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 recent college graduates 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 36 major bioethics-related categories
  • Guidelines for 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 six of the eight 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 - 21 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
    BE 5200 Research Ethics 2 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 3-4 hours‡
    *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. ‡3 hours fulfills requirement; 4th hour elective.


  • 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 - 5-9 hrs

    Students choose 5-9 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 6800 Global Health and Justice 2-3 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 save 12-15 hours by combining the Master of Arts in Bioethics either with a Master of Arts in Leadership at Trinity Graduate School (TGS) or with one of several Master’s degree programs at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (TEDS), including the Master of Divinity, the Master of Arts (Theological Studies), the Master of Arts in Ministry, and the Master of Arts in Chaplaincy and Ministry Care. Contact Graduate Admissions for more information about the combination of programs.

Bioethics Faculty


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State Authorization

Trinity International University (TIU) must comply with a state’s regulations before any educational activity can occur within that state. Those regulations determine whether TIU may offer you a place in a course or program. The range of educational activities regulated include offering 100% online courses and programs to online and/or campus-based courses that include activities such as internships, externships, co-ops, field experiences, student teaching, and clinical placements (Please note limitations related to certain states below).

TIU participates in the National Council of State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA). [Please note and delete what show in this bracket: “NC-SARA” presently shows here as a hyperlink leading to which looks very good] NC-SARA is a voluntary, regional approach to state oversight of postsecondary distance education. Illinois became a SARA state in July 2015. Trinity International University became a SARA institution in October 2015.

In general, TIU may offer online courses in the states where we have a physical campus and in the states marked on the NC-SARA map (as of May 16, 2017).

For the following states, please note these limitations:

  • Kentucky – Only TEDS distance education online courses, TEDS Certificate in Christian Studies, & TGS M.A. in Bioethics online courses.
  • Massachusetts – No Trinity International University, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, or Trinity Graduate School courses or programs can be offered in Massachusetts.
  • North Carolina – Only TEDS distance education online courses, TEDS Certificate in Christian Studies, & TGS M.A. in Bioethics online courses.