The Center for Medicine, Health and Society at Vanderbilt offers an interdisciplinary Master of Arts and a graduate certificate for students interested in studying health-related beliefs and practices in their social and cultural contexts. Our graduate curriculum draws from the strengths of faculty in MHS as well as course offerings in other fields and departments. Among the areas of inquiry explored within the curriculum are: racial and ethnic health disparities; men’s health; social foundations of health behaviors; health policy; global health; medicine, humanities and the arts; bodies, gender and sexuality.
The MA in Medicine, Health and Society requires a minimum of 24 credit hours of coursework and a comprehensive exam. Students may choose a thesis option (24 hours of coursework plus thesis) or non-thesis option (30 hours of coursework). Each graduate student works with a faculty mentor to craft an appropriate plan of study. Requirements include the 3-hour core colloquium, MHS 300, an introduction to graduate-level interdisciplinary work in medicine, health, and society, drawing on the perspectives of anthropology, economics, history, political science and policy studies, philosophy, religious studies, and sociology. Additional requirements include MHS 302 Research Workshop, Advanced Methods Seminar, guided research or internship. At least 12 hours should be at the 300 level. A contract of courses must be formally approved by the student’s adviser and the MHS Director.
Requirements are the same for the stand-alone MA and the combined BA/MA (4+1) program. Students in the BA/MA (4+1) program must satisfy all requirements for both the BA degree and the MA degree. There is no double-counting of credits. In order to complete the program in five years, students should be in a position to complete most of the requirements for their undergraduate degree by the end of the first semester of the senior year.
It is expected that students who can devote themselves to the MHS program full time will complete their studies in three terms (i.e., two semesters and one summer or three semesters). However, the length of the program will be flexible to accommodate the needs of different constituencies.
The MA requires a written examination, tailored to the student’s specific course of study, requiring the student to integrate material from the different disciplines. The MHS Director, in consultation with the MHS Curricular Committee, will appoint an examination committee consisting of the student’s adviser and two other faculty members, at least one of whom must be from a field different from the adviser’s. The examination committee will write up the exam, which the student will take during his or her last semester of study (or last summer session) and no later than the week of final exams.
For students in the thesis track, the examination committee will also constitute the thesis committee and will administer an oral thesis defense. The thesis should draw on at least two disciplines and follow Vanderbilt Graduate School’s thesis guidelines (“thesis guidelines” should link to http://www.vanderbilt.edu/gradschool/current_students/thesis_and_dissertation_
submission/index.php). Students in the non-thesis option will submit for evaluation by the MHS Curriculum Committee one course paper demonstrating their ability to integrate approaches from different disciplines.
The graduate program in Medicine, Health and society is available to external candidates, Vanderbilt undergraduates applying through the combined BA/MA (4+1) program, as well as graduate and professional students from the six participating Vanderbilt schools (A&S, Divinity, Law, Medicine, Nursing, and Peabody).
A completed application for admission to the combined BA/MA (4+1) program includes the following:
- Petition to Apply to the Combined BA/MA (4+1) Degree Program signed by your faculty advisor. Completed applications should be submitted electronically to MHS@Vanderbilt.edu by October 15, 2013.
- Statement of Purpose / Research Statement that describes past research and/or academic experience, interests for graduate study, and future plans following graduate school (1-2 pages).
- One (1) letter of recommendation from an MHS or MHS-affiliated faculty member. The letter of recommendation should be emailed separately by the faculty member.
- No GRE scores are required for admission to the 4+1 program in MHS.
A completed application for admission to the MA program includes the following:
- Completed online application through the Vanderbilt Graduate School (have “Vanderbilt Graduate School” link to http://www.vanderbilt.edu/gradschool/). MHS begins accepting applications for fall 2014 on September 1, and the final deadline for submission of all materials is January 15, 2014.
- Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores (We may occasionally accept MCAT scores in lieu of GRE scores).
- Unofficial transcripts showing coursework and degree conferral (Only admitted applicants will be instructed to submit official and final transcripts as a condition of enrollment at Vanderbilt).
- Three (3) letters of recommendation.
- Statement of Purpose / Research Statement that describes past research experience, interests for future research training in graduate school, and future plans following graduate school.