Doctoral Degrees (PhD and DHCE) in Catholic Healthcare Ethics

Doctoral Curriculum

The Doctoral Curriculum requires twelve courses (36 credits) beyond the Master's degree. After Comprehensive Exams, both Doctoral Degree Programs require 6 credits of dissertation hours. The Research Projects and the Research Essay in the courses will deal with topics related to Catholic health care.

Students in HCE MA Degree track who continue on in the Doctoral Degree programs must complete 6 additional courses after their 10 MA courses, so that 16 courses (48 credits) have been completed before they apply for the comprehensive examination.

Baccalaureate Admission track requires sixteen courses (48 credits) beyond the Baccalaureate Degree.

The Ethics Rotation Program is titled, Clinical and Organizational Rotations in Ethics (CORE). The Program provides HCE students with an experience-based curriculum to learn in a supervised, step-by-step manner the scholarly knowledge and professionals skills for providing ethics services in health care. The curriculum focuses on integrating clinical, organizational, and professional ethics across the healthcare organization. The program also seeks to provide a Mentored Apprenticeship to train students to undertake clinical ethics consultations, including the pre-consultation phase.

The junior rotations (HCE 746, 747) are intensely supervised and occur at UPMC Mercy Hospital which is adjacent to Duquesne University. The senior rotation internships (HCE 781, 782), in which students function as an ethicist-in-residence, occur at UPMC Mercy Hospital or at another healthcare institution. HCE has multiple partnerships with local, regional, and national health care providers to facilitate these internships. Internship duties include professional ethics education for facility personnel, ethics research, policy review or development on ethical issues, and prospective and retrospective case consultation. Each three-credits Internship requires approximately 150 hours of work within the assigned facility.

Typically, ethics rotations and internships may be initiated after completion of 18 credit hours of coursework. The CORE Program adopts an Integrated Ethics approach, as developed by the Veterans Health Administration, to implement the Core Competencies for Clinical Ethics Consultation (recently revised by the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities). A detailed outline of the CORE Program is available in the HCE Handbook of Policies and Guidelines.

 

Program Requirements

The Doctoral Degree Program adopts the following Course Planner to enable students to track their coursework. All courses are 3-credit hours. All course selections must be approved by the student's academic advisor. The only mandatory course is HCE 759 Methods in HCE. Students choose their remaining courses from the following:

  • HCE-742 Multicultural Society
  • HCE-743 Ethics of Care
  • HCE-745 Comp. Rel. Bioethics
  • HCE-748 Clinical Ethics
  • HCE-753 Genetics & Ethics
  • HCE-754 Research Ethics
  • HCE-755 Global Bioethics
  • HCE-756 End of Life Ethics
  • HCE-757 Public Health Ethics
  • HCE-758 Intensive Research
  • HCE-759 Methods in HCE
  • HCE-760 Research Writing in HCE
  • HCE-762 Organizational HCE
  • HCE-790 Independent Study
  • HCE-746 Clinical Rotation
  • HCE-747 Jr. Rotation
  • HCE-781 Sr. Internship
  • HCE-782 Sr. Internship
Written comprehensive examinations occur after a student completes doctoral degree coursework requirements. There are two full-time HCE faculty examiners. A detailed outline of the Comprehensive Exam process is available in the HCE Handbook of Policies and Guidelines.

The Ph.D. degree is a research degree that combines academic and clinical education to train students in a systematic and critical manner to be scholars in the field. Hence, the Ph.D. dissertation focuses on appropriate research and writing competencies to be successful scholars in the field.

The DHCE degree is a professional degree that combines academic and clinical education to train students in a systematic and critical manner to be clinically oriented professionals in the field. Hence, the DHCE project is a practical endeavor that focuses upon the appropriate clinical and writing competencies to be successful professionals in the field.

A Faculty Committee (Director and Readers) is assigned to supervise the student in the phase of doctoral writing. After the Committee ascertains that the dissertation or project has been completed satisfactorily, there is an oral Doctoral Defense with the following possible outcomes: formal approval or the requirement to resubmit the text based on critiques at the defense.

Upon successfully completing the above the student proceeds to Graduation, following the requirements of the University for submitting the doctoral text and planning for graduation.

A detailed outline of the process for doctoral writing, the doctoral defense, and graduation is available in the HCE Handbook of Policies and Guidelines.

 

Application Requirements

Submit the university application through the graduate application portal including a resume or curriculum vitae. 

If you are in the process of completing a degree, you may have your college or university submit an up-to-date official transcript with your application by email or mail.  If mailing, use the following address:

Duquesne University
McAnulty Graduate School of Liberal Arts
600 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15282

If your undergraduate and/or graduate degrees are from an institution located outside of the United States, you must use a transcript credential evaluation service to obtain a course-by-course report. The official reports must be sent directly to Duquesne University from the organization you order through and will qualify as official transcripts.

At least three confidential letters of recommendation must be submitted by those in a position to assess the applicant's past performance and future academic potential. Please use the graduate application portal to generate online requests for confidential letters of recommendation. Recommenders will receive instructions by email for uploading their letters directly to the Duquesne system.

 

Describe in a few paragraphs why you are a good candidate for the program to which you are applying.

For the writing sample, the admission committee expects a text, written by the applicant, that shows that he or she is able to develop and present a coherent academic argument with good literature integration. Manuscripts written by more than one author are not acceptable. There is no page requirement for the writing sample, but a good sample will normally be at least five pages in order to give the admission committee the opportunity to assess the applicant's research and writing skills. The writing sample need not be new. Ideally, the writing sample is in the area of healthcare ethics or bioethics, but that is not necessary.

This applies only to international students. Scores should be sent electronically through the application portal.

FAQ's

About the PhD in Catholic Healthcare Ethics

No, we do not require the GRE.
The PhD program typically takes 4 years as a full time student to complete, depending on your credentials.
The entire program may be completed from a distance. While we do encourage students to be present for the program, we understand this is not always an option. Therefore, we both record and livestream all of our lectures and major events to be viewed online. We use Zoom for students who cannot attend classes in person. In this way, they can participate in class from a distance. Students who unable to participate in class either in person or from a distance, can watch the class recording at a time that is convenient to them.
Yes, funding is available for PhD/DHCE students only. Unfortunately, funding is not available for distance learners or masters students, though you may be eligible for other financial aid. Funding is available as merit-based scholarship or graduate assistantship. This funding requires students to be present at the Center for Healthcare Ethics several hours per week. Funding is competitive, but does not require a separate application. Any student interested in applying for funding should apply by March 25th for consideration.
Unfortunately, the Center only offers Fall entry into the MA, PhD and DHCE programs. The deadline for applying to these programs is August 1st of each year. Doctoral applicants wishing to be considered for funding should apply by March 25th.
For the writing sample, the admission committee expects a text, written by the applicant, that shows that he or she is able to develop and present a coherent academic argument with good literature integration. Manuscripts written by more than one author are not acceptable. There is no page requirement for the writing sample, but a good sample will normally be at least five pages in order to give the admission committee the opportunity to assess the applicant's research and writing skills. The writing sample need not be new. Ideally, the writing sample is in the area of healthcare ethics or bioethics, but that is not necessary.
The personal statement is primarily intended to tell the admissions committee why you want to attend graduate school and what you intend to gain from the program. The personal statement will differ for every individual and should reflect who you are as a person and scholar. It does not need to be a formal research proposal, but should generally outline your interests and motivation for studying healthcare ethics. What is it about healthcare ethics that makes you want to pursue a degree and career in it?