Research Ethics Concentration

The Research Ethics Concentration within the Bioethics master’s degree is designed to prepare specialists to pursue research ethics-related work or empirical investigations.

The one-year, 30-credit program combines foundational coursework with clinical placements and electives to enable students to focus their intellectual energies on issues of most interest to them. Students who choose the Research Ethics Concentration must do a practicum on a research ethics topic. For example:

  • Work alongside administrators in the university’s Institutional Review Board (IRB) office, reviewing proposed human subject research protocols;
  • Recommend revisions to informed consent templates for a hospital’s IRB to make them easier to understand; or
  • Collaborate with a faculty member to write an original paper for publication regarding a research policy issue.

The Research Ethics Concentration provides graduates in bioethics with knowledge of the complex issues and challenges associated with studies, including research regulations and oversight, applications of the process of informed consent in diverse research settings, and professional misconduct in the context of research.

Semester One 

Credit Hours  Course 
6 Foundations in Bioethics I
3 Research Ethics and Regulation
1.5 Clinical Placement or Research Ethics Practicum*
3 Elective I*
3 Elective II*

Semester Two

Credit Hours  Course 
6 Foundations in Bioethics II
1.5 Clinical Placement
3 Elective I*
3 Elective II*

*Two of the electives must be research-related.

**In lieu of one of the four electives, students may take a 1.5-credit Special Course each semester.

Clinical Placements and Research Ethics Practicum

Case Western Reserve School of Medicine is affiliated with Cleveland ClinicLouis Stokes VA Medical CenterMetroHealth Medical Center (county hospital), and University Hospitals. Each is within walking distance but MetroHealth, which is fewer than nine miles away.

Case Western Reserve’s School of Medicine has an extensive research portfolio that includes clinical studies taking place at area medical institutions.

In addition to the research ethics practicum, all students do one clinical placement in a hospital setting, with some portion of their time at the Hospice of the Western Reserve.


Prospective candidates must have earned a bachelor’s degree at an accredited college or university. We welcome applicants just completing undergraduate studies, many years removed from the classroom, or anywhere in between.

We are looking for individuals eager to go beyond basic biology and chemistry to see how other disciplines can help inform and expand our understanding of health and research ethics.

Successful students will bring deep intellectual curiosity, desire to be part of a broad scholarly community, and a willingness to engage with questions that are complex, challenging and often, without certain answers.

Application requirements include:

  • Results from one of the following standardized exams: GRE, MAT, LSAT or GMAT; If an applicant has extensive professional experience, test results may be waived.
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Statement of Objectives (no more than 1,000 words)

Dual Degrees

Students also may apply to this program as part of a dual degree in one of the following subjects:

  • Doctor of Medicine (MD)
  • Juris Doctorate (JD)
  • Nursing (MSN)
  • Public Health (MPH);
  • Social administration (MSSA; known elsewhere as an MSW)

Help Lead in a New Era

Scientific advances depend upon the design and implementation of empirical biomedical and behavioral research. Ethical issues in research evolve as challenges emerge in the development of new technologies and advances in clinical, translational and health prevention studies. Multi-faceted issues are raised in the production of scientific research and regulatory oversight. The Research Ethics Track provides an opportunity for graduates to be part of a new generation of leaders who will bring a broader perspective to critical analysis of important questions surrounding the implementation of scientific research.