M495 Capstone Course

M495 Independent Project/Seminar in Medical Humanities and Health Studies (3 cr.)

Each student pursuing a major in Medical Humanities and Health Studies will take a capstone seminar or be given the opportunity to develop a research or applied project related to the interests of the Medical Humanities and Health Studies faculty.  This seminar or project will allow the student to apply the knowledge gained from the course work taken in the Medical Humanities and Health Studies Program, serving to tie together the humanistic and social scientific bases of health care in a directed endeavor of interest to the student.


  • Successful completion of MHHS M301.  As such, the two courses cannot be taken concurrently.
  • Permission from the faculty mentor is required to register for the course.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I meet the capstone requirement?

Typically, the capstone seminar will be offered in the fall and spring semesters on a broad topic of the instructor’s choice.  Being a seminar, the class will require some in-class attendance and be capped at fifteen students, allowing for more topic instruction, discussion and individualized mentoring on the required individual research papers

How do I choose a topic of study?

The instructor for the capstone seminar chooses a broad topic in medical humanities and health social science.  The topic is broad enough for a student to then choose a focus with the guidance of the instructor, and can write the paper from one of the many perspectives in medical humanities, for example, biomedical ethics, history, literary analysis, medical sociology or anthropology, health economics and the like.

With the independent project option, students should focus on a health problem or issue and tie together or utilize some of the medical humanities perspectives the student will have studied in previous courses for the major.  The topic and project is developed together with the instructor, and may include assisting the faculty member with an existing research project related to medical humanities or health social science.

What is the expected workload?
The capstone seminar will normally require in-person class attendance, assigned readings and discussion to introduce the topic, and a substantive individual research paper of approximately 25 pages, based upon the student’s interest within the context of the instructor-assigned topic.

For independent projects, students will meet with a faculty member to design the project, which must be equivalent to work required for a 3-credit course. For example, if the capstone takes the form of a research paper, it should be the depth of a 25 page paper, and may include some reading and discussion meetings with the instructor. The research for the paper could also come from assisting the faculty member with research or clinical work. In either case, the main requirement is that the student’s work be equivalent to the workload for a typical 3 credit hour course.

How do I get credit for the capstone course?   

The seminar instructor project will assign the grade for the course.  For independent projects, the instructor mentoring the project will assign the grade and report it to the MHHS Office for posting. 

As with all courses used for the MHHS major, students must earn a grade of C or higher for successful completion. 

How can I learn more about majors and minors in Medical Humanities - Health Studies?

E-mail MHHS Faculty Mentor Judi Izuka-Campbell at