Mission Statement

The MA in Bioethics (MA/BE) equips students to analyze bioethical issues in health care and biotechnology and to engage bioethical challenges in relevant contexts.

Program Objectives

Students graduating from the MA/BE program will be able to:

  • Understand the current and emerging bioethical issues in health care and biotechnology
  • Discern the differences among competing contemporary approaches to ethics and bioethics
  • Engage bioethical challenges in clinical health care and public policy contexts
  • Employ culturally-sensitive biblical and theological frameworks for addressing issues in bioethics
  • Think integratively, seeing beyond individual bioethical issues to deeper questions that underlie the bioethics field as a whole

The MA in Bioethics (MA/BE) is designed with various groups of students in mind, including those who are presently--or aspire to be--physicians, nurses, and other health care workers; lawyers; people with political, public policy, social service, and ministry interests in pro-life and related areas; teachers in related university, college or high school fields; and those involved in educating and engaging various constituencies through nonprofit organizations. The program is particularly well suited for those with professional or other responsibilities who need a flexible 30-semester-hour program. There is also a multiple masters degree option for Trinity Evangelical Divinity School students and a dual degree option for Trinity College undergraduates. By enrolling in online courses, mentored and independent study work, and as few as two several-day campus courses, the program can be completed without relocating near the Deerfield, Illinois campus. Alternatively, a complete on-campus program is also available.

Program of Study

Common Core Courses6
BE 5001Foundations for Integrative Thought in Bioethics3
BE 5002Foundations for Cultural Engagement in Bioethics3
Required Courses13
BE 5000Introduction to Bioethics: Matters of Life and Death3
or BE 5100 Intensive Bioethics Institute
BE 6500Advanced Bioethics Institute3
PR 7220Ethical Theory3
BE 5300Clinical Issues in Bioethics 12
BE 5500Bioethics and Public Policy 12
Bioethics Capstone
Select one of the following:0-4
BE 7476Bioethics Capstone Exam0
BE 7478Bioethics Capstone Project0-3
BE 7480Bioethics Capstone Integrative or Major Paper0-3
BE 7485MA Thesis 20-4
ID 6910Research Methods (required with Thesis) 21
Bioethics Electives7-11
Students choose 7-11 hours from any of the courses listed below, depending on how many hours they earn for their capstone. Students should consult with an academic advisor in planning their individual programs of study.
BE 5100Intensive Bioethics Institute3-4
BE 5299The Clinical Context 11
BE 5400Nursing Ethics2
BE 5499The Public Policy Context 11
BE 5600Law and Bioethics2
BE 5700The Right to Life & the Law2
BE 5800Bioethics Regional Conference2-3
BE 5900Bioethics National Conference2-3
BE 6100Bioethics Colloquium1-2
BE 6300Bioethics, Human Dignity, and the Church3
BE 6400Readings in Bioethics2-3
BE 6500Advanced Bioethics Institute 33-4
BE 6600Classic Cases in Bioethics3
BE 6700Personhood in Theological & Philosophical Perspective3
BE 7300Advanced Clinical Ethics1-3
BE 7700Bioethics Seminar1-4
Total Hours30
1

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.

2

BE 7485 requires ID 6910, a research methods course, as a prerequisite.

3

 3 hours fulfill requirement; 4th hour is elective 

Required Capstone Experience (0-4 hours)

Preparation for work in the field of bioethics should include at least one endeavor that is not merely focused on a particular bioethical issue but is integrative in nature, encompassing multiple issues. The capstone course can involve taking a comprehensive exam in which broad essay questions allow the student to demonstrate a grasp of the field as a whole. Or it can involve writing an integrative paper, or developing a special project such as a bioethics curriculum, a sermon/talk series, or a written reflection on a clinical, public policy, or focused bioethics internship experience. The paper or project can be done to fulfill an assignment in a non-capstone course, in which case the student registers for a 0-hour capstone course in the same semester as the other course. Alternatively, students may write a formal master’s-level thesis after obtaining approval and instructions from the Bioethics Program Director.

However students choose to meet the capstone experience requirement, those not doing a thesis must register for course credit under one of the following course numbers: BE 7476; BE 7478; or BE 7480. Students should register for BE 7476, BE 7478, BE 7480 in the semester they intend to start the project or paper or take the comprehensive exam. Students making progress toward completion of a capstone (other than the comprehensive examination) but unable to finish in a single semester, can apply for a capstone extension. They must then register for BE 7486. Capstone extension fees will be assessed.

The capstone experience must be completed subsequent to candidacy and is supervised by a faculty member. (A list of approved faculty members is available in the Records Office and on MyTIU.) An Independent Study & Capstone Registration form (available on MyTIU) must be completed to register for all capstone and guided research (BE 7501) courses. Students opting to write a formal master’s thesis should consult the Bioethics Program Director for details.  All capstones involving research with human subjects must be approved by the TIU IRB prior to the beginning of that research, with the application for approval due by the end of the semester that precedes the semester in which the research is to take place.

