Education: Collaborative Program in Bioethics (CPB)
Program Director: Barbara Secker, PhD
Inquires about the Collaborative Program in Bioethics at the University of Toronto, Joint Centre for Bioethics should be directed to:
Carmen Alfred, Academic Secretary
University of Toronto Joint Centre for Bioethics,
155 College Street, Suite 754
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Telephone: (416) 978-0871
Fax (416) 978-1911
CPB Application Form
Introduced in 1994, the Collaborative Program in Bioethics (CPB), a research-stream graduate program, has admitted more than 50 students. The 10 graduate units of Graduate Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences (GDPS), Department of Rehabilitation Science (GDRS), Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation (IHPME), Institute of Medical Science (IMS), Faculty of Law (LAW), Faculty of Nursing (NUR), Department of Philosophy (PHL), Department of Public Health Sciences (PHS), Centre for the Study of Religion (RLG), and Faculty of Social Work (SW).
The CPB prepares students who will specialize in bioethics with an emphasis on innovative interdisciplinary research and scholarship in bioethics, and trains scholars whose primary goal is to contribute original research in bioethics. Innovations in basic and clinical science often raise profound ethical issues for which appropriate answers and optimal solutions currently do not exist but that are capable of being better understood through rigorous applied research. Students are expected to conduct innovative research in relation to the discipline of their home departments, and to have a working knowledge of selected bioethical issues from the current viewpoint of each of the other relevant disciplines. Students who are interested in a professional masters-stream program should inquire into the Master of Health Sciences in Bioethics (MHSc).
Contact information for each of the above units is as follows:
- GDPS, www.pharmacy.utoronto.ca, email: email@example.com
- GDRS, www.gdrs.utoronto.ca , email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- IHPME, www.ihpme.utoronto.ca , email: email@example.com
- IMS, www.ims.utoronto.ca , email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- LAW, www.law.utoronto.ca , email: email@example.com
- NUR, www.nursing.utoronto.ca , email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- PHL, philosophy.utoronto.ca , email: email@example.com
- PHS, www.phs.utoronto.ca , email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- RLG, www.religion.utoronto.ca , email: email@example.com
- SW, www.socialwork.utoronto.ca/home.htm , email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Objectives and Added Value
The academic objectives of the CPB include:
- to develop and enrich educational and research opportunities in bioethics for students within the disciplines represented by the participating graduate units;
- to provide experience in multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary and interprofessional education and research;
- to provide students interested in bioethics with a common learning experience, and a network of mentors and peers;
- to prepare students who will specialize in bioethics with an emphasis on innovative interdisciplinary research and scholarship in bioethics;
- to train scholars whose primary goal is to contribute original research in bioethics.
In addition to the minimum requirements of the School of Graduate Studies (SGS), each of the above departments has its own standards for admission. Please check with the home department to which you are applying for specific admission requirements.
The application process is twofold. Prospective students must apply to one of the collaborating graduate units (check individual websites for application deadlines) and must also apply separately to the CPB (deadline March 31). Admittance into a home unit is necessary for admission into the CPB. Applications are assessed by the CPB Executive Committee, which consists of a representative from each of the collaborating units. CPB admission decisions will be made after the CPB receives notification that you have been admitted into the home department. NOTE: admission into a home department does not guarantee admission into the CPB.
Applications to the CPB should be sent to: Carmen Alfred, Academic Secretary, Collaborative Program in Bioethics, University of Toronto Joint Centre for Bioethics, 155 College Street, Suite 754, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5T 1P8. Your application must include:
- Application Form for Admission
- Current curriculum vitae
- Current transcripts
- Two letters of reference, and
- A one-page letter of intent. This letter must:
- detail why you are interested in the CPB
- outline the research project you will conduct
- provide the reasons why you chose this research project
- describe the research methodology that will be used to complete the project, and
- describe what you hope to gain from the CPB, what you will give to the CPB, and what you intend to do once you have completed the program
6. A letter or e-mail from your thesis supervisor who has agreed to supervise you. The letter or e-mail should be sent to the Academic Secretary.
The thesis is supervised by a thesis committee comprised of a supervisor and two other members. The thesis supervisor must have an appointment to the graduate faculty and will normally be a member of the SGS Bioethics Collaborative Program Committee. Ordinarily, members of the thesis committee and examining professors (or professionals) are drawn from other relevant disciplines. The thesis is evaluated according to the procedures and standards of the home unit and must be within the broad area of bioethics. Students are encouraged to clarify their research interests and thesis topics as soon as possible and to contact the relevant JCB Bioethicist or CPB Faculty to discuss mutual research interests that will be pursued during their course of study in the CPB. The Letter of Intent in the application is particularly strengthened if research plans have been clarified and the cooperation of the Bioethicist or Faculty member obtained. Degrees are awarded by the home units and transcripts will include the notation "Completed Collaborative Program in Bioethics".
