Official Master's Degree in Bioethics

Submission of applications:
Start: January 9, 2017
End: October 4, 2017.

1 year (Full-time study)

Credits: 60 ECTS
Places available: 30, Spanish

The Official Master's Degree in Bioethics is among the most important activities organized by the Chair in Bioethics. This Chair is one of the most pioneering in Spain and leads the field in terms of Bioethics teaching, research and publications. It was founded in the 1997-1998 academic year by P. Javier Gafo SJ and aims to provide professional training for people who want to specialize in bioethics, whether to sit on Healthcare Ethics Committees, in both private and public hospitals, or to work in bioethics-related research and teaching.

It offers an interdisciplinary vision of all fields of Bioethics, including the philosophical, scientific, legal, psychological and theological dimensions. To achieve this, the program is taught by over 30 lecturers. These experts hail from the very best bioethics institutions in Spain, specialize in the subjects taught and have extensive national and international professional experience.


Who is it intended for?

University graduates: doctors, qualified nurses, psychologists, jurists, biologists, philosophers, theologians and others who wish to specialize in bioethics, whether to sit on Healthcare Ethics Committees, in both private and public hospitals, or to work in bioethics-related research and teaching.


Admission application deadline:

The period for submitting applications is open from January 9 to September 1, 2017.
Information about the documentation to submit



Maximum number of students: 30


No. of credits:

60 ECTS (European Credit Transfer System).



In Madrid, c/Rey Francisco, 4


October to July 2017-2018.


Total fees were €5,400.00 (€1,800.00 registration fee plus 8 installments of €450.00)

Attendance mode:



  • Director: Dr. Javier de la Torre Díaz


C/ Universidad de Comillas, 3
28049 Madrid
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Tfno: + 00 34 91 734 39 50 (Ext. 2569)


The presentation of the different topics will be accompanied by sessions on case study analysis and literature review. To complement their studies in this field, students will have the opportunity to take part in various workshops and the Interdisciplinary Seminar on Bioethics, which is organized each year by the Chair. In terms of assessment, in addition to attendance and active participation, the following will apply:

  • Material studied outside the classroom will be provided to students through the extensive bibliography published by the Chair over the past twenty years, complete with additional documentation. This private study will be assessed through a summary, review or response to specific questions that will be checked with the other lecturers through computerized channels.
  • Preparation of summary sessions after each module.
  • Production of a research report or monographic paper on a Bioethics topic (12 ECTS).


  • CG1 - To analyze interdisciplinary information on Bioethics by independently categorizing and differentiating data for application in ethical judgments.
  • CG2 - To debate ethical judgments and conclusions from a bioethical perspective, presenting arguments for and against such judgments and conclusions to both specialist and non-specialist audiences in a clear and coherent manner.
  • CG3 - To integrate bioethical knowledge and ethical discernment to make judgments based on often limited or incomplete data, including reflection on the social and ethical responsibility linked to such knowledge and judgments.
  • CG4 - To evaluate one’s own understanding of situations and ethical judgments within the context of intercultural dialogue and different world views on life and ethics.
  • CG5 - To learn how to combine knowledge from different fields, Medicine, Law, Philosophy, Biology or Psychology, in a successful interdisciplinary project.



  • CE1 - To understand the classical and contemporary philosophical roots that underpin the ethics of the preservation of life and their implication in the biomedical field.
  • CE2 - To understand the historical development of Bioethics in order to interpret, evaluate, contrast and create an academically sound critical analysis of literature on Bioethics or Medical Ethics.
  • CE3 - To analyze the fundamental and core elements of various bioethical questions: the concept of the person and the individual, gene therapy and genetic engineering.
  • CE4 - To assimilate the main elements of healthcare relationships, especially the doctor-patient relationships, with their corresponding ethical aspects.
  • CE5 - To understand the concepts of health and illness and their practical repercussions in different contexts (social, historical, cultural, etc.).
  • CE6 - To understand the nature of Healthcare Ethics Committees and Clinical Research Ethics Committees, their composition, functions and fields of application.
  • CE7 - To understand the decision-making and deliberation procedures of Committees on Ethics and Bioethics.
  • CE8 - To integrate knowledge acquired about the care of vulnerable persons, with a special emphasis on approaches to diversity and disability.
  • CE9 - To learn how to design research procedures and properly use bibliographical resources to successfully undertake research projects or prepare specialist publications in the field of Bioethics.
  • CE10 - To understand and integrate the main technical, philosophical, legal and ethical questions surrounding beginning-of-life care and intervention: status of the embryo, genetic engineering, abortion, cloning, assisted reproduction, etc.
  • CE11 - To understand the main technical, philosophical, legal and ethical questions surrounding end-of-life care.
  • CE12 - To understand the basic legislation applicable to the field of Biomedicine on a national, EU and international level, evaluating, comparing and debating its ethical dimension and cultural and social repercussions.
  • CE13 - To analyze different theories on justice and their lines of argument with regard to the fair distribution of limited healthcare resources, care for the disabled and for minority groups and ecological reflection.




This module not only introduces students to a new area of study but also to detailed analysis of all questions related to the substantiation of bioethics. SUBJECTS:

  • Basic Principles of Bioethics (3 ECTS). CONTENT:
    • History of Bioethics (0,5 ECTS)
    • Ethics, Moral and Bioethics (1 ECTS)
    • Bioethical Paradigms (0,5 ECTS)
    • Bioethics and Biolaw (0,5 ECTS)
    • Technological Bioethics (0,5 ECTS)
  • Basic Philosophical Principles of Bioethics I: Classical Philosophy (3 ECTS). CONTENT:
    • Aristotelian Ethics (0,5 ECTS)
    • Kantian Ethics (0,5 ECTS)
    • Casuistry and Common Morality (0,5 ECTS)
    • The Transition to Modernity (0,5 ECTS)
    • Utilitarian Ethics (0,25 ECTS)
    • Ethics of Values (0,25 ECTS)
    • Case Study Analysis I (0,5 ECTS)
  • Basic Philosophical Principles of Bioethics II: Contemporary Philosophy (4 ECTS). CONTENT:
    • Moral Decision Procedure and Methodology (0,25 ECTS)
    • Principlism of Beauchamp