Students enrolled in the University of Pittsburgh School of Law may elect to earn the Master Degree in Bioethics in conjunction with their law degree. Graduates of the program receive the Juris Doctor (JD) degree, the basic professional degree in law, and the Master of Arts (MA) degree from the School of Arts and Sciences, with a concentration in bioethics. Students wishing to enter this program may apply before matriculation in the School of Law or while enrolled in the JD program.
The joint degree program was established in recognition of the extensive and increasing overlap between law and bioethics. The objective of this program is to provide graduates with an interdisciplinary education in law and bioethics so that they can address those issues and situations requiring knowledge and expertise in both fields. Past graduates have pursued careers as bioethicists in health care institutions, public policy administrators working for governmental and nongovernmental organizations, and as lawyers giving counsel to health care institutions and government agencies.
This joint degree program allows students to earn the two degrees in a shorter period of time than if pursued separately. Students may begin combining coursework in the two programs in their first semester of law school by taking one of the bioethics core courses (Theoretical Foundations of Applied Ethics) in place of Criminal Law, which would then be taken in the second year of study. Students should discuss this plan of study with Prof. Alan Meisel, director of this joint program.