Educational funding is not provided by the CPB, though funding is available through home units. Students should contact these units directly: note the deadline for funding through home units is February 1st. Applicants for full-time graduate studies at U of T whose applications are received by February 1st are automatically considered for several major fellowships. For information on these and other sources of funding, please see the School of Graduate Studies and the relevant graduate units (see above). Bioethics students are also expected to apply for funding from external granting agencies such as the Canadian Institutes for Health Research.
Requirements for completion of the CPB are:
- PHL 2145H Bioethics* (a review of the philosophical foundations of bioethics);
- MSC 3001Y Foundations Seminar 1** (an exploration of issues and case studies in bioethics);
- one ethics-related half-course, normally from the home department (see suggested list below).
* PHL 2145HF Bioethics
This course is taught in a multidisciplinary setting with students from constituent units of the Collaborative Program in Bioethics. We concentrate on types of ethical theory and models of ethical reasoning or moral epistemology applied in the provision of health care: utilitarianism, Kantianism, virtue ethics, ethics of care, communitarianism, feminist bioethics, narrative and phenomenological bioethics, principlism, casuistry, coherentism. Topics include: bioethics as a multidisciplinary enterprise; values clarification and values justification; competing descriptive and normative analyses of health; models of ethical decision making; persons; the use and abuse of ethical theory.
* * MSC 3001Y Foundations Seminar 1
In this course, a number of key issues and topics in healthcare ethics will be explored from a variety of disciplinary perspectives. The course will be predominantly case-based and will focus on issues that arise within the patient/healthcare provider relationship (micro/meso level). As well as, current topical ethical issues will be explored by leading practitioners in the area of bioethics.
Throughout the course, students are challenged to examine the linkages between ethical theory and practice. Students are expected to incorporate what they have learned in other courses, particularly PHL 2146Y - Topics in Bioethics (as applicable), into class discussions. Class assignments and participation will emphasize improving ethical discernment, analysis, reasoning, and writing skills. While the class seminars offer breadth across a variety of areas, the course assignments provide students with an opportunity to explore a particular topic in greater depth.
Suggestions for Ethics-Related Courses
Please note that these courses are not offered every year. Consult each unit's website for details.
Health Policy, Management and Evaluation
HAD 5011H Canada's Health Care System
HAD 5306H Introduction to Health Care Research Methodology
HAD 5741H Health Law
HAD 5768H International Perspectives on Health Services Management
HAD 5771H Resource Allocation Ethics
Participation in LAW courses is at the discretion of the Faculty of Law upon presentation, to the Faculty of Law Records Office, of a signed permission form from the student's home department. Note that preference is given to JD students and that many law courses are full by the end of the Faculty of Law add/drop period.
LAW 267H Medical Law
LAW 388H Public Health Law
LAW 582H Privacy, Property and the Human Body
MSC 1051H Research Bioethics
MSC 3001Y Foundations Seminar I
MSC 3002Y Foundations Seminar II
MSC 3003Y Empirical Approaches in Bioethics
MSC 3004Y Ethics Committees and Consultation
NUR 1021H Nursing Ethics
CHL 5124H Public Health Ethics
PHL 2131H Ethics
PHL 2132H Seminar in Ethics
PHL 2133H Topics in Ethics
HPS 1105H Philosophy of Medicine
Public Health Sciences
CHL 5111H Qualitative Research Methods
CHL 5121H Genomics, Bioethics and Public Policy
CHL 5401H Epidemiology Methods I
CHL 5411H International Health
CHL 5124H Public Health Ethics
REH 3120H International Issues in Disability and Rehabilitation
RLG 2007H Ethics, Society, and Technology
RLG 2018H Religion and Bioethics
SWK 6101H Critical Evaluation of Social Work Practice Theories
SWK 6308H Designing and Implementing Quantitative Social Work Research
How the CPB can enhance the graduate student experience
Participation in the CPB adds considerable value to a graduate student's educational experience. The added value of participation in the CPB is outlined below, first as it relates to the CPB itself and, second, as it relates to the CPB's core association with the JCB.
