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Advisory Regarding Coronavirus COVID-19

In order to deliver the best and safest program for our students, all programs will move to online learning for Summer 2020. We are excited to deliver dynamic and engaging courses and cocurricular activities online. Applications remain open, and we encourage students to apply. Learn More.
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Curriculum & Courses


  • 38 points for degree completion
  • On-campus instruction only
  • Fall intake only
  • Up to 6 terms to complete 
  • Practicum/Independent Study

International students are responsible for ensuring they have read and understand the University’s student visa application eligibility and requirements. Please note that it is not permissible to enroll while in B-1/B-2 status. In addition, if studying on a student visa, you must enroll full-time (12 credits per term) and study on campus.

The Narrative Medicine graduate degree requires 38 points to complete. Students electing to study on a part-time basis can complete the degree in two years. The part-time option is designed to accommodate the professional obligations of students who are employed.

This is a rigorous and concentrated program that demands a serious commitment of time and energy. Students are expected to devote significant time to completing reading assignments, class assignments, and term projects outside of class.

Degree requirements include the five Core courses in Narrative Medicine (20 points), and elective NMED Topics courses (at least 6 points). For the remaining credits (12 points), students may choose a combination of: (1) additional NMED Topics courses; (2) elective courses chosen from other departments (up to 6 points); optional Independent Study (1-4 points) and/or Capstone projects (2-4 points).

The core curriculum of this pioneering M.S. in Narrative Medicine combines intensive exposure to narrative writing and close reading skills, literary and philosophical analysis, and experiential work, with the opportunity to apply this learning in clinical and educational settings. Core courses provide the conceptual grounding for work in narrative medicine, and introduce the direct practice of teaching narrative competence to others.

Students combine core curriculum work with more focused study of important and current topics in the field. Focused seminars draw on the resources of more than one discipline. Courses rotate to reflect the current concerns, methodologies, and analytic approaches of narrative scholars and practitioners.

To allow students to individualize their professional education in narrative medicine, they may choose electives from among a wide range of offerings at the University, with advice and approval of the faculty adviser. Electives enable students to gain knowledge in academic disciplines they wish to pursue (e.g. medical anthropology) or in subject areas of special professional interest (e.g. aging).

The optional Capstone Project offers a wide range of opportunities for supervised or mentored work: a program development and/or evaluation project, a scholarly thesis, or a creative writing project. It may combine independent work with a summer intensive workshop, such as the Columbia University Oral History summer workshop or an intensive writing workshop.

Core Courses

Core Courses

Topics in Narrative Medicine

Special Topics in Narrative Medicine

Capstone/Independent Study