The humanities are about the human experience, and this certificate will give you exposure to a range of historical, cultural, and philosophical reasons why people make decisions about their health care. Everyone who comes in contact with the health care system, from health care providers to patients, needs to understand more than just the biological aspects of medicine in order to support health and wellness.

To learn more about HatH-related resources, events, and opportunities on campus, visit our website.

How to Get in

Certificate Declaration Requirements

  • Must be enrolled in an undergraduate degree program at UW-Madison
  • Attend a certificate information session.
  • Complete a Core Course with a grade of C or higher.
  • Submit an application form and essay.  Check our webpage for details about the next application cycle. 
  • If selected for the program, meet with the certificate advisor to declare the certificate and plan your coursework.
  • Students who declare the Health and the Humanities certificate are not eligible to declare the Global Health major or the Global Health certificate.

Core Courses

ANTHRO 265 Introduction to Culture and Health3
ART HIST 107 The Body, Sex, & Health in Art3
ENGL 156 Literature and Medicine3
HIST SCI 133 Biology and Society, 1950 - Today3
HIST SCI/​MED HIST  212 Bodies, Diseases, and Healers: An Introduction to the History of Medicine3
HIST SCI/​AFROAMER  275 Science, Medicine, and Race: A History3-4
MED HIST/​ANTHRO  231 Introduction to Social Medicine3
RELIG ST 102 Exploring Religion in Sickness and Health3


Complete at least 15 credits from the areas prescribed below. 

Core Course

Complete one of the following:

ANTHRO 265 Introduction to Culture and Health3
ART HIST 107 The Body, Sex, & Health in Art3
ENGL 156 Literature and Medicine3
HIST SCI 133 Biology and Society, 1950 - Today3
HIST SCI/​MED HIST  212 Bodies, Diseases, and Healers: An Introduction to the History of Medicine3
HIST SCI/​AFROAMER  275 Science, Medicine, and Race: A History3-4
MED HIST/​ANTHRO  231 Introduction to Social Medicine3
RELIG ST 102 Exploring Religion in Sickness and Health3

Health and Illness in Social Context

Complete two courses with a specific focus on health and illness in social context:
AMER IND/​C&E SOC/​SOC  578 Poverty and Place3
ANTHRO 365 Medical Anthropology3
ASIAN/​RELIG ST  218 Health and Healing in South Asia3-4
COM ARTS 317 Rhetoric and Health3
ENGL/​ASIAN AM/​GEN&WS  463 Race and Sexuality in American Literature3
FRENCH 464 Literature and Medicine in French-Speaking Cultures3
GEN&WS 340 Topics in LGBTQ Sexuality3
GEN&WS 370 Topics in Gender and Disability3
GEN&WS 533 Special Topics in Gender and Biology3
GEN&WS/​HIST SCI  537 Childbirth in the United States3
HIST SCI 404 A History of Disease3-4
JOURN/​COM ARTS/​LSC  617 Health Communication in the Information Age3
MED HIST/​PHILOS  505 Justice and Health Care3
MED HIST/​HIST SCI/​HISTORY  507 Health, Disease and Healing I3-4
MED HIST/​HIST SCI/​HISTORY  508 Health, Disease and Healing II3-4
MED HIST/​HIST SCI  509 The Development of Public Health in America3
MED HIST/​PHILOS  515 Public Health Ethics3
MED HIST/​AFROAMER/​HIST SCI  523 Race, American Medicine and Public Health3
MED HIST/​GEN&WS/​HIST SCI  531 Women and Health in American History3
MED HIST/​HIST SCI/​RELIG ST  331 Science, Medicine and Religion3
MED HIST/​GEN&WS/​HIST SCI  532 The History of the (American) Body3
MED HIST/​PHILOS  558 Ethical Issues in Health Care3
MED HIST/​HIST SCI/​HISTORY  564 Disease, Medicine and Public Health in the History of Latin America and the Caribbean3
MED HIST/​AGRONOMY/​C&E SOC/​PHILOS  565 The Ethics of Modern Biotechnology3
PHILOS/​MED HIST  534 Ethics and the Brain3
RELIG ST/​JEWISH  340 The American Jewish Life of DNA3
RELIG ST/​FOLKLORE  352 Shamanism3
RELIG ST 475 Religion, Global and Public Health3
RELIG ST/​ASIAN  505 The Perfectible Body in Religions, Medicines, and Politics3
S&A PHM/​HIST SCI  401 History of Pharmacy2
SOC/​C&E SOC  532 Health Care Issues for Individuals, Families and Society3
SOC/​C&E SOC  533 Public Health in Rural & Urban Communities3
SOC 575 Sociological Perspectives on the Life Course and Aging3

