The Catholic Clinical Ethics Certificate program prepares leadership at Catholic healthcare institutions to address complex social and ethical issues in healthcare, clinical treatment, genetics, biotechnology, and policy within the framework of the Catholic moral tradition and teaching. The Catholic healthcare system is projected to lose approximately 70.6% of its ethicists over the next few years, creating an urgent need to train ethicists. Developed in conversation with the Catholic Health Association, the Catholic Clinical Ethics program produces graduates trained in the Catholic tradition of ethical reasoning on medicine and health and ready to step into Catholic healthcare systems. As a joint program between the School of Theology and Religious Studies at The Catholic University of America and the Pellegrino Center for Clinical Bioethics at Georgetown University, students are given access to faculty, staff, and academic and career resources at both institutions. Students may pursue this degree either full- or part-time.

Student studying

Application Requirements

• 4-year Bachelor’s degree

• GPA of 3.0 or higher

• Official transcripts

• 3 letters of recommendation

• Personal statement

• Writing sample

• TOEFL or IELTS (for applicants from non-English speaking institutions)

• Admission term: Fall or Spring


  • Students must complete 14 hours of coursework. All of the coursework is online.
  • The coursework includes three core courses (9 credits), in which students develop a strong foundation in Catholic moral theology and the ability to apply philosophical and medical principles. Topics covered include healthcare as a vocation, philosophy of medicine, cultural and religious sensitivities, pain/palliative care, mental health, reproductive ethics, big data, neuroethics, organizational ethics, justice and health, theological anthropology, clinical ethics and the law. Core courses are offered during weekday evenings.
  • Students take one elective (3 credits), which will offer students the opportunity to tailor the program towards their interests on particular bioethical issues.
  • Students will also complete a portfolio project (2 credits). A typical Portfolio will consist of all the student’s reflective writing assignments completed during the program, accompanied by a synopsis of all the included work, written in light of knowledge gained in coursework and prior learning experiences.

To Learn More

For questions, please email David Miller, the program coordinator, at, or Paul Scherz, the program’s co-chair, at