Bioethics and Medical Humanities

medical professionals standing in a circle holding puzzle pieces
Master of Arts

About the Program

The rapidly changing nature of healthcare forces providers to face an unprecedented number of life-or-death decisions. How do we care for dying patients? How do we consider culture and religious values? How, if at all, do we respect patients’ choices?

Our 30-credit-hour Master of Arts in Bioethics and Medical Humanities gives you the opportunity to learn from faculty who help hospitals who make the tough calls, work to create policy to prevent future issues and provide education where necessary.

What to Expect

In our program, you’ll encounter nine months of some of the most intense, provocative and challenging learning you’ve ever experienced. You will study with leading scholars across multiple disciplines and gain powerful insights about the ethical, cultural, and social issues surrounding the delivery of healthcare.

You’ll also gain practical experience through clinical placements and be able to select electives that align with your areas of greatest interest. A faculty advisor will offer guidance and perspective about your academic choices—as well as future professional goals.

Our program also offers three concentration options:

  • Medicine, Society, and Culture
  • Research Ethics
  • Health Policy

In the Medicine, Society and Culture concentration, you’ll explore the many ways we define health and illness—and, in turn, how they influence our experiences of both. Elective options span humanities, social sciences, and law and other disciplines.

The Research Ethics concentration, meanwhile, gives you a thorough grounding in the complex realms of medical studies—including clinical trials—and the legal, regulatory and policy questions involved. Topics include levels and nature of oversight, challenges in ensuring truly informed consent, and identification and enforcement of professional misconduct. As part of the Research Ethics Practicum, you'll be embedded within a research group at Case Western Reserve or at an area medical institution.

The Health Policy concentration will prepare you to understand the various mechanisms and processes that form public and social policies and how policy agendas are initiated and transformed by various stakeholders. You will have the opportunity to apply your knowledge as you examine policies that have been developed in various domains, such as housing, public health, immigration, and end-of-life care, to name a few.

"Bioethics and Medical Humanities concerns itself fundamentally with value-laden issues that emerge in the delivery and practice of healthcare, biomedicine, the life sciences and human health more generally. The complexity of these issues requires that they be approached from multiple perspectives, viewed through multiple disciplinary lenses if they are to be well understood and addressed. Whether it be end of life decision making in the clinic, structural racism and health disparities in biomedicine, climate change and human health, or futuristic concerns like AI, human fusions and cyborgs, our nationally and internationally recognized multidisciplinary faculty, four major academic medical center affiliates, and international partnerships afford students an unparalleled opportunity to learn, explore, and grow."

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Beyond the Classroom

We offer clinical rotations at four major academic medical centers to help you better understand applied bioethics in a hospital and at the bedside. You'll have the chance to learn and practice at recognized teaching hospitals, including Cleveland Clinic, Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center, MetroHealth and University Hospitals of Cleveland. 

By the Numbers


hours of clinical ethics rotations


short-term study abroad courses available to you in the bioethics program


hours of research ethics or health policy practicum alongside experts in the field


of credits are electives/personalized capstone


local/national events as part of the Medicine, Society and Culture Seminar  

Admission Requirements

  • Online application (rolling admissions)
  • Interview with an admissions committee member
  • Official transcripts of all previous undergraduate and graduate courses
  • CV/resume
  • Statement of purpose 
  • Results of one of the following standardized tests: GRE, MAT, MCAT, LSAT, DACT or GMAT (optional)
  • Two letters of recommendation, including one former professor

Contact Us

Leah Jeunnette
Leah Jeunnette, PhD
Director, MA in Bioethics and Medical Humanities Program
Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine

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