Please email bthxed@umn.edu with specific questions that are not answered here.

Bioethics MA program FAQs:

How does this program differ from the Clinical Ethics Certificate program and the Graduate Minor?
The programs are designed to cover similar subject matter, but at a different level of depth.  Please see the following table for a summary: 


Clinical Ethics Certificate

Bioethics MA

Grad Minor

Number of Credits



14 PhD, 8 Master’s

Typical Time to Completion (full-time enrollment)

1 academic year

2 years

Varies, depending on primary program

Part-Time Option Available




Experiential Learning

Yes, 4 practicum credits required

Yes, as an elective

Yes, as an elective

Final Summation

Capstone Project

Master’s Thesis


Evening Courses

Yes, most required courses offered late afternoon/evening

Some, but many are daytime hours

Some, but many are daytime hours

Degree Focus

Building Clinical Skills

Choose between research, clinical skills and policy

Varies, depending on primary program

Graduate Exam Required for Admission


GRE, LSAT, MCAT or advanced degree required

No, primary program enrollment required

Is it possible get an MA from a distance? Are any courses available online?
No, distance and online courses are not available at this time.

Could I complete the program in less than 2 years?
Our program, which consists of 20 credits plus thesis, is designed for students to complete in two years.  However, with transfer credits (approved by the Director of Graduate Studies) it is possible to shorten the program.  

May I transfer in credits from another program?
Up to 40% of coursework credits (total of 9 credits) may transfer from another program.  Transfer credits must be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies.  Credits from our certificate program may be applied to the MA, with approval.

Is it possible to pursue the degree on a part-time basis?
Yes. Many, but not all, of our courses are offered in late afternoons to accommodate professional and career students.  The maximum time to degree completion is 5 years. 

What are possible research paths in this program? 
Our Bioethics Core Faculty has pursued a variety of research paths. Please visit our faculty website to see what areas are of the greatest interest to you.

Who can I talk to about your program?
Questions may be emailed to our program representatives at bthxed@umn.edu. The Center for Bioethics Director of Graduate Studies is available to discuss the program in more detail via appointment.  Appointments can be made by email at bthxed@umn.edu 

What kinds of careers are available to graduates of your program?
Our graduates pursue a wide variety of careers, often relating to bioethics combined with their primary course of study. (MD, JD, DDS, DVM, MPH etc…) Please see our website’s alumni spotlights for career path examples. 

Is it possible to complete the Bioethics MA program as preparation for medical school, dental school, law school or another graduate program?
Yes, several of our graduates have continued on to other graduate school experiences after MA graduation. Graduate admissions advising is offered by our office to help students navigate the continuing admissions process. For students who wish to pursue the pre-medical or pre-law route, MCAT or LSAT scores are preferred to GRE scores in the application.

I took a mixed undergraduate-graduate course at the graduate level. Can I count it towards my graduate degree?
A course taken for graduate credit that was not completed as part of an undergraduate degree can be applied to your Bioethics MA if approved by our Director of Graduate Studies.

Application FAQs:

General information about the application can be found on the Graduate School’s website: grad.umn.edu

Do I need to provide GRE scores if I have a professional degree?
No. MCAT, LSAT, and other professional test scores may be uploaded to your application under “Program Supplementary Information, Other Credentials” in lieu of GRE scores. 

Do I need to take a GRE subject test?  What is the GRE submission code?
No subject test is needed.  The UMN general GRE code is 6874 (no department code). 

What is a considered a competitive undergraduate GPA and GRE score for admission?
The recommended minimum cumulative undergraduate GPA for applicants is 3.0.  We also recommend that students score above 70% on both the quantitative and verbal sections of the GRE to be competitive applicants.  Applicants with lower scores will be considered. Students scoring less than 50% on any one section on the GRE are encouraged to retake the exam before applying.  

May I apply to the Master’s in Bioethics program without any prior career experience?
Students may apply to the program following completion of their bachelor’s degree, preferably in a related field, with a plan to pair the degree with an advanced degree.  Please state your plan clearly in your personal statement. 

When is the deadline for application submission?
June 1 is our application closing date each year for enrollment the following fall semester. Applications will be accepted beginning the first day of fall semester each year, and are reviewed on a rolling basis. Preference will be given to early applicants.

Do you offer Spring enrollment for new students?
No, the Bioethics MA program admits students only for matriculation in fall semester. 

How long will it take to process my application?
We practice rolling admissions. Depending on the time of year that you apply, our application review process may take from 1-3 months from the time of your application completion (all materials received).  

Are the diversity essay and the extenuating circumstances essay required?
No, these are optional.  However, the diversity essay is recommended, as we find it often gives our admissions committee a fuller picture of you as an applicant and can help you stand out in the crowd.  We actively recruit for diversity on many levels. The extenuating circumstances essay should be used to explain any gaps or inconsistencies in your academic record or performance that you feel is not reflective of your ability. 

Do you offer fee waivers for the application fee?  If I withdraw my application, may I receive a refund?
We do not waive, reduce or refund application fees.  If you have extreme hardship circumstances, please contact the graduate school admissions office for more information. 

I'm currently enrolled in a graduate program at the U of M. Do I need to start a new application form?
Yes, if you are adding a new program or changing to a different program, you must start a new application. Refer to Change of Status details on the Graduate School's website.

Financial FAQs:

If I am a UMN employee, may I use the Regent’s Scholarship for this program?
Yes, according to the Administrative Policy  for the scholarship.

Do you offer any financial aid to MA bioethics students?  Are there any research grants available? 
Yes, we do have opportunities for financial aid and assistantships. Every effort is made to provide financial support to accepted students who have applied for funding; however it is not guaranteed, so students should not base their decisions to enroll upon this potential. http://www.grad.umn.edu/fundingtuition  

How can I calculate the cost for a master’s degree in Bioethics?
Calculate your Cost, Tuition and Fees  on this web link by selecting The Graduate School from the drop down menu.

Reciprocity: Information on reciprocity for residents of Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota and Manitoba can be found here.

Financial Aid: General financial aid advising and information is available from University Financial Aid.