Prof. Nancy King discusses why students study bioethics.
This degree program is designed to provide students with knowledge and skills that enable them to better address the bioethics issues arising in biomedical research, clinical medicine, and health policy. The degree enhances the student’s own background and skill set in health administration, public policy, ministry, teaching, research, hospital ethics committee and IRB service, and health law. Many students enrolled in this program are career professionals in medicine, law, science, or religion, and others who are actively engaged in health care delivery and/or health care administration. Others wishing to add bioethics knowledge to their educational pathways also are enrolled. We seek a broad and diverse community of students, in order to heighten the value of the learning process.
Students employed in health-related fields who undertake master’s-level study in bioethics have found that by certifying their expertise, the MA degree may assist them in changing activities, job titles, or positions, by incorporating bioethics-related activities into their official job descriptions. Students previously employed in other fields have found that the MA degree enhances their expertise and helps to create opportunities within their own profession, or to branch out into other areas.
Students enrolled in the program can gain valuable practical experience in bioethics in a variety of ways, including: serving as research assistants to bioethics faculty members; assisting in the educational and research projects undertaken by the Wake Forest University Center for Bioethics, Health, and Society; and undertaking optional practicum experiences in clinical or research ethics, for example with Wake Forest Medical Center’s Clinical Ethics Committee or Institutional Review Board.
Bioethics takes place in and through professional work in a related field, not as a sole enterprise. Therefore, the MA in Bioethics is not intended as a “stand alone” credential or terminal degree.