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Health, Humanities, and Community Minor

College of Sciences / Natural Sciences
Undergraduate minor

About The Program

The Health, Humanities, and Community minor is designed for students majoring in the Natural Science Department who intend to pursue healthcare professional programs (such as medical school, dental school, pharmacy school, physician’s assistant programs, veterinary school, and others).  

In completing this minor, students will engage in discussion-based critical-thinking coursework investigating some of society’s most pressing concerns.  Students will take psychology and anthropology courses and will select from multiple humanities disciplines to broaden their perspective on these issues, framing a holistic approach to healthcare.  Many Liberal Studies and upper-division GELS options are included in the course selections to facilitate completion of graduation requirements. Further, the HHC minor will provide the student with many of the “recommended” courses for their professional school requirements. 

How to enroll

Current students: Declare this program

Once you’re admitted as an undergraduate student and have met any further admission requirements your chosen program may have, you may declare a major or declare an optional minor.

Future students: Apply now

Apply to Metropolitan State: Start the journey toward your Health, Humanities, and Community Minor now. Learn about the steps to enroll or, if you have questions about what Metropolitan State can offer you, request information, visit campus or chat with an admissions counselor.

Get started on your Health, Humanities, and Community Minor

Program eligibility requirements

To be eligible for acceptance to the Health, Humanities and Community minor, students must submit a College of Sciences Undergraduate Program Declaration Form once they have successfully completed 12 credits of the required courses.

Courses and Requirements


Students completing the Health, Humanities, and Community minor must take General Psychology and one upper division psychology class, one upper division anthropology class and two upper division humanities classes from the listed course selections. At least 12 credits must be taken at Metropolitan State University. Lower-division (100- and 200-level) courses cannot be used to fulfill upper division core or elective requirements in the minor. All prerequisite and required courses must be completed with grades of C- or above. Transfer coursework equivalency is determined by the Natural Sciences Department in consultation with other departments.

Minor Requirements (20 credits)

+ Psychology (8 credits)

Select one from the courses listed below.

This course reviews current information on the clinical use of psychoactive medication. The course focuses on standard clinical psychopharmacology, applications of psychoactive medication, and relative merits of medication vs. psychotherapy rather than on illicit drugs. This course examines several classes of therapeutic drugs, such as neuroleptics, antidepressants, tranquilizers and hypnotics, their mechanisms of action and side effects, and research/experimental issues.

Full course description for Drugs and Behavior: An Introduction to Behavioral Pharmacology

This course examines the biological basis of behavior. Topics include structure and function of the nervous system, psychopharmacology, electrophysiology, and higher order function of the nervous system. Laboratories include brain dissection, nerve histology, electrophysiology and behavioral experiments.

Full course description for Biopsychology

This course will provide an introduction to the field of health psychology, which is concerned with the roles of behavioral/lifestyle, psychological, and social/cultural factors on health/wellness, illness and chronic disease. The course will address four general subject areas: 1) attitudes, behavior, and lifestyle factors affecting disease prevention and development; 2) stress and the related psychological and social processes associated with disease development and progression; 3) social and psychological factors involved in the illness experience; and 4) long-term social and psychological implications of chronic illness (e.g., heart disease, cancer).

Full course description for Health Psychology

+ Anthropology (4 credits)

Select one from the courses listed below.

What is gender? How can we understand differences in gender and sexuality? Through the perspective of cultural anthropology, students examine how gender is perceived and realized in a range of human societies. Discussions on the biological/cultural determinants of gender are considered. Ethnographic materials explore how gender varies cross culturally and historically and is related to social power. Students engage with contemporary debates surrounding such themes as marriage, family, human rights, and sexuality.

Full course description for Gender and Culture

Anthropology of Masculinity explores masculinities from a cross-cultural perspective. While many cultures once believed there is only one "natural" way to be a man, they are now confronted with a variety of masculinities. This course explores the modern quandary, "What does it mean to be a man in the modern age?" from an anthropological perspective. Themes include sexuality, work, dominance, fatherhood, marriage, violence, feminism, popular culture, initiation rituals, and the male body.

