The minor

The minor consists of 15 credit hours. It has two required core courses and three electives, which can be taken from a broad swath of programs/departments or from a more cohesive thematic concentration (such as Health and Equity; Inequality, Justice, and Race; Gender and Health; Medicine and the Arts; History of Biomedical Sciences; Global Health, etc.). There are no prerequisites for the minor and it is open to all interested Notre Dame students.

Requirements:

The American Healthcare System in Perspective (3 credit hours)

An interdisciplinary class that examines the historical, economic, political and social dimensions of the practice of health care delivery in the United States. The course provides an overview of both the institutional structure of the health care system and of the medical practices that predominate in those institutions, including aspects such as function, reform possibilities, risk, and equity. Students are encouraged to consider race, class, gender, identity, and age as factors that influence the experience with health and illness, as well as their impact on the delivery of medical care. This class places the American system in perspective with other systems of medicine through time and cross-culturally.

Contemporary Concerns in Medicine (3 credit hours)

A seminar that explores some of the most important and challenging topics in medicine and society today: anti-vaxxers, pandemics, opioid crises, stem cell research, brain death, organ donation, or race-based inequities in medical settings. Students in this class will gain an understanding of the ethical, social, and practical dimensions of a variety of healthcare and health policy issues and how providers navigate these dimensions in their care. A key part of the class is the opportunity for students to engage directly with healthcare workers who will serve as guest speakers. The seminar will emphasize writing and journaling, and will directly integrate matters of health care with broader humanistic and social science approaches to health, wellbeing, the body, etc. to deepen students’ understandings of what medicine is. This course satisfies the University Writing Requirement.

Electives (9 Credit Hours):

Besides the two core courses, all students select three electives, which they can select from the list of available courses or, in consultation with an adviser, they can create classes within thematic concentrations. We offer a wide selection of elective courses across the College of Arts and Letters. One course may be substituted by a single-semester senior essay or capstone project.

Recent elective course offerings include:

  • Health and Culture
  • A Visual History of Medicine
  • The Anthropology of Migration
  • Theorizing Disability
  • Epidemics in America
  • Art, Medicine, and Observation
  • Biopolitics
  • Disease and the American Experience
  • Foundations of Global Health
  • History of Race and Racism in Science

Consult the University's Course Catalog for more details

Research

Senior Capstone: Students have the opportunity to complete a semester-long capstone project in HHS, or a year-long senior thesis in cooperation with their major department. They must identify a faculty advisor who agrees to mentor them. For their project, they can take advantage of the HHS network of physicians and other healthcare professionals in the local community who are willing to work with our students on research projects. Students may also write a capstone based on any of the following options: A literature review of a topic of interest; an analysis of their experiences within an ISSLP or SSLP; an analysis and reflection of their experiences shadowing a clinician; or a research project based on empirical data the student has collected. The nature of the capstone and its empirical roots must be part of the conversation between the student and their advisor. This capstone satisfies the University Writing Requirement.

Our Faculty

Faculty who teach in the HHS minor are experts in a wide array of disciplines, from Anthropology to English, from Biology to History. Through teaching and research mentorship, they are eager to help you explore medicine and healthcare from a variety of perspectives.  

Meet the faculty

How do I declare the minor?

Interested students should reach out to Prof. Anna Geltzer (ageltzer@nd.edu) or Prof. Smith-Oka (vsmithok@nd.edu) for information about the program and about adding the minor.