Graduate Program HeadJonathan H. Marks
Program CodeBIOET
Campus(es)University Park
Degrees ConferredDual-Title
The Graduate Faculty


Students electing to pursue this program through participating departments will earn a degree with a dual-title at the Ph.D. level, i.e., a Ph.D. in (major program name) and Bioethics.

The following graduate programs offer dual-title Ph.D. degrees in Bioethics: Anthropology, Biobehavioral Health, Communication Arts and Sciences, Kinesiology, Nursing.

The Bioethics dual-title Ph.D. program is an intercollege program administered by the College of the Liberal Arts. The Bioethics Program Committee—which contains representatives from participating colleges and departments—periodically reviews the program’s mission and goals, identifies faculty and courses relevant to the program, and recommends policies and procedures for the program’s operation.

The dual-title Ph.D. degree in Bioethics fosters scholarly work across disciplines, increasing the intellectual rigor and breadth of graduate work through immersion in both Bioethics and the primary discipline. The dual-title degree provides opportunities for students to synthesize knowledge and develop expertise within and across disciplinary boundaries.

In addition to the intellectual and academic advantages of interdisciplinarity, the innovative dual-title Ph.D. program strengthens the reputation of collaborating programs/departments, increases recruitment of talented graduate students, and enhances students’ competitiveness for job opportunities following graduation.

Admission Requirements

Requirements listed here are in addition to requirements listed in GCAC-208 Dual-Title Graduate Degree Programs.

Dual-title Bioethics graduate students will first be admitted to their major programs in accordance with the requirements stipulated by the Graduate Council and the major program. They will then be admitted to graduate study in the Bioethics program by an admissions committee consisting of faculty affiliated with the Bioethics program. Applicants should have a junior/senior cumulative average of at least 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) and an appropriate background in undergraduate course work. Prospective dual-title students will write a statement of purpose that addresses the ways in which their research and professional goals reflect an interest in interdisciplinary bioethics research.

Degree Requirements

Requirements listed here are in addition to requirements listed in GCAC-208 Dual-Title Graduate Degree Programs.

General requirements for the dual-title Ph.D. in Bioethics are:

  • Required course work described below.
  • Comprehensive examination in bioethics and the related field, with the format and content to be determined by agreement with the major department.
  • Dissertation on a bioethics-related topic or that includes a substantial bioethics component.
Required Courses
BIOET 501Perspectives and Methods in Bioethics3
BIOET 502Perspectives in Macro-Bioethics3
BIOET 590Bioethics Colloquium1
3 additional BIOET credits at the 500 level 1`3
8 credits from a list of approved electives at the 400 and 500 level, with at least two credits at the 500 level 28
Total Credits18

With the approval of the Director of the Bioethics Graduate Program, students may also fulfill the requirement for the three additional 500-level BIOET credits through one of four alternatives:

  • BIOET 590 (since the topics will vary from semester, students may take this course in subsequent semesters for additional credit)
  • BIOET 594
  • BIOET 596
  • an additional elective course determined to satisfy this requirement on the grounds that the syllabus indicates a sufficiently strong bioethics content.

Students in the program will take the remaining credits by choosing from a wide variety of existing elective courses at the 400 and 500 levels from a list maintained by the Director of the Bioethics Graduate Program in consultation with the Bioethics Program Committee. Students also have the right to petition the Director of the Bioethics Graduate Program to request that additional courses be added to the list of electives. The elective courses chosen by the student must be approved by either the Director of the Bioethics Graduate Program or, with the agreement of the Director, by another member of the Bioethics Program Committee. In addition, students may pursue an internship or practicum (BIOET 595), provided that this is approved in advance by the Director of the Bioethics Graduate Program.

Language Competency Requirements

The student will fulfill the language requirement specified by the major department through which the student is admitted to the dual-title degree program.

Qualifying Examination

The qualifying examination committee for the dual-title Ph.D. degree must include at least one Graduate Faculty member from the Bioethics program. Faculty members who hold appointments in both programs’ Graduate Faculty may serve in a combined role. There will be a single qualifying examination, containing elements of both the primary graduate degree program and Bioethics. Dual-title graduate degree students may require an additional semester to fulfill requirements for both areas of study and, therefore, the qualifying examination may be delayed one semester beyond the normal period allowable.

Committee Composition

In addition to the general Graduate Council requirements for Ph.D. committees, the Ph.D. committee of a Bioethics dual-title doctoral degree student must include at least one member of the Bioethics Graduate Faculty. Where major programs are supportive of this, graduate students will be encouraged to have a second committee member so qualified. Faculty members who hold appointments in both programs may serve in a combined role. If the committee chair does not serve in this combined role, the faculty member representing the Bioethics program must be designated as co-chair of the committee. The dual-title representative(s) will be expected to participate in constructing and grading comprehensive examination questions that cover the secondary area of study.

Comprehensive Exams

The faculty member (or members) affiliated with the Bioethics program will be responsible for administering a portion of the comprehensive exam that will require the student to demonstrate an understanding of various theoretical and methodological approaches to bioethics, and an ability to apply them to issues and problems (including, where appropriate, practical problems) in their major field.


A dissertation on a bioethics-related topic or with a substantial bioethics component is required of students in the dual-title Ph.D. program. The bioethics-related topic of the dissertation or the bioethics component will be approved by the student's committee. Upon completion of the doctoral dissertation, the candidate must pass a final oral examination (the dissertation defense) to earn the Ph.D. degree. The dissertation must be accepted by the Ph.D. committee, the head of the graduate program, and the Graduate School.


A graduate minor is available in any approved graduate major or dual-title program. The default requirements for a graduate minor are stated in Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-600 Research Degree Policies and GCAC-700 Professional Degree Policies, depending on the type of degree the student is pursuing:

Student Aid

Graduate assistantships available to students in this program and other forms of student aid are described in the Tuition & Funding section of the J. Jeffrey and Ann Marie Fox Graduate School’s website. Students on graduate assistantships must adhere to the course load limits set by the Fox Graduate School.


Graduate courses carry numbers from 500 to 699 and 800 to 899. Advanced undergraduate courses numbered between 400 and 499 may be used to meet some graduate degree requirements when taken by graduate students. Courses below the 400 level may not. A graduate student may register for or audit these courses in order to make up deficiencies or to fill in gaps in previous education but not to meet requirements for an advanced degree.

Bioethics (BIOET) Course List


Campus University Park
Graduate Program Head Jonathan Harold Marks
Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) or Professor-in-Charge (PIC) Francisco Javier Lopez Frias
Program Contact

Jonathan Harold Marks
(814) 865-5938