On the postgraduate level, a number of centers and universities around the country offer advanced degree programs specializing in bioethics. One popular model is the master's or Ph.D. program, often in philosophy, less frequently in religion, with a bioethics concentration. The program may include a series of courses focused on bioethical issues, some exposure to a clinical setting, and a thesis written on a topic relevant to bioethics. Such programs may attract individuals looking to pursue this field as a primary academic career. Alternatively, healthcare professionals may enter such programs, usually for the master's degree, in preparation for teaching and/or service on ethics committees, or out of personal interest. Then, too, certain programs are designed to offer joint degrees through collaborative arrangements, allowing students to complete a medical or a legal degree along with an M.A., M.P.H. (master of public health), or Ph.D. degree. While most degree programs focus on bioethics or medical ethics as such, others define themselves more broadly as teaching the medical humanities and thus may incorporate diverse disciplines such as history, sociology, anthropology, and literature.
In addition to degree programs, there are many options for those seeking more limited preparation in bioethics. A number of centers, for example, offer intensive courses in bioethics lasting from one to four weeks or involving sessions spread out over a longer period. There are continuing education courses and certificate programs in bioethics. Special bioethics fellowships are also available, often directed toward those already engaged in clinical practice.
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