Skip to main content

Saint Louis University Header Logo Center

Menu Search

Theology/Health Care Ethics

Saint Louis University’s Center for Health Care Ethics partners with the Aquinas Institute of Theology to offer an accelerated master’s degree in theology and doctorate in health care ethics.

About the Program

This dual M.A./Ph.D. program allows you to earn a Master of Arts in theology and a doctorate in health care ethics. This degree is primarily for students interested in working in Catholic health care settings. The first year of the program takes place at the Aquinas Institute of Theology (AIT). Students then begin doctoral studies in health care ethics at SLU.

Curriculum and Program Details

In the first year of this program, students complete 30 hours of 36 hours required for the master’s degree from AIT, including:

  • 6 credit hours of biblical studies
  • 3 credit hours of historical studies
  • 12 credit hours of systematic theology
  • 9 credit hours of moral theology

During the second year, students enter the doctoral program at SLU and follow the Ph.D. curriculum for students who already hold master’s degrees. AIT will count six credits from the Ph.D. coursework completed in year two toward completion of the M.A. The following Ph.D. courses may be used to fulfill the final six credits toward the M.A.:

  • Religious Methods in Health Care Ethics
  • Health Care Ethics in the Catholic Tradition
  • A three-credit elective in health care ethics

A total of six credits taken toward the M.A. at AIT will count toward fulfillment of the “Topics and Scholars” elective requirements in the Ph.D. program. Two of the following M.A. courses may be treated as “Topics and Scholars” electives for the Ph.D.:

  • Justice and Catholic Social Teaching
  • Ethics of Human Sexuality
  • Christian Anthropology

After the end of year two and completion of the major paper and comprehensive exams required for the M.A. degree, students are awarded the Master of Arts degree in theology from AIT. The timing for completion a required major paper and comprehensive exams will be determined in consultation with an adviser at AIT.

In year three, students complete the coursework required for the Ph.D.

  • Jeffrey Bishop, M.D., Ph.D.
  • Tobias Winright, Ph.D.
Possible career paths for graduates with a dual degree in theology and health care ethics include clinical, corporate and academic positions, such such as vice president of ethics in health care systems, director of ethics or mission in health care systems and academic appointments in philosophy, health services or at a university bioethics institute.

Application Requirements

You must be admitted for master’s degree studies at Aquinas Institute of Theology and conditionally admitted separately for Ph.D. studies at Saint Louis University to pursue this program.

Apply to the Aquinas Institute of Theology

Apply for to the Albert Gnaegi Center for Health Care Ethics

Application Deadlines

  • Aquinas Institute deadline: March 15
  • Health Care Ethics deadline: Dec. 1