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Master of Arts (MA) in Bioethics

Announcing New Online Program:


Master of Arts in Bioethics


About the Program

The MA in Bioethics is a fully online program from the College of Medicine’s Center for Bioethics. This 30 credit hour interdisciplinary program offers a broad exposure of the history, topics, and issues of bioethics, drawing on the strengths and expertise of our diverse faculty and OSU resources.


The MA program is an ideal fit for professionals in the fields of medicine, nursing, dentistry, social work, veterinary medicine, genetic counseling, public policy, and biotechnology as well as science researchers. Graduate and professional students in any bioethics related fields are also welcome. Part-time and full-time (at least 8 credit hrs per semester) program options are available. Most part-time students will likely complete the program in 2-3 years by taking four to five classes a year. Ambitious full-time students may complete the program in as little as three semesters.


Requirements for the MA in Bioethics:

  1. 15 credit hours in core courses

  2. 12 credit hours in elective courses

  3. 3 credit hours of ethics practicum OR

  4. 3 credit hours to complete a thesis

   Total: 30 credits


OSU Bioethics Faculty

The faculty for the MA program bring a diversity of expertise and experience in bioethics. Particular strengths of faculty include: clinical ethics, research ethics, religion and bioethics, law/policy and bioethics. Featured faculty include:

Ryan Nash, MD, MA               Ashley Fernandes, MD, PhD   

Courtney Thiele, JD, MA         Matthew Vest, MA, PhD(c)

           Dana Howard, PhD                 Frederick Villamena, PhD

           Ioan Beldean, MA


Bioethics as a Field

Bioethics functions as an interdisciplinary field that reflects on a variety of social and scientific practices and policies. Bioethics is deeply related to what traditionally was known as “medical ethics”, and yet bioethics involves a broader range of social, ecological, technological matters pertaining to bios or life. As such, rather than serving as a first professional degree, this MA in bioethics serves primarily as an advanced, parallel-track program to enhance other professional training and experience.


Primary Courses for MA in Bioethics

Core courses

  • BIOETHC 6000—Bioethics Theory and Foundations (3): philosophical survey of the moral foundations of contemporary bioethical theories and health care policies.

  • BIOETHC 6010—Biomedical Research Ethics (3): introduction to ethics in biomedical research relating to decision-making, public regulation, and law.

  • BIOETHC 6020—Clinical Bioethics (3): exploration of major clinical ethical issues confronting the practices of medicine and biomedical science.

  • BIOETHC 6030—Bioethics, Law, and Public Policy (3): instruction in rudimentary legal research skills, constitutional foundations of health care law, and overview of US legal system.

  • BIOETHC 6040—Bioethics Symposium I (1.5): longitudinal course that revolves around monthly rotation of lectures, panel discussions, debates, and more from OSU and guest lecturers.

  • BIOETHC 6050—Bioethics Symposium II (1.5): second semester continuation of Bioethics Symposium I.


Elective Courses

  • BIOETHC 7000—Advanced Clinical Bioethics (3): further engagement in processes of clinical ethics analysis, focusing on ethical reflection, negotiation, and decision-making.

  • BIOETHC 7010—End of Life Ethics (3): exploration of essential issues involved in end-of-life care and palliative care, including defining death, withdrawal of medical treatment, PAS, etc.

  • BIOETHC 7050—Pediatric and Perinatal Bioethics (3): course focused on ethical issues of pre, peri, and post-natal care of mother and the newborn.

  • BIOETHC 7040—Bioethics and the Holocaust (3): in-depth study of the active participation of physicians in the holocaust and the Aryan eugenics search for a biocracy.

  • BIOETHC 7060—Religious and Theological Perspectives in Bioethics (3): addresses the discourses and interplay of secular, religious and theological perspectives in bioethics.

  • BIOETHC 7030—History of Medical Ethics and Bioethics (3): survey of the historical themes and roots of medical ethics from antiquity to modernity.

  •  BIOETHC 7800—Research Methods in Bioethics:

  • BIOETHC 8000—Directed Readings in Bioethics (3): course of directed readings under a faculty sponsor in preparation for MA Thesis.

  • BIOETHC 8010—Ethics Practicum (3): capstone project devised in collaboration between a student and supervisor; projects focus either on (1) clinical or (2) research ethics practicums.

  • BIOETHC 8020—Masters Thesis (3): scholarly paper (12,000-13,000 words) articulating an original argument that is carefully documented from primary and secondary sources.

  Masters of Arts in Bioethics