Full course description for Anthropology of Masculinity

The dramatic population movements globally and into the U.S. over recent decades of people fleeing violence or seeking viable livelihoods leads to many complex questions concerning migration. This course explores contemporary migration through an anthropological perspective into the lived experiences of refugees and immigrants who come to the U.S., and gives particular attention to immigrant groups residing locally. Students will gain empirical and theoretical bases of social science research to place migration experiences in sociocultural, economic and political context and to critically assess assumptions about refugees and migrants found in discourses on immigration.

Full course description for Anthropology of Immigrants and Refugees

This course uses comparative methods to explore sociological and anthropological understandings of the significance of race, ethnicity, and racism in the United States. We will review concepts and theories of race and ethnicity. We will examine racialization processes affecting the lived experiences of diverse racial and ethnic groups and racial and ethnic inequalities, ranging from institutional discrimination to implicit bias. The course will also explore the pervasive influence of racism as found in domains such as education and the media. How we as individuals and groups can create positive change through anti-racist responsibilities and efforts will also be central to the course. Significant focus is given to issues of race and racism.

Full course description for Race and Ethnicity: Sociological and Anthropological Perspectives

+ Humanities and Social Sciences (8 credits)

Select two from the list below.

This course is designed to provide an understanding of the health care industry and the theory and practice of face to face and mediated forms of communication by health care administrators, managers, providers, and patients. Students will analyze both common and best practices in health care campaigns, training, public relations, patient satisfaction, patient advocacy, administration, media covering health issues, and public education. Significant focus is given to issues of race and racism, and how social constructions of race and racism affect perspectives and create disparities in health care access, communication, and outcomes experienced by different populations.

Full course description for Health Communication

This course takes a systematic and historic look at immigration as an American national mythos and examines how immigration intersects with race and racial difference, and has affected the development of Black, Asian, Latino and Indigenous cultures and communities within the United States. Topics include immigration histories and experiences, critical conceptions of race, ethnicity, and migration, assimilation and acculturation processes, and social, cultural, and policy responses to migration. Significant focus is given to issues of race and racism

Full course description for Immigrant Communities and the Trajectories of Othering

This class focuses on the history and background of the social and environmental issues confronting racial and ethnic communities in the United States. Students learn about the practice and politics of ecological inequality, community initiatives which have developed to combat such inequality, and how environmental justice has emerged as a viable and powerful political movement. This course is useful to students interested in environment and public policy as well as racial and ethnic studies.

Full course description for Environmental Justice and Public Policy

This course examines historical experiences of at least three racial groups. Groups explored include African Americans, American Indians, Asian Americans, Chicanos/Latinos and European immigrants. The course considers the different experiences of these groups as impacted by gender, class and other factors. It aims to deepen and broaden students' understanding of racial and ethnic groups in the United States by studying the similarities and differences of their experiences. Significant focus is given to issues of race and racism.

Full course description for Understanding Racial and Ethnic Groups in the United States

This course examines multiple intergenerational impacts and legacies of trauma, focused on concepts of community trauma, perpetrator trauma, and historic and contemporary traumatic events and actions affecting communities of color, Indigenous peoples, and ethnic and ethnoreligious groups. The course examines different sites of trauma, representation of trauma in various media, narratives of loss, mourning, and coping, and the socio-cultural politics of trauma. Significant focus is given to issues of race and racism.

Full course description for Trauma and Traumascapes: Identity, Legacy, and Memory

This course investigates the changes in American economic life from the late eighteenth century to the present, with a special emphasis on how technological developments have influenced these changes. Students explore the major technological innovations and their diffusion and impact, the social institutions that influenced and were influenced by these changes, and the ramifications of technological and social change upon the everyday material life of Americans.

Full course description for U.S. Economic Life: Technology

History 310 is a general survey of the history of Native North American nations from pre-contact to the contemporary era. The course makes use of readings, lectures, films, group projects, community investigation, and class discussion to introduce students to the rich diversity of Native North American societies and cultures. American Indian tribes are sovereign nations. Students will explore how Euro-Americans used the construct of race as a tool during the process of settler colonialism to diminish and erase tribal sovereignty and avoid recognizing tribes' inherit power as politically sovereign entities. Throughout this relationship the legalistic erosion of tribal sovereignty was paired with genocidal policies including wars of removal, forced assimilation through the use of boarding schools, and other acts of ethnocide that continue to contribute to contemporary issues in Native Americans communities. Despite these settler colonial actions, tribal governments and Native American…

Full course description for American Indian History

This course examines the history of African Americans and race relations in the United States from slavery to freedom. Emphasis is on putting the experiences of African Americans in the context of U.S. social, cultural and political history. The course encourages examination of primary sources (such as slave narratives, newspapers and speeches) to illuminate an African-American cultural and intellectual tradition in U.S. arts and letters. Assignments include library and/or other research.

