MA in Bioethics Paired with MA in Chaplaincy and Ministry Care


Six hours automatically double-count in both degrees; and up to eight more hours can also double-count if the right courses are selected. In sum: only 16 hours beyond the 48-hour MA/CMC degree are required in order to earn the MA-Bioethics degree as well; however, students can choose to take anywhere from 64 to 78 hours to complete their two degree programs.


Today’s world is full of challenges to human life and dignity, from beginning-of-life issues such as abortion, use of reproductive technologies, and prenatal genetic testing to end-of-life issues such as euthanasia, assisted suicide, and withholding/withdrawing life-sustaining healthcare. In between, questions regarding such matters as access to healthcare, genetic interventions, drug use, and sexuality loom large. People trained both in bioethics and in chaplaincy and ministry care are vitally needed to provide the counseling and support that so many desperately need. The MA/CMC degree involves 48 semester hours of study. However, board certification with the Association of Professional Chaplains requires 72 hours from a graduate theological institution. Adding 24 hours of bioethics study—or as few as 16 bioethics hours plus 8 hours of any other biblical-theological courses—fulfills that requirement. Meanwhile, there is a societal movement toward requiring a credential, such as a bioethics Master’s degree, for individuals involved in bioethical decision-making in many arenas where chaplains, counselors, and other caregivers work. In light of Trinity’s global leadership role in bioethics, the ability of students to add the MA/BE degree to their MA/CMC degree is an attractive option for Trinity students.


  • Only 16 hours of Master’s-level coursework in bioethics beyond the MA/CMC degree may be required.
  • Students can participate in the May Commencement for both degrees at the end of their final academic year (assuming no more than 6 non-capstone hours remain to be completed in the summer that follows).
  • The capstone course in the MA/CMC degree program will fulfill the capstone requirement for the MA/BE degree as well, as long as bioethical issues play a significant role in it (as certified to the Records Office by the professor overseeing the course). The course will count as 2 elective hours in the MA/BE program.
  • Students do not need to take either BE 5001 or BE 5002 in their MA/BE program because that ground is covered by the required biblical and theological courses in the MA/CMC program.
  • Students can double-count up to 6 other hours of courses taken in the MA/BE program as elective hours in their MA/CMC program.
  • If 6 such hours are not completed in the MA/CMC degree program, then the missing hours must be added to the 16 hours needed to complete the MA/BE degree.
  • The following courses must be taken either within the MA/CMC degree program or as part of the additional 16 hours for the MA/BE degree program: 
  • BE 5000Introduction to Bioethics: Matters of Life and Dignity3
    or BE 5100 Intensive Bioethics Institute
    BE 5200Research Ethics2
    BE 5300Clinical Issues in Bioethics2
    BE 5500Bioethics and Public Policy2
    BE 6200Ethical Theory3
    BE 6500Advanced Bioethics Institute3
    Total Hours15


The actual curricular plan will vary with individuals. In this model curricular plan, students would take the following courses (in addition to MA/CMC courses including 6+ hours of Bible/theology courses and the capstone):

Any fall or summer before the final year of MA/CMC studies:
BE 5000Introduction to Bioethics: Matters of Life and Dignity3
or BE 5100 Intensive Bioethics Institute
Any fall of MA/CMC studies after completing BE 5000 or BE 5100:
BE 5200Research Ethics2
BE 5499The Public Policy Context 11
BE 5500Bioethics and Public Policy2
Any spring of MA/CMC studies after completing BE 5000 or BE 5100:
BE 5299The Clinical Context 11
BE 5300Clinical Issues in Bioethics2
BE 6100Bioethics Colloquium1
BE 6200Ethical Theory3
Any fall, spring, or summer of MA/CMC studies after completing BE 5000 or BE 5100:
Bioethics-related capstone in the MA/CMC degree program - plus BE elective hours6
Near the end of MA/BE studies:
BE 6500Advanced Bioethics Institute3
Of the 24 total BE hours here, 6 also may count toward the MA/CMC degree
Total Hours24