Master of Arts in Bioethics

Master of Arts in Bioethics

The MA in Bioethics (MA/BE) gives students the ethical tools they need to address pressing contemporary issues of medicine, health care, technology, and theology. This program equips students to analyze these issues from a biblical-theological perspective, to understand other influential contemporary outlooks on these issues, and to develop effective strategies for engaging the bioethical issues of our day. Students gain a broad understanding of changes occurring in health care practice and ideology and a deep appreciation for the wisdom of God in the face of contemporary bioethical challenges. Coursework addresses end-of-life issues, reproductive technologies, genetics, aging, stem-cell research, and more. These topics are taught by internationally recognized ethicists, scholars, and medical practitioners within a Christian context that exposes students to various perspectives within the discipline.

Several Formats Now Available

Students may choose to:

  • Complete the program online (with just two trips to Deerfield for the annual CBHD summer conference/courses), OR
  • Take all of their classes on campus, OR
  • Combine these two approaches, taking some courses online and some in Deerfield.

The MA in Bioethics is designed for students and working professionals who desire a foundation in bioethics for their studies, jobs, and public engagement. Health care workers, scientists, lawyers, clergy, and many others including those working in non-profit organizations will benefit from this flexible 30-semester-hour program, well suited to those with heavy professional responsibilities. And individuals preparing for an academic career will develop a strong background in bioethics for active, relevant participation in related college or university fields. The program can be completed without relocating to the Deerfield, Illinois, area, making it an excellent choice for students who are committed to ministry and professional life in a different location. 

Interested in learning more about bioethics, including up-to-date news, announcements, events, and resources available at TIU? Visit the TIU Bioethics blog!

Course Delivery Formats

Many of our students live around the world and are committed to jobs or family situations there that make relocating impossible. With them in mind, the program is delivered by three possible approaches: residential, modular, and online.

The residential option includes opportunities for interacting, relationship-building, and networking with students and faculty members, as well as access to various bioethics-related opportunities on campus outside the classroom. Examples include a wide range of course offerings, participation in special bioethics events, and involvement in the work of The Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity (CBHD), a world-class bioethics center constantly engaged in research and cultural-engagement initiatives.

The modular option allows students take all of their short-term modular courses in-person by traveling to campus just for the days when their classes meet. Modular classes typically meet for 2-3 days once or twice during each session (Fall, Spring, or Summer). Two required courses are taken on campus in conjunction with the mid-summer CBHD conference during two summers. Students may replace as many non-summer modular courses as they wish with online versions of those courses.

The online option involves taking up to five of the seven required courses in online format. Furthermore, no additional trips to campus are necessary for the elective courses. Elective courses can be taken online, or by mentored independent study, or in conjunction with the mid-summer CBHD conference—though residential and modular elective courses are also available. Online students may miss opportunities to interact with classmates and professors outside the classroom and other bioethics-related opportunities on campus, but they are able to pursue the program with very few trips to campus.

Trinity International University’s Graduate School is approved to offer online courses to residents of the following states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington (state), and Wisconsin, and is in the process of gaining approval in these states: Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Washington DC and Wyoming. Residents of other states may be able to enroll if the University is able to gain approval from the student’s state of residence’s higher education authorities; please contact your admissions counselor for further information.

What courses will I take?

Course work in the Bioethics program typically addresses such fields as medicine, nursing, law, public policy, international human rights, theology, philosophy, economics, education, and media. Classes will focus on integrative thought, combining cutting edge research with deep spiritual insight, and students have the flexibility to emphasize any of the above fields. Trinity can offer guided research courses and capstones in any of these areas to supplement other required and elective courses

Program of Study: 30 hours

Course IDCourse TitleCredit Hours
Required Courses (19 hours):
Choose one of the following two (BE 5000 or BE 5100)
BE 5000 Introduction to Bioethics: Matters of Life and Death 3 hours
BE 5100 Intensive Bioethics Institute 3 hours
BE 5001 Foundations of Integrative Thought in Bioethics 3 hours
BE 5002 Foundations of Cultural Engagement in Bioethics 3 hours
BE 6500 Advanced Bioethics Institute 3 hours
PR 7220 Ethical Theory 3 hours
BE 5300 Clinical Issues in Bioethics* 2 hours
BE 5500 Bioethics and Public Policy* 2 hours
*NOTE: Students relatively unfamiliar with clinical-medical and/or public policy settings should take the background courses BE 5299 and/or BE 5499. These courses can count for elective credit.
Bioethics Capstone (0-4 hours: choose one):
BE 7476 Bioethics Capstone Comprehensive Examination 0 hours
BE 7478 Bioethics Capstone Project 0-3 hours
BE 7480 Bioethics Capstone Integrative Paper 0-3 hours
BE 7485 Bioethics Thesis† 0-4 hours
†ID 6910 Research Methods (required with Thesis) 1 hour
Bioethics Electives (7-11 hours):
Students choose 7-11 hours from any of the courses listed below, depending on how many hours they earn for their capstone. (However, see note at the end of “Required Courses” section above.) Students should consult with an academic advisor in planning their individual programs of study.
Elective Courses
BE 5100 Intensive Bioethics Institute 3-4 hours‡
BE 5299 The Clinical Context 1 hour
BE 5400 Nursing Ethics 2 hours
BE 5499 The Public Policy Context 1 hour
BE 5600 Law and Bioethics 2 hours
BE 5700 The Right to Life and the Law 2 hours
BE 5800 Bioethics Regional Conference Course 2-3 hours
BE 5900 Bioethics National Conference 2-3 hours
BE 6100 Bioethics Colloquium 1-2 hours
BE 6300 Bioethics, Human Dignity, and the Church 3 hours
BE 6400 Readings in Bioethics 3 hours
BE 6500 Advanced Bioethics Institute 3-4 hours‡
BE 6600 Classic Cases in Bioethics 3 hours
BE 6700 Personhood in Theological and Philosophical Perspective 3 hours
BE 7300 Advanced Clinical Ethics 1-3 hours
BE 7700 Bioethics Seminar 1-4 hours
‡3 hours fulfills requirement; 4th hour elective
Total 30 hours

Required Capstone or Thesis (0-4 hours):

Students studying Bioethics should be well prepared for integrative work in their field. To this end, the capstone event can take different forms, depending on a student's interests. Under the supervision of a faculty member, students may write a formal master's-level thesis, take a comprehensive essay exam, write an integrative paper, or develop a special project such as a bioethics curriculum, sermon/talk series or written reflection on an internship experience.

Double Degree Option

If you are interested in obtaining a dual degree (Bachelor of Arts / Master of Arts) in Bioethics at TIU, see the program requirements. Students may also combine the Master of Arts in Bioethics with a Master of Divinity or Master of Arts Christian Studies at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (TEDS). 
Learn More