About the DPT/MA-Bioethics Dual Degree

bioethicsThe Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree is a professional doctorate in physical therapy. The DPT-MA (Bioethics) is a dual degree of Doctor of Physical Therapy and Masters of Arts in Bioethics (MA-Bioethics). The goal of this program is to prepare physical therapists not only to enhance the care they provide to patients in a changing healthcare environment, but also to prepare them to work on issues of public and institutional policy as they relate to the provision of clinical care and ethical healthcare practice, to serve on ethics committees, or to conduct education on the ethical foundations of clinical practice. As providers of clinical care, physical therapists confront ethical challenges in practice routinely. They are uniquely positioned in rehabilitation to address ethical issues related to disability, quality of life and functional outcomes. Our target audience consists of those students for whom these priorities are particularly relevant.

As physical therapists’ roles and responsibilities have increased, so have their educational needs and desires. The combined DPT/MA-Bioethics degree will provide future physical therapists with the opportunity to develop unique perspectives and skills. This new combination of knowledge, skills and abilities will enable Emory dual degree graduates to influence ethical dimension of healthcare policy and to serve in an expert capacity on panels in healthcare settings that deal with ethical dilemmas.


Students will complete the 144 credit hours for the DPT program, as well as the standard 30 credit hours for the MA-Bioethics curriculum. Students will complete their first year of coursework in the DPT Program, then complete year 2 in the MA-Bioethics Program, and return to the DPT program for the third and fourth year. In addition, in order to ensure maximal integration, students will “share” two electives during the program: one 3-credit elective in the DPT program taught by Dr. Bruce Greenfield, PT, (MA Bioethics, PhD) , and one 3-credit elective from the Laney Graduate School/Center for Ethics. These electives, which will be completed in the final year of study, will ensure that students apply the methodologies and content of both programs to issues that affect the ethical practice of physical therapy. DPT dual degree students will be slated to take the examination rather than write a thesis in order to ensure they will be able to return to the DPT program with no delay in time to degree.


Application to each program must be made separately. Upon acceptance to both programs, students will fulfill the requirements of the programs in parallel. Dual Degree Applicants should be mindful that evaluation criteria for admission will be the same as for each program alone. Students accepted into the dual-degree program will be notified of acceptance by both schools. If students are accepted into one school but not the other, they may enroll in the school that has accepted them, but not as a dual-degree student. Upon admission to the dual-degree program, students should consult with the appropriate program director of each school to plan their courses of study. Please go to Future Students for additional details on the admissions process.

Why pursue the DPT-MA (Bioethics) Dual Degree at Emory?

The DPT/MA-Bioethics dual degree will enhance the capacities of both physical therapist and bioethics students. Students will save time and money by pursuing the dual degree rather than investing in each program separately. Perhaps more importantly, however, the combination of these disciplines will enable students to think more broadly and deeply about both areas of inquiry.