Course Sequencing

Either BE 5000 or BE 5100 must be taken before BE 6500. When the elective BE 7300 is offered, only those who have clinical/medical experience (or permission from the professor) and have completed BE 5300 can take it. It is recommended that the four foundational courses—BE 5001, BE 5002, PR 7220, and either BE 5000 or BE 5100—be taken before other bioethics courses. Professors teaching other bioethics courses will assume that all students in those courses will have either taken these four courses or at least read a relevant text for each of those courses not yet taken. A list of relevant texts for these courses may be found in the TGS Bioethics Department section of MyTIU.

Trinity Graduate School Master of Arts in Bioethics Degree Paired with Trinity Evangelical Divinity School Master of Divinity or Master of Arts in Theological Studies Degree

Students in the Master of Divinity (MDiv) or Master of Arts in Theological Studies (MA/TS) can add an MA in Bioethics without substantially lengthening their stay at Trinity. There is a rapidly growing need in the church for leadership to address bioethical challenges in the lives of individuals, families, communities, and the larger world. Such leaders ideally need more theological preparation than a bioethics degree alone can provide, and they need more training in bioethics than the Master of Divinity (MDiv) or Master of Arts in Theological Studies (MA/TS) degree can provide. Moreover, there is a societal movement toward requiring a credential, such as a bioethics master’s degree, for individuals involved in bioethical decision making in health care (including chaplains and pastors), public policy, education, and other public arenas. In light of Trinity’s global leadership role in bioethics, the ability of students to add the MA/BE degree/credential to their MDiv or MA/TS degree is an attractive option for Trinity students. The MDiv (94 hours) and MA/TS (42 hours) degree programs are explained in the catalog of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.

Features 

  • Only 15 hours of master’s-level coursework in bioethics beyond the MDiv or MA/TS degree is required.
  • Students can participate in the May Commencement for both degrees at the end of their final MDiv or MA/TS year (assuming no more than 6 hours remain to be completed in the summer that follows).
  • The MDiv or MA/TS capstone course will fulfill the capstone requirement for the MA/BE degree as well.
  • MDiv students will complete the requirement of BE 5001, BE 5002, and PR 7220 by taking all of the MDiv required courses.
  • AP MDiv students will complete the requirement of BE 5001 and BE 5002 by completing all courses required in their degree program, and PR 7220 when they complete ST 5200 or PR 7220 as part of their AP MDiv coursework.
  • MA/TS students will complete the requirement of BE 5001, BE 5002, and PR 7220 as long as they take PR 7220 as part of their Theological Studies requirement for the MA/TS degree.
  • Six of the elective hours in their MDiv or MA/TS program should be BE courses. (If fewer than 6 hours are taken there, then the missing hours can be added to the 15 hours needed to complete the MA/BE degree.)
  • The following courses must be taken as part of the 15 BE hours:
    BE 5000Introduction to Bioethics: Matters of Life and Death3
    or BE 5100 Intensive Bioethics Institute
    BE 5300Clinical Issues in Bioethics2
    BE 5500Bioethics and Public Policy2
    BE 6100Bioethics Colloquium1-2
    BE 6500Advanced Bioethics Institute3-4

Model Curricular Plan 

The actual curricular plan will vary with individuals. In this model curricular plan, students would take the following courses:

Any fall before the final year of MDiv or MA/TS studies
BE 5000Introduction to Bioethics: Matters of Life and Death (as part of MDiv or MA/TS degree)3
Any summer before the final year of MDiv or MA/TS studies
BE 5900Bioethics National Conference3
BE 7700Bioethics Seminar3
Any spring of MDiv or MA/TS studies
BE 5300Clinical Issues in Bioethics2
BE 5500Bioethics and Public Policy2
BE 6100Bioethics Colloquium1
Choose one or both of the following:
BE 5299The Clinical Context 11
BE 5499The Public Policy Context 11
In the summer after the final year of MDiv or MA/TS studies
BE 6500Advanced Bioethics Institute3
BE 5900Bioethics National Conference (repeatable)3
1

These two courses provide remedial background understanding for BE 5300 and BE 5500. If both are needed and are taken in the spring, one less hour can be taken the following summer. Three of the 6 hours this spring are part of the MDiv or MA/TS degree.

Bachelor of Arts/Master of Arts in Bioethics

Trinity Graduate School and Trinity College offer a dual Bachelor of Arts/Master of Arts Degree that pairs an MA in Bioethics with an undergraduate degree in any major. This opportunity is open to qualified students in any undergraduate major but may have special appeal for students with the following majors or interests: premedical, prehealth, psychology, philosophy, law, public policy, communications, theology, business, Christian ministries, and education.

