Curriculum

Requirements

9 courses are required for the Master of Bioethics degree:

  • Introduction to Bioethics (BIOE 601). This course is intended to serve as a broad introduction to the field of bioethics. The course focuses on three of the most important areas in bioethics: genetics and reproduction, human experimentation, and end-of-life care. Each module covers essential bioethics concepts, relevant legal cases, and classic readings on that theme.
  • Conceptual Foundations (BIOE 602). This course examines the various theoretical approaches to bioethics and critically assesses their underpinnings. Topics include: an examination of various deontological theories, utilitarianism, virtue ethics, principlism, casuistry, feminist ethics, narrative theory, and pragmatism.
  • One of the following courses: Rationing (BIOE 565) OR Research Ethics (BIOE 580) OR Advanced Clinical Ethics (BIOE 603)
  • 5 electives
  • Final Project (BIOE 996). A research project that results in a publishable quality paper.

The MBE Student Worksheet will help you and your advising team plan your MBE career

See more information on specific dual-degree requirements here.

Penn MBE Clinical Ethics Mediation Certificate

The Department of Medical Ethics & Health Policy now offers the Penn MBE Clinical Ethics Mediation Certificate. This Certificate can be added to the Master of Bioethics degree, offering students (and alumni) the opportunity to receive additional clinical ethics mediation training right here at Penn. This certificate option is only available to students who are in the MBE program. Click here for an application to the Penn Clinical Ethics Mediation Certificate.

Students interested in pursuing the combined MBE/Clinical Ethics Certificate will complete an application for the certificate program, in addition to the MBE application.  This additional application can be completed at the time of the original MBE application, or once the student is already admitted to the MBE program.  Students will be granted admission based on professional goals related to clinical ethics.  We will not require prior experience in clinical ethics as an admissions criterion.

Background: The current national discussion in bioethics about standards for good clinical ethics practice have pressed Master of Bioethics programs to consider specialized training for their students who perform, or hope to perform, clinical ethics consultations. A special task force of the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities is currently considering various modes of certification for individuals who conduct ethics consults as part of their professional role. As the premiere master of bioethics program in the country, the Penn Master of Bioethics needs to stay in step with this national trend of providing this kind of training to our students. The clear trend in clinical ethics consultations is an emphasis on mediation and conflict resolution as the essential process in resolving ethics dilemmas, and the Penn MBE Certificate in Clinical Ethics Mediation offers students the training necessary to be competent facilitators in this kind of process.

Certificate Description: The Penn MBE Certificate in Clinical Ethics Mediation is not intended to be a stand-alone award, but is an “add-on” to the current Master of Bioethics degree. We believe that our clinical ethics consultants and mediators need training in addition to the broad, theoretical base we offer them in the master’s program; therefore, the Certificate will not be a substitute for that important base. All Certificate students would be required to complete the 9-course MBE degree, and then the Certificate would require 3 additional course units for a total of 12 course units (described below).

Audience: The certificate program is open to any MBE student or alumni who wishes to pursue it. It is ideally suited for anyone who intends to perform, or already participates in, formal clinical ethics consultations, or who believe that this additional clinical ethics training will enhance their work “at the bedside.”

Timing: Students may complete the MBE and the Certificate concurrently, graduating both with the MBE and the Certificate in the same semester. Alternatively, a student can graduate with the MBE and then complete and be awarded the Certificate at a later date. All students who do not complete both at the same time are encouraged to work with the MBE office to create a plan for completion. Students who graduate before completing all of the Certificate requirements will have at most 2 years to complete the remaining coursework.  MBE alumni who have not done any coursework toward the Certificate will have up to 5 years after receiving their MBE degree to apply for the Penn MBE Clinical Ethics Mediation Certificate.

Structure and Requirements: Students who wish to pursue the Penn MBE Clinical Ethics Mediation Certificate will be required to complete the following 12 course units:

BIOE 601: Introduction to Clinical Bioethics (1 CU)
BIOE 602: Conceptual Foundations (1 CU)
BIOE 565: Rationing OR BIOE 580: Research Ethics OR BIOE 603: Advanced Clinical Ethics   (1 CU)         
BIOE 996: Final Project (1 CU)
BIOE 540: Challenging Clinical Ethics: Managing Patient/
Caregiver Conflicts through Mediation OR BIOE 603: Advanced Clinical Ethics (1 CU)

Five (5) Electives (to be chosen by the student) (5 CUs)

Two (2) of the following:
BIOE 545: Mediation Intensive I (1 CU)
BIOE 546: Mediation Intensive II (1 CU)
BIOE 547: Mediation Intensive III (1 CU)
BIOE 548: Mediation Intensive IV (1 CU)
Total CUs:12

Each of the Mediation Intensive courses (BIOE 545, 546, 547, and 548) consists of 4 days of intensive practical training in mediation. To receive credit, students must also complete a 10-15 page writing requirement, due at the end of the semester in which the mediation course is being taken.

The Mediation Intensive courses are offered 3 times a year: (1) January, over the MLK weekend, (2) May, between the Spring and Summer semesters, and (3): August, between the Summer and Fall semesters. Check our next scheduled workshops for dates and times.

Note that students not enrolled in the Clinical Ethics Mediation Certificate may only enroll in 1 CU of intensives.​

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