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The interdisciplinary Master of Arts in Bioethics, offered by the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences in collaboration with the Center for Bioethics and Health Law, is designed for those with a background in the humanities or social sciences, or with degrees in law, medicine, or public health. It allows students to combine study in ethical theory, philosophy, and history of medicine, cultural studies, health law, and social sciences. Students may complete coursework, including clinical practica, in one calendar year.

Joint JD/MA and MD/MA programs with the Schools of Law and Medicine afford students the opportunity to pursue both the MA in bioethics and professional degrees in law and medicine in less time than would be required to pursue the degrees separately. The joint degree programs allow students to integrate their dual interests during their professional education. Joint program students must be admitted by both the bioethics program and the relevant professional school. For additional information, consult

Contact Information

Program Director: Lisa S. Parker, PhD
Main Office: 519 Barco Law Building
Fax: 412-648-2649

Additional information concerning the bioethics program may be obtained from the University of Pittsburgh, Center for Bioethics and Health Law, Graduate Secretary, 519 Barco Law Building, 3900 Forbes Avenue, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15260. Phone: 412-648-7007. Fax: 412-648-2649. E-mail:


Applicants for admission must submit digital scans of all undergraduate and graduate transcripts (official transcripts are not required during the application process - applicants who are accepted will be required to submit certified transcripts when they accept the offer of admission and matriculate), three letters of recommendation, a personal statement explaining interest in the program (including plans to use this degree in further professional or graduate education or a career), a sample of written work, and Graduate Record Examination scores (or an applicable substitute for those applying to joint degree programs, e.g., MCAT or LSAT scores). If submitting GRE scores, please use the University Code 2927 and the Department Code for Interdisciplinary Programs 5101. International applicants whose first language is not English are required to submit the TOEFL. The program admits students only for the fall term. Applications for admissions to the Bioethics Program in the fall must be submitted no later than March 31st.

Financial Assistance

Program applicants may apply for student loans, and highly qualified applicants may be offered a Dean’s Tuition Scholarship to defray part of the cost of tuition and fees.

Requirements for the MA

For this MA, students must earn 30 hours of credit with a B average or better. All MA students are required to complete three core courses: Philosophy of Medicine (BIOETH 2658), Theoretical Foundations of Applied Ethics (BIOETH 2661), and Bioethics (BIOETH 2664), as well as a 3-credit restricted elective designed to provide a particular disciplinary perspective on bioethical issues, two 3-credit clinical practica, and 6–12 credits of electives offered in bioethics or in complementary fields such as anthropology, cultural sciences, disabilities studies, history and philosophy of science, law, philosophy, public health, sociology, and women’s studies. A thesis, written under the direction of program faculty, is required to ensure in-depth understanding of a topic in bioethics and strong research skills.

Course Listing


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