Application Process for Degree Programs and Graduate Certificate in Healthcare Ethics

Online Application for All Applicants


Application Deadlines

Applications may be submitted through August 1, 2022. Typically, students admitted in one year may not defer matriculation beyond the year of admission.

Applicants applying for funding should have their complete application package submitted no later than March 25, 2022.

Application materials include the following

  1. Online Application: (See apply button above)
  2. Cover Letter with Statement of Interest
  3. Undergraduate and/or Graduate Transcripts
    Note: 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. Please review our Transcript Credential Evaluation Directions.
  4. Curriculum Vitae
  5. 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. Attach Recommendation Form. 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
  6. Writing Sample
  7. Other relevant documents (eg. for international students)

For more details on the application process, please visit the graduate school application page

    OR, submit your Application Materials by mail to:

    Duquesne University, McAnulty Graduate School of Liberal Arts
    215 College Hall
    600 Forbes Avenue
    Pittsburgh, PA 15282

    For advice in the application process, please contact

    General Application Questions: Graduate Assistant,, 412.396.4504
    Program Questions: Dr. Joris Gielen, Director & Associate Professor,, 412.396.1597

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

    Q: Is the GRE required?

    A: No, we do not require the GRE.

    Q: How long does the MA program typically take to complete?

    A: The MA program takes approximately 1.5 years as a full-time student to complete, depending on your credentials.

    Q: How long does the PhD/DHCE program typically take to complete?

    A: The PhD/DHCE program takes approximately 3-4 years as a full-time student to complete, depending on your credentials.

    Q: If a student applies on a part-time status, what is the average length of the doctoral program?

    A: We don't have part-time students. Students need to take at least two courses each fall and spring semester. If students take only two courses, they are considered full-time students, but completing coursework will obviously take longer.

    Q: Is the program (or any portion thereof) available online? Are students required to reside in the Pittsburgh, PA area?

    A: 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.

    Q: What is the cost to attend?

    A: Current tuition rates can be found at: Financial aid may be available to students; more information can be found at:

    Q: Is funding available for students? If so, what kind of funding is offered?

    A: 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.

    Q: What is the application deadline? Can I apply for a Spring or Summer entry?

    A: 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.

    Q: For those who do not have a MA in Healthcare Ethics/Bioethics, do they have to apply for the MA program first, or can they apply directly to the doctoral program?

    A: Prospective students can apply directly to the doctoral program without any MA degree at all. These students apply for the Baccalaureate Admissions Track. MA and PhD/DHCE students take the same classes together. Prospective students with other graduate degrees (MA, MD, JD, PhD, PsyD etc.) can apply directly to the MA or PhD/DHCE as well.

    Q: Is there a particular background of students in this program? If so, would my background relate to the program and the mission of the program?

    A: We look for students with a wide variety of degrees for different perspectives and interesting contributions to the lectures. We have students from philosophy, theology, biology, medicine, nursing, business, health administration, law, health science, public health, and more! The students who are most successful in our program demonstrate an interest in bioethics and the ability to engage in research and critical thinking.

    Q: What are the requirements of a writing sample?

    A: 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.

    Q: What makes a good personal statement?

    A: 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?

    Q: Can I come visit campus?

    A: Absolutely! We welcome students to visit campus and see what Duquesne has to offer. While here, you may meet with our advisor, professors, and students; sit in on a class; tour campus; and explore the city. Please email to set up a visit.

    Q: When will I receive a decision after applying?

    A: Application received by the priority deadline (March 25th) typically receive an admissions decision in the first few weeks of April. Applicants applying after the priority deadline typically receive a decision within a month as long as all the application materials have been received.