Humanities Institute

Master of Arts in Humanities, Health & Medicine

The Humanities Institute is delighted to announce the opening of a new UT-Austin Master of Arts degree in Humanities, Health, and Medicine (MA-HHM). 


What is the field of Humanities, Health and Medicine? 

Who should apply for UT-Austin’s Master’s Degree Program in Humanities, Health and Medicine?

What opportunities for interdisciplinary study does the Program offer? 

To whom may I direct questions? 




Health & Humanities Graduate Scholars, Spring 2020 

Left to Right: Alexis Riley, Michelle Raji, Michelle Rabe, Kathryn Clarke 

What is the field of Humanities, Health and Medicine? 

The field of Humanities, Health, and Medicine, which can also be referred to as the Medical and Health Humanities, explores and advances relationships between the humanities, arts, and social sciences on the one hand and health and health care on the other. The content and methods of humanistic disciplines have the power to transform health care for all by enhancing human connections, deepening the capacity for empathy, and improving our understanding of the cultural and social contexts in which health, illness, and care occur. At the same time, focusing on health and health care reveals new relevance for humanistic scholarship and teaching in a society increasingly dominated by STEM fields. Several books offer excellent overviews of the field, including Health Humanities Reader, Medical Humanities: An Introduction, and Research Methods in Health Humanities.

Who should apply for UT-Austin’s Master’s Degree Program in Humanities, Health and Medicine?

The MA-HHM program is a good fit for anyone excited about intersections of humanities, health, and medicine who also wishes to hone their skills as writers, researchers, and critical thinkers while gaining a Master of Arts degree from the University of Texas at Austin

The program is designed in particular, however, for three specific audiences:
  • Students considering applications to health professional school but who also have interests in the humanities, arts, or humanistic social sciences. The health professions increasingly recognize the importance of humanistic knowledge and skills for expanding providers’ capacity to offer empathic and context-sensitive patient care, as well as to enhance their own self-care, self-reflection, and resilience. Indeed, many medical schools now view a record of sustained interest and accomplishment in the liberal arts as a “plus factor” in admissions.
  • Students who wish to explore the special forms of significance that humanistic disciplines gain when pursued in the contexts of health, healing, and health care. Such students may ultimately choose to use their MA in Humanities, Health, and Medicine as a bridge to PhD programs in any number of humanities disciplines, including the medical humanities themselves.
  • Students, including those who may already have substantial professional experience, who wish to bring humanistic knowledge, skills, and frameworks to the health care sector, whether as care providers, researchers, policy advocates, consultants, or administrators.

Note: Students currently completing an undergraduate degree at UT-Austin may be eligible for the Graduate School’s Select Admissions Program as early as their Junior Year. Learn how to apply for select admission here.

What opportunities for interdisciplinary study does the Program offer? 

The interdisciplinary nature of Humanities, Health, and Medicine, along with the MA program’s combination of structure and flexibility, gives students the ability to design, in collaboration with the HHM program’s Graduate Adviser, a coherent program of study that matches their own interests, desires, and post-degree goals. Although the HHM program is housed in the University of Texas Humanities Institute, eligible courses and participating faculty can be found across the UT-Austin campus, including in the College of Liberal Arts, the Moody College of Communications, Dell Medical School, the Steve Hicks School of Social Work, the School of Nursing, and the School of Information, and School of Education among other campus units.





Danica Sumpter asks a question at the Pop-Up Institute, 2018

To whom may I direct questions?

If you have questions or would like additional information, please send an email to Personal consultations with the Graduate Advisor are also available upon request.


Health & Humanities Team

Health Humanities Advisory Board 


Phillip Barrish

Director & Graduate Advisor, HHM Program
Professor of English





Pauline Strong

Graduate Advisor, HHM Program 
Director, Humanities Institute 
Professor of Anthropology


Selected Affiliated Faculty in HHM MA Program 

Alison Kafer


Alison Kafer 

Department of English, COLA-UT 

Abena Dove Osseo-Asare

Abena Dove Osseo-Asare

Department of History, COLA-UT 

Sharmila Rudrappa

Sharmila Rudrappa

Department of Sociology, COLA-UT 


Steven Sonnenberg 

Department of Psyciatry and Behavior Sciences, Dell Medical School 


You may view a list of full list of Affiliated Faculty for the MA program in Humanities, Health and Medicine here.




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  • Humanities Institute

    University of Texas at Austin
    Office Address: SAC 4.138
    Mailcode F1900
    Austin, Texas 78712