Health Care Ethics Minor

Program Overview

The Interdisciplinary Minor in Health Care Ethics seeks to encourage learning and thinking from an interdisciplinary perspective and to foster a critical analysis of bioethical topics through the interplay between moral theory and medical practice. More and more people are beginning to realize the inherent importance of ethics in the clinical setting. Health care professionals are confronted with numerous complex ethical dilemmas that they may not be well prepared to handle. Therefore, it is imperative that they or those preparing to work in the field of health care be trained to understand the principles of ethics and how they can be utilized in clinical decision-making.

The Minor program is open to all majors in the university. Students have the option to pursue either the Basic Track or the Global Track. Both tracks are designed to expose students to the complex and growing field of biomedical ethics. 

The Basic Track comprises one required course (THE 366: Christian Medical Ethics), Five electives and an exit interview. The Global Track is more rigorous. It requires the student to either take the Just Health Care in Developing Nations course (THE 368), that requires a study abroad for 2 weeks, or design a research project as part of an Independent Study that has been approved by a faculty member associated with the Minor program and the Institute of Clinical Bioethics. The idea is to encourage the student to explore many complex ethical dilemmas on the global scale, especially as they pertain to underdeveloped countries. Among the many issues to be considered are:  the devastating impact of HIV/AIDS on Sub Saharan Africa, the ethics of human research in the developing world and the moral responsibility of developed countries to the health care needs of developing countries.

In addition to the course work, minors are encouraged to attend the events sponsored by the Institute of Clinical Bioethics especially the annual McCormick lecture.

Learning Goals and Outcomes

The Minor Program in Health Care Ethics offers several learning goals and objectives for its students:

Goal 1.0: Students will gain an appreciation of philosophical and theological ethics both within the curriculum and through extracurricular activities.

Objective 1.1: Students will demonstrate the ability to discuss and argue positions on a wide range of ethical issues related to health care.

Goal 2.0: Students will gain insight into the clinical side of health care as well as the pharmaceutical industry, the health care insurance industry, health care administration and education and medical research.

Objective 2.1: Students will apply ethical theories and principles to the resolution of “real life” ethical dilemmas.

Goal 3.0: Students will possess the skills to analyze topics in health care from an ethical perspective.

Objective 3.1: Students will articulate ethical positions from the perspective of varied disciplines (Theology, Philosophy, Law, Business, Sociology, Public Health etc.).

Objective 3.2: Students will craft an ethical analysis of a designated bioethics topic and propose policy solutions or program development initiative. In addition, students will:

  • Develop a basic understanding of moral philosophy and theology.
  • Understand the basic ethical principles – beneficence, non-maleficence, autonomy and justice.
  • Learn how to apply risk vs. benefit analysis to concrete ethical situations.
  • Develop basic proficiency in the analysis of case studies in bioethics.
  • Understand the distinction and interrelationship between ethics and law.
  • Appreciate how advances in technology pose complex ethical questions for society.
  • Identify a wide range of ethical challenges facing the medical, pharmaceutical and insurance industries.
  • Understand the importance of bioethics for those who aspire to be health professionals.
  • Attend and participate in events sponsored by the Institute of Catholic Bioethics, such as lectures, panels, service experiences, etc.
  •  Integrate ethical principles in the analysis of a topic in bioethics.

Basic and Global Tracks

Students seeking the Interdisciplinary Health Care Ethics Minor are required to complete six (6) courses from at least 3 departments; no more than 3 courses from any one department may count for credit toward the minor. The prerequisite course is PHL 154: Moral Foundations.

Basic Track

Six (6) Minor courses are required for this track. Students are expected to complete:        

THE 366Christian Medical Ethics3
Select five electives courses (listed below)
An exit interview

Global Track

Six (6) Minor courses are required for this track. Students are expected to complete:      

Six (6) Minor courses are required for this track. Students are expected to complete:        


THE 366Christian Medical Ethics3
An exit interview
Select five electives courses (listed below)
HCE 400Fieldwork: Clinical Bioethics3
ECN 390The Economics of Healthcare3
ENG 450Hospital Stories3
ENG 377Inside-Out3
PHL 250Philosophy of Death3
PHL 264Topics in Moral Psychology3
PHL 286Philosophy of Mental Illness3
PHL 377Inside-Out3
PMK 190Healtcare Delivery Alternative3
SOC 216Alcohol, Drugs & Society3
SOC 217Mental Health & Society3
SOC 323Health and Society3
THE 261Christian Social Ethics3
THE 349Theology of Disability3
THE 361Catholic Social Teaching3
THE 368Just Hlth Care in Dev Nations3
IHS 211Health Care Systems3
IHS 253Nutrition: Health & Disease3
IHS 251Healthcare Law and Ethics3
IHS 285Med Terminology & Health Comm3
IHS 323Health and Society3
IHS 345DyingWell:The Hospice Movement3
IHS 216Alcohol, Drugs and Society3
IHS 217Soc Determinants Mental Health3