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Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies: Concentration in Bioethics and Medical Humanities

Major: ISBMH
Degree Awarded: MA
Unit: IS
Program Webpage:

Program Information

The Master of Arts in Bioethics and Medical Humanities is a special track within the Interdisciplinary M.A. awarded by the School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies. As currently practiced, Bioethics is an inherently interdisciplinary field, located principally at the intersection of philosophy, the law, and the health care professions, such as clinical medicine and nursing, but drawing as well from social science disciplines as diverse as sociology, clinical psychology, and social work. The aim of the program is to provide students with the skills necessary to work in their chosen field from an enriched ethical knowledge base. Students will be exposed to the philosophical underpinnings of health care ethics as well as real-time clinical moral decision-making. This M.A. program will emphasize the need to examine concepts of race, gender, and culture as well as to learn to incorporate an ethically sound appreciation of difference and diversity.

The Interdisciplinary M.A. in Bioethics and Medical Humanities provides professional enhancement and resources for the following groups of students:

  • Mid-Career Health Care Professionals - Current M.D.s, J.D.s, R.N.s and other health care professionals who wish to enhance their career prospects with increased expertise in ethics for educational purposes, and current faculty and staff serving on Hospital Ethics Committees.
  • Dual-Degree students who wish to add an expertise in bioethics for their future professional, educational, and scholarly pursuits in medicine, dentistry, law, nursing, social work, or other professional fields.
  • Post-Baccalaureate students who are in transition from a B.A. to a later professional degree and desire expertise in bioethics to enhance their admission to a later program and to expand their knowledge of bioethics.

For more information about this program, contact our Program Coordinator at (502)852-6501.

Program Admission Procedure

Please refer to


The Interdisciplinary Masters of Arts in Bioethics and Medical Humanities is a 33 credit-hour program, consisting of seven required core courses and four electives. The core courses provide essential grounding in ethical theory and the foundations of bioethics, current controversies in health care ethics, and the social and political context of health care decision-making; participation in hospital rounds emphasizes the practical realities of clinical ethics, and a capstone seminar integrates program courses with each other and with students' experience in the health care professions. Electives from the Schools of Law, Medicine, Public Health, and Social Work, as well as from the Arts and Sciences departments of History, Pan-African Studies, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychological and Brain Sciences, Sociology, and Women's and Gender Studies diversify and allow customization of the program.

Most students will complete the degree requirements after two years of full time course work. However, the program has the flexibility to allow for part time students to take up to six years to complete the degree. 

We offer a rich classroom experience to all of our students - including distance learners. Through the KY-Telehealth network distance learners from anywhere in the world attend our core courses through video conferencing allowing real time interaction with professors and fellow students. Please contact our Program Coordinator for help identifying and gaining access to distance learning options.

Departmental Faculty

David Doukas, M.D., Co-Director
William Ray Moore Endowed Chair in Family Medicine & Medical Humanism
Professor and Chief, Division of Medical Humanism & Ethics, Family & Geriatric Medicine

Robert Kimball, Ph.D., Co-Director
Associate Professor of Philosophy 
Chair of Philosophy

Avery Kolers, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Philosophy

Nancy Potter, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Philosophy

Mark Rothstein, J.D.
Herbert F. Boehl Chair of Law & Medicine
Director, Institute for Bioethics, Health Policy and Law

Winsor Schmidt, J.D., LL.M
Endowed Chair/Distinguished Scholar in Urban Health Policy
Professor, Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences
Professor, Family & Geriatric Medicine

Professor, Health Management and Systems Sciences

Paul Simmons, Ph.D.
Clinical Professor, Department of Family & Geriatric Medicine

Osborne Wiggins, Ph.D.
Professor of Philosophy

Contact Information

Interdisciplinary Studies: Concentration in Bioethics and Medical Humanities - MA

Andrea Sinclair,
Program Coordinator
Phone: (502)852-6501
Fax: (502)852-7142

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