Certificate Requirements

Students are required to complete 14 credits of coursework, including 11 credits of required courses and 3 credits of electives.

In addition to taking the required courses and electives, students will complete a portfolio project. 

Email CatholicClinicalEthics@georgetown.edu to inquire about the most current electives offerings, as the availability of courses may vary from semester to semester. 


   3 Required Courses (9 credits)

   1 Elective (3 credits)

   Portfolio & Capstone Project (2 credits)


Required Courses

The following 3 required courses are required for the Certificate in Catholic Clinical Ethics.

3 credits | Fall Semester

Course Directors:
Paul Scherz, Catholic University of America

This course will introduce students to the most necessary theological and general philosophical concepts regarding anthropology, social ethics, and health for them to effectively function as ethicists in a Catholic health care institution. A solid foundation in the philosophical and theological concepts related to medicine will be instrumental in addressing the challenging conceptual and practical ethical questions that arise in healthcare. Each class will examine a specific concept through the use of a case study supplemented by background readings. Topics covered will include: healthcare as a vocation, the doctor-patient relationship, dignity, embodiment, autonomy, suffering, death, technology, and justice in the distribution of healthcare.

3 credits | Fall Semester

Course Directors:
Paul Scherz, Catholic University of America
Kevin FitzGerald, Georgetown University Medical Center

This course will introduce students to the necessary ethical concepts to analyze individual cases and actions. The first few classes will discuss prerequisite knowledge but it will swiftly move into using case studies to illuminate the tools of the Catholic moral tradition. This course will primarily introduce students to prerequisite knowledge for the rest of the program, the skills of case analysis, the ability to recognize other ethical viewpoints, and the ability to list alternative possibilities.

3 credits | Fall Semester
Prerequisites: Previous or Concurrent enrollment in Philosophy of Medicine & Applied Ethical Reasoning

Course Directors:
G. Kevin Donovan, Georgetown University Medical Center
Claudia Ruiz Sotomayor, Georgetown University Medical Center

This is a case-based, foundational course that introduces students to theoretical and practical ethics/bioethics in healthcare. This course will analyze continuing controversies in bioethics and emerging, controverted bioethical issues through case analysis. The primary emphasis will be developing the higher skills of ethical reasoning by applying conceptual tools learned in earlier courses to a broader range of case studies, but students will also be obtaining important prerequisite knowledge on these topics as they analyze the cases. Topics covered will vary based on emerging problems in Catholic clinical ethics but examples include: whole genome newborn screening, artificial nutrition and hydration, organ markets, research design for Ebola vaccine trials, and addressing noncompliant patients.

2 credits | Fall or Spring Semester
Prerequisites: Philosophy of Medicine; Applied Ethical Reasoning; Foundations of Catholic Clinical Bioethics

Course Directors:
Individually determined for each student

Portfolio Project
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.