Trinity Evangelical Divinity School



MA 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 and to understand other influential contemporary outlooks on these issues in healthcare, biotechnology, family, and society.

MA in Bioethics

Who is this degree for?

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. 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.

Whether you are preparing for a career in healthcare, science, law, church ministry, education, or advocacy, the MA in Bioethics will provide the bioethical understanding and Christian foundation you need to approach your work with skill and spiritual sensitivity. You will have the opportunity to network with other professionals in class and during our annual bioethics conference, where you can explore the variety of disciplines that intersect with bioethics.

Students in the program will have resources available to them such as:

  • Bioethics resources and reading list based on 28 major bioethics-related categories
  • Direction on publishing articles in major bioethics journals
  • Participation in TGS students/alumni bioethics blog
  • Information and direction regarding the pursuit of bioethics-related doctoral degree programs
  • Description and application information for jobs currently available in bioethics

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 available in three formats: residential, modular, and online.

The residential option includes opportunities for in-person 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 engaged in research and cultural-engagement initiatives.

The modular option allows students to take all of their 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, one during each of 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.

What will I study?

Coursework 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.

  • Required Courses - 19 hrs

    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
    PR 7220 Ethical Theory 3 hours
    BE 5300 Clinical Issues in Bioethics* 2 hours
    BE 5500 Bioethics and Public Policy* 2 hours
    BE 6500 Advanced Bioethics Institute 3 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.

  • Capstone - 0-4 hrs

    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

  • Electives - 7-11hrs

    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.
    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 7501 Guided Research in Bioethics 1-3 hours
    BE 7700 Bioethics Seminar 1-4 hours
    ‡3 hours fulfills requirement; 4th hour elective


Required Capstone (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, Master of Arts Christian Studies, or another Master’s degree at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (TEDS). Contact Graduate Admissions for more information about this combination of programs.

Bioethics Faculty


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*Trinity International University has been approved by Illinois to participate in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements. NC-SARA is a voluntary, regional approach to state oversight of postsecondary distance education.
Trinity International University is approved specifically to offer online courses to residents of the following states: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington DC, Washington (state), West Virginia, Wisconsin, 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 our admissions office for further information.