MA Degree

The Online History of Medicine Program offers an MA Degree for students who want to deepen their knowledge in the history of medicine and develop research skills in the field. Prior to application, please be sure to first review the information below.

The MA Degree provides a wide-ranging and in-depth overview of the history of medicine and offers the opportunity to focus on specific areas of interest. Students work closely with Department faculty to sharpen skills in historical research and writing over a series of twelve courses, culminating in the submission of an original thesis. All courses (except Directed Reading and Directed Research) are 3 credits each for a total of 36 required, plus a thesis. Directed Reading and Directed Research are 1 credit courses; each is taken 3 times. By completion of the degree, students will acquire and be able to demonstrate the following core competencies.

Core Competencies
  1. Demonstrate breadth of knowledge of key scholarship in the history of medicine from antiquity to the present, with special proficiency in a chosen field of study.
  2. Recognize the ongoing and provisional nature of knowledge and engage the past on its own terms.
  3. Identify and critically assess primary and secondary sources,  and deploy evidence from those sources to build an historical argument.
  4. Choose among multiple tools, methods, and perspectives to investigate and interpret materials from the past.
  5. Deploy evidence from primary and secondary sources to build an historical argument.
  6. Practice the ethics and standards of historical research and writing that require peer critique, citation, and attribution.
  7. Develop, plan and complete an independent research project that makes a significant, original contribution to existing literature in the history of medicine.
  8. Apply historical knowledge and perspectives to contribute to public dialogue and professional life.

Students who successfully complete individual courses or the requirements of the Certificate can have their credits applied to the MA Degree in the History of Medicine, if they are admitted to that program.

Admission requirements
  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university
  • Demonstrated proficiency in written and spoken English, for non-native speakers
  • Successful completion of the Introduction to the History of Medicine course
  • Interview with faculty (via Skype)
Degree Requirements
  • Introduction to the History of Medicine
  • All four Survey courses
  • Methods in the History of Medicine
  • Research seminar (two terms)
  • Research Practicum on-site
  • Directed Reading
  • Directed Research
  • One Elective
  • Submission and approval of an original thesis

Current online students (any students who have taken a course before Feb. 1 2020) count time to completion from acceptance into the Master’s program.  MA students have 5 years from acceptance to complete. Should a student switch from Certificate to Master’s, or vice-versa, they will complete according to the timeline of the new program.

Going forward, students who have taken their first course after Feb. 1 2020 will count time to completion from the very first course they do in the program, before acceptance to the Master’s program. MA students have 8 years to complete their degree. Should a student switch from one program to the other, they will complete according to the timeline of the new program.

Students are allowed to repeat any failed course only once. Failure in two courses will result in dismissal from the program.  The list of scheduled courses can be found here to help plan your curricular requirements.

All MA Degree students must complete a free, no credit, online course on research ethics (the Responsible Conduct of Research), as well as an onsite Module as part of the Research Practicum. For the Responsible Conduct of Research (CITI) Online Course: Registration is available through the myLearning JHU portal. This online course, developed by the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI), is comprised of 7 sections.  Completion of all sections is required.