Starting in fall 2016, University of California, Irvine undergraduate students will be able to choose a major or minor in Global Middle East Studies, and a minor in Medical Humanities. The School of Humanities now offers 22 majors and 33 minors—the most of any school at UCI.

Global Middle East Studies

The Global Middle East Studies major and minor are the first academic offerings at UCI to require students to take a core course series across several schools. This highly innovative, interdisciplinary program of study looks at the Middle East from a global perspective, linking together cultures, religions, countries, economies and politics from the heartland of the Arab world to Iran, South and Southeast Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas. In addition to its broad geographic focus, students are exposed to state of the art methodologies from humanities, arts, social sciences, social ecology, and physical sciences, demonstrating how they can be powerfully combined to shed new light on one of the most important and volatile regions of the world.

All majors will complete a writing seminar, and have the choice of several dozen upper division courses from departments in half a dozen schools. Students will choose eight elective courses divided among thematic concentrations including, Environment, Economies and Conflicts; Histories, Cultures and Identities; and Geographies, Migrations and Politics. To ensure that graduates are proficient in a language of the Middle East, majors are required to complete two years of college-level coursework in a related regional language.

“A deeper understanding of the different political, social and intellectual trends in the Middle East and surrounding regions, and the sources of social and religious tension among its different groups, will allow our students to potentially contribute to the promotion of far-sighted internal and external policies that involve Middle East and African communities,” said Mark Le Vine, professor of modern Middle East history, who led the development of the major and minor. “By establishing this major, the Schools of Humanities, Social Sciences, Biological Sciences, Engineering and Social Ecology will not only be responding to a phenomenal surge in student interest in the Middle East broadly conceived, but also developing curricula that integrates the geographic, climatic, biological, religious, political, cultural, linguistic, and economic issues related to these regions.”

For more information on the major and minor in Global Middle East Studies, please visit the site here.

Medical Humanities

The Medical Humanities Initiative is a campus-wide initiative sponsored by the Office of the Provost & Executive Vice Chancellor that bridges faculty from the School of Humanities, the School of Medicine, the School of Social Sciences and the Claire Trevor School of the Arts. Its aim is to advance a holistic understanding of the conditions and possibilities for health, healing, and well-being. One of the missions of the Medical Humanities Initiative was to establish a minor in Medical Humanities.

Situated in the School of the Humanities and available to students beginning fall 2016, the minor in Medical Humanities focuses on humanistic inquiry, theoretical and applied ethics, spiritual care and practice, and cultural production in relation to health, healing and wellbeing.

Medical Humanities is an interdisciplinary, humanistic and cultural study of illness, health, health care, and the body. In contrast to the medical sciences, the medical humanities -- which include bioethics, narrative medicine, history of medicine, culture studies, science and technology studies, medical anthropology, philosophy, dance, music, literature, film, as well as visual and performing arts -- focus more on meaning making than measurement.

“The object of medical humanities is medicine as a human practice and, by implication, human health and illness. Students study, among other things, the doctor-patient relationship, narratives of illness, the nature of medical knowledge, the social dimensions of racial and gender differences, and changing conceptions of disease, disability, and healing,” said Sven Bernecker, director of the Medical Humanities minor. “The interdisciplinary minor in medical humanities may be combined with any major and is of particular interest to those students planning to attend medical school, nursing school, pharmacy school, and public health school, as well as students in the humanities seeking to pursue graduate work in the booming field of medical humanities.”

Minors will complete 7 courses and will be introduced to the authority of the physician, the role of the hospital, the doctor-patient relationship, the social dimensions of racial and gender differences, and changing conceptions of disease and healing.

For more information on the minor in Medical Humanities, please visit the site here.

For students interested in the Global Middle East major/minor and/or the Medical Humanities minor, the UCI Catalogue will include detailed course information in July, 2016.

Medical Humanities