Full course description for African American History

A majority of U.S. immigrants today come from Asia, the Middle East and Latin America. The immigration pattern represents a significant departure from the past, when immigrants came from very different regions of the world. This course traces the unique story of Asian Americans following them from their early days to modern times when they have become full participants in the making of a multicultural America.

Full course description for History of Asian Americans

This course analyzes the family as both a public and a private institution adjusting to and shaping social, political and economic changes in American life from the colonial period to the present. Even though contemporary debates about family values suggest a fixed pattern of family life, students learn how family patterns have changed over time in response to historical changes such as wars, slavery, the disappearing frontier, industrialization, immigration and migration, consumer culture, social movements and social protest, and the rise of the welfare state. Primary emphasis is on an examination of how women used their positions within the family to gain personal power and access to public institutions.

Full course description for Legacies: History of Women and the Family

This course surveys the history of environmentalism in America over the last 100 years. Students are introduced to the ideas of the environmentalists-from Theodore Roosevelt and Rachel Carson to EarthFirst!'s Dave Foreman and Vice President Al Gore-about wilderness preservation, resource conservation, public health and, fundamentally, about the proper relationship between humans and the natural world. Environmentalist thought and actions are considered in the context of ecological and resource crises (such as the Dust Bowl of the 1930s and the oil crisis of the 1970s), of problems created by technological applications (such as the widespread use of DDT) and of particular cultural developments (such as the closing of the "frontier" at the turn of the century and the growth of the counterculture in the 1960s).

Full course description for The Greening of America: Environmental History since 1900

This course will examine the tension between the private life and public controversies about sexual expression and identity in modern U.S. history. Students will consider the preconditions that gave rise to collective behavior calling for increased regulation of private life as well as examine when, why, and how groups organized to reclaim individual rights to free expression. Consequently, this course is organized around the following sources of public debate about sexuality over time: reproduction and reproductive freedom; patterns of sexual behavior within and outside of the family; consumer culture and mass media; and the formulation of sexual identities.

Full course description for History of Sexuality: Modern Perspectives

This course surveys the key themes and developments in world environmental history; that is, the history of how human societies have changed their environments and how the environment has influenced the courses of societies. It examines pre-modern cultures' intellectual, economic, and technological approaches to the environment, the role of epidemic and environmental transformation in the colonial age, and the revolutionary changes introduced to the environment in the modern period of industrialization and population growth and the rapid consumption of resources that has involved. The course places contemporary environmental issues in their deep historical contexts.

Full course description for World Environmental History

This course compares women as global citizens in a least two cultures or regions of the world. Topics to be covered include women's involvement in family, reproduction, work, education, social and public activism, and war as well as cultural, racial/ethnic, class, generational and ideological differences among women. We will examine these issues in such global contexts as capitalism, industrialization, imperialism/colonialism, socialism and international law.

Full course description for Comparative Women's History

This course examines global health issues that influence population health outcomes, including the interaction between domestic and global health. Students study frameworks such as vital statistics, Millennium Development Goals, and human rights principles and apply these frameworks to the definition, prevention, or mitigation of identified global health issues or concerns with particular attention given to the health of infants, children, and women in low and middle income countries. The course concludes with a study of cooperative efforts designed to mitigate or prevent global health problems.

Full course description for Global Health Issues

This course focuses on the role of racism in the creation and perpetuation of poor health outcomes. Emphasis will be placed on analysis, utilizing critical theory, of the manner in which the history of scientific racism is embedded in current health care clinical practice. The biological responses to the experience of racism will be explored. Racism in healthcare research, the role of structural racism in homelessness and its effects on health, and engagement in anti-racist, activist scholarship to achieve health equity are addressed.

