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Certificate Programs
American Philosophy and Bioethics

The Department of Philosophy offers graduate certificates in either American Philosophy or Bioethics. We invite you to review the information on this page. We also invite you to contact the Graduate Director, Chad Carmichael (crcarmic@iupui.edu) if you have further questions about the program, its curriculum, opportunities for financial support, or application requirements.

American Philosophy Certificate

The certificate in American philosophy gives students the opportunity to study in a one-year program at one of the world’s premier places for studying American philosophy and especially the thought of Charles Sanders Peirce. IUPUI is home of the Institute for American Thought, which contains the Peirce Edition Project, the Santayana Edition, the Josiah Royce Papers, and the Max H. Fisch Library. Because of the Peirce Edition Project, the Santayana Edition, and the Josiah Royce Papers, three large-scale scholarly ventures to publish the writings of an important American philosopher, IUPUI has extensive resources in American philosophy and a substantial contingent of faculty specializing in this area. The Max H. Fisch Library is a non-lending library specializing in American philosophy and other resources essential for a better understanding of this chapter in philosophy. It attracts a number of scholars each year, as well as graduate students from other institutions who are working on their thesis or Ph.D. dissertation. The Institute for American Thought also houses the Frederick Douglass Papers and the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies.

Bioethics Certificate

The certificate in bioethics offers a one-year program of study in a rapidly growing field that requires educated and trained theorists and practitioners. IUPUI is home to one of the nation’s largest health-profession complexes, with the nation’s second largest school of medicine and largest multi-purpose school of nursing. In addition, the Indiana University Center for Bioethics provides a forum for interdisciplinary research and public outreach.

Students who pursue the graduate certificate in bioethics will have a number of employment opportunities. Some may choose to continue on to a terminal degree (M.A. or Ph.D.) program in philosophy or bioethics, after which they can be expected to compete for research or faculty positions. Others may choose to complete the certificate in concert with a professional degree in medicine, science, nursing, health sciences, or law. Professionals already employed in health-related fields can expect that the certificate will enhance their professional credentials. A graduate certificate in bioethics will be useful to those responsible for policy analysis and development (e.g., on ethics committees), compliance (e.g., in risk management or institutional review-board positions), or teaching and education (e.g., in continuing education programs). This certificate will also be useful to professionals working in legislative or other policy positions.

Student Consumer Information for the Bioethics Certificate. For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who completed the program, and other important information, please visit our website at, http://apps.usss.iu.edu/disclosures/?plan=IN04.51.3201.

Prospective Students

The graduate certificate program is designed to accommodate a wide variety of students, including:

  • International students with an interest in American philosophy or bioethics who have recently completed their M.A. in their home country and are exploring their academic options, like a Ph.D. in philosophy.
  • International students who want to do a one-year abroad program at the graduate level. The certificate program can be completed concurrently with research for an M.A. thesis or dissertation.
  • Graduate students from other universities who are willing to take a year off from their regular program or who have reached the A.B.D. stage. Most Ph.D. programs have only one specialist in American philosophy or bioethics, making a certificate in either specialty an attractive option for students busy writing their Ph.D. dissertation.
  • Students who have completed undergraduate degree and do not yet want to commit themselves to a degree program in philosophy or who want to increase their chances of being admitted into the IUPUI philosophy M.A. or a first-tier graduate program elsewhere.
  • People who seek to broaden their philosophical horizon without aiming for a full-fledged graduate degree. A certificate gives graduate non-degree students a well-defined focus of study.
  • Students who are enrolled in other graduate programs or post-baccalaureate professional programs at Indiana University and have an interest in philosophy.
  • Students in programs that have an (international) exchange program with the IUPUI Philosophy Department or the Institute for American Thought.

The certificate in bioethics also provides a continuing education opportunity for individuals who are already gainfully employed and may have no real need for a full M.A. For example, nurses wishing to move into administrative positions on a hospital ethics committee or institutional review board.

Students enrolled in the IUPUI Philosophy M.A. program are automatically eligible to enroll in either of the graduate certificate programs, thus combining their M.A. degree with a certificate.

Admissions Requirements and Procedures

Applicants are expected to have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university or its equivalent, with a grade point average of at least 3.0 overall (on a scale of 4) and at least 3.0 in the student’s major. There is no specific major requirement, but applicants must show a record of coursework (or equivalent experience) demonstrating that they are sufficiently prepared to do graduate work in philosophy. Acceptable coursework includes an undergraduate degree in philosophy. For their application, students are required to submit in addition to the Graduate School application form: official transcripts, at least one letter of recommendation, and a statement of purpose. Documents not included with the online application form can be sent directly to the Philosophy Department: CA 331, 425 University Blvd., Indianapolis, IN 46202.

Foreign applicants are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). They must also take the IUPUI English (ESL) examination prior to their first semester of coursework and may be required to take additional classes in English as a second language.

Deadlines for receipt of completed applications are as follows:

March 1st– For applicants seeking admission for the summer or fall semesters.

October 15th – For applicants seeking admission for the spring semester.

If you wish to apply after either deadline, please contact the graduate director.

Completion Requirements and Procedures for Certification

To complete the certificate, students should take fifteen (15) credit hours in the IU system, at least nine (9) of which must be taken at the IUPUI campus and at least nine (9) of which must be offered by the IUPUI Philosophy Department. Unless otherwise stated all courses must be at the 500-level or higher and be completed with a grade B or higher. Students taking the bioethics certificate are required to take P547; students taking the American philosophy certificate are required to take P558. Both are offered each academic year. In addition, students should take nine (9) credit hours in concentration specific courses, while taking the remaining three credit hours either in concentration specific courses or in courses that fall within the M.A. core. Courses taken more than five years prior to completion of the certificate must be retaken or revaluated.

Sample Curricula

American Philosophy

Fall semester
PHIL-P 558: American Philosophy (3 cr.)
PHIL-P 560: Metaphysics (3 cr.)
PHIL-P 701: Peirce Seminar (3 cr.)

Spring semester
PHIL-P 507: American Philosophy and the Analytic Tradition (3 cr.)
PHIL-P 748: Josiah Royce Seminar (3 cr.)


Fall semester
PHIL-P 547: Foundations of Bioethics (3 cr.)
PHIL-P 540: Contemporary Ethical Theories (3 cr.)
PHIL-M 504: Introduction to Research Ethics (3 cr.)

Spring semester
PHIL-P 555: Ethical and Policy Issues in International Research (3 cr.)
PHIL-P 696: Topics in Biomedical Ethics: Genethics (3 cr.)