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Medicine/Health Care Ethics

Offered through the School of Medicine and the Albert Gnaegi Center for Health Care Ethics, Saint Louis University’s dual doctor of medicine and doctorate in health care ethics promotes academic excellence in clinical medicine and disease-based research.

About the Program

Students in SLU’s dual-degree program in medicine and health care ethics take advantage of the best features of SLU’s innovative M.D. curriculum and our exceptional Ph.D. training environments. Throughout their tenure at SLU, our trainees are continuously evaluated to assure that they develop into self-motivated intellectual leaders and compassionate problem-solving diagnosticians, as well as becoming creative scientists capable of sustained research productivity.

Curriculum and Program Details

Students in this program begin their dual-degree studies as traditional first-year students in the School of Medicine. Most students begin research rotations in June before commencing their first year of medical studies in mid-August.

After the second year of medical school, students begin full-time study in health care ethics. Students are expected to complete the Ph.D. in three years, after which they return to the School of Medicine to complete the third and fourth years of medical studies.

A minimum of 48 hours of coursework is required for the Ph.D. This ordinarily includes 33 hours of coursework, three hours of practicum and 12 hours of dissertation research. Seven credit hours from phase one and phase two of the M.D curriculum can be used to fulfill health care ethics requirements.

The required courses “HCE 6110: Introduction to Medicine for Ethicists,” one three-credit “Topics and Scholars” elective and “HCE 6150: Practica” are waived based on medical school coursework in “Patient, Physician and Society I and II” and in “Fundamentals of Biomedical Science.”

Students normally complete requirements for both degrees within seven to eight years, including all coursework, clerkships, laboratories and national licensure exams through the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination Step 2.

  • Jane McHowat, Ph.D.
  • Jeffrey Bishop, M.D., Ph.D.
  • Erica K. Salter, Ph.D.

Graduates of the M.D./Ph.D. program in health care ethics usually go on to complete their medical training (residency and fellowship) and are then highly qualified candidates for faculty positions in academic medical centers with a component of their position dedicated to bioethics research and teaching.

Application Requirements

Applicants for this program must first be admitted to the School of Medicine. Candidates for on-site interviews are selected from a national pool based on their undergraduate credentials (including science/math GPA and MCAT scores) and their demonstrated ability to participate in publishable research.

Interviewees meet in St. Louis with current trainees and potential mentors, the dean of admissions of the medical school and a steering committee, which privately evaluates a brief research seminar given by each interviewee.

Successful applicants receive full tuition support and competitive stipends throughout their M.D. and Ph.D. training, contingent on continued academic excellence and acceptable progress toward their research objectives.

Apply to the School of Medicine

Apply to the Albert Gnaegi Center for Health Care Ethics

Application Deadlines

Interested students should submit their AMCAS application as well as the secondary application by Dec. 15.