Oct 26, 2021  
Graduate Record 2006-2007 
Graduate Record 2006-2007 [ARCHIVED RECORD]


General Information

The M.A. in Bioethics is a joint degree of the School of Medicine and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS). Faculty are drawn primarily from Law, Medicine, Nursing, Philosophy, Religious Studies, and Business. Each student will have a core faculty advisor to guide program planning and course selection.

M.A. Steering Committee and Core Faculty

John D. Arras (Philosophy), Richard J. Bonnie (Law), James F. Childress (Religious Studies, Steering Committee Chair), Claire Cronmiller (Biology), Walt Davis (Biomedical Ethics), Ann Hamric (Nursing), Paul A. Lombardo, (Biomedical Ethics and Law), Margaret E. Mohrmann (Medicine), Jonathan D. Moreno (Biomedical Ethics), and Lynn Noland, (Nursing). Jonathan D. Moreno, Kornfeld Professor and Director of the Center for Biomedical Ethics, is director of the M.A. degree program.

Intended Audience

This M.A. program is not, in and of itself, intended as preparation for a career in bioethics. Therefore, admission preference will be given to those for whom this program would be related to their concurrent or subsequent pursuit of a terminal degree (e.g., M.D., M.S.N., J.D., or Ph.D.), or those who intend to return to an established position. Exceptions may be made for highly qualified applicants.

Application Procedure

Students admitted to the University of Virginia Schools of Medicine, Nursing, and Law may apply to this program concurrent with their degree program. Applicants should request that their other school (e.g., the School of Law) send a copy of their application to the GSAS Admissions Office. Along with their GSAS application, all applicants should enclose: (a) a personal statement of 500 words about their motivation to pursue this degree and plans for the future use of the required knowledge and skills; and (b) a writing sample from a course on bioethics or applied ethics or write and submit a 500-word essay on the relationship between autonomy and beneficence in contemporary bioethics.

Other interested persons may obtain an application at http://artsandsciences.virginia.edu/admissions/apply.html. In addition to the written materials described above, an applicant’s scores from the Graduate Record Examination (within 5 years) are required. An applicant may petition to substitute other national test scores (e.g., the LSATs or MCATs, if taken with 5 years) for the GRE.

Fellowship Support

A limited amount of fellowship support may be available, distributed at the discretion of the Steering Committee. This support generally involves modest service to the program, to be arranged in consultation with the program director.

Degree Requirements

24 credits plus a thesis (6 credits) prepared so as to be publishable after editing, or 30 credits of courses.

Required Courses

The M.A. in Bioethics requires 15 credits in Foundations of Bioethics, Clinical Ethics (which should be taken in the fall-spring sequence), and 3 Group I courses.

Foundations of Bioethics All students must take Foundations of Bioethics, which introduces the central problems and issues addressed by the field and the major concepts, methods, and ethical perspectives that bioethics brings to bear on these problems and issues.

Clinical Ethics All students must take Clinical Ethics, which introduces the central ethical problems and issues that arise in the clinical setting.

Group I courses All students must take at least 3 Group I courses (listed below) on specific problems and issues addressed by the field of bioethics. Selection of these 3 credit courses will be guided by the student’s area of concentration and discipline.

Biology requirement

Students needing more background in human biology and medicine must pass BIOL 121 (non-credit) and/or pass a required study course and examination in basic pathophysiology and anatomy. These decisions will be made in the admission and advising process.


The remainder of credits for the M.A. in Bioethics may be taken from any of the remaining Group I courses or other courses offered at the university with the approval of the program director.

Group I

  • RELG 423 - Bioethics Internship Seminar
  • PHIL 565 - Justice and Health Care
  • PHIL 558 - Reproductive Ethics
  • RELC 558 - History of Christian Ethics
  • REL 578 - Ethical Issues in Human Genetics
  • LAW3 624 - Death, Dying, and the Law
  • RELG 806 - Bioethics and Health Care Law
  • ANTH 728 - Anthropology of the Body: Violence, Terror, and Pain
  • RELG 265 - Theology, Ethics, and Medicine (graduate section)
  • LAW3 688 - Law and Medicine
  • GBUS 902 - Foundations of Business Ethics
  • GBUS 909 - Contemporary Issues in Business Ethics
  • RELG 550 - Love and Justice

Program Location

The program is located in the Center for Biomedical Ethics in the School of Medicine.

The Steering Committee reports to the Deans of the Schools of Medicine, Law, and Nursing and to the Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

Course Descriptions