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Juris Doctor and Master of Arts in Bioethics (JD/MA)


The purpose of this program is to train students to speak intelligently at the intersection of law and bioethics and to participate in the development of health-related public policy and legislation. Students preparing for careers in health care will become experts in the legal obligations of the health care industry and will be able to advocate for courses of action that would be most ethically justified but may traverse the boundaries of state or federal law. In addition, students preparing for careers in health law will have a framework for incorporating and analyzing the ethical dimensions of a legal challenge, a policy change, or proposed legislation.

MA-Bioethics/JD Curriculum

Students will apply to each program for admission separately, and, if accepted to both programs, will be expected to fulfill the requirements of the programs. While students will complete the standard 30 credit hours for the MA-Bioethics degree, students will complete a reduced course load of 79 hours at Emory Law, as is standard for dual degree programs there.

Opportunities for collaboration extend beyond course offerings. We have arranged several bioethics practicum experiences that have substantive law components and students who choose to complete a field placement for the Law School might be interested in returning to that site for their bioethics practicum to consider fully the ways that the law and bioethics intersect in that practice.

Most students enrolled in the dual degree program will likely choose the exam track for the MA-Bioethics final project, and students will be advised that this track will enable them to graduate in a timely fashion. Those who are interested in writing a thesis will need prior approval from both their Emory Law advisor and their Bioethics advisor.

Both the Emory Law curriculum and the MA-Bioethics curriculum provide students education in the discipline-specific methodologies of critical analysis. Yet there are many opportunities for interdisciplinary studies. Students often take a Bioethics and Law elective course offered through the Center for Ethics, which is taught by an instructor with both a law degree and a master’s degree in bioethics. In addition, discussions about healthcare reform and the impact of legal cases on policy and public sentiment are discussed from an ethics perspective in the Bioethics program, and from a legal perspective at Emory Law.