PhD in Healthcare Ethics
All Healthcare Ethics (HCE) programs include academic courses and clinical ethics rotations or internships. Students may study full-time or part-time. Part-time students must take a minimum of 2 courses each fall and spring semester. Typically, HCE degree courses are taught in the afternoon and evening.
The courses are designed with a focus on research competencies. This will better facilitate the writing of dissertations.
Student Learning Outcomes
- Fundamental Knowledge. Students can understand and analyze healthcare ethics theory and methods as well as major applied topics.
- Multi-disciplinary Study. Students can critically relate healthcare ethics with multi-disciplinary fields in health care as a diverse and global enterprise (e.g., empirical research, law, medicine, philosophy, religion, science).
- Scholarship. Students can research and write scholarly essays, teach and communicate effectively, and present academic papers that present cogent argument(s), engage scholarly literature, and demonstrate critical thinking and analysis.
- Professionalism. Students can integrate academic learning with experiential learning in clinical/organizational rotations as a function of service-learning and development as a healthcare ethics professional.
- Ethical Leadership. Students can function with expertise in healthcare ethics and provide ethical leadership with the knowledge, skills, and competencies that characterize professional services (e.g., ethics consultations, membership on ethics committees and institutional review boards).
- Co-Curricular Practices for Life-Long Learning. Students can foster co-curricular practices for life-long learning to personally value and engage the clinical, organizational, and professional components of healthcare ethics in a global context. Practices include: accessing journals and literature for developments in healthcare ethics; networking with colleagues in professional associations and settings; fostering a community of scholars in the Center’s programs such as by participating in seminars and colloquia, preparing for comprehensive exams, and writing doctoral projects.
The Doctoral Curriculum requires twelve courses (36 credits) beyond the Master’s degree. After Comprehensive Exams, both Doctoral Degree Programs require 6 credits of dissertation hours. There is one pre-requisite course (3 credits). If a student’s Master’s degree does not include equivalent courses for the HCE pre-requisite course, the relevant pre-requisite course will be taken in addition to the twelve doctoral courses.
Baccalaureate Admission track requires sixteen courses (48 credits) beyond the Baccalaureate Degree. The Ethics Rotation Program is titled, Clinical and Organizational Rotations in Ethics (CORE). The Program provides HCE students with an experience-based curriculum to learn in a supervised, step-by-step manner the scholarly knowledge and professionals skills for providing ethics services in health care. The curriculum focuses upon integrating clinical, organizational, and professional ethics across the health care organization. The program also seeks to provide a Mentored Apprenticeship to train students to undertake clinical ethics consultations, including the pre-consultation phase.
The junior rotations (HCE 646, 647) are intensely supervised and occur at UPMC Mercy Hospital which is adjacent to Duquesne University. The senior rotation internships (HCE 681, 682), in which students function as an ethicist-in-residence, occur at UPMC Mercy Hospital or at another health care institution. HCE has multiple partnerships with local, regional, and national health care providers to facilitate these internships. Internship duties include professional ethics education for facility personnel, ethics research, policy review or development on ethical issues, and prospective and retrospective case consultation. Each three-credits Internship requires approximately 150 hours of work within the assigned facility.
Typically, ethics rotations and internships may be initiated after completion of 18 credit hours of course work. The CORE Program adopts an Integrated Ethics approach, as developed by the Veterans Health Administration, to implement the Core Competencies for Clinical Ethics Consultation (recently revised by the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities). A detailed outline of the CORE Program is available in the HCE Handbook of Policies and Guidelines.
Doctoral Dissertation (PhD) or Project (DHCE)
The PhD degree is a research degree that combines academic and clinical education to train students in a systematic and critical manner to be scholars in the field. Hence, the PhD dissertation focuses upon appropriate research and writing competencies to be successful scholars in the field.
A Faculty Committee (Director and Readers) is assigned to supervise the student in the phase of doctoral writing. After the Committee ascertains that the dissertation or project has been completed satisfactorily, there is an oral Doctoral Defense with the following possible outcomes: formal approval or the requirement to resubmit the text based on critiques at the defense.
Upon successfully completing the above the student proceeds to Graduation, following the requirements of the University for submitting the doctoral text and planning for graduation.
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