Saint Louis University
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Saint Louis University

Social Science/Humanities PhD Field Supported:

Health Care Ethics

Description of Program:

Saint Louis University's M.D./Ph.D. program accepts applications from students interested in pursuing a Ph.D. in Health Care Ethics. The University's interdisciplinary Ph.D. program in Health Care Ethics allows students to study biotechnological, clinical, professional, organizational, or research ethics. If desired, students may choose a concentration in research ethics, clinical ethics, or health care ethics in the Catholic tradition. Ph.D. students can also complete a Certificate in Empirical Research Methods in Descriptive Ethics. The empirical certificate provides students with survey and assessment tools that enable them to gather original data on attitudes, decision-making, and social variables that are relevant to the ethical evaluation of health care practices and policies.

Structure of Program:

The Saint Louis University M.D./Ph.D. program is funded primarily by the School of Medicine, both through the Dean's Office and by funds available to mentors in the various Ph.D.-granting departments. Funding for the Health Care Ethics Ph.D. comes from a variety of sources including the School of Medicine, the Graduate School, the Department of Health Care Ethics, and the Bander Center for Medical Business Ethics. Typically Health Care Ethics M.D./Ph.D. students complete their first two years of medical school and the USMLE Step 1 exam before beginning the Ph.D. program. In the summer between the first and second years of medical school, students take one to two classes in health care ethics. They begin full time work in the Health Care Ethics Ph.D. program after their second year of medical school. Students complete two years of course work in health care ethics, followed by one year of dissertation writing. Following defense of the Ph.D. dissertation in Health Care Ethics, students return to medical school to complete years three and four.

Size of incoming joint MD/PhD class:


Number of students in Health Care Ethics:

0-1 per year

Number of graduates from the joint MD/PhD Health Care Ethics Program:


Current number of students in the MD/PhD Health Care Ethics Program:


Application Process:

General MSTP Application:

All applicants to this dual-degree training path must complete both the basic aspects of the standard AMCAS application, and the two essay questions specific to M.D./Ph.D. program applicants that are embedded within the AMCAS electronic file. To be eligible for consideration, they must have completed at least one full year of undergraduate research, either for credit or as paid or volunteer workers. Such past experiences are most typically completed in traditional scientific disciplines such as biology, chemistry, physics, and biomedical engineering. In addition to submitting letters of recommendation pertinent to the applicant's desire for M.D. training, all dual-degree applicants must provide at least two additional letters from past or current mentors who can attest to the student's aptitude for, and interest in, a future career with a significant effort dedicated to rigorous scientific investigations. These applications are screened and the most qualified candidates among these are invited to the University to meet with M.D./Ph.D. program faculty and to give a brief "chalk-talk" about the most significant of their past research accomplishments. All costs for such invited visits are substantially covered by the University, and applicants can also complete their on-site M.D. interview during the same visit.

Specific to Applying in Health Care Ethics:

Although the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and advanced coursework are not required, GREs are recommended for the Ph.D. in Health Care Ethics and many applications are strengthened by such information if available. Applicants to the health care ethics program must provide a sample of writing in philosophy or ethics demonstrating ability to do doctoral level coursework in the field. The writing sample may be a prepared during the summer between the first and second year of medical school when the student does a rotation in Health Care Ethics.



YearAmount of StipendSourceTuition Covered?Guaranteed?
MS1$26,200School of MedicineYesYes
MS2$26,200School of MedicineYesYes
Grad1VariableBander Center for Medical Business Ethics/Department/Graduate School/ School of MedicineYesYes
Grad2VariableBander Center for Medical Business Ethics/Department/Graduate School/ School of MedicineYesYes
Grad3VariableBander Center for Medical Business Ethics/Department/Graduate School/ School of MedicineYesYes
MS3$26,200School of MedicineYesYes
MS4$26,200School of MedicineYesYes


Contact information:

SLU MD/PhD Program:

Administrative Assistant: Mrs. Neolia Pulsipher
Phone: (314) 977-9877; e-mail:

M.D./Ph.D. Program Director: Andrew J. Lechner, Ph.D.
Direct dial: (314) 977-6475; E-mail:

Department of Health Care Ethics:

Administrative Assistant: Adrienne McCarthy
Phone: (314) 977-1060; E-mail:

Ph.D. Program Director: Erica Salter, Ph.D.
Website Coordinator: Cindy McKenna