Full course description for Racism and Health

This course introduces student to the concepts of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and human rights, Western and non-Western conceptions of human rights, and the complex nature of human rights issues influenced by individual, cultural, and social values. Students will also gain a framework for analytical skills essential to human rights work and the complexity and interdependency of human family which will promote an understanding of the individual, local, and global forces that create abuses and potential solutions at the local, national, and international level. Through community involvement, students will be able to connect human rights theories and cases around the globe to our local community and vice versa and will develop an action plan for a local organization of their choice or in their personal environment. The course will also provide students a great opportunity to take concrete action on human rights issues and get involved in "change" or initiating…

Full course description for Human Rights and the Educated Citizen

This course introduces students to visual culture theory with an emphasis on the photographic image. The course examines how photography has shaped Western culture's understanding of how to "read" images of people and their spaces for their status, meaning and utility within a community. Contemporary theories debate the place of the photo in distinguishing and contesting our representations of people in terms of race, ability, class, gender, sexuality and size. Students will learn how modern views of photography as both an art and a science create an often contradictory set of beliefs about what a photo shows that is "real" or "true."

Full course description for The Photo and the Other

This course takes a critical and historical approach to literature in English by women, looking at the emergence of female literary voices and exploring the contexts in which their works were written. Some sections of the course may focus on particular traditions within the range of literature written by women.

Full course description for Women Writers

This course surveys how works of American literature and film assert, create, examine, reinforce, privilege, and/or question the construction of racialized and gendered narratives surrounding identity. Students discuss ways that fiction, drama, poetry, popular music, and film engage with the issues of race, racism, and gender. In addition, students will learn and apply key concepts and theories of race and gender (for example, the masculine gaze, the white gaze, queer theories, critical race theory, postcolonial theories) with a critical emphasis on intersectionality in course discussions. Students will make new discoveries about familiar works from the narrative arts; understand the complex legacies of racist and sexist tropes underlying the conventions of popular genres (e.g., the western, the buddy movie, Sci-Fi, the great American novel, the American musical, and so on); and consider personal and collective responses to racism and sexism (e.g., personal viewing habits, social…

Full course description for Gender and Race in Literature and Film

Working-class literature is fiction and poetry written by people from working-class backgrounds about working-class life. This course introduces characteristic themes and techniques in American working-class novels written within the last 100 years, and considers the place of working-class writing within the larger context of American literature and culture. This literature explores some of the individual and community pressures bearing on working-class lives and generally affirms that, while not conforming to middle-class norms, working people live in ways that have integrity, honor and value.

Full course description for Working Class Literature

Students in this course examine literature, film, and expository articles to investigate ways that people of color represent their experiences as immigrants to the U.S. Throughout the course we analyze how various texts present the main themes, perspectives, and socio-cultural contexts of contemporary immigration, which has historically been shaped by racialized discourses and racist gatekeeping practices. We also interrogate how the concerns articulated by immigrants of color intersect with broader social categories such as race, gender, sexuality, age, religion, and citizenship status. Through lectures, discussions, compositions, and small-group activities, students will critically examine the complexities of acculturation and the creativity it takes to balance one's cultural heritage with life in another country as a racialized ethnic minority.

Full course description for Literature by Immigrants of Color

This course will explore the ways Asian American novels, short stories, poetry and film represent, elaborate and challenge how we understand Asian American experience as is it informed by race, gender, sexuality and age. Focusing on major texts of Asian American literature from the early 20th century to the present, we will discuss how and why the study of Asian American literature emerged from its historical exclusion from the U.S literary canon, and how this exclusion is tied to structural racism in the academy, a major institution in U.S. cultural gatekeeping. We will also discuss how the study of Asian American literature benefits from understanding broader historical and political issues relevant to the Asian American experience. To this end, we will read and discuss relevant primary texts and secondary criticism on topics such as (but not limited to), law, citizenship, labor, imperialism, war, anti-Asian racism, comparative racialization, queer identities and activism to deepen…

Full course description for Asian American Literature

In this course students undertake language analysis (e.g., phonology, morphology, syntax) in a cultural context, including the relationship between language, culture and thought. It presents an anthropological perspective on various linguistic and cultural systems, with special emphasis on those of Chicano/Latino, African-American, American Indian and Anglo-American peoples. Students are introduced to the implications of linguistic and cultural differences in work and classroom situations. Significant focus is given to issues of race and racism throughout the course.

