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03/09/2009

NYU MA in Bioethics Takes a Novel Approach

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Bioethics.net is proud to welcome the NYU Master of Arts program: Bioethics: Life, Health, and Environment to its group of sponsors.

The NYU Master of Arts in Bioethics: Life, Health, and Environment promotes a broad conception of bioethics encompassing both medical and environmental ethics through conferences, workshops, public lectures, and graduate courses.
Although still taught separately in most universities, medical ethics and environmental ethics have in recent years grown closer in concerns and concepts. Initially focused on doctors, patients, and research subjects, medical ethicists have increasingly taken up social issues of access to healthcare, drug testing and distribution, and spread of disease on both local and transnational scales. Once focused on preservation of wilderness, natural resources, and biodiversity, environmental ethicists are more and more concerned with the “built environment” and its impacts on human health and wellbeing.

Likewise, the two fields have advanced moral principles and concepts similar enough to invite close comparison–for example, “Above all do no harm” with
the Precautionary Principle; the “sanctity” of human life with the “intrinsic value” of non-human life; just distribution of healthcare with just distribution of environmental burdens; personal responsibility for individual health with collective responsibility for “environmental health.”

Thus the NYU MA in Bioethics program merges these two areas of inquiry together to explore the human relationship to both persons and the earth and our moral responsibilities to both.

A total of 32 points is required for the M.A. degree, with an option to focus on the health or environment tracks. Students must also do a practicum in a medical or environmental organization in the greater New York area, studying and reporting on the moral issues that are addressed (or neglected) in the work of the organization. Also required is a final master’s project in which students write a research paper expanding the practicum report or, alternatively, an expanded essay from one of the courses.

The program welcomes students at different stages of their education or careers, in particular:

-Recent college graduates who wish to explore Bioethics, broadly conceived, before committing themselves to doctoral studies and/or professional work in Medical or Environmental Ethics.

-Physicians, nurses, and health care administrators who want to go beyond the short, intensive courses or certificate programs at NYU and elsewhere in the New York area.

-Medical students during or after completion of medical school who hope to serve on hospital bioethics committees or teach medical ethics after their residencies.

-People in the Metropolitan area who want to think more clearly and systematically about moral issues debated in the media, legislatures, and other public arenas.

Applications are due April 1 (for consideration for financial aid), and are accepted on a rolling basis through June 1. For any questions, email NYU by clicking here.

Summer Johnson, PhD

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