The School of Medicine and the IUPUI Department of Philosophy, in concert with the IU Center for Bioethics, offer combined degrees in medicine (MD) and philosophy (MA) with a concentration in bioethics.

Bioethics, the ethics of the life sciences, is a field of rapidly growing importance, both nationally and internationally.  The development, delivery, financing, and regulation of healthcare products and services is a major economic and social endeavor.  Bioethical issues--social, legal, and philosophical--confront a diverse array of institutions, including state and federal agencies, healthcare organizations, research and educational institutions, corporations (national and multinational), human rights organizations, medical insurers, and religious bodies.  In combining the philosophical study of bioethics with the study of medicine, students will acquire the perspective, knowledge, and expertise that will equip them to provide leadership concerning the bioethical issues faced by such institutions, as well as to implement ethical principles in their own practice.

Through the combined degrees program, the two degrees can be obtained with a total of 181 credits of coursework rather than the 194 credits required if the two degrees are obtained independently.  Furthermore, the School of Medicine requires students to achieve a level 3 (the mastery level of competence) in three of the nine competencies that comprise the IUSM curriculum in order to be eligible for graduation.  The combined degrees program provides participating students with the opportunity to achieve a level 3 in the Moral Reasoning and Ethical Judgment competency.
During their fifth year of study, students will choose two electives from a list of courses in Medicine.  While completion of these electives will earn the students eight (8) credits towards the 164 credits required for the MD degree, they may also count up to six (6) of these credits towards the 30 credits required for the MA in philosophy.  Furthermore, P803, the capstone of the MA program, will count as six (6) credits for both degrees.
The capstone of the combined degrees program is the 6-credit course Philosophy P803, in which students complete a thesis or research project addressing medical and philosophical aspects of a bioethical issue.  In addition to counting toward the credits required for both degrees, P803 will provide students with a means of achieving a level 3 in the Moral Reasoning and Ethical Judgment competency.

Application & Admission
Applicants for the combined degrees must apply separately to both the Philosophy master's program and the School of Medicine.  For information on the admission requirements and a link to the on-line application form for the Philosophy program, please visit


For more information about the combined degrees program, please visit or contact:

Chad Carmichael
Graduate Director
IUPUI Department of Philosophy
425 University Blvd., CA 331
Indianapolis, IN 46202
(317) 278-5825

IUSM Research

635 North Barnhill Drive, MS 207 | Indianapolis, IN 46202 | Ph: (317) 274-3441 | Fax: (317) 278-5241