Full course description for Language and Culture

What does it mean to be an ethical person? What thinking should guide a person's decisions about doing (or not doing) what is right or wrong? Can we know when something is right or wrong or this only a matter of personal feeling? Do the affluent have moral duties to help the poor of the world with their plight? This course explores these questions and others like them, using a variety of philosophical materials and approaches. It examines major moral theories and related moral dilemmas concerning, for example abortion, economic justice, war and morality, and the moral status of animals. This course also examines ideas about how race, class and gender may affect concepts of ethics.

Full course description for Ethical Inquiry

Is it ever right to try to hasten a patient's death? Should people ever be given medical treatment against their will? How should we decide who will get access to scarce medical resources (like organ transplants)? Do people have a right to get the care they need, even if they can't pay for it? This course will use ethical theories and theories of justice to explore these questions and others like them. It is intended to be helpful not only to (present or future) health care practitioners, but also to anyone who wants to think about these issues, which confront us in our roles as patients and as citizens whose voices can contribute to the shaping of health care policies.

Full course description for Medical Ethics

Does the fact that some in the world have more than they need in order to live and others have too little to survive show that the world is unjust? Do people in affluent countries have a moral obligation to help those in impoverished countries? Should material well-being be more equally distributed in a just world? Should people who contribute more get more? Do smart people, beautiful people, and hard-working people deserve to get more than those who are less so? Should the world's bounty be seen as belonging to all equally? These and other questions regarding the controversial issue of economic justice will be addressed through a variety of philosophical materials.

Full course description for Economic Justice: Who Gets What and Why?

This course explores the way in which our policing and punishment policies affect democratic decision-making and vice-versa. The central question considered is this: How do our policing and imprisonment practices affect democratic legitimacy in the United States? To answer this question, students will examine theories of participatory democracy that link widespread political participation to democratic legitimacy. Students will then consider the interconnections between several important public institutions such as the police, prisons, schools, voting, elections, and the interest group system. Significant focus is given to issues of race and racism.

Full course description for Democracy, Politics, and Punishment

Does religious belief matter in our daily lives? Can religious teachings and values be applied universally or must the history of the people be taken into consideration? This course explores these questions in the lives of American racial and ethnic groups. It examines the role and function of religious belief in their struggle for survival and liberation. Topics of discussion include the concepts of identity, selfhood, community, spirituality, social responsibility, salvation and freedom. Certain religious traditions, for example, African American, American Indian and Asian American, are discussed in the light of histories of these groups. Significant focus is given to issues of race and racism. (Also listed as ETHS 316 Race and Religion)

Full course description for Race and Religion

This course explores the experiences of homelessness and the development of public policies. The problems of homelessness are viewed from sociological and housing perspectives, as well as from an ethnographic experience. The course emphasizes observing the needs of people experiencing homelessness, and the dynamics of government and institutions serving homeless people. Particular attention is devoted to poverty, government housing strategies, race, gender, and age. Service learning is an integral part of this course. Students are expected to learn outside the classroom from persons currently and formerly experiencing homelessness and private and public institutions serving them.

Full course description for Homelessness: Critical Issues for Policy and Practice

This course examines the theories, current trends and practical dimensions of how people organize to effect change. Topics include the nature of community organizing, cultural and historical models, issue identification, leadership development, approaches to social power, campaign planning and implementation, and the relationship of community organizing to other forms of social action. The class is participatory and includes intense interpersonal and reflective exercises designed to increase students organizing skills. Students will supplement classroom learning with a case study of a Metro area community organization.

Full course description for Community Organizing and Social Action

This course provides a sociological perspective on the human body. While the body is a biological entity, the body is also social. The perceptions and meanings of the body are embedded in complex socio-cultural contexts. Students will examine how social processes and cultural practices shape human bodies and our everyday lived experiences. The course will also discuss bodies in relation to gender, sexuality, race, class, age, ability, and health. Lecture, discussion, multimedia materials, and a variety of readings are used to study the relationships between the body, culture, and society. Competence Statement Knows and understands the sociological perspective on the body and embodiment well enough to interpret, analyze, and evaluate the body in society at an advanced level.

Full course description for The Body in Society