The Health and Society minor (program code 502) provides students with an excellent opportunity to study questions of physical and mental health, health behaviors and practices, and health care institutions, in an integrated way—primarily through a social and cultural lens, and spanning both national and global contexts. Health care providers and policy makers increasingly recognize that a full understanding of topics such as social inequalities in health, doctor-patient interaction dynamics, cultural influences on health behaviors, medical decision-making practices, and biological versus social explanations for mental and physical health conditions, is an essential component of a well-rounded education for future health care professionals.

Sociology majors may not minor in Health and Society.


Click here to read about two early Health & Society minors, Neha Sikka and Eddie Cruz


Health & Society Minor Checklist

The minor is housed in the Rutgers Sociology department, which is widely regarded as offering one of the strongest medical sociology programs in the United States. However, it also takes advantage of relevant course offerings in other SAS departments, including Anthropology, Economics, Exercise Science, History, Philosophy, Political Science, and Psychology, resulting in a minor with an interdisciplinary orientation. Please note that the Health and Society minor is not available to Sociology majors, although Sociology majors are encouraged to avail themselves of our wide range of courses in this area as they craft their major program of study.

The Health and Society minor requires at least six courses totaling 18 credits, including both upper- and lower-level courses as noted below.

The following three Sociology courses are required:

  • 01:920:101      Introduction to Sociology (3)
  • 01:920:210      Sociology of Medicine and Health Care (3)
  • 01:920:307      Sociology of Mental Illness (3) or 01:920:335 Health and Inequality (3)

Students are also required to take at least one additional elective course in Sociology, out of the following list of courses:

  • 01:920:115      The Color of Health: How Does Inequality Get Under the Skin?
  • 01:920:227      Population and Society (3)
  • 01:920:232      Sociology of Food and Eating (3)
  • 01:920:303      Social Gerontology (3)
  • 01:920:307      Sociology of Mental Illness (3)
  • 01:920:335      Health and Inequality (3)
  • 01:920:359      Environmental Sociology (3)
  • 01:920:361      Sociology of Drug Use (3)*
  • 01:920:380      Global Health: Sociological Perspectives (3)
  • 01:920:410      Sociology of Alcohol Problems (3)

Finally, students are required to take at least two elective courses from the following list of courses offered by affiliated departments. Please note the special restrictions that apply to the choice of electives, as noted at the bottom of this page.


Special notes:

Only courses with a “C” grade or better will count toward the minor. No more than two elective courses chosen may overlap with the major. Students also must satisfy existing departmental prerequisites for any of the courses used for this program.

*To ensure breadth, students may take no more than two of the following three courses focused on substance use:

  • 01:920:361      Sociology of Drug Use (3)
  • 01:512:322      Drugs: A Social History (3)
  • 01:830:272      Drugs and Human Behavior

** Students may take no more than two of the following four courses focused on medical ethics:

  • 01:730:105 or 106       Current Moral and Social Issues (3 or 4 credits)
  • 01:730:107 or 108       Introduction to Ethics (3 or 4 credits)
  • 01:730:249                  Bioethics (3)
  • 01:840:221                  Ethical Issues, Religious Responses (3)


Electives from Affiliated Departments

Africana Studies

  • 01:014:347: Health Issues in the African-American Community (3)


  • 01:070:307 Medical Anthropology (3)


  • 01:119:150 Biology, Society, and Biomedical Issues (3)
  • 01:119:154 Genetics, Law, and Social Policy (3)


  • 01:220:316 Health Economics (3)
  • 01:220:348 Economics of Social Welfare Programs (3)

Exercise Science

  • 01:377:225 Contemporary Health Issues (3)


  • 01:447:354 Social, Legal and Ethical Implications of the New Genetics (3)


  • 01:506:226 Contemporary Challenges in International Health (3)
  • 01:508:328 History of Health and Healing in Africa(3)
  • 01:508:322 Black Death to Obesity Epidemic: History of Public Health in the West (3)
  • 01:512:121 Health and Environment in America (3)
  • 01:512:225 Sexuality in America (3)
  • 01:512:321 Health Care and Society in America (3)
  • 01:512:322 Drugs: A Social History (3)*


  • 01:730:105 or 106 Current Moral and Social Issues (3 or 4 credits)**
  • 01:730:107 or 108 Introduction to Ethics (3 or 4 credits)**
  • 01:730:249 Bioethics (3)**

Political Science

  • 01:790:290 Politics and Social Policy: Lessons from Europe (3)


  • 01:830:101 General Psychology (3)
  • 01:830:272 Drugs And Human Behavior (3)*
  • 01:830:333 Adolescent Development (3)
  • 01:830:335 Adult Development and Aging (3)
  • 01:830:340 Abnormal Psychology (3)
  • 01:830:377 Health Psychology (3)


  • 01:840:112 Death and Afterlife (3)
  • 01:840:221 Ethical Issues, Religious Responses (3)**

Women’s Studies

  • 01:988:240 Gender and Science (3)
  • 01:988:487 Language of Women’s Health and Health Policy (3)