Who Should Apply?

Bioethics student

Who Should Apply?

Many of the most pressing and controversial issues facing society involve bioethics concerns: definitions of death, end of life decision making, ethics of research on human subjects, conflicts of interest in research, ethics of human embryonic stem cell research, ethics of organ donation and transplantation, and ethics of public health emergency planning to name only a few. Professionals facing these issues, policy makers charged with crafting public policy about them, and individuals facing them in their own lives all benefit from thoughtful, critical examination of such moral concerns.

The University has had and will continue to offer a graduate minor in bioethics, which is the appropriate option for those students interested in showing bioethics as an area of competence rather than an area of specialization. For students desiring a more comprehensive education in bioethics, a graduate major taken through an MA program is the appropriate course of study. The curriculum for this program includes a set of required core courses, the opportunity for study of electives in bioethics, as well as a requirement for coursework in other fields that are related to bioethics. Students will be required to write a master’s thesis.

VALUE-ADDED DEGREE: Given the fundamentally interdisciplinary nature of bioethics, professional opportunities in the field are greatly enhanced for trainees with a graduate degree in bioethics as well as a terminal graduate or professional degrees in another field - for example, degree combinations of an MA degree in Bioethics with another degree such as a JD, PhD, MD or others. Indeed, the current gold standard in bioethics graduate education is to understand Master’s degrees in bioethics as value-added degrees while at the same time acknowledging the importance of a graduate major in bioethics for those who wish to specialize in the field. Specialization in the field requires the thoroughgoing, research-based education in bioethics provided by a graduate major. This model prompts students to acquire a firm disciplinary grounding as well as interdisciplinary bioethics expertise, a practice which best prepares students for bioethics related career placement.

Students are advised against viewing the Bioethics MA as a stand alone degree that prepares them for career placement. Instead, students are encouraged to link their degree in bioethics to a degree in a related field (either before entering the Bioethics MA program or at the same time).