History of Medicine

Since its founding in 1967, the Medical School’s Program in the History of Medicine has been dedicated to research and teaching in the intellectual, political, cultural, and social history of disease, health care, and medical science. The history of medicine provides students with a historical perspective on the role health, medicine, and disease play in society today. It prepares students to think critically about historical and contemporary health issues.

We offer:

  • Graduate work leading to MA and PhD degrees
  • Undergraduate elective courses and an undergraduate minor
  • Historical segments in the Medical School curriculum
  • An annual lecture series that provides a forum for the newest work of scholars in our discipline. 

Graduate degrees

We offer MA and PhD degrees through the Program in the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine, a joint graduate program of the Program in the History of Medicine (Medical School) and the Program in the History of Science and Technology (College of Science and Engineering). Our alumni enjoy a wide variety of careers.

Undergraduate minor and courses

We offer an undergraduate minor and undergraduate courses in the history of science, technology, and medicine. The history of medicine is good preparation for undergraduate students interested in careers in the health professions, journalism, public policy, public history, and a range of academic careers.

Spotlight on Teaching in the History of Medicine

A recent article, "Meeting a Medical Artifact," in the UMN Libraries newsletter Continuum highlights Dr. Dominique Tobbell's new and creative ways of teaching the history of medicine by incorporating artifacts and archival material from the Wangensteen Historical Library of Biology and Medicine. Working closely with Wangensteen curators in her course HMED 3075 Technology and Medicine in Modern America, Dr. Tobbell asked her students to "adopt an artifact" from the collections as a way to explore how technology came to occupy medicine’s center-stage, and what this change has had on health care practices. Several additional students' work will be showcased in subsequent articles in Continuum.