Frequently Asked Questions


What are the prerequisites for entering the program?

You must have completed an undergraduate degree (BA, BS or equivalent) with a GPA of at least 2.75 on a 4.0 scale before beginning our program.

We draw our student population from many different interest areas so we do not specify the type of degree or field of study.  However, experience with philosophy courses is beneficial and preference will be given to applicants with a minimum of nine (9) credit hours in humanities courses. The School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies may impose additional requirements.

What is the minimum GPA for admission?

The School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies requires a 2.75 or higher on a 4.0 scale for unconditional admission. Students with a final GPA between 2.5 and 2.75 on a 4.0 scale may be admitted conditionally, please contact us for more information.

Do I have to take the GRE? Will you accept any other test scores?

For applicants with a completed Master's or Doctoral level degree we will waive the test score requirement entirely.

For those applicants preparing to pursue professional degrees will accept the relevant test scores for your school such as MCAT and LSAT. Regardless of the specific test used, official results must be included in your application file. We can use unofficial reports until the official scores become available, but all scores must be received before the end of the first enrolled semester.

Please note, no test scores from greater than 3 years before the application date will be accepted.

What is the minimum GRE/MCAT/LSAT score for your program?

Currently we do not have a set minimum test score, though only scores above the mid-range are likely to be competitive for admissions.

Test scores are considered as only one facet of the application, and are used in context with the other requested documents (GPA, personal statement, transcripts, letters of recommendation, etc.) as well as in the context of the entire pool of applicants and current students.

Student Life

Will anyone help me transition into graduate school?

Absolutely. Both the MA program and the School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies are concerned about your success at U of L. There are several ways that we help you transition into graduate student life. The first is a SIGS initiative where every graduate student has a PLAN that helps guide them towards graduation. The PLAN addresses Professional Development, Life Skills, Academic Development and Networking skills. The MA program supports that development with peer mentoring and responsive faculty. We also encourage our students to participate as student government representatives, and to take advantage of the social activities available through both this program and the larger university community.

How available are professors for one on one discussion of the material?

Our professors are passionate about course subjects and student success, so they are quite willing to discuss the course materials with you! Our small class sizes mean that everyone has a chance to be involved in the discussion and have the opportunity to have their questions answered within the class time. But sometimes one on one time with a professor is the best way to clarify confusion on a particularly tricky area. Individual material discussion time is available during office hours and by appointment with all of our professors. Reach out, you'll find them caring and approachable.

Do you provide child care?

At this time, no, the program does not provide child care. The University, however, offers access to the award winning Early Learning Campus for children from 6 weeks to 4 years old.


How many hours total is the program?

The program consists of 33 credit hours total. See the core curriculum page for more information about the courses required.

How long will it take to complete the program?

A full time student would take four semesters (two years) to complete the program.

Part time students have up to 12 semesters (six years) to complete the degree requirements. It is possible to complete the program with one class per semester for 11 semesters. Completion time can be accelerated by taking more than one class per semester or by taking electives during summer sessions. Please see our sample schedules for more information.

Acceleration options that allow the degree to be completed in one year are available in certain circumstances, please contact us to see if this is an option.

Can I combine this degree with an MD/JD/MPH/MSSW/RN?

Yes. We have found that this degree provides a body of knowledge, experience and the development of critical thinking skills which benefit many career paths. But this degree in itself does not prepare you for a career. We strongly recommend you pair this degree with whatever certifications or eduction required for the career you wish to pursue. Please see our "Who Should Apply?" page for more information on who would benefit from this program.

We currently have approved dual degree programs with the Brandeis School of Law, Kent School of Social Work and the School of Medicine which allow for accelerated completion of both the MA and a professional degree. Please note that dual degree programs require admissions to both schools involved. For example, the MD/MA program requires admission to both the School of Medicine and the School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies. Each school may have different time lines for the admissions process, please see the link above for current details.

Other dual degree programs are currently being investigated for feasibility. If you are interested in another dual degree please contact us to discuss which degree you would like to see combined with the MA. While we cannot guarantee that a dual degree will be possible we will work with you to determine the most efficient means to complete both degrees.

Do you offer a PhD?

No, we currently do not offer a PhD program.

Will there be different tracks within the program?

Not at the moment. We are, however, working on developing a more focused medical humanities option within the program curriculum. Currently students can customize their degree with elective choices that encompass Medical Humanities.