Cultural Competency

Complete one course aimed at understanding the social, cultural, and linguistic needs of patients:
AFRICAN 201 Introduction to African Literature3
AFRICAN 230 Introduction to Yoruba Life and Culture3
AFRICAN 231 Introduction to Arabic Literary Culture3
AFRICAN/​AFROAMER/​HISTORY/​POLI SCI  297 African and African-American Linkages: An Introduction4
AFRICAN/​ASIAN/​RELIG ST  370 Islam: Religion and Culture3-4
AFRICAN 412 Contemporary African Fiction3-4
AFROAMER 151 Introduction to Contemporary Afro-American Society3
AFROAMER 155 They: Race in American Literature3
AFROAMER/​GEN&WS  222 Introduction to Black Women Writers3
AFROAMER 225 Introduction to African American Dramatic Literature3
AFROAMER 227 Masterpieces of African American Literature3
AMER IND 100 Introduction to American Indian Studies3
ANTHRO 104 Cultural Anthropology and Human Diversity3
ASIAN AM 101 Introduction to Asian American Studies3
ASIAN AM/​AFROAMER/​AMER IND/​CHICLA/​FOLKLORE  102 Introduction to Comparative US Ethnic and American Indian Studies3
ASIAN AM 240 Topics in Asian American Studies3
CHICLA 201 Introduction to Chicana/o and Latina/o Studies3
CHICLA 210 Chicana/o and Latina/o Cultural Studies3
CHICLA/​COM ARTS  347 Race, Ethnicity, and Media3
COM ARTS 565 Communication and Interethnic Behavior3
GEN&WS 101 Gender, Women, and Cultural Representation3
GEN&WS 102 Gender, Women, and Society in Global Perspective3
GEN&WS/​HISTORY  315 Gender, Race and Colonialism3
GEN&WS/​AFROAMER  323 Gender, Race and Class: Women in U.S. History3
GEN&WS/​CHICLA  332 Latinas: Self Identity and Social Change3
RELIG ST 101 Religion in Global Perspective3
SOC 125 American Society: How It Really Works3-4
SOC 134 Sociology of Race & Ethnicity in the United States3-4
SOC 138 The Sociology of Gender3-4
SOC/​GEN&WS  200 Introduction to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer+ Studies3-4
SOC/​ASIAN AM  220 Ethnic Movements in the United States3-4
SOC/​GEN&WS  611 Gender, Science and Technology3
SOC/​C&E SOC/​URB R PL  617 Community Development3
RELIG ST 311 Sects and Cults3
RELIG ST 406 The Amish3
RELIG ST/​AFROAMER  404 African American Religions3


Complete one of the following health-focused service learning course:

HIST SCI/​ENGL/​MED HIST  525 Health and the Humanities3
NURSING 511 Community Supports for People with Dementia3
RP & SE 300 Individuals with Disabilities3
DANCE 231 Introduction to Dance/Movement Therapy3
DANCE 232 Introduction to Dynamics of Dance Therapy3

Elective (if needed)

Complete additional coursework to reach 15 credits from any of the courses listed above or ENGL/​HIST SCI/​MED HIST  599 Directed Study in Health and the Humanities

Residence and Quality of Work

  • Minimum 2.000 GPA on all Certificate courses
  • At least 8 Certificate credits in residence

Certificate Completion Requirement

This undergraduate certificate must be completed concurrently with the student’s undergraduate degree. Students cannot delay degree completion to complete the certificate.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Identify major developments in the history of medicine and the medical profession.
  2. Describe how the meaning of “health” has varied over time and space.
  3. Comprehend and evaluate complex arguments about politics, values, healthcare, and health in contemporary society.
  4. Understand health and illness as grounded in personal experience, develop empathy for others’ experiences and use creative means to reflect on those experiences.
  5. Develop sensitivity for what health means among differently positioned people (e.g., with respect to race, class, gender, culture, disability, age).

Advising and Careers

The Health and the Humanities (HatH) academic advisor can help you create a meaningful course plan and stay on track as you complete the certificate requirements. We recommend that you connect with the HatH advisor as early as possible. The advisor is available to consult on a variety of topics including: applying to the certificate, HatH course selection, exploring how HatH courses fit with breadth and general education degree requirements, campus resources, and getting the most from your Wisconsin Experience. 

Contact Information

Laura Bradley
Health and the Humanities Certificate Academic Advisor
201 Meiklejohn House

L&S Career Resources

Every L&S major opens a world of possibilities.  SuccessWorks at the College of Letters & Science helps students turn the academic skills learned in their major, certificates, and other coursework into fulfilling lives after graduation, whether that means jobs, public service, graduate school or other career pursuits.

In addition to providing basic support like resume reviews and interview practice, SuccessWorks offers ways to explore interests and build career skills from their very first semester/term at UW all the way through graduation and beyond.

Students can explore careers in one-on-one advising, try out different career paths, complete internships, prepare for the job search and/or graduate school applications, and connect with supportive alumni and even employers in the fields that inspire them.


Certificate Director

Anthony Cerulli, Professor of South Asian Studies

Anthony’s main fields of research are medicine and religion. In much of his teaching and writing he combines ethnography, history, and philology to explore these fields in South Asia, although his work also draws from and contributes to discussions in the medical and health humanities more broadly. Exhibitions and publications via Anthony’s ongoing photo-ethnography project, “Manuscriptistan,” explore links between art-making, aesthetics, and the history of knowledge production in India.


Laura Bradley, Academic Advisor

Elizabeth Shipman, Program Administrative Manager

Steering Committee

Monique Allewaert

Judith A. Houck

Jenell Johnson

Mike Hill

Neil Kodesh

Rena Kornblum

Susan E. Lederer

Mary Davis Michaud

Nicole C. Nelson

Susan Nelson

Corrie Norman

Lucas Richert

Anne Vila

Claire Wendland