Medicine is not only a science but a complex social practice. Students in this upper-division program will get a solid grounding in the basics of sociology including theories, methods and basic statistics. By exploring various definitions of health and illness, the role of patients and doctors, the hospital as a social institution, power structures within the field of medicine, and access to health care, we will examine how the relationship between individual and society plays out in medical issues. The role of mass media will be specifically investigated in shaping people’s health identities, affecting health-related lifestyle choices, and structuring medical systems and institutions. Our weekly meetings will include lectures on the basic theories of sociology, studies of statistics, book seminars, and movement workshops to provide an experiential wellness component within the program. Students will complete individual research projects, small group collaborations, presentations of their work, and a variety of written assignments.

During fall quarter we will focus on theories concerning illness and health and basic sociological concepts and methods. Some basic statistics will also be covered. Students will do library research of various kinds.

During winter quarter, we will continue with theoretical, disciplinary, and statistical explorations. Students may also carry out small field studies with careful advance planning and human subjects review when necessary. Students will learn how to create and interpret statistics, structure good research, and document work through polished, clear writing and relaxed, practiced public speaking. All students will participate in a week of oral presentations at the end of the quarter in order to help them make connections between projects.

Credits: 8 per quarter

For general information, go to the tabs on this website. For program readings, handouts and assignments, click “Protected course site” .