We offer a high quality dual degree program for medical students of the Stritch School of Medicine who wish to also be trained in bioethics. This degree prepares the student for clinical ethics roles within health-care systems and enables the student to make bioethics part of their conceptual or empirical research portfolio.

Key Features of the Program:

  • Enables completion of MA simultaneous with conferral of MD degree.
  • Students receive course credit (two independent study courses) toward the MA degree from relevant ethics assignments in medical school classes (Patient Centered Medicine).
  • Online courses provide greater flexibility for busy medical students.
  • The online environment facilitates interaction and collaborative learning with experienced physicians and clinicians from across the country.
  • Students have ready access to Neiswanger faculty.
  • Tuition scholarships toward the MA coursework are available.

Who is Eligible: Admission to the MD/MA program is contingent upon acceptance to SSOM.


How will this joint degree help my career?
Having a formal degree in bioethics will help those physicians who wish to take on more active roles in their professional lives with regard to a variety of ethics activities: ethics committees, ethics consultation, IRBs, teaching, research and scholarship.

Will I really have time to finish this degree concurrently with my medical degree?
Although all joint degree programs require greater time management skills, our joint degree program is actually easier for medical students to pursue because of the online nature of the coursework. You can log on at any time and check into your course. There’s no need to meet at a scheduled time but assignments must be completed on a weekly basis. Moreover, some of the coursework that you’ll take in your medical school curriculum will apply toward this degree.

Do I have to write a thesis for this joint degree?
No, the MD/MA program does not require a thesis. Students are required to write a paper of publishable quality for a research capstone course near the end of their program. (This paper can also fulfill the project requirement of the medical school Honors Program in Bioethics & Professionalism)

When can I apply?
Students should apply concurrently to both SSOM and Loyola University Graduate School. Only those students accepted to SSOM will be considered for acceptance into the MD/MA program. The Graduate School online application can be found at:

How do the online courses work?
In some ways, they work similarly to traditional face-to-face courses - there are required books, assignments, papers and discussions. The biggest difference is how instructors and students discuss the materials in the course. Instead of meeting once a week, students and faculty discuss and exchange ideas in asynchronous discussion threads that are posted each week. This kind of exchange allows students to think and reflect about their responses before they post comments.

Can I apply transfer credit to the MA degree from relevant ethics assignments in medical school courses?
Yes, students will receive credit for two independent study courses (6 credits) towards the MA degree requirements.

Who are the other students in the program?
Students in the program are physicians, nurses, social workers, lawyers, scientists, administrators, chaplains, and researchers. Students learn a great deal from each other as well as from faculty.

Will my degree say online MA?
No, your degree will be exactly the same as a traditional master’s from Loyola University Chicago.

Who are the Neiswanger faculty?
To learn about our faculty, click here.

How do I get more information about the MA program?
Visit our Graduate Education Programs website for complete information; degree requirements, course descriptions.