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

Humanities, Ethics, Altruism, and Leadership (HEAL) I*

This is a case-based professional formation course designed to introduce students to the foundational principles of medical ethics, professionalism and communication. It also introduces concepts such as medical humanities, ethics, cultural competence and palliative care.


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


This course is a sequel to the first semester course and continues the investigation of such topics such as ethics, cultural competency, medical history, spirituality and faith in medicine, palliative care, and medical humanities. Different teaching modalities will be used throughout the course including lecture, small groups, standardized patients, and six-week mini courses called selectives. A selective is offered in small group settings that allow students a deeper investigation of a topic of interest.


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.

Fourth-Year Courses


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 currently offered electives, visit the Electives website.

* Required course