The Department of Humanities in Medicine offers a variety of required and elective courses throughout the undergraduate medical curriculum. In addition to courses, educational symposia, workshops and seminars with visiting speakers are offered to students and faculty in the College of Medicine and are open to the public.

First-Semester Courses

The Practice of Medicine I

The Practice of Medicine 1, or PoM 1, is intended to answer the question, “What is a Physician". It is an introduction to clinical and professional behaviors, concepts, skills and clinical reasoning necessary for the humanistic practice of medicine. The student begins his or her development of their Professional Identity and Clinical Reasoning. Students learn to complete, document and present a patient encounter. This course emphasizes student awareness of patient-physician communication, patient and population diversity, ethics and medico-legal issues, inter-professional dynamics and the medical hierarchy, service, patient safety issues, cultural competence, and student/clinician wellness.


A limited number of electives are available in the first year to insure that students are able to focus primarily on the overall requirements of the first-year curriculum. Examples of elective topics include the ethics of human sexuality, medicine and society through film, and leadership. To learn about electives currently offered on the Temple and Bryan campuses, contact the humanities office.

Second-Semester Courses

The Practice of Medicine 2, or PoM 2, is a continuation of the Practice of Medicine 1 exploration of clinical reasoning and professional and humanistic medicine.


Electives in the second year are limited to a Mentorship in Leadership course and the Medicine and Society through Film course that is also offered to first-year students. The Mentorship in Leadership course is a one-on-one mentorship opportunity with leaders from a variety of fields — for example business, liberal arts, agriculture, engineering and veterinary medicine. Many mentors have some professional interest related to medicine and health care.

Third-Semester Courses

The Practice of Medicine 3, or PoM 3, is designed to prepare the third semester medical student for their clinical rotations. Heavy emphasis on clinical encounters and simulated patient encounters allows the students to hone their clinical reasoning and  physical examination skills while explorations of medical ethics, health care finance, communication, cultural competence, inter-professional collaboration, medical law, palliative care, professionalism, and systems-based practice through use of  a variety of teaching modalities are designed to prepare the student for their future roles in medicine.

Fourth-Year Courses

HEAL (Humanities Ethics Altruism Leadership) Capstone

The HEAL Capstone course is designed to provide information and tools to assist fourth-year medical students in the transition from clerkship into residency. The course emphasizes the foundational principles of medical practice which include topics such as medical ethics, professionalism, communication, healthcare systems based practice, diversity and inclusion, work-life balance, and leadership. The course contains both online modules and a hands-on-residency bootcamp using simulated cases based on the AAMC Core Entrustable Professional Activities (EPAs).


Numerous fourth-year electives are available to be included in the student's rotation schedule. Electives address such topics as medical law and ethics, palliative care and end-of-life care, leadership, medical education and directed research in the history of medicine and medical humanities, healthcare administration, One Health, self and culture, and more. To learn about the electives currently offered, visit the Electives website.