In this program, an undergraduate student may earn a graduate degree as early as the summer following the senior year by taking graduate-level courses beginning the junior year. Nine hours of coursework from the MA count toward the BA. These 9 overlapping hours are taken as part of the undergraduate load. (See the dual degree curriculum tab.) Providing graduate coursework is begun in the summer after the junior year, completion of both the BA and the MA can be accomplished as early as the summer following the senior year.

Qualified applicants must have a Trinity GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, 70 hours of undergraduate coursework, and a positive recommendation from their academic advisor. Students may apply for acceptance to the Dual Degree program through Trinity Graduate School. Transfer students may apply for the program if they have 70 hours of undergraduate coursework, a positive recommendation from a former professor or their academic advisor, a 3.0 GPA for all transferred college work, and a 3.0 in Trinity coursework. Students interested in the dual degree are advised to notify their advisor(s) and the dual degree program advisor as early as possible to allow for expedient course planning and to assure that overlapping course requirements can be planned and scheduled.

Model Curricular Plan for the Dual Degree

 The following is a sample course plan for the dual degree. Plans may vary for individual students. Students are expected to consult with their undergraduate and graduate advisors to make individual adjustments to the curricular plan as necessary.

Recommended undergraduate courses to be completed before starting the MA coursework:

BI 101Understanding the Old Testament 13
or BI 111 Understanding the New Testament
BI 210Biblical Interpretation3
PH 180Introduction to Philosophy3
BIO 111General Biology4
or BIO 103 Introductory Biology
Other general education courses and required major courses
1

Note: ID 5001 substitutes for one of these courses

Undergraduate general education requirements that will be fulfilled by graduate-level courses and need not be duplicated with undergraduate work

  • BI 101 or BI 111: ID 5001 replaces either BI 101 or BI 111 in general education category Foundations of Christian Thinking and Living.
  • Religious and Ethnic Diversity: ID 5002 replaces one course in the Religious and Ethnic Diversity subcategory under Foundations of Cultural and Global Perspective.
  • Any Approved Undergraduate major, general education, or elective course: (3 hours) of graduate credit can replace 3 hours of undergraduate credit. Students should check with advisors to determine if there are courses in their major that can be replaced with graduate coursework.

Students should note that BE courses are offered in several formats: traditional (15 week), modular (meets two times in a semester), online, summer conference associated courses, and independent study courses.

At least two courses must be taken in residency at the Deerfield, IL campus:

BE 5100Intensive Bioethics Institute3-4
BE 6500Advanced Bioethics Institute3-4

Both are offered during the summer at the time of the Annual Bioethics Conference on the Deerfield campus. BE 5100 can be replaced by BE 5000 – a 15 week course offered in the fall semester on the Deerfield campus.

Each spring semester, students are invited to participate in the series of three evening bioethics colloquia. The Bioethics Colloquium (BE 6100) can also be taken for elective credit toward the MA in Bioethics.

Service Learning Requirement

Students can fulfill Trinity College’s Service Learning Requirement by working with The Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity during the summer National Bioethics Conference, with optional free attendance at the conferences in the summers following the freshman and sophomore years.

Application to the Dual Degree Program

Upon completion of 70 hours with a 3.0 GPA, students must submit an application and letter of recommendation to Trinity Graduate School Admissions to be accepted to the Dual Degree program.

First Summer
BE 5100Intensive Bioethics Institute3-4
BE 5900Bioethics National Conference (elective)2-3
Fall Semester
BE 5001Foundations for Integrative Thought in Bioethics3
BE 5002Foundations for Cultural Engagement in Bioethics3
PR 7220Ethical Theory3
Spring Semester
BE 5299The Clinical Context (optional) 11
BE 5300Clinical Issues in Bioethics 12
BE 5499The Public Policy Context (optional) 11
BE 5500Bioethics and Public Policy (optional) 12
Second Summer
BE 5900Bioethics National Conference2-3
BE 6500Advanced Bioethics Institute3-4
Capstone
(0-4 hours of the following)
BE 7476Bioethics Capstone Exam0
BE 7478Bioethics Capstone Project0-3
BE 7480Bioethics Capstone Integrative or Major Paper0-3
BE 7485MA Thesis 20-4
Total Hours30
1

Students relatively unfamiliar with clinical-medical and/or public policy settings will need to use one or two of their elective hours in order to take the background courses BE 5299 and/or BE 5499 either concurrently or during the previous semester.

2

BE 7485 requires ID 6910, a research methods course, as a prerequisite.

Fall and Spring Graduate Coursework

Complete course requirements for general education and major. A full academic course load must include at least 12 hours of combined graduate and undergraduate courses per semester.