Undergraduate Minor in Healthcare Ethics

This Minor focuses on moral values and ethical dilemmas in regard to health, disease and healthcare. It studies these values and ethical queries integrating a diversity of approaches with an attention to global concerns. Students taking the Minor analyze and reflect on fundamental human conditions such as health, well-being, and human flourishing but also illness, disability, and suffering. The emphasis on values such as respect for human life, human dignity, human rights, and social justice will guide the development of students, encourage them to serve others and contribute to their professions, and reinforce values that give meaning to life and work. The Minor is of particular interest to students who are planning to work with patients and health professionals, and who pursue a career in healthcare, nursing and health sciences.


3 required courses plus 6 crs. electives: 15 credit hours total:
• BRDG-105 Introduction to Ethical Reasoning (3 crs) or HCE-255 Healthcare Ethics
• HCE 410 Who Decides when I am Ill? (clinical ethics) (3 crs)
• HCE 320 Medical Research; Guinea Pig or Duty to Participate (research and science ethics) or HCE 330 Global Bioethics) (3 crs)
• Electives: various courses on ethical issues in healthcare in various departments and schools or Independent Study (6 credits total)

The Advantages of the Minor

• In programs across the University, students already have to follow Bridges Courses or other Ethics courses. These courses can be included in (and even grandfathered into) the Minor program.
• All required courses satisfy requirements in the Bridges curriculum.
• Every core course of the minor will be offered at least once every year to ensure that students who sign on in their sophomore or junior years will be able to complete the course in time for graduation. Students will be able to complete the minor within

Learning Outcomes

1. to give students a theoretical and practical understanding of the ethical challenges of present-day health and healthcare;
2. to prepare students for the future where they will face ethical questions regarding health and disease, care and cure, treatment and prevention;
3. to enable students to think, write, and speak clearly and criticaly on these challenges and questions, clarifying the moral values in the context of globalization and human rights.


HCE/AFST 240 African Perspectives to Bioethics (3 crs)
HIST 222: Flatlined: History and Politics of U.S. Healthcare (3 crs)
HCE 201W Religious Bioethics (3 crs)
HCE 320 Medical Research; Guinea Pig or Duty to Participate (3 crs) (if not already taken as required course)
HCE 330 Global Bioethics (3 crs) (if not already taken as required course)
HCE 255 Healthcare Ethics (3 crs) (if not already taken as required course)
GLBH 185 Introduction to Global Health (3 crs)
GLBH 200 Disparities in Healthcare (3 crs)
GLBH/COMM 399 Global and Cultural Issues in Health Communication (3 crs)
COMM 203W Communication & Professional Civility (3 crs)
ENGL 251W Nursing and Narrative (3 crs)
ENGL 316W Health Care and Literature (3 crs)
PHIL 220 Philosophy of Death and Living (3 crs)
PHIL 252 Health Care Ethics: Philosophy (3 crs)
PHBA 340W Pharmacy Law and Ethics (2 crs)
SOCI 207 Sociology of Health & Illness (3 crs)
SOCI 411 Sociology of Aging and Mental Health (3 crs)
THEO 253 Health Care Ethics: Theology (3 crs)

Independent Study
Independent study (Students can select a particular area of healthcare ethics in connection to their personal and/or professional interest, for example assisted reproduction, assisted suicide, bioengineering, biodiversity, biopolitics, chronic disease, designer babies, disaster ethics, doping, end-of-life care ethics, euthanasia, food ethics, genetic modification, international research, justice, migration, nanotechnology, neuro-ethics, obesity, pandemics, pharmacy ethics, right to health, sports, synthetic biology, transhumanism, and transplantation ethics. The study will involve assignments for readings and writings, producing a substantial course essay.)