Bioethics Certificate

The Bioethics Certificate program is not accepting new students at this time.


Established in the fall of 2014 as the first program of its kind, the Bioethics Certificate program is a twelve hour, post-baccalaureate certificate to facilitate useful participation in health care ethics consultations and healthcare ethics committee work. It follows the Learning Objectives outlined by the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities. Offered in hybrid format, it is designed for working professionals, though it could easily add a specialty to a related graduate degree program in healthcare, social work, law, or the humanities. The goal of the program is to enhance the quality of healthcare in the region surrounding the Roanoke and New River Valleys, Virginia.



The Bioethics Certificate is a joint program between Radford University and the Jefferson College of Health Sciences (JCHS), specifically the Humanities and Social Sciences Program at JCHS and the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at RU. The contact and co-director of the program at JCHS is Courtney Watson, The contact and co-director of the program at RU is Carter Turner,

Applying for Admission

An Admissions Committee comprised of members from Radford University and Jefferson College of Health Sciences will review all applications for this certificate. The admission recommendation made by this committee will serve as the admission decision for both institutions. Individuals interested in applying to this certificate will need to complete Radford University’s College of Graduate Studies and Research Application. This is an online form. On page two of the application, applicants will select Certificate then Bioethics Certificate for the program selection. Applications will only be considered for the fall or spring terms. 

It is not necessary to submit a separate application directly to Jefferson College of Health Sciences. Please note that all information on this application and supplemental materials submitted to support this application will be shared with Jefferson College of Health Sciences. By certifying this application on the final page, the applicant will be authorizing Radford University to share all information with Jefferson College of Health Sciences for admissions and enrollment purposes.

The following materials are required to complete an application for review:

  • The Radford University non-refundable $50 application fee
  • An official transcript from each college or university attended sent to Graduate Admissions, PO Box 6928, Radford, Virginia 24142 or institutions may directly send electronic transcripts to
  •  A minimum cumulative undergraduate grade point average of 3.0 and 3.25 in your major
  • Two letters of reference, it is strongly encouraged to use the electronic reference request option available as part of the online application
  • A personal essay discussing your interest in this program
  • Resume or Curriculum Vitae
  • Non-U.S. citizens may be required to submit additional materials and will be informed by the Admissions Committee accordingly.

Scope and Sequence

The Bioethics Certificate consists of 12 graduate credit hours specified below. The Bioethics Curriculum/Admissions/Faculty (CAF) Committee may approve substitute courses. Courses do not have to be taken in a particular sequence since each is a complete entity within itself. Therefore, students may begin the curriculum in any semester. However, for students with little clinical or ethics background, beginning with ETH 510, Advanced Bioethics, may be advisable.

There are two additional, non-course requirements:

  • Each student must obtain a certificate of participation for 1.75 contact hours from the Medical Terminology Course at, or other comparable alternative approved by the CFAC. 
  • An Admissions Committee will assess each individual student’s clinical familiarity level. Physicians and Nurses working in clinical hospital settings will need no further familiarity. Students working in other health-related professions may need to set up a program of documented hours in clinical settings to satisfy this requirement. There are a number of ways to do this, but each student must be familiar with clinical healthcare routines and environments.

Courses Include

ETH 510:  Advanced Bioethics (3 s.h.)  - Fall Semester
ETHC 630:  Emerging Trends in Bioethics (3 s.h.) – Fall Semester
ETH 520:  Organizational Leadership in Bioethics (3 s.h.) – Spring semester 
ETHC 640:  Cultural Perspectives in Bioethics (3 s.h.) – Spring semester.  Total Credits:  12 s.h.

Delivery Strategies and Resources

ETH 510 and ETH 520 will be taught at the Jefferson College of Health Sciences campus in Roanoke, Virginia. JCHS will handle registration and fees according to their graduate procedures. ETHC 630 and ETHC 640 will be taught at the Radford University campus in Radford, Virginia. RU will handle registration and fees according to their graduate procedures. JCHS and RU will award the Bioethics Certificate jointly. 

Each course will meet physically on Saturdays twice a semester, with a large percentage of work accomplished online. The four courses—Advanced Bioethics, Organizational Leadership in Bioethics, Emerging Trends in Bioethics, and Cultural Perspectives in Bioethics—instill the primary skill associated with Health Care Ethics Consultation (HCEC), which is assessment skill, or the ability to identify and analyze the nature of the value uncertainty or conflict, and the ability to access relevant ethics knowledge, i.e. literature, policy, guidelines, and standards.

Two subsidiary and contributory skills are also instilled by the courses, namely process skill, the ability to implement ethics facilitation, document and communicate HCEC activities, evaluate HCEC, effectively run an HCEC service, and collaborate with other institutional professionals, and interpersonal skill, the ability to listen well, educate the involved parties regarding the ethical dimensions of the consultation, and enable involved parties to communicate effectively.

Duration and Review Process

The Bioethics Certificate can be completed in one year, enrolling in two courses per semester, or two years, enrolling in one course per semester. Each course, each time it is taught, is assessed for effectiveness reaching its Learning Objectives according to SACS standards.


Carter Turner, PhD
Chair/Associate Professor
Philosophy & Religion
(540) 831-6445

Courtney Watson, PhD
Associate Professor
Program Director for Humanities and Social Sciences Jefferson College 
of Health Sciences CRCH 906
101 Elm Avenue, SE
Roanoke, VA  24013
(540) 985-9935