Oct 13, 2009
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I have a few humanities rec. letter questions. Hope you all can help :)

1) I have 1 more humanities course left in my undergraduate studies (I'm an biomedical engineering major and I don't take many humanities courses.) I can take this course either in Anthropology or Psychology. However, I'm interested in taking a more biologically based Anthro or Psych course, such as learning/cognition or medical anthropology...would letters of rec from such courses still count as humanities recs?

2) I would rather take the humanities course in the summer, when it will be taught by a guest instructor (who has a PhD but is not a professor at my university. I belive she is a fulltime instructor at a local community college). Would a rec. letter from an instructor be viewed differently from a letter from a professor at a well recognized university? If so, how much of a difference? I know medical schools like rec. letters to be from faculty, but this was the only summer course that will fit my research schedule and help my graduate -__-.

I think all of my other recs will be from either professors or respected MDs (but I haven't asked yet).

Please advice. Thanks!!!!
 
Oct 13, 2009
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Medical Student
bumpity bump.

I should add: I am also not applying this cycle so the letter would be fore next cycle.
 

TexasPhysician

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If you already have LOR's from MD's and school faculty PhDs, then I wouldn't worry so much about which way you go with this. More important is how strong of a letter this person would write for you.
 

LizzyM

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The standard letter from a non-science professor is going to describe how long the professor has known you and in what context . Then the professor will describe a little about the course including the required assignments and your performance on the assignments. Ideally, the professor will include some information about your written assignments, your class participation in discussion, your ability to accept criticism or challenges to your opinion, (some of the stuff that doesn't always come up in science classes). The professor then writes about a few of your personal characteristics that make you well suited to medical school and closes with some information about the period of time they've been at that school, or that school and other schools (often mentioned by name) and how you stack up compared to other students and the bottom line that you are most highly (or highly , or very highly) recommended for admission to medical school and that the professor would be delighted to have you as a physician someday in the future. The LOR will be on letter head from his school and an adjunct teaching a summer course may use letterhead from his academic year job at the community college which won't look as good as having a letter on Big University letterhead . People with a long history of teaching are generally considered more credible so if you have a choice between a newly credentialed teacher and someone who's been at your school for decades, pick the old dude.

Check the requirements for the schools to which you will apply. Psychology and Anthropology are social sciences, not humanities. The humanities include English and foreign languages, Philosophy, Religous Studies, History, Music, Art History, Art, Drama, Cinema.
 
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Oct 13, 2009
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Medical Student
Thank you both for the advice. I didn't know that psychology/anthropology are strictly not humanities courses (They satisfy one of my humanities graduation requirements).

I recently found another English course that will fit my schedule as well. The professor seems like a really nice guy, so I'll probably go with that. My interest in English is not as strong...but I guess you have to play the game.
 

TexasPhysician

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I think I would contact the schools to see exactly what they require a humanity course.

The defition of humanity is basically "the characteristics of being human". I'm sure schools have something in mind that narrow this down, but psychology/anthropology meet the definition of humanity in my mind.....much more so than drama and cinema....