Online Program FAQ

An engraving showing a lady physician attending to a young man in an armchair. The caption suggests he has purposefully caught a cold in order to be seen by the young pretty doctor.

V0047593 A female doctor takes the pulse of a male patient
Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images,,
Engraving 1865 By: George Du Maurier, Published: 23 December 1865.
Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0
“Lady-Physicians,” Punch, December 23 (1865). Engraving by George du Maurier courtesy of Wellcome Images.

When are online courses taught? Our Online Program schedule is divided into 4 terms (also referred to as Quarters), usually beginning at the end of August, the end of October, the end of January, and mid-March. Courses start at the beginning of each term. On average, 1-2 courses will be offered per term.

How long does a course last? Courses last for the full 8 weeks of each term/quarter.

Who teaches the courses? Online courses are taught by Department Faculty and Post-doctoral Fellows, with Teaching Assistance provided by graduate students.

How are online courses taught? We use the Canvas Learning Management System. With audio-over-slide technology for lecture presentations. The audio and slides can be viewed together and/or downloaded and viewed separately. There are also discussion boards, videos, group work using online technologies for collaboration, and live talks.

What is Voice Thread? Voice Thread is a means for asynchronous discussion. You can post to the ongoing discussion via a typed comment, or an audio or video comment; you can post an image or a piece of text, and you can mark up what you post.

How are online courses assessed? Assessments are made on a variety of individual and group assignment tasks. These may include written papers; live talk participation; contributions to discussion forums, voice threads and/or wiki pages. Assessments will be made by Department Faculty, Post-doctoral Fellows, and Teaching Assistants. All courses are Pass/Fail.

How long does it take to earn a Certificate? The Online Program is designed to be flexible and you can learn in your own time. We envisage it will take between 2-4 years to earn a Certificate, depending on your schedule.

How long does it take to earn an MA degree? The Online Program is designed to be flexible. We envisage it will take between 3-5 years to earn a Masters, depending on your schedule.

Can courses be taken before being accepted into the Certificate or Masters program be counted toward the Certificate or MA? Yes, all individual courses can be put towards a Certificate or a Masters. The Introduction to the History of Medicine is the only course that is required for entry into the Certificate program. You are permitted to take up to 4 courses as a non-degree student before applying to the MA or Certificate Program.

Can online Certificate courses be counted toward a MA degree? Yes. Course credits from a Certificate can be carried over to the MA if you decide to pursue one.

What’s the difference between the Certificate and the MA?  The Certificate offers a basic grounding in our field in 6 courses; the MA adds additional courses and research training, including an on-site Practicum, culminating in students writing an MA thesis.

When are the application deadlines? Admission to the Certificate and MA programs is rolling; you can apply any time after you complete the Introduction to the History of Medicine course. Registration for individual courses usually opens early in the summer for fall courses (Terms 1 and 2), and in the fall for winter/spring courses (Terms 3 and 4)

Can online courses from other schools at Johns Hopkins (e.g. School of Public Health) count towards the credit total for a Certificate or a Masters? It depends on the course. Please consult Online Program faculty.

Can I take online courses if I am registered as a graduate student at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine? Yes, you can take our courses. Please contact for more details.

Is there any restrictions on applying to the MA or Certificate program if I am a resident of certain states? Residents of all 50 states and the District of Columbia can apply.

Do you offer courses for CME? At present we do not offer courses for CME credit.

Do you accept international students? Yes, we welcome applications from international students. Please see our International Applicants page for more information.