Bioethics (MS)

Bioethics (MS)

Apply Now Print Page

The MS in Bioethics program at UTRGV prepares leaders in bioethics, social justice, and health equity to create opportunities and manage resources effectively while remaining responsive to the diverse challenges within complex social, political, and economic climates. Whenever possible, content and expertise drawn from the Rio Grande Valley region will provide learners with a unique perspective on bioethical challenges in health that lead to disparities in outcomes and inequities in care and resources. This program is designed to prepare learners who:

  • Develop a theoretical framework for understanding bioethical issues.
  • Engage in critical dialogue about ethical challenges related to complex human situations and equity in healthcare.
  • Critically synthesize empirical and non-empirical content relative to bioethics and social justice.
  • Critically examine bioethical issues impacting health care decisions.
  • Understand the unique challenges faced by vulnerable populations especially Hispanics, migrants, and immigrants in achieving health equity.
  • Examine bioethical considerations in conducting research especially with vulnerable populations.
  • Provide leadership in identifying and resolving injustices in the healthcare arena.

*This program is offered 100% ONLINE.

  • Why UTRGV?

    • Ranked 4th best college in Texas 2018 by
    • Ranked #3 most affordable university in America 2018 by
    • Ranked #8 Best Bang for the Buck: South by Washington Monthly in 2018
    • Ranked #79 among 300+ national universities by Washington Monthly in 2018
    • Accredited, cutting-edge degree program with an experienced, dedicated faculty
    • Demonstrated student success in research, professional certification and career advancement

    Learn more about the UTRGV School of Medicine or take a virtual campus tour.

  • Admission Requirements

    *Note for Dual MD/MS Admission: For students applying to the Dual MD/MS in Bioethics program, the application process is through the School of Medicine.

    Step #1: Submit a UTRGV Graduate Application at There is no application fee.

    Step #2: Request your official transcripts to be sent electronically to or mailed to:

    The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
    The Graduate College
    Marialice Shary Shivers Bldg. 1.158
    1201 W. University Drive
    Edinburg, TX 78539-2999

    *Please Note: If you are a graduate of UTPA, UTB/TSC, or UTRGV you do not need to request an official transcript to be sent to the Graduate College.

    Review and submit all Program Requirements:

    • Bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution in the United States or a recognized international equivalent in a similar or related field.
    • Undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0.
    • Official transcripts from each institution attended (must be submitted directly to UTRGV).
    • Submission of 2 letters of recommendation. At least one of the letters must be an academic reference; the second letter of recommendation maybe academic or professional.

    Additional requirements for domestic applicants who attended foreign universities:

    • TOEFL or IELTS Language Proficiency Test with minimum scores: 550 on paper-based, 213 on computer based, or 79 on Internet-based for the TOEFL; 6.5 for the IELTS. TOEFL and IELTS scores are valid for 2 years. For additional information, visit the Additional Documents for Domestic Applicants who Attend Foreign Universities section of our website.
    • Certified English translation of educational records.

    Additional requirements for international applicants:

    • TOEFL or IELTS Language Proficiency Test with minimum scores: 550 on paper-based, 213 on computer based, or 79 on Internet-based for the TOEFL; 6.5 for the IELTS. For additional information, visit the English Proficiency Exam section of our website.
    • Certified English translation of educational records.
    • Financial   Documentation  showing sufficient funds to cover all expenses (living and academic) for the first year of study. For additional information, visit the Financial Documentation section of our website.
    • Immigration  documents, including a current copy of your valid passport. For additional information, visit the Immigration Documents section of our website.


    • SEVP regulations prohibit the issuance of a Form I-20 based on conditional admission, effective July 13, 2016. University officials can only issue a Form I-20 when students have met all standards for admission for the program of study listed on the Form I-20. These standards for admission include any English proficiency requirements.
  • Program Contact

    Program Coordinator: Dr. Helene Krouse

    Office: EMEBL 3.132


  • Deadlines


    Applications will be accepted year round and prospective students are encouraged to apply at least 2 months before classes start to ensure a timely application review.  Applying early will also give prospective students the best opportunity to be considered for scholarships and other possible funding opportunities.

    *Note: This program only admits applicants during Fall, Spring, Summer I semesters.

  • Tuition Estimate

    Residency Per 3-Credit Hour Course Semester (9-Credit Hours) Total Estimated Cost
    Texas Resident $1,359.29 $3,563.87 $13,592.90
    Non-Resident/International $2,625.29 $7,361.87 $26,252.90

    *We estimate that tuition and fees will closely approximate the rates shown above; however, rates are subject to change. Please note that the rates above are estimated for on-campus students and those enrolled in 16-week online programs. The rate is different for Accelerated Online Programs (AOP). Visit the tuition and fees page for detailed information.

  • Course Requirements

    Required Courses 15
    INTM 6300: Introduction to Bioethics and Health Care 3
    INTM 6307: Philosophical and Theoretical Thought in Bioethics 3
    INTM 6314: Ethics in Biomedical Research 3
    INTM 6318: Methods of Inquiry in Bioethics 3
    INTM 7000: Capstone Master’s Project 3
    Prescribed Electives 6
    Students must take two of the five courses listed. 
    INTM 6340: Healthcare and Immigration 3
    INTM 6331: Ethnicity, Culture, Race, and Health Equity 3
    INTM 6345: Health Systems, Health Policy, and Health Equity 3
    INTM 6334: Human Rights, Justice, and Health 3
    INTM 6352: Narrative Bioethics 3
    Free Electives 9
    Total graduate hours for degree: 30

    Course Descriptions:

    INTM 6300: Introduction to Bioethics and Health Care               [3‐0]

    This course provides an introduction to bioethics and examines ethical challenges faced by health professionals, researchers, scientists, administrators, and policy makers in clinical practice and research.  Students acquire knowledge of fundamental principles of bioethics (autonomy, beneficence, justice, and non-maleficence) and normative-reasoning skills. Applied ethical decision-making around issues such as end-of-life, genetics, resource allocations, physician-aid in dying, organ procurement, and transplantation are topical areas.  Case studies are analyzed from the perspectives of patients and families, healthcare clinicians, legal precedent, and community dialogues.

