To earn a minor in the Medical Humanities, students are required to complete a total of at least six courses (18 credit hours): one core course (3 credits), at least four electives totaling 12 credits), and one practicum (3 credits). The core course must be completed prior to (not after or concurrent with) the practicum.

We maintain a list of currently-available courses, and a more extensive list of approved courses that will run in the future.

Core Course:

The core course, HURC 201, will be taught by a Rice faculty member, with additional guest lecturers from institutions in the Texas Medical Center. The course will be taught twice per year. While sub-topics addressed in the course may vary, the core content will remain consistent each semester and will address the following approaches to medical humanities: history of medicine; concepts of disease vs. illness; narrative medicine; health disparities; religion and spirituality; and science and technology in healthcare.


Electives must be chosen from at least two different departments or other campus units. At least two of the four electives must be at the 300-level or above. Please see the “Courses” tab on this site or the HRC Medical Humanities “Course Offerings” page for a current list of medical humanities minor electives.


Students will have four options for completing this requirement.

  1. A practicum offered and administered through the HRC (HURC 430 Practicum in Health Humanities, 3 credit hours) offers engaged research and relevant archival research opportunities. A Rice faculty leader meets with students at least every other week, serves as a liaison with community partners (e.g., TMC Library and McGovern Historical Collections; Institute for Spirituality and Health; Woodson Research Center), and grades student work. Students work 10 hours/week with a community partner on a research project. For their grade, students prepare a work plan, a mid-semester report, and a final presentation. Please see the HRC Practica site for a current list of medical humanities practica partners.
  2. Students may participate in the Health, Humanism, and Society Scholars (HHASS) Program, a two-semester (6 credit) program that allows Rice undergraduates to conduct engaged research with Texas Medical Center researchers (established collaborative relationships exist with faculty at Baylor, UT Health, MD Anderson, and other TMC institutions). Student work is supervised by both their TMC research mentor and by a faculty member in Social Sciences or Humanities, depending on the student’s major. Students are required to write several reflective pieces linking their clinical experience with their medical humanities coursework, in addition to conducting original research. One semester (3 credit hours) of the HHASS program would fulfill the practicum requirement (however, neither of the HHASS semesters will count as an elective for the minor). See the HHASS site for more information.
  3. Students may also fulfill the medical humanities practicum requirement by taking either of the following courses, both of which also count as electives but cannot be used to fulfill both requirements.
    1. ENGL 386 Medical Media Arts Lab, taught by Dr. Kirsten Ostherr, gives students the opportunity to collaborate with health professionals to create solutions to real-world medical communication, visualization and design problems.
    2. NCSI 399, Medical Professionalism and Observership, taught by Dr. Gia Merlo, consists of lectures to enhance your knowledge of medical professionalism, a writing experience aimed at reflecting on your experiences in both the lectures and clinical settings, and an opportunity to shadow a physician and/or observe in the operating room, intensive care unit or other clinical unit at Houston Methodist hospital.