Healthcare Ethics

Duquesne’s master’s-level healthcare ethics program focuses on the study of ethical issues related to the many components of healthcare, providing you with a comprehensive understanding of the ethical and moral principles that underlie healthcare practices, policies and decision-making. 
As a healthcare ethics student, you will explore topics such as decision-making capacity, surrogate decision-making, beneficence and health justice, alongside the philosophical, religious and cultural perspectives that shape attitudes toward ethical issues in healthcare. 
Upon graduation, you may build a career in a variety of sectors, including healthcare ethics consultation, hospital administration, healthcare policy, NGO work or academic research, where you will apply your knowledge to real-world ethical dilemmas in the healthcare field. The program is also the perfect leaping-off point for graduates to pursue a Ph.D. in healthcare ethics. 

Requirements & Path to Further Study

This master’s program requires a total of 10 courses (30 credits): a graduate-level introduction to ethics course plus nine courses selected from our general healthcare ethics courses. You’ll select the nine HCE courses, according to your interests. 
There is no requirement for a thesis or for a comprehensive examination, but to apply you must already have earned a bachelor’s degree. 
As a candidate for the master of arts in healthcare ethics, you are eligible to receive a  Master of Arts Scholarship through the Duquesne University McAnulty College and Graduate School, which can reduce degree costs by 25%.  
If, after earning your M.A. degree, you want to move on to the Ph.D. program, 18 more credits will be required, so that 48 total credits have been completed before you may apply for the comprehensive examination. 


Program Information

Our master's-level healthcare ethics program delves into ethical issues across healthcare components, fostering a comprehensive understanding of moral principles guiding practices, policies, and decision-making.





Required Credit Hours


“My real-life experiences as a student, in and outside the classroom, provided valuable skills and knowledge, as well as opportunities to pursue graduate and teaching assistantships. Students can pursue research and assist others in presenting and publishing their research.”

Mariah Chobany

Application Requirements

All students must submit a completed online application with a resume or curriculum vitae.

All students must submit official academic transcripts. 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. 

MA, PhD and DHCE applications require three letters of recommendation. Typically, the three letters should be from faculty in the academic program(s) in which the student studied. Graduate Certificate applications require two letters of recommendation written by persons who have the academic or professional competence to assess the suitability of the applicant for academically rigorous courses on healthcare ethics.

Students must submit a personal statement indicated their motivation to apply for this program along with their professional career goals.

Students must submit a writing sample, preferably an academic sample that was previously submitted for grade or shared with an audience.

Only applicable to international students where English is not their first language.


About the Master's in Healthcare Ethics

No, we do not require the GRE.
The MA program takes approximately 1.5 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.
Graduate Certificate students may start in either fall or spring. 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?