Bioethics — M.A., Certificate

Program director
Zdravko Plantak

The purpose of the Bioethics Program—an interdisciplinary course of graduate study leading to a Master of Arts degree—is to prepare qualified persons to engage in education, research, and service pertinent to the ethical issues in health care and human biology.

This degree is designed primarily for two types of students: those who desire the Master of Arts degree as a step toward graduate work at the doctoral level, and those who wish to acquire the degree in order to complement their career in health care or another field.

This academic program is enhanced by its close association with the Center for Christian Bioethics and its 4,000-volume library.

Objectives

Graduates of the Bioethics Program will be able to demonstrate:

  1. A broad knowledge of the field of bioethics.
  2. Mastery of at least one area of bioethical inquiry.
  3. Research and writing skills of a caliber to contribute to bioethical literature.
  4. An understanding of the relationship among personal, professional, and social ethics.

Course requirements

In order to receive the Master of Arts degree in bioethics from Loma Linda University, the student will complete a minimum of 48 units of course work as herein specified, with an overall grade average of B+ (3.30) or higher, with no grade lower than a C; and with no grade lower than a B- in a required course.

Transfer credits

Students are permitted to transfer up to 8 units of approved graduate-level courses from other accredited institutions into the Bioethics Program.

Special features

RELE 598 Master's Seminar I: This capstone seminar reflects on previous class work and involves integration of conceptual presuppositions, ethical theories, and ethical principles. Mastery of a broad knowledge of the field through an examination will be assessed by the bioethics faculty. (All program faculty and students are invited to attend sessions they choose from these two seminars.)

RELE 599 Master's Seminar II: Each student enters class with a research paper, likely prepared in an earlier course. With collegial critique, these papers are prepared for publication and submitted to at least one peer-review journal. Papers demonstrate the ability to identify an issue, analyze it, use relevant literature, and creatively conceptualize or even advance the discussion. Professional students are encouraged to write for their professional publications, adopting relevant size and editorial considerations. Paper(s) will total 20--25 pages.

Certificate

The Bioethics Program certificate is designed to provide basic competence in bioethics to a health-care professional. It consists of 28 units of academic credit: three core bioethics courses (RELE 524 Bioethics and Society, RELE 588 Explorers of the Moral Life, and RELE 589 Biblical Ethics); plus electives taken from bioethics course offerings. A student can take a clinical track by including RELE 545 Bioethics Case Conference I, RELE 554 Clinical Ethics Practicum I, and RELE 555 Clinical Ethics Practicum II.  The certificate can be completed in two to three quarters of full-time study.

In addition to Loma Linda University and School of Religion admissions requirements, the applicant must also complete the following requirements:

Typically, applicants will meet the following criteria for admission:

  1. Minimal GRE percentile scores of 60 (verbal), 60 (analytical writing), and 35 (quantitative). In some professional programs (e.g., M.D. and D.D.S.), students and graduates need not take the GRE, although other requirements apply.
  2. An undergraduate grade point average of B+ (3.30) or better in the overall program.
  3. An 800-word essay on the applicant's background and goals and how earning an M.A. degree in bioethics at Loma Linda University is envisioned to further such goals.
  4. A personal interview.
  5. Three letters of recommendation from current or former professors.

More important than any single admissions factor is the cumulative sense that the applicant is capable of and committed to serious academic work. Hence, the applicant might also submit an essay--published or from previous class work--that demonstrates creative, analytical thinking.

Information on admission, tuition, and student life and an online application can be found on the Web at <llu.edu/central/apply>.

M.A.

Required
RELE 524Bioethics and Society4
RELE 545Bioethics Case Conference I1
RELE 588Explorers of the Moral Life3
RELE 589Biblical Ethics3
RELE 598Master's Seminar I3
RELE 599Master's Seminar II2
Standard electives
Choose required units from the following: 132
Ethics for Scientists
Ethical Issues in Public Health
Christian Social Ethics
Clinical Ethics Practicum I
Clinical Ethics Practicum II
Ethics and Health Disparities
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Moral Aspects of Art and Illness
Heroes of Health Care
World Religions and Bioethics
Bioethics and the Law
Reading Tutorial
Independent Research
Total Units48
1

Up to 8 units of approved graduate-level courses from other LLU schools or other accredited institutions may be chosen.

Normal time to complete the program

1.33 years (5 academic quarters) based on full-time enrollment; part time permitted

Certificate

Required
RELE 524Bioethics and Society4
RELE 588Explorers of the Moral Life3
RELE 589Biblical Ethics3
Standard electives
Choose required units from the following:18
Ethics for Scientists
Ethical Issues in Public Health
Christian Social Ethics
Clinical Ethics Practicum I
Clinical Ethics Practicum II
Ethics and Health Disparities
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Moral Aspects of Art and Illness
Heroes of Health Care
World Religions and Bioethics
Bioethics and the Law
Total Units28

Normal time to complete the program

1 year (3 academic quarters) based on full-time enrollment; part time permitted