AvatarSammie asked 3 months ago

What is the difference between Soc 475: Health, Medicine and Society and Soc 302, the sociology class that is typically recommended for premeds? Besides that 475 doesn’t count for the SS distribution, does it prepare for the MCAT? The courseload is a lot lighter in Atlas…
This is the description:
This course provides students with an understanding of the influence of social and cultural factors on health, illness, and medical care. Topics to be covered include: the social nature of disease and illness, the social organization of medical care, medical education, the growth of alternative health care systems, medical ethics/bioethics, the ecology of health care, and the connection between faith, healing and medicine. We will also consider the way society influences our thinking about illness by exploring references to illness in literature and everyday discourse.

Tentative book list:

P. Berger, Invitation to Sociology
P. Conrad, Sociology of Health and Illness
C. Elliott, Better than Well: American Medicine meets the American Dream
R. De Vries, A Pleasing Birth: Midwives and Maternity Care in the Netherlands
William Carlos Williams, The Doctor Stories
M. Angell, The Truth About Drug Companies

1 Answers
AvatarOwen Doane answered 3 months ago

Hi Sammie,
Unfortunately, none of our advisors or E-Board members have personal experience with Soc 475, so the advice we can offer is also based off of course descriptions.
For Soc 302, students cannot receive credit for the class if they have taken another introductory sociology class, indicating that this course also provides a basic introduction to sociology, but through the lens of health and society. On the other hand, the advisory prerequisite for Soc 475 is at least one other introductory course in sociology. This would lead me to think that Soc 475 builds off of sociological principles that are expected to be understood already by students in the class. The sociology content required on the MCAT is mostly introductory, and generally doesn’t get overly specific in its applications to healthcare. Because of this, Soc 100 and Soc 302 are typically recommended to pre-med students, as introductory terms and concepts are introduced here, while it seems like Soc 475 builds off of these.
When considering which class to take, make sure you think about your own background in the subject, and what might suit your needs and skills best. Be careful when deciding which class to take based off the workload statistics on Atlas. A lot of times, students rank workload based on the professor who taught the course that term, which doesn’t always remain the same. Think more along the lines of “which class am I genuinely more interested in,” “do I have the academic experiences that would allow me to succeed in the upper level course,” and “what are my goals in taking a sociology course in general.”
Hope that provides some clarification on the difference between the classes,
-Owen, PMH Co-President

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