Dec 04, 2023  
2022-2023 University Catalog & Student Handbook 
2022-2023 University Catalog & Student Handbook [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Bioethics Dual-Degree Program (MA)

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Some of today’s most critical challenges in health care revolve around ethical and humanistic issues. The Master of Arts in Bioethics trains future physicians, researchers and other health care providers to become leaders on hospital ethics committees and other professional venues. More importantly, a bioethics education encourages the process of becoming a better, more compassionate physician leader.

Completion of a Master of Arts in Bioethics may enhance medical students’ abilities to obtain scholarships, internships, and residencies. The program assists those working in health professions by improving their knowledge and skills, positioning them to become change agents and ethics leaders in the institutions they serve.

After completing the program in bioethics, a graduate will:

  • Demonstrate critical thinking, including ethical decision-making skills.
  • Apply various methodologies in evaluating bioethical situations.
  • Be proficient in and demonstrate ethical practices in clinical and other settings.
  • Integrate humanism, professionalism and cultural-competence when working with diverse populations.
  • Communicate effectively in written, oral, and interpersonal contexts.

Students in this program may complete both their Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine and Master of Arts in Bioethics in four years.

The dual-degree program is approximately 44 months in length and is designed for KCU medical students who decide to pursue a master’s degree in bioethics along with the DO. This degree is especially designed for students who want to provide leadership as physicians in helping to address the plethora of complex ethical issues confronting medicine today. With the joint degree (DO/MA), graduates will be especially well placed to provide bioethical leadership on hospital ethics committees, among their physician peers and in the local community.

This program attends to both philosophical and religious ethics as well as contributions from the social sciences and the medical humanities. Students must complete 30 credit hours of coursework.

The final course in the dual-degree program is a set of comprehensive examinations, or the student may petition to do a capstone project. Unless a student successfully petitions, the student will take the set of comprehensive examinations. Each exam addresses an assigned topicfor which the student receives a reading list and set of learning objectives in order to prepare. Four of the exam topics are specified (introduction to bioethics, history and methodology, clinical dilemmas, and bioethics and diversity). The remaining two exam topics are selected by the individual student (example topics include pediatric ethics and history or medicine). The student may petition instead to do a project to pursue a bioethics question of special interest. If approved, the student works under the direction of a faculty member to complete a research project with relevance to bioethics. After completion of the written research project, the student will formally present the project to the KCU bioethics faculty and selected student peers.

While ensuring that students have a solid foundation in humanistic studies, this program also teaches critical thinking skills and collaboration on innovative approaches to resolving ethics dilemmas.

Admission to the DO/MA in Bioethics dual-degree program involves an application process during the first semester of the DO program. A minimum of 75 percent overall average in DO coursework is required. Students will be notified of acceptance before the end of the fall semester of the first year. Students must be in good standing in the DO program or they may be required to withdraw from the MA in Bioethics portion of the program.

Transfer Credit Policy

Transfer credit is limited to six credit hours for the MA in Bioethics dual-degree program. Grades associated with transferred credit hours will not transfer.

The Chair of Bioethics is responsible for determining the applicability of transfer work to the student’s program. All transfer credits must be completed at an accredited graduate school with a grade of B or better. Pass/fail courses will not be accepted in transfer.

Transfer Credit Request forms are available in the Office of the Registrar. Coursework used to satisfy requirements for one graduate degree may not be used to meet the requirements for a second graduate degree. Student requesting transfer credit must provide the following documentation to their academic program:

  • Published catalog course description;
  • Course syllabus;
  • Official transcript noting earned credit for the course(s). Note: Transcripts received from other universities cannot be released to students or third parties. Transcripts submitted for this purpose must be sent directly from the awarding institution to KCU. Transcripts which have been released to the student and/or third parties are not accepted.

To receive transfer credit, students must submit their Transfer Credit Request form along with all corresponding documentation and receive approval prior to the end of their first semester enrolled in the dual-degree program.


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