Arts & Humanities in Health
For more information on careers in this field, click on the appropriate profession(s) in the Career Explorer section of this site.
The arts and humanities can prepare you well for a career in health; this is because a BA usually gives you practical skills in communication, creative expression, and analytical thinking, among other strengths. A background or interest in the arts also can make you more well-rounded and well-informed.
Some health professions schools find BA-trained applicants have that special "human touch:" they connect readily with others, have a strong sense of historical context, and are aware of the ways in which human cultures can affect the whole healthcare experience. They also are more often multi-lingual. All of these are highly prized skills in an increasingly global world.
In addition to making you a strong applicant when applying to a health professions program, the humanities may become even more important to you once you start practicing in your chosen field. For many health professionals, the arts are an invaluable creative outlet. (See "The Creative Arts in Health," in the Humanism in Healthcare section of this site.)
There is a growing and rich body of literature, music, and fine arts by, for and about people in the health professions. An increasing number of health practitioners are turning to the creative arts as a way of expressing and coming to terms with the sometimes harrowing task of helping people who are ill and suffering.
Finally - and what many people do not realize - the health field includes a number of excellent humanities- and arts-based careers, such as medical illustrator or medical historian.
You can download, save and print a PDF of this overview:
Arts and Humanities Overview 14 May 2008 [pdf, 167 KB]
Last updated: June 12, 2013
©2012 American Dental Education Association ExploreHealthCareers is sponsored in part, by the Institute for Oral Health.