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History of Medicine Graduate Program

Among the graduate programs offered at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in Madison is history of medicine.


The Department of Medical History and Bioethics analyses the traditions of medicine, interprets the reasons for its changes, successes and failings, and scrutinizes the social and ethical dilemmas medicine faces today and anticipats tomorrow. Since medical technique and knowledge, the rights and obligations of practitioners, patients and the public, and the organization and financing of health care are changing rapidly, the School requires informed and critical perspectives on the past record of medicine and the values that will define its future.


The University of Wisconsin-Madison developed one of the earliest programs in medical history in the United States, beginning with a seminar in 1909. In 1947, Dr. Erwin H. Ackerknecht became the first professor of the history of medicine at the University of Wisconsin Medical School, which soon thereafter established a department. Since then, the department has maintained a tradition of academic excellence in the history of medicine and is recognized today as one of the leading research and educational programs in the country.


Recently, the department has been expanding both its scope of interest and its faculty. In cooperation with the Department of the History of Science, it offers a course for graduate students leading to MA and PhD degrees in the history of European and American medicine and public health. A joint program with the Department of History at the PhD level has also been established.


Students are encouraged to work in related fields such as history, history of science and technology, history of pharmacy, medical sociology, and medical ethics. During the academic year 1997-1998, the department will have 33 students studying at the graduate level, making the University of Wisconsin-Madison one of the largest programs in the United States.






History of Medicine Graduate Program
Last updated: 01/19/2011
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