Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration in Bioethics and Medical Humanities

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

Program Information

The Bioethics and Medical Humanities concentration 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 program examines concepts of race, gender, and culture as well 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:

  • Current health care and bioscience practitioners or faculty;
  • Current or future members of ethics committees;
  • Seminary faculty or students with an interest in health care chaplaincy;
  • Dual-Degree students who wish to distinguish themselves with expertise in bioethics for their future professional, educational, and scholarly pursuits in medicine, dentistry, law, nursing, social work, or other fields;
  • Post-Baccalaureate students during their transition from undergraduate to professional or PhD programs.

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

Program Admission Procedure

Please refer to


The Bioethics and Medical Humanities concentration is a 33 credit-hour M.A 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, though motivated students are welcome to complete the hours in four consecutive semesters instead. Additionally, the program has the flexibility to allow for part time students to take up to six years to complete the degree. And for those who are pursuing a Bioethics concentration in their Bachelor's work, there is an accelerated option that allows them to complete up to 9 credit hours towards the M.A while an undergraduate.

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. This technology allows real time interaction with professors and fellow students during courses so the conversation stays rich and nuanced. Please contact our Program Coordinator for help identifying and gaining access to distance learning options.


Kyle Brothers
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics

Kosair Charities Pediatric Clinical Research Unit

David Doukas
William Ray Moore Endowed Chair in Family Medicine and Medical Humanism

Chief of Division of Medical Humanism and Ethics, Family and Geriatric Medicine

Lauren Freeman

Assistant Professor of Philosophy

Stephen Hanson
Associate Professor of Philosophy


Avery Kolers

Associate Professor of Philosophy

Nancy Potter

Associate Professor of Philosophy

Mark Rothstein
Director of Institute for Bioethics, Health Policy and Law

Herbert F. Boehl Chair of Law and Medicine

Paul Simmons

Clinical Professor of Department of Family and Geriatric Medicine