Will life experience be given academic credit?

At the moment, no.

How does distance learning work?

We use a PolyCom teleconferencing system to provide HD quality video interaction with the classroom. This technology allows the distance learning student to engage in class room activities and discussion in an immersive experience that rivals physical attendance.

Please note that the quality of the equipment and the web connection available at both locations affects the overall quality of the experience. It is possible to receive a very high quality classroom education without ever visiting us in LouisvillePlease contact us if you would like to know more about distance learning options, or to test your equipment.

Can I take your courses as a continuing education student, or audit any of your courses?

Yes, with some exceptions. All of our courses are cross-listed with Philosophy and we welcome students from other programs looking for electives, visiting students from other academic institutions and auditing students in the PHIL sections of the course. The BETH sections are restricted to only those students enrolled in the program. And please note: even though BETH 684 (Clinical Ethics) and BETH 685 (Integrative Bioethics) are also cross-listed with Philosophy they are restricted to program students only.

What is the background of your professors?

Our professors come from a variety of backgrounds with diverse research interests. Please see the faculty information page for more details.


What courses would I be taking?

See the lists of core courses and elective suggestions in our curriculum for detailed descriptions of the courses.

How large are the classes?

Our core courses tend to be small, as is appropriate for graduate level learning. Most courses tend to have 10-15 students, with the largest courses having 20-25. To provide a truly interdisciplinary learning experience, we also allow students from across the university to take our classes as electives for their degree program though cross-listings with Philosophy.

Elective class size will vary depending on the topic.

What time of day are courses offered?

Core courses are offered one night per week on weekday evenings, usually from 4 – 6:45pm on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday. Elective courses will vary.

Where are your courses offered?

Core courses are usually held in the MedCenter One building in downtown Louisville at 501 East Broadway. Parking is available for students during class hours at on-street metered or unmetered parking or with Green or Blue parking passes in the lot across the street.

Elective course locations are determined by the department offering the course and may be on any campus.

Are there any on-line courses?

None of the core courses are offered on-line. However, distance learning allows non-local students to attend core classes through teleconferencing. Electives may be available on-line, check the course listing for each semester.

Can I take courses instead of writing a thesis?

No, as this degree does not require a thesis. All students will complete a collaborative project during BETH 685 (Integrative Bioethics) which serves as the culminating work for the degree. No additional coursework will be considered a suitable replacement for this project.

What is this "Integrative Bioethics" or "Capstone" I've been hearing about?

"Integrative Bioethics: Self and Other in Theory and Practice" is the title of BETH 685 which serves as the capstone course for the MA in Health Care Ethics. This course is designed to provide real life in the type of work prevalent in health care ethics while integrating the knowledge gained from all previously completed courses. Ideally it is taken the final semester prior to graduation. The topic and final format for the project are chosen by the group and the work is completed collaboratively with faculty guidance. The results of this work are presented to program faculty and the interested public in a presentation at the end of the semester and any relevant deliverables are handed over to a process owner for use in the community.


So I've gotten the MA, now what? What can I do with this degree?

Congratulations! There are many options open to you now, depending on what other skills you have in your background. That's the thing about this degree, it's a supplement for your other qualifications. Fortunately or unfortunately (there's quite a lively debate on at the moment on this subject) "Health Care Ethics" is not really a career path right now. It's a direction, and it's an area of focus. But you're not going to see it listed on the "help wanted" pages anywhere. This degree provides a smart way to take control over those "other duties as assigned" and developing an expertise in health care ethics allows you to shape your career trajectory in a very meaningful way.

This degree can be what makes you stand out from other candidates, your career's distinguishing feature and a part of your personal branding. But it may not be sufficient to qualify you for the job you hope to have. That's why our recommendation is that you research the type of job you hope to hold, and the degrees or experience required to get there. We will help you fit this degree into your long term plan with flexible class attendance options, a meeting schedule that is work-friendly and personalized advising.

Do you offer job placement services?

There are no Health Care Ethics specific job placement services, but there is a fantastic Career Development Center here at the University of Louisville. They can help you develop a resume, write a cover letter and practice interviewing skills. We also encourage our students to join our LinkedIn student and alumni group so that we can all help each other shape the future of the field. Search for "UofL BETH" once logged into LinkedIn or contact us to receive an invitation.