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 Graduate School may impose additional requirements.

What is the minimum GPA for admission?

The Graduate School 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  for more information.

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

No, test scores are not required for admission.

Student Life

Will anyone help me transition into graduate school?

Absolutely. Both the MA program and the Graduate School 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 Graduate School 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  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 education 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 Graduate School. 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  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?

Students will elect either the Health Disparities and Population Health concentration, or the Health Science and Health Policy concentration. These concentrations will guide their choice of electives. 

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  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?

The curriculum can be found in the Graduate Catalog. Students who pursue the Health Disparities and Population Health concentration should take PHPB 630, Social and Structural Determinants of Health, or a relevant graduate course in Sociology, plus four "Social Context" electives.  Students who pursue the Health Science and Health Policy concentration should take BETH 636, Philosophy of Science, or LAW 980, Medicine, Bioethics, and the Law, plus four "Heath Care Policy and Law" electives. Substitutions are allowed with the consent of the program director.  

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?

Normally, core courses are offered on the Belknap campus, which is served by public transit and bicycle infrastructure, and features numerous parking options

Are there any on-line courses?

Although the Health Care Ethics MA is an in-person graduate program, students residing or traveling outside Louisville may register for our core courses using synchronous teleconferencing, participating in seminar discussions remotely. Students may also choose electives that are offered asynchronously online. We cannot guarantee that all elective courses you may want to take will be available online, but we will work with you to ensure that you are able to complete the degree even if you live outside of Louisville.

What is a Health Care Ethics Internship?

Instead of writing a thesis for the MA, students complete a one-semester internship at a local public health agency or health care institution. Internships give students a hands-on opportunity to conduct research or build agency capacity in endeavors focused on ethics and equity in the health sector. Normally, internships are paid.  Students conclude their MA program by presenting their internship research/work to their peers.  


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 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  to receive an invitation.