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MA in Bioethics/JD

Why get a MA-Bioethics/JD?

The purpose of this program is to train students to speak intelligently at the intersection of law and bioethics and to participate in the development of health-related public policy and legislation. Students preparing for careers in health care will become experts in the legal obligations of the health care industry and will be able to advocate for courses of action that would be most ethically justified but may traverse the boundaries of state or federal law. In addition, students preparing for careers in health law will have a framework for incorporating and analyzing the ethical dimensions of a legal challenge, a policy change, or proposed legislation.

MA-Bioethics/JD Curriculum

Students will apply to each program for admission separately, and, if accepted to both programs, will be expected to fulfill the requirements of the programs. While students will complete the standard 30 credit hours for the MA-Bioethics degree, students will complete a reduced course load of 79 hours at Emory Law, as is standard for dual degree programs there.

Opportunities for collaboration extend beyond course offerings. We have arranged several bioethics practicum experiences that have substantive law components and students who choose to complete a field placement for the Law School might be interested in returning to that site for their bioethics practicum to consider fully the ways that the law and bioethics intersect in that practice.

Most students enrolled in the dual degree program will likely choose the exam track for the MA-Bioethics final project, and students will be advised that this track will enable them to graduate in a timely fashion. Those who are interested in writing a thesis will need prior approval from both their Emory Law advisor and their Bioethics advisor.

Both the Emory Law curriculum and the MA-Bioethics curriculum provide students education in the discipline-specific methodologies of critical analysis. Yet there are many opportunities for interdisciplinary studies. Students often take a Bioethics and Law elective course offered through the Center for Ethics, which is taught by an instructor with both a law degree and a master’s degree in bioethics. In addition, discussions about healthcare reform and the impact of legal cases on policy and public sentiment are discussed form an ethics perspective in the Bioethics program, and from a legal perspective at Emory Law. 

Required Courses of the MA-Bioethics/JD Dual Degree:

MA-Bioethics

BIOETH 501: Foundations of Bioethics I
BIOETH 502: Foundations of Bioethics II (3 hrs)
BIOETH 503: Foundaitons of Bioethics III (3 hrs)
BIOETH 504: Seminar in Bioethics (2 hrs)
BIOETH 601: Bioethics Service Learning Practicum (4 hrs)
BIOETH 599: Bioethics Thesis* (3 hrs)
12 hrs of electives (Preferably including BIOETH 505: Law and Bioethics) 

Total = 30 hours 

JD

Upper Level Writing Requirement may be fulfilled by completing a seminar class, participating on a journal, or writing a directed research paper

LAW 505: Civil Procedure (4 hrs)
LAW 510: Legislation and Regulation (2 hrs)
LAW 520: Contracts (4 hrs)
LAW 550: Torts (4 hrs)
LAW 535A: Research, Writing, and Appellate Advocacy I (2 hrs)
LAW 525: Criminal Law (3 hrs)
LAW 545: Property (4 hrs) 
LAW 530: Constitutional Law (4 hrs) 
LAW 535B: Research, Writing, and Appellate Advocacy II (2 hrs)
LAW 632: Evidence (3 hrs)
LAW 747: Legal Profession (3 hrs)
LAW 671: Trial Techniques (2 hrs)
LAW 736: Health Law (3 hrs)
39 hrs of electives

Total = 79 hours 

*Students on the exam track will take an additional Bioethics elective.

Other Relevant Law School Electives Include:

This list is not exclusive. Students may choose from the full law course catalog.

2 hrs LAW 736B (Global Public Health Law) or 736A (Public Health Law)
3 hrs LAW 627 (Islamic Law) or Law 664 (Jewish Law)
3 hrs LAW 686 (Law and Morality) or LAW 686A (Law, Morality, and Human Rights)
3 hrs LAW 835 (Genetics and the Law)
3 hrs LAW 837 (Animal Law)
3 hrs LAW 626 (Disability Law)
3 hrs LAW 701 (Administrative Law)
3 hrs LAW 663 (Products Liability)
3 hrs LAW 670 (Jurisprudence)
3 or 4 hrs LAW 500 (Business Associations)

*Students on the exam track will take an additional Bioethics elective.

Table 1 provides an example of a typical student’s progress through the proposed curriculum

Table 1

  Enrollment

  Stipend
  Allocation

  JD classes

  BIOETH
  classes

  Total credit
  hours/semester

  Fall 1

  Law School

  None

  LAW 505 (4)
  LAW 510 (2)
  LAW 520 (4)
  LAW 550 (4)
  LAW 535A (2)

  16

  Spring 1

  Law School

  None

  LAW 525 (3)
  LAW 545 (4)
  LAW 530 (4)
  LAW 535B (2)
  
Elective or LAW 736 (3)

  16

  Fall 2

  Laney

  None

  Elective (3)
  Elective (3)

  BIOETH 501 (3)
  BIOETH 502 (3)
  BIOETH 504 (1)
  Elective (3)

  16

  Spring 2

  Laney

  None

  BIOETH 505 (Law) (3)
  Elective or Law 736 (2)

  BIOETH 503 (3)
  BIOETH 504 (1)
  BIOETH 601 (4)
  Elective  (3)

  16

  Fall 3

  Law School

  None

  LAW 632 (4)
  LAW 747 (3)
  Elective (3)
  Elective (3)

  Elective (3)

  16

  Spring 3

  Law School

  None

  LAW 671 (2)
  Elective (3)
  Elective (3)
  Elective (3)
  Elective (3)

  Elective (3)

  17

  Fall 4

  Law School

  None

  Elective (3)
  Elective (3)
  Elective (3)
  Elective (3)

  BIOETH 599 (3)

  15

Note that Table 1 shows that students can complete the dual degree curriculum in 3.5 years. However, the credit hour requirement per semester is quite heavy. Table 1 reflects the notion that students will likely want to leave their summers free to pursue other opportunities, and therefore no classes have been scheduled for summer semesters. However, students are welcome to take courses during that time, especially electives and the Bioethics Practicum (BIOETH 601).  At the current time, the Law School does not offer summer courses. Additionally, experience with the JD/MPH students suggests that artificially compressing the degrees, as described above, may not be aligned with students’ preferences; the JD/MPH students typically desire more time, not less. In that instance, the degree programs can certainly extend to the spring of Year 4, making this a 4-year plan to obtain the JD and the MA-Bioethics.

Regardless, what is evident from the table above is that tuition would accrue to the Laney Graduate School for 2 semesters and to Emory Law for a minimum of 5 semesters. If students opt for an additional semester, that tuition would accrue to Emory Law unless the student enrolls in summer courses. Since Emory Law does not currently offer summer courses, student tuition for the summer would accrue to Laney Graduate School.