Health Humanities Major/Minor

Prepare for health-related careers with a health humanities degree from Saint Mary’s. Through interdisciplinary study across the humanities, learn what it means to care for the whole person and advocate for humane healthcare. Apply to our full major in this emerging field.

A Health Humanities major brings a unique perspective to the study of health and healthcare. Most importantly, it brings ethical approaches, promotes whole-person care, and emphasizes social justice in all health-related sectors of our communities.

There is a rapidly-growing demand for professionals who understand the patient-centered, empathetic, ethical aspects of healthcare. A health humanities major focuses on the arts and humanities, preparing you to explore health-related careers, as well as careers* in social work, public policy, patient advocacy, and health education. Health humanities graduates are prepared to proficiently apply interpersonal skills, compassionate care, and social justice advocacy within their chosen career path.

What is a Health Humanities Major?

A health humanities major is an interdisciplinary program across the humanities (English, philosophy, history, theology), and the fine and performing arts. The program emphasizes a broad understanding of health, advocates for social justice, and cultivates expertise in liaison communication with the public - a highly valued skill urgently sought by patients, families, healthcare professionals, and communities.

In the health humanities program, you will learn patient-centered care by focusing on humanistic perspectives. The health humanities major at Saint Mary’s is uniquely focused on the humanities and the arts, relying less on the social sciences or natural sciences.

The health humanities major emphasizes intellectual and interpersonal habits crucial for medical and healthcare professionals to provide ethical care and communicate effectively with patients, families, and the public. On its own, the major leads to many career options within healthcare; when paired with complementary coursework in the sciences, a health humanities major is ideal for pre-medical, nursing, and physician assistant students*.

Benefits of a Health Humanities Major from Saint Mary’s:

  • Saint Mary’s has a reputable relationship with nearby leading healthcare systems including Winona Health, Gundersen Health System, and the leading hospital in the nation, Mayo Clinic.
  • In contrast to more narrowly focused medical humanities programs, the health humanities major at Saint Mary’s offers a distinctive, humanities-focused approach to the study of health.
  • As part of a suite of health-focused programs at Saint Mary’s, the health humanities major provides a pathway to a wide variety of careers in healthcare without requiring significant coursework in the sciences.

Potential Careers

  • Community health
  • Government
  • Healthcare leadership
  • Healthcare sales and marketing
  • Health education
  • Medical research
  • Patient care and advocacy
  • Public policy
  • Healthcare administration
  • Public health
  • Law
  • Medicine

Goals for our Students

A health humanities degree from Saint Mary’s prepares you for a valuable skill set by fostering competencies in:

  • Cultural sensitivity and interpersonal skills
  • Moral reasoning and ethical decision-making
  • Active listening and perspective-taking
  • Research and information literacy
  • Critical thinking and analytical ability
  • Creative problem solving
  • Rhetorical awareness
  • Collaborative and independent work
  • Professionalization, self-reflection, and self-presentation
  • Written and oral communication

Health Humanities Minor

Health humanities minors gain effective and well-rounded communication skills, study rhetorical practices, and cultivate a broad understanding of ethical approaches to health and healthcare. A minor in health humanities supports a major in health-related fields.

* The B.A. in Health Humanities is not designed or intended to prepare for professional licensure in any profession.