medical Humanities and Social Sciences. The program provides transformational insights into illness and treatment, death and dying, doctor-patient relationships and the institutions, practices and cultural discourses of medicine.

Guided by faculty advisors, students follow their own interdisciplinary paths of study, emerging with a deeper understanding of the values, practices, successes and challenges of contemporary medicine. In addition to acquiring the knowledge relevant to their own goals, students develop valuable, portable skills in critical thinking, writing, synthesizing information and communicating ideas to diverse audiences.  

Graduates will be well-prepared for further study in medical school or PhD programs and for employment in such fields as public health, medical-facility administration, HR benefits and the insurance industry. Possible jobs include research positions in agencies devoted to health policy, leadership positions in institutions promoting wellness and advocacy roles in health-care reform. 

The MA in Medical Humanities and Social Sciences is housed within the Department of English and draws additional faculty from the Departments of Anthropology, Classics, Communication, Comparative Studies, French and Italian, History, Psychology, Public Health and Sociology.

Autumn 2020 Application Deadlines

International applicants: November 29, 2019
Domestic applicants: December 2, 2019

Application Information

The online application is available on the Ohio State University Graduate and Professional Admissions website. Under the Find Your Program tab, choose English and then MA in Medical Humanities and Social Sciences. The application fee is $60 for domestic applicants and $70 for international applicants.

In addition to the online application form and fee, applicants must provide the following:

  • Three (3) letters of recommendation:  Please have your recommenders submit letters electronically by completing their contact information in the application form.  A link will be sent to your recommenders to upload the letter once you have submitted your application;
  • Transcripts or record of marks for each university-level school attended (transfer credit from another institution appearing on the same transcript is not sufficient). Please visit the Admissions Office FAQs and click on Transcripts for more information. Include English translation of each of any foreign documents. Please do not send transcripts of course work taken at Ohio State as the Office of Graduate and Professional Admissions will obtain them directly from the Office of the University Registrar (at no cost to you);
  • GRE General Test scores (Note: the GRE Literature in English Subject Test is not required. MCAT scores cannot be substituted for the GRE.) GRE Institution code 1592 will ensure that your scores are sent to Admissions and matched with your application for the Department of English; for information about the GRE, please visit the Educational Testing Service website;
  • Personal statement (no more than two pages single-spaced), explaining the issues and ideas motivating you to apply to the program;
  • CV or resume;
  • Writing sample that is relevant to medical humanities and social sciences. The writing sample should be an analytical paper of 15 double-spaced pages in 12 point font. The paper should demonstrate the applicant's capacity to do two related things: (1) pose a significant question within an existing scholarly conversation in the medical humanities or social sciences; and (2) reason well toward an answer that has the potential to change the current state of that conversation in a significant way.

Applicants must meet the general minimum criteria established by the Graduate School. (International students, read about international admission.) The language requirements for this program are more rigorous than the minimum criteria. If your native language is not English, you must provide evidence of at least one of the following scores:

  • Paper-based TOEFL: 600
  • Internet-based TOEFL (IBT): 100
  • MELAB: 86
  • IELTS: 8.0


Program Curriculum

The basic structure of the program is a combination of coursework and a thesis.

Coursework:  30 hours (9 courses of 3 credits each plus 3 thesis hours for a thesis/capstone project)

  • 3 hours of English 6410, Introduction to Graduate Study in Medical Humanities and Social Sciences;
  • 3 hours in a social science research methods course;
  •  At least 6 hours in other English Department courses from a list of courses tailored to the program;
  • At least 9 hours outside the Department of English (from a list of approved electives) with at least 6 hours in the Social Sciences; and
  • 6 hours of elective courses in Humanities or Social Sciences, from the approved list.

Thesis:  3 credit hours devoted to a thesis project.  The thesis project would be designed in consultation with the student’s advisor, and will be based on traditional research, field experience, or some combination.  Students will choose the research methods appropriate to their particular projects.

PDF icon Course Requirements and Sample Curricula.pdf



Funding Opportunities

This is a full-time, in-residence master's program.  Tuition and fees for the 2018-2019 academic year are approximately $12,424 per year for Ohio residents and $34,928 per year for non-Ohio residents. (Tuition and fees are subject to change for the 2019-2020 academic year.)

Opportunities are available for a University Fellowship through the Ohio State Graduate School. Applicants will be nominated by the program faculty; fellowship recipients are chosen by Graduate School committees.  


Contact Information

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