This is an interdisciplinary minor for students preparing for professional or graduate training in a health care specialty. The minor is particularly suited for students majoring in a natural science (such as Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics, or Psychology) who wish to take a suite of interdisciplinary courses that will provide them with perspectives from the social sciences and humanities on health care and related topics. In addition, students can take some courses for the minor that will provide them with useful skills or experiences for practicing medicine in a professional setting.

Faculty members of the Health Professions Minor Steering Committee oversee the minor program, advise students, and approve declaration and audit forms for individual students. The Health Professions Advisory Committee Chair acts as the program coordinator and approves all minor declarations and audits.

The Goals of the minor:
• Expose the participants to important issues of health care in the United States and other countries.

• Allow the participants to gain auxiliary skills vital to health professionals in the 21st century.

• Allow the participants to gain communication skills and to consider ethical foundations essential for health professionals.

The minor consists of a minimum of six of the following courses or internships or certifications, all of which should be unique to the minor. Special attention should be paid to completing some of the formal coursework in both the humanities and social sciences; the minor should be diverse with courses from several different disciplines. No more than three 100-level courses should be used to satisfy the minor.

Tier 1: At least three courses should come from the following list:

ANTH 341/441 Making Babies (offered alternate years)
BIDS 214 The Politics of Reproduction (offered occasionally)
BIDS (SOC) 295 Alcohol Use and Abuse (offered occasionally)
DAN 305 Somatics (offered alternate years)
ENG 115 Stories of Illness and Healing (offered only in Spring, 2013 and Spring, 2014)
ENG 328 Health & Social Justice (offered only in Spring, 2013)
ENG 372 Cultures of Medicine (offered only in Spring, 2014)
HIST 313 Darwin and the Darwinian Revolution (offered in fall semesters alternating with HIST 325)
HIST 321 The Evolution of Human Emotion (offered every spring)
HIST 325 Medicine in Modern Europe (offered in fall semesters alternating with HIST 313)
HIST 371 Life-Cycles in History (offered every fall)
LGBT 204 Bodies of Difference
MDSC 307 Medicine and Society (offered every 2 to 3 years)
PHIL 156 Biomedical Ethics (offered 3 out of every 4 semesters)
PSY 203 Introduction to Child Psychology & Human Development (EDUC 202 Human Growth & Development may be substituted for PSY 203) (offered annually)
PSY 205 Adolescent Psychology (offered annually)
PSY 221 Introduction to Psychopathology (offered annually)
REL 213 Death & Dying (offered annually)
WMST 204 Politics of Health (offered at least in alternate years, alternating with WMST 362)
WMST 211 Place and Health (no longer offered)
WMST 362 Topics in Feminist Health (offered at least in alternate years, alternating with WMST 204)

HCP 450 An appropriate Independent Study approved by HPAC

An HWS-sponsored Hospital Internship (50-60 hours) OR EMT Certification

Selected courses abroad (approved by HPAC) in:
Galway, Ireland
Copenhagen, Denmark


Tier 2: Additional courses for the minor may come from this list:

AFS 200 Ghettoscapes (offered alternate years)
ANTH 110 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology (offered every semester)
ANTH 205 Race, Class, Ethnicity (offered alternate years)
ANTH 220 Sex Roles: A Cross Cultural Perspective (offered annually)
DAN 225 Anatomy and Kinesiology (alternate years)
HIST 151 Food Systems in History (offered every semester)
ECON 122 Economics of Caring (offered every fall)
ECON 160 Principles of Economics (offered every semester)
ECON 248 Poverty & Welfare (offered alternate years)
ENG 213 19th Century American Literature and Women Healers (no longer offered)
MDSC 330 Special Topics Seminar: Biological media: media, bodies and ‘life itself’ (offered only in Fall, 2013)
PHIL 157 Multicultural Ethics (offered alternate years)
PHIL 234 What Should I Do? Possible Answers (offered occasionally)
PHIL 235 Morality & Self-Interest (offered at least in alternate years)
PHIL 315 Social Justice (offered at least in alternate years)
PSY 100 Introduction to Psychology (offered every semester)
PSY 245 Cross-Cultural Psychology (offered once a year)
REL 260 Religion and Philosophy from a Global Perspective (offered alternate years)
SOC 100 Introduction to Sociology (offered every semester)
SOC 221 Race and Ethnic Relations (offered every year)
SOC 224 Social Deviance (offered every year)
SOC 225 Sociology of Family (offered alternate years)
SOC 226 Sociology of Sex and Gender (offered alternate years)
SOC 241 Sociology of Sport (offered occasionally)
SPAN 101 & 102 Beginning Spanish I and II (counts as two credits toward the minor)
SPAN 102, 121, 122, 203, 204 (up to 2 Spanish language courses at the 102 level or above)
WMST 100 Intro to Women’s Studies (offered every semester)
WMST 220 The Body Politic (offered occasionally)
WMST 247 Psychology of Women (offered alternate years, often in the spring)
WMST 305 Food, Feminism and Health (offered occasionally)
WRRH 351 The Science Beat (offered alternate years)
WRRH 352 Writing in the Professional Workplace (offered alternate years)

We encourage students to take 2 courses in Spanish Language (e.g., SPAN 101, 102, 121, 122, 203, 204). Two courses would give the participant a foundation to communicate with the increasing number of Americans for whom Spanish is their first language. If your career plans in health care would make another language desirable, two courses in a language other than Spanish can be incorporated into the minor with permission of your minor adviser and the Health Professions Advisory Committee Chair. You should get permission BEFORE you embark on any language other than Spanish.

Examples of coursework for a Health Care Minor

Example 1 Example 2
PHIL 156 ENG 328
REL 213 In Copenhagen: Human Health and Disease
GGH Internship In Copenhagen: Public Health Ethics
WMST 204 PHIL 157
ECON 122 SOC 100
ECON 248 SOC 221

If your major is not in the sciences, you should strongly consider taking a few science courses related to health care (such as biology or chemistry) in addition to the requirements of the minor. Your minor adviser can help you select science courses that are appropriate for your career goals. You should be careful to make sure you fulfill the science requirements for any post-graduate work you wish to pursue.


Jamie Bodenlos, Psychology
Gregory Frost-Arnold, Philosophy
Jessica Hayes-Conroy, Women’s Studies
Derek Linton, History
Jo Beth Mertens, Economics
Justin Miller, Chemistry and HP Committee Chair
Renee Monson, Anthropology and Sociology

Minor Form

Download the Health Care Professions Minor form. (PDF)


Hobart and William Smith Colleges,
Geneva, NY 14456
(315) 781-3000

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