Added Value of CPB
- Common learning experience--students complete CPB core course requirements, which include 1.5 FCEs, plus an ethics-related 0.5 FCE normally from the student's home degree program.
- Access to expert supervision--given the demand for bioethics supervision outstrips the supply, participation in the CPB enables students to access to expert interdisciplinary supervision in the area of their bioethics thesis research.
- Support from other CPB graduate students--students are networked with other students with common interests, home departments and/or supervisors, including matching more senior CPB student "peer advisers" with new/incoming CPB students.
- CPB "workshopping sessions"--students are encouraged and supported to present research-in-progress to other CPB students and the CPB Director.
- CPB student listserv--current CPB students are connected via a listserv that is used both for regular communications to students from CPB administration and for student-initiated inquiries and discussion. There is also listserv for graduates of the CPB.
- CPB student events--in addition to an annual CPB orientation and meet-and-greet reception for new and returning CPB students and faculty, CPB discussion evenings with invited speakers have been organized.
- CPB student award--The JCB gives an annual Mervis-Simon Family Award in Bioethics to a CPB student with demonstrated financial need combined with merit.
Added Value of CPB as an integral part of the larger JCB
- JCB Bioethics Seminar Series--CPB students are strongly encouraged to attend this seminar series running weekly from September through May. Most seminars are also accessible through live interactive webcasts and an archive. Topics covered include a wide variety of areas and themes within bioethics.
JCB Clinical, Organizational and Research Ethics (CORE) Network
JCB graduate students may be invited to selected sessions of CORE Network. This network is comprised of the Ethicists working in our JCB healthcare partner organizations, our Academic Ethics Fellows and the JCB Management Team Members, and meets as a large group approximately twice monthly to discuss current literature/issues, consult about difficult cases, engage with invited guest speakers, or enhance core leadership skills. The Director will determine with session presenters on a case-by-case basis whether guest participation is possible; where such participation is possible, the Director will invite graduate students with an identified interest in both healthcare ethics practice and the particular session topic. Please contact the Director if you would like more information.
- Continuing education, endowed lectures and conferences--the JCB organizes three annual endowed lectures (the Alloway, the Jus, and the Philippa Harris lectures) that bring world renowned scholars to speak on issues in bioethics. The JCB organizes and encourages CPB student participation in national and international conferences (the JCB has hosted one national and two international conferences in the past two years). CPB students are invited to take advantage of free workshops, including the annual Teaching the Teachers Bioethics workshop, as well as regular events in JCB health care partner organizations, such as bioethics week, ethics grand rounds and brown bag ethics discussions.
- Professional development opportunities--the JCB network facilitates interested CPB students to gain practical ethics experience (e.g., participation on a research ethics board, hospital ethics committee, policy working group) and to develop tutoring/mentoring skills (e.g., facilitating ethics discussions among medical students, residents or bioethics undergraduates). CPB students also receive priority notice about fellowship and other post-grad opportunities in bioethics. Students are also invited to meet with the CPB Director to discuss career planning.
- JCB Voice e-Newsletter--this monthly newsletter is disseminated by e-mail and is available on the JCB website. It consists of a comprehensive listing of seminars and meetings related to bioethics as well as announcements of up-coming conferences and special sessions. It also contains information on awards, publications, and career opportunities in bioethics.
- JCB interest groups--in addition to grant-funded JCB research groups that CPB students may be members of in the context of their thesis research, the JCB welcomes CPB students to participate in interest groups such as the Public Health Ethics Interest Group, the Research Ethics Interest Group, and the Narrative Ethics Group.
- JCB social events and reunions--CPB students are invited to attend to an annual JCB September Welcome (Back) Reception, the annual December JCB Pre-Winter Gathering, and the annual JCB Spring BBQ. The JCB has also hosted two reunions in the past three years for the graduates and current members of its CPB, MHSc in Bioethics, and Fellowship in Clinical and Organizational Ethics.
- Participation in a community of bioethics scholars--CPB students are integrated into the broader JCB community. In addition to current students and graduates of the CPB, the MHSc in Bioethics Program, and the JCB Fellowship in Clinical and Organizational Ethics, the JCB network consists of over 200 members including faculty, practicing ethicists, ethics researchers, and health care organization members involved in ethics activities. Increasingly, CPB students are integrated into broader regional, national and international bioethics partnerships. The JCB community enhances CPB students’ exposure to leading examples of interdisciplinary and interprofessional approaches in bioethics, facilitates participation in a community of scholars, and links students to faculty and practitioners involved in research and practice.