The Medicine and the Humanities program consists of mandatory curricular components that all students will receive as well as extracurricular or elective components for students who wish to pursue the arts and humanities in more detail. 

Students with special interests in this area will be able to earn special recognition for their interest in, and commitment to, the humanities in medicine as well as a Certificate of Excellence in Medicine and the Humanities if they fulfill all requirements.

Goal of the medicine and the Humanities program

For medical students in both language streams of the University of Ottawa Faculty of Medicine’s Undergraduate Medical Education program, to gain competence in the non-medical expert CanMEDS roles through the Medicine and the Humanities program.


On completion of the Medicine and the Humanities program, students will be able to:

  1. Explain how the history of the world and philosophy has influenced our current values and culture in medicine.
  2. Critically reflect on their roles and responsibilities in society as individuals as well as health care providers, showing personal growth and development over the four years of the MD curriculum.
  3. Use critical reflection to better grasp complex ethical issues.
  4. Explain the impact of their own values and perspectives, especially in the context of the values and perspectives of patients from diverse backgrounds.
  5. Demonstrate compassion in the relationship they develop with patients.
  6. Demonstrate tolerance to ambiguity and uncertainty in clinical situations.
  7. Explain fundamental philosophical works pertinent to clinical practice.
  8. Examine and discuss the necessary virtues in medical practice, using clinical cases.
  9. Develop a profound and extensive notion of care.
  10. Develop a reflective practice and an increased awareness of the validity of their arguments.
  11. Demonstrate enhanced observational and listening skills of communication.
  12. Discuss how we can learn from our medical errors and under what circumstances.
  13. Develop observational skills from exposure to works of art and have the opportunity to express their emotional reactions to the works.
  14. Discuss how the arts can impact on individual health and wellness and the health of communities.
  15. Demonstrate narrative competence.