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Healthcare Ethics MA/JD Joint Degree Program

A number of law schools nationwide now offer joint degrees in healthcare ethics.  Providing an opportunity to earn such a dual degree may make Duquesne University School of Law more attractive to prospective students who are interested in pursuing health-related fields of practice and may better qualify our law students for jobs in this expanding field.  In addition, the students’ required experiences in clinical settings will enrich their appreciation of the various health-related practice areas and the range of legal issues they are likely to face in practice.  This joint J.D./M.A. in Healthcare Ethics Program through the Center for Healthcare Ethics of the McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts is structured so that a law student will be able to graduate in three (3) to four (4) years with both degrees if desired.

Adoption of this proposed Program will be based upon the following principles:

  1. The School of Law and the Center for Healthcare Ethics of the McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts adopt a J.D./M.A. in Health Care Ethics effective July 1, 2009
  2. Each School shall independently determine admission to its program.  Admission to one School shall not guarantee entry to the other school
  3. Matters of tuition distribution shall be resolved by the administration of the respective schools
  4. Students in this Program shall receive a degree from each School upon completion of that School’s requirements
  5. Each School shall determine its graduation requirements
  6. No student in this Program shall be permitted to take any M.A. courses during the student’s first year (day or evening) of School of Law coursework
  7. Students in this Program (other than while matriculating as a first-year law student) shall not be permitted to enroll in more than fifteen (15) credit hours of coursework per semester unless approved by the Academic Status Committee of the School of Law
  8. A student currently enrolled in the M.A. Healthcare Ethics program may apply to the J.D./M.A. Program provided that he or she has not substantially completed the requirements for the M.A.   Substantial completion shall be determined by the Academic Status Committee on a case-by-case basis; and
  9. The Law School will accept up to twelve (12) credits of approved graduate Healthcare Ethics coursework toward the J.D. requirement of 86 credits, provided a student elects not to apply any non-traditional Law School course credits toward the J.D. degree.  The Law School will accept nine (9) or ten (10) credit hours of approved graduate Healthcare Ethics coursework in cases where a student elects to apply three (3) or two (2) non-traditional Law School course credits toward the J.D. requirement of 86 credits, respectively.
  10. The Master’s Degree Program, as part of its required 30 credits of coursework, will accept 10 credits of coursework in the Law School as identified under the category below “Law School Electives Courses Required for Joint Degree.”  Hence, for the Joint Degree, students must complete 20 credits of HCE coursework as listed below under “Healthcare Ethics Requirements.”

The curriculum for the Joint Program is identified on the attached sheets:

Students need to take a total of 94 credits for the joint J.D./M.A. in Healthcare Ethics Program.  At least 74 of those credits must be taken in the Law School.  The credit totals listed below reflect minimum Law School credit requirements for a student who elects to exhaust the twelve (12)-credit, non-traditional credit cap exclusively with Healthcare Ethics credits.  The use of Law School non-traditional credits to satisfy the 86-credit graduation requirement will decrease the number of Healthcare Ethics credits that may be applied to the J.D. degree (see paragraph I. on page 1).


J.D. Requirements:  74 Credits (minimum)

Required Law Courses 56 Credits
Law School Elective Courses Required for Joint Degree   8 Credits
     Law and Medical Ethics   2  credits
     Health Care Law   2 credits
     Electives   4 credits*

*Students may choose from the following two-credit elective courses in the School of Law curriculum:  Canon Law; Law and Religion; Introduction to Jewish Law; Islamic Law; Patents and the Pharmaceutical Industry; Faith, Justice, and Social Responsibility; Gender and the Law:  Current Topics; and Alternative Dispute Resolution; and Art of Mediation: Theory and Practice.

Additional Law Electives                                                                    10 cr. (min.)

Healthcare Ethics Requirements:  20 Additional Credits

Required Courses:                                                              5 Credits
     HCE 659 Methods in  Healthcare Ethics   3  credits
     HCE 646  Clinical Internship/Externship
     (another Internship at HCE Director’s discretion)
  2 credits
Additional HCE Course   15 Credits

     Students may choose from the following courses:

HCE 542 Foundations in Moral Philosophy

3 credits

HCE 544  Foundations in Religious Healthcare Ethics

3 credits

HCE 545 Comparative Religious Bioethics

3 credits

HCE XXX New Course

3 credits

HCE 653  Genetics and Ethics

3 credits

HCE 654 Research Ethics 

3 credits

HCE 655  Global Bioethics

3 credits

HCE 656  End of Life Ethics

3 credits
HCE 657 Public Health Ethics  3 credits

HCE 662  Organizational Ethics in Health Care

3 credits

HLTM-577 Legal Issues in Health Care 

3 credits

PLCR-541 Health Care Ethics & Public Policy

3 credits

HCE-XXX New Course

3 credits
HCE-XXX New Course 3 credits