The curriculum aims to develop competencies in three areas:
- The foundational theories, approaches, and methods of this rapidly-developing interdisciplinary field, with particular emphasis on exploring what demarcates a discipline and what it means to cross disciplinary lines. Students will become familiar with the similarities and differences between the distinct cultures of medicine and the humanities, how those cultures shape our knowledge of ourselves and our bodies, of illness and its treatment—and, especially, how they shape (and sometimes distort) how each views the other.
- To provide a broad knowledge of core topics traditionally comprised within the medical humanities. Students completing this degree will become familiar with approaches to specific topics within several fields, such as disability within literary studies and anthropology. The fundamental competency in this area involves mastering information, but even more it requires learning to distinguish relationships among a variety of ideas, practices and theoretical frames of reference.
- To provide students from humanities and healthcare backgrounds a common ground, on which to exchange insights into and perspectives on illness, diagnosis and treatment, allowing them to transcend the disciplinary boundaries that shape the terrain of scholarship and healthcare.