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Program Requirements

Degree Requirements

The Master of Bioethics will require a total of 30 credits – 18 credits of required bioethics courses and 12 credits of elective courses. The program can be completed in one year as a full-time or on a flexible schedule as a part-time student.


Required courses

BIOETH 501: Foundations of Bioethics I (3 credits)
This course will offer an overview of various ethical theories, constructs, and methodologies that characterize Western moral philosophy and, to some degree, the evolution of bioethics over the last three decades.  Topics will include an introduction to major theoretical approaches such as deontology, utilitarianism, virtue ethics, casuistry, natural law, principlism, moral relativism, and moral pluralism.

BIOETH 502: Foundations of Bioethics II (3 credits)
This course will survey a number of classic issues in bioethics that have been in the forefront of the bioethical movement in the United States for at least the last two decades, as well as the context of the healthcare system. Topics have been chosen because of their enduring character as well as how they embody trenchant conflicts over values and ethical principles.   By appreciating the nature of these conflicts, students will achieve a considerable insight into the nature and limits of rational, principled argument for resolving bioethical debate.

BIOETH 503: Foundations of Bioethics III (3 credits)
This course will survey a number of contemporary issues in bioethics, focusing particularly on the advances in science and biotechnology that have pushed the ethical boundaries of health care as it has been practiced. Topics will include genetics and epigenetics, ethical issues in neuroenhancement and other aspects of neurosciences, ethical issues in synthetic biology, nanotechnology, and other scientific developments.

BIOETH 504: Bioethics Seminar (1 credit, taken twice)
This seminar course is designed to give students an opportunity to discuss current issues in bioethics and draw connections between contemporary bioethics work and students' classroom and research activities.

BIOETH 601: Bioethics Practicum (4 credits)
The Bioethics Service Learning Practicum is designed to give students a first-hand, scholarly, supervised experience in an approved practice setting and is required of all students completing the Master of Arts in Bioethics Program. In the course of this community-based experience, students provide service that contributes to the mission of the organization/institution while learning and further developing skills in identifying, assessing, and addressing bioethical issues as they arise in practice. Students will work under the guidance of established professionals in the field as well as partnering with academic faculty to ensure a full integration and continued development of the knowledge, skills, and attitudes students have mastered through classroom study.

Thesis, Exam, or Capstone (3 credits)
The MA in bioethics will culminate in either a traditional thesis, a comprehensive examination, or a capstone project, depending on the student's individual interests and goals. The purpose of this final project is to demonstrate an integration of concepts learned throughout the MA program, and the final project will reflect the student’s mastery of a bioethical issue.

Elective Courses
12 credits chosen from any of those offered by the Center for Ethics or a course of the student’s choosing, with permission from the student’s faculty advisor and Director of Masters Program.

The MA in Bioethics can be completed in 12 months with full time study, or in as many as 3 years with part-time enrollment.