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Master of Science in Narrative Medicine

Full-Time

Columbia University’s Master of Science in Narrative Medicine prepares health professionals, writers, and scholars to apply the skills and values of narrative understanding to improve outcomes for both patients and caregivers. For the full-time option, students take courses on Columbia’s New York City campus. The program takes two terms to complete and allows only fall entry.

At a Glance


In This Master’s Program, You Will…

  • Build an interdisciplinary foundation in narrative understanding, the illness experience, and the tools of close reading and writing.
  • Focus on applying narrative skills in fields like genetics, social justice advocacy, and palliative care.
  • Learn how to bring your core values and sense of purpose to a healthcare career.
  • Become a better writer and communicator.
  • Learn how to use narrative skills to better attend, represent, and affiliate, improving patient care and outcomes.
  • Explore core social justice issues in healthcare and address systemic inequities.
  • Gain a toolbox of new strategies to employ to improve healthcare.
  • Address the need of patients and caregivers to be heard and valued
  • Harness the power of narrative to change the ways we care for those most in need.


Program Features Include…

  • A multidisciplinary curriculum in which students learn from collaborating closely with both faculty and peers.
  • An acclaimed faculty including both clinicians and non-clinicians, along with experts and specialists in creative writing, philosophy, film, anthropology, and history.
  • Personalized career guidance to help achieve your personal and professional goals.
  • Direct access to the primary thought leaders and practitioners in the narrative medicine field.
  • Access to Columbia’s narrative medicine community, an extensive alumni network and resources.

Who Should Apply?

  • Healthcare professionals and trainees in clinical disciplines such as medicine, nursing, dentistry, social work, physical therapy, occupational therapy, psychoanalysis, and pastoral care.
  • Students or alumni of graduate programs in other fields such as literature, writing and health journalism, oral history, medical anthropology, and other social sciences who want to understand illness and disability in their own scholarly activities or to help teach healthcare professionals.
  • Individuals from disciplines such as rhetoric, creative writing, anthropology, gender studies, oral history, or religious studies.
  • For graduate students who are earlier in their careers, and particularly those who combine the M.S. in Narrative Medicine with clinical degrees, this degree will position them to evolve into narratively competent clinicians. They will be able to pass on their understanding of the value of narrative to clinical competence, and, most importantly, will go into their own advanced training—internships, residencies, fellowships—equipped to be a different kind of caregiver.

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As Alumni

Graduates will be positioned to lead narrative medicine programs in medical schools and hospitals, developing, implementing, and evaluating the impact of these programs on clinical practice and quality of care. As program directors, division heads, department chairs, and senior administrators, they will be equipped with skills to generate narrative work, supervise practitioners, and uphold and promote standards for intellectual, clinical, and research work of narrative medicine.

Connect with Us

Learn more about Narrative Medicine at Columbia University School of Professional Studies, or contact the program admissions counselor.

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Study with Us

As admissions to our programs are highly competitive, we encourage you to apply as soon as possible. Learn more about the application process, deadlines, and requirements.

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