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Why a Dual-Title Ph.D. with Bioethics?

Issues of ethical concern arise frequently during scientific, technological, and medical pursuits. The purpose of the Dual-Title Ph.D. in Biobehavioral Health and Bioethics—the only one of its kind in the United States—provides biobehavioral health graduate students with the skills and knowledge necessary to address ethical issues within the field of biobehavioral health as well as to conduct original bioethics research and to produce bioethics-related scholarship.

Students earning the dual degree would have access to growing employment opportunities that require expertise in bioethics in addition to the same job markets available to other biobehavioral health graduates.

Admission Requirements

Students must apply and be admitted to the graduate program in Biobehavioral Health and the Graduate School before they can apply for admission to the dual-title degree program in Bioethics. After admission to their primary program, students must apply for admission to and meet the admissions requirements of the Bioethics dual-title program. Refer to the Admissions Requirement section of the Bioethics bulletin page. Doctoral students must be admitted to the dual-title degree program in Bioethics prior to taking the candidacy exam in their primary graduate program.

Degree Requirements

Biobehavioral Health Ph.D. students may pursue additional training in bioethics through the dual-title Ph.D. program in Bioethics. To qualify for the dual-title degree, students must satisfy the requirements of the Biobehavioral Health Ph.D. program. In addition, students must complete the degree requirements for the dual-title in Bioethics, listed on the Bioethics bulletin page. Within this framework, final course selection is determined by the student, their Biobehavioral Health adviser, and their Bioethics program adviser.

Qualifying Examination. In accordance with Graduate Council policy, there will be a single qualifying examination (formally “candidacy”), assessing candidacy for both the primary program and the dual-title program. At least one member of the qualifying examination committee must come from the Bioethics program. Faculty members who hold appointments in both programs’ graduate faculty may serve in a combined role. Dual-title graduate degree students may require an additional semester to fulfill requirements for both areas of study and, therefore, the candidacy examination may be delayed on semester beyond the normal period allowable.

Comprehensive exam. In addition to the general Graduate Council requirements for doctoral committees, the doctoral committee of a Biobehavioral Health and Bioethics dual-title doctoral degree student must include at least one member of the Bioethics Graduate Faculty. Faculty members who hold appointments in both programs’ Graduate Faculty may serve in a combined role. If the chair of the committee is not also a member of the Graduate Faculty in Bioethics, the member of the committee representing Bioethics must be appointed as co-chair. 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 primary field.

Dissertation and dissertation defense. Students in the dual-title program are required to write and orally defend a dissertation on a topic that is approved in advance by their doctoral committee and reflects their original research and education in BBH and Bioethics. 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 doctoral committee, the head of the graduate program, and the Graduate School.

Biobehavioral Health Coursework

  • 15 required credits in core seminars (BBH 501, BBH/PSYCH 502, BBH 503, BBH 504, BBH 505)
  • 12 credits of research methods electives

Bioethics Coursework

  • 7 required credits (BMH 501, BMH 502, and BMH 590); at least three additional BMH credits at the 500 level
  • BBH 501 and 504 (required core seminars in BBH) will contribute 6 credits toward the course requirements for Bioethics
  • Two additional credits from a list of approved electives at the 400 or 500 level

Other General Requirements

  • BBH candidacy examination that includes an assessment of a student's potential in the field of bioethics
  • Comprehensive exam that requires student to demonstrate an understanding of various theoretical and methodological approaches to bioethics and an ability to apply them to issues and problems in biobehavioral health
  • Dissertation that contributes fundamentally to both fields

Doctoral Committee Composition

Students in the program are required to have two advisors, a primary advisor in Biobehavioral Health and a second advisor from the Bioethics faculty.

Course Listing

Required Courses

In addition to the courses required by the Biobehavioral Health program, students in the dual-title program are required to take the following three courses, which provide a rigorous grounding in general theory, methods, and the scholarly literature of bioethics:

BIOETHICS (BIOET)

501. PERSPECTIVES AND METHODS IN BIOETHICS (3)
502. PERSPECTIVES IN MACRO-BIOETHICS (3)
590. BIOETHICS COLLOQUIUM (1)

In addition, students are required to take at least 3 additional BIOET credits at the 500-level:

BIOETHICS (BIOET)

503. ETHICS AND THE RESPONSIBLE CONDUCT OF BIOMEDICAL RESEARCH (3)
597. SPECIAL TOPICS IN BIOETHICS (1-3)

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

BIOET 594. RESEARCH TOPICS
BIOET 596. INDIVIDUAL STUDIES
BIOET 590. COLLOQUIUM

Elective Courses

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. 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.

