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Medical Humanities Program Scholars Program Requirements

Cadaver: Miyuki Fukui

Medical Students achieve the designation of Humanities Scholar upon graduation by completing the following requirements. This designation is noted on the permanent transcript and is acknowledged at graduation.

Contact the Scholars Program

Requirement #1: Earn 3 Medical Humanities course credits

These courses are generally completed during the first two years of medical school, mainly for logistical reasons. Course requirements vary and are explained in the course syllabus. Completed courses appear on the student’s transcript. There is no penalty for starting but not completing a course; it just won’t appear on your transcript.

  • Some courses offer ½ course credit for the equivalent of 5 hours of contact time.
  • Other courses offer 1 full course credit for the equivalent of 10 hours of contact time.

Course credit is awarded for satisfactory completion. Generally, a course may not be taken for credit more than once, with the exception of certain seminars that offer advanced content. Students must sign in at each class session and meet all other individual course requirements in order to receive course credit. Course credit appears on each student’s medical school transcript.

Requirement #2: Attend and document 6 accredited hours of Medical Humanities presentations

In addition to our courses, we also offer stand-alone lectures and presentations during the academic year. These are generally hour-long activities and are listed on the Electives calendar. Additional on-campus and off-campus humanities events are added to the calendar throughout the year. Students may also apply to have an unlisted event count for credit, such as a Medical Humanities presentation offered at another institution. (Certain Humanities courses offer a 1-hour credit for attending the first, introductory session. This applies only to students who are not claiming course credit.)

Students document attendance by journaling a 500-word reflection. Journal entries must clearly specify student name, date, speaker, and topic of presentation. They should be reflective, not simply report the content of the presentation. Writing prompts to consider: What did you appreciate most about the presentation? What impacted you? What surprised you? What upset or unsettled you? What would you want to learn more about? Students save these journal entries to their portfolio. They are submitted for approval by the Director of the Scholars Program. Reflections must be posted within 24 hours of attending the presentation.

Requirement #3: Complete a mentored, capstone project

Capstone Project Criteria

Medical Humanities Program Criteria 1

Scholarly effort: This project is equivalent to the scholarly effort required to produce a 10-page referenced paper (5000 words excluding citations) that is publication ready. As alternatives to writing a paper, students may also propose completing a project using alternative media. Examples include but are not limited to submission of an artist’s portfolio, poetry collection, or videography. Final submission is complemented by a detailed artist’s statement.

Medical Humanities Program Criteria 2

Mentorship. The capstone project is a mentored activity, with the student working closely with their chosen faculty mentor. The Director of the Medical Humanities Scholars Program may assist the student in identifying an appropriate mentor. It is expected that the mentor review and give feedback on iterative drafts of the project.

Medical Humanities Program Criteria 3

Approval of the proposed project. All capstone projects must be pre-approved by the Director of the Medical Humanities Scholars Program. The proposal must include:

  • Explanation of how the project falls within the province of the Medical Humanities. These are disciplines that explore the human experience of illness, healing, and doctoring. The student may apply the lens or methods of any of the humanities disciplines.
  • Identification of a mentor.
  • Outline of the project.
  • Proposed timeline.


The following is a typical timetable. There may be exceptions based on an individual student’s circumstances. It is strongly recommended that all grand rounds and elective course requirements be completed by the end of F&F year 2. It is also recommended that a substantial piece of work toward the completion of the capstone project be done during the summer in between year 1 and year 2.

Medical Humanities Program Timetable Year 1

Year 1

  • Contact program and identify as potential Scholar
  • Complete first 3-4 presentation credit hours
  • Complete 1-2 course credits
  • Discuss capstone project ideas; use summer to work on project
Medical Humanities Program Timetable Year 2

Year 2

  • Complete remainder of 6 presentation credit hours
  • Complete remainder of 3 course credits
  • Gain approval of project and mentor
Medical Humanities Program Timetable Year 3

Year 3

  • Continue work
  • Maintain contact with program
Medical Humanities Program Timetable Year 4

Year 4

  • By 3/31: Submit portfolio of journals, course credits for approval
  • By 3/31: Submit capstone project for approval

Contact the Scholars Program

Contact Information

Drexel University College of Medicine
Office of Admissions
60 N. 36th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104

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