    Prerequisite: Graduate Standing.

    INTM 6307: Philosophical and Theoretical Thought in Bioethics              [3‐0]

    This course provides the foundation on philosophical thought and theoretical perspectives integral to field of bioethics. Students will critically examine the fundamental approaches to bioethics and social justice including differing versions of utilitarianism, deontological theories, virtue ethics, critical social theory, and casuistry. Students will analyze cases from various philosophical and theoretical approaches in gaining a pluralistic perspective of bioethical challenges.

    Prerequisite: Graduate Standing.

    INTM: 6314: Ethics in Biomedical Research              [3‐0]

    This course will examine the historical perspective, moral bases, and application of ethics important to biomedical research. Topics of discussion and critical analysis in this course will be related to protection of human subjects, informed consent, clinical research trials internationally and in vulnerable populations, conflicts of interest, placebo groups and withholding treatments. Discussion and review of research protocols from the perspective of researcher and subject with provide students with a comprehensive understanding of research ethics.

    Prerequisite: Graduate Standing.

    INTM 6318: Methods of Inquiry in Bioethics              [3‐0]

    This course enables the student to examine ethical questions using empirical research approaches. Students will examine the use of qualitative and quantitative methods in the study of bioethics. Ethical choices faced by researchers related to sample selection, sampling bias, study design, procedural techniques, and instrumentation will be discussed in understanding implications and consequences of these decisions. Students will conduct in depth critiques of empirical studies in gaining a broader understanding of the full scope of research in the field of bioethics.

    Prerequisite: Graduate Standing.

    INTM 7000: Capstone Masters Project – Independent/Directed Study              [3‐0]

    The capstone course allows the student to conduct an in depth analysis or empirical research study on a topic of interest. Working under the guidance of a faculty mentor the student analyzes literature, data, and information on a specific bioethical problem with implications for health equity and social justice. The project culminates in production of a manuscript suitable for peer-review in a professional journal.

    Prerequisite: INTM 6300; INTM 6307; INTM 6314; INTM 6318.

    INTM 6340: Healthcare and Immigration              [3‐0]

    The aim of this course is to foster discussion of ethical issues and dilemmas pertaining to the discourse on healthcare at the local, state, and national levels. Special topics around immigrants, migrants, and other border health will allow students to explore the multifaceted components of these complex issues and develop ideas and strategies for how to research these issues and promote awareness in the healthcare sector and general public to affect change.

    Prerequisite: Graduate Standing.

    INTM 6331: Ethnicity, Culture, Race and Health Equity              [3‐0]

    The focus of this course is on examining how ethnicity, culture, and race influence the distribution and access to resources that impact health outcomes. Within the context of the social determinants of health, issues related to achieving health equity in vulnerable multicultural populations will be analyzed. Course content addresses behavioral, cultural, social, and environmental factors that affect health and contribute to disparities in health outcomes. Bioethical dilemmas encountered in patient-provider interactions as the result of culture, values, and beliefs by health professionals will also be examined for greater understanding of their role and impact on advancing health equity in these populations.

    Prerequisite: Graduate Standing.

    INTM 6345: Health Systems, Health Policy, and Health Equity              [3‐0]

    This course examines health systems and health policy within evolving sociopolitical contexts from a national and international perspective. Careful consideration is given to the complex challenges of making ethical decisions especially those involving public health issues when faced with uncertainty, multiple determinants of health, mechanisms of vulnerability, and decreasing resources. Course content includes human diversity, social issues, health systems analysis, and health policy analysis.

    Prerequisite: Graduate Standing.

    INTM 6334: Human Rights, Justice, and Health             [3‐0]

    Examines the socio-political climates impacting health equity in the United States and globally. A major focus of the course will involve critical dialogue of social and environmental injustice and inequities that impact the health of populations particularly vulnerable groups. We will also discuss health as a basic “human right” including implications of national and global responsibility. Discussions pertaining to issues of ethical and just distribution of wealth, allocation of resources, access to care, rationing of care and effect on health of individuals, groups, and the nation will be emphasized. Whenever possible cases will be drawn from challenges present in the Rio Grande Valley. Students will be challenged to examine these issues through in depth analysis and new insights in proposing innovative ways to resolve these inequities.

    Prerequisite: Graduate Standing.

    INTM 6352: Narrative Bioethics            [3‐0]

    In this course, students seek to understand the unique interplay of health, illness, culture, professionalism, caring, and care through the use of personal narratives. The use of storytelling from multiple persons including patients, caregivers, clinicians, clergy and others will be explored as a mechanism for explaining, understanding, and interpreting human experiences. The use of testimonials, medical records, films, journals, works of art, and other media will allow students to pull accounts from various sources. Considerations around the use of narratives to gain a more comprehensive understanding of bioethical dilemmas and vulnerable populations will be the prior focus of narratives examined.

    Prerequisite: Graduate Standing.


program page footer