In addition, students may pursue an internship or practicum, provided that it is approved in advance by the director of the Bioethics Graduate Program:

BIOET 595. INTERNSHIP (1-3)

List of Elective Courses

ANTH/BIOL 460 HUMAN GENETICS (3)
ANTH/BIOL 460H HUMAN GENETICS (4)
ANTH 471H BIOLOGY, EVOLUTION AND SOCIETY (3)
BB H 501 BIOBEHAVIORAL SYSTEMS IN HEALTH AND DEVELOPMENT: THEORY AND PROCESSES (3)
BB H 504 BEHAVIORAL HEALTH INTERVENTION STRATEGIES (3)
BB H 551 WORLD HEALTH PROMOTION (3)
BMH 490 BIOETHICS AND MEDICAL HUMANITIES CAPSTONE (3)
BMMB 509 ETHICS IN BIOMEDICAL SCIENCE (1)
CAS 453 HEALTH COMMUNICATION THEORY AND RESEARCH (3)
CAS 557 HEALTH COMMUNICATION (3)
CAS 562 QUALITATIVE METHODS (3)
FRNSC 561 ETHICS IN FORENSIC SCIENCE (1)
H ADM 539 HEALTH SYSTEMS ORGANIZATION (3)
H ADM 540 HEALTH ADMINISTRATIVE POLICY FORMULATION (3)
H ADM 541 HEALTH ECONOMICS AND POLICY (3)
H ADM 542 HEALTH CARE POLITICS AND POLICY (3)
H ADM 543 LONG-TERM CARE ADMINISTRATION AND POLICY (3)
H ADM 551 HEALTH CARE LAW (3)
H P A 401 (IL) COMPARATIVE HEALTH SYSTEMS ( 3)
H P A 510 HEALTH SERVICES FINANCING AND POLICY (3)
H P A 511 RESEARCH SEMINAR ON HEALTH SERVICES FINANCING AND POLICY (3)
H P A 520 INTRODUCTION TO HEALTH SERVICES ORGANIZATION AND DELIVERY (3)
H PA 521 RESEARCH SEMINAR ON HEALTH SERVICES ORGANIZATION AND DELIVERY (3)
H P A 540 EPIDEMIOLOGICAL APPLICATIONS IN HEALTH SERVICES RESEARCH (3)
H P A 541 POVERTY, RACE, ETHNICITY AND CHILD HEALTH (3)
H P A 545 INTRODUCTION TO HEALTH ECONOMICS (3)
H P A 822 CLINICAL ISSUES FOR HEALTH SERVICES MANAGEMENT (3)
H P A 836 HEALTH LAW (3)
HLHED 516 EVALUATION OF HEALTH EDUCATION AND PROMOTION PROGRAMS (3)
HLHED 552 CURRENT HEALTH EDUCATION ISSUES (3)
HLHED 553 MULTICULTURAL HEALTH ISSUES (3)
IBIOS 591 ETHICS IN THE LIFE SCIENCES (1)
NURS 464 (US;IL) DYING AND DEATH ( 3)
NURS 501 ISSUES IN NURSING AND HEALTH CARE (3)
NURS 580 EPISTEMOLOGY OF NURSING SCIENCE (3)
NURS 581 DEVELOPING THEORETICAL CONSTRUCTS RELEVANT TO NURSING (3)
NURS 587 ETHICS IN NURSING RESEARCH (1)
NUTR/S T S 430 (IL) GLOBAL FOOD STRATEGIES: PROBLEMS AND PROSPECTS FOR REDUCING WORLD HUNGER (3)
PHIL 403 ENVIRONMENTAL ETHICS (3)
PHIL 418 ETHICS (3)
PHIL/S T S 432: MEDICAL AND HEALTH CARE ETHICS (3)
PHS 570 HEALTH ECONOMICS AND ECONOMIC EVALUATION (3)
S T S 555 HUMAN DIMENSIONS OF NATURAL RESOURCES (3)
S T S 589 ETHICS AND VALUES IN SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY (3)