Mississippi State to offer medical humanities certificate


STARKVILLE, Miss.—A new medical humanities certificate program at Mississippi State will better prepare university students for post-graduate success in healthcare occupations.

Designed to broaden analytical and theoretical understandings of health and medicine, the program will help meet the professional goals of pre-medical students and those pursuing careers in healthcare, public health or allied fields.

Offered through the College of Arts and Sciences and administered by the dean’s office, the interdisciplinary program is open to all undergraduate students. The departments of History, Communication, Anthropology and Middle Eastern Cultures, Psychology, Philosophy and Religion, and Sociology will offer courses and contributed to the curricula proposal.

Certificate completion requires 15 credit hours (five courses) spanning the College of Arts and Sciences curriculum. History of Medicine and Medical Ethics is required of all certificate-seeking students, with the additional three electives coming from the humanities and social sciences. A minimum grade of a “C” is required in each course.

The program is chaired by Courtney Thompson, assistant professor in MSU’s Department of History.

Thompson said the medical humanities certificate aims “to strengthen students’ understanding of the moral and ethical aspects of medical care,” and was developed in response to a 2015 revision to the Medical College Admission Test, or MCAT, which emphasizes critical analysis and reasoning with a focus on humanities and social sciences content, and increased attention on cultural studies and bioethics.

Other committee members include Barton Moffatt, associate professor in the Department of Philosophy and Religion; Molly Zuckerman, associate professor in the Department of Anthropology and Middle Eastern Cultures; as well as Rick Travis, dean; Nicole Rader, associate dean for academic affairs; and Tommy Anderson, interim assistant dean for academic affairs.

“Not only will this certificate enhance our pre-health students’ applications to professional schools, but most importantly, studying the humanities helps students develop professionalism, empathy and communication skills needed by these future healthcare providers,” said Mary Celeste Reese, director of MSU’s Dr. A. Randle and Marilyn W. White Health Professions Resource Center and assistant clinical professor of biological sciences.

Travis said with the added emphasis on medical humanities, students who complete the certificate’s criteria could see benefits and advantages when taking the MCAT or in graduate school interviews.

“The medical humanities certificate will help students pursuing healthcare careers to stand out from their peers,” said Travis, adding that those who earn the certificate will be able to analyze contemporary health challenges with historical perspective through completion of the program, approved this spring by MSU’s Committee on Courses and Curricula. 

MSU’s College of Arts and Sciences includes more than 5,300 students, 300 full-time faculty members, nine doctoral programs and 25 academic majors offered in 14 departments. Complete details about the College of Arts and Sciences may be found atwww.cas.msstate.edu.

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at www.msstate.edu.