Centers and Institutes

Institute of Catholics Bioethics

Certificate Program in Healthcare Ethics



The Certificate program in Health Care Ethics offers a distinctive program of studies to prepare individuals for the complex and growing field of biomedical ethics. The program provides graduate educational opportunities that will enable students to reflect systematically on contemporary issues in bioethics, medical research and health care principally through the prism of the intellectual heritage of the Roman Catholic philosophical and theological tradition.

Target Groups

The Certificate program is a value-added component to the following graduate programs of Saint Joseph's University: Health Administration, M.S. in Health Administration-Health Education Joint Degree or M.S. in Long Term Care Administrative Programs. Once students have completed their degree of choice, successfully completing 2 additional elective courses from the list below will earn them a Certificate in Health Care Ethics.  For all other students, the 4 courses are required.
The Certificate program is also intended for those who wish to work or are working in the health care field, especially physicians, nurses, allied health care professionals, and medical students. In the near future members of Hospital Ethics Committees and Institutional Review Boards will be required to have academic certification in health care ethics. The Certificate program would prepare them well to handle the difficult ethical problems they face at each meeting. And it would give them the required credential.
The Certificate program is also intended for all professionals in the health care field who wish to pursue a credentialed career or enhance their expertise in bioethics. Certificate course work can be transferred into the Master’s program in Health Care Ethics.
Executives in the pharmaceutical and insurance industries would also profit from the Certificate program in Health Care Ethics. Clinical research and marketing pose moral questions for pharmaceutical executives. Moreover, health care management and allocation decisions pose moral questions for insurance executives. The Certificate program in Health Care Ethics would help these executives navigate stormy ethical waters.

Certificate Requirements

The Certificate program requires each individual to take four courses.

Two Required Courses:

 HAD 600 Ethics of Healthcare
 HAD 554 Heathcare Law

Two Elective Courses:

 HCE 550   
Topics in Bioethics   
 HCE 552 Theological Issues in Bioethics
 HCE 553 Philosophical Ethical Theories in Bioethics
 HCE 571 Health Care Disparities
 HCE 572 Social Justice and Bioethics
 HCE 573 Deanth and Dying: End of Life Decisions
 HCE 574 Spirituality and Health Care
Health Services Research
 HAD 559 Health Policy
 HAD 570 Psychosocial Aspects of Chronic Disease and Disability
 HED 552 Epidemiology and Community Health
 HED 560 Bio-psychosocial characteristics of Aging American
 HED 577 Health Education and HIV/AIDS

(Alternative electives can be taken with the permission of the director)

Admission and
Application Requirements

  • A completed Saint Joseph's University graduate application at
  • Official sealed transcript(s) of undergraduate/graduate coursework. If you are a SJU graduate the Graduate Admissions Operations will obtain your SJU transcripts for you.
  • A current resume.
  • Personal statement - 500 word letter of intention outlining the candidate's professional and educational goals.
  • Two letters of recommendation.
  • $35 application fee waived if attended an Open House or are an SJU graduate.

For admissions information contact:

      Kate McConnell

 For program information contact:

     Mark C. Aita, S.J., M.D.
     Director, Graduate Programs in Health Care Ethics

Answers to commonly asked questions

  • Admissions on rolling-basis throughout the year and, upon acceptance, students tend to finish the program in one year. Yet students can progress at their own pace.
  • Once accepted, students may register for class the following semester up until 1 week before class begins.
  • For each course, students tend to devote 12-15 hours to reading, written assignments and discussion board interaction.
  • If student wishes to advance to the Master of Arts in Health Care Ethics Program, all four courses will be accepted in transfer.
  • Tuition 2011-2012:  $752/credit, $2256/three credit course, total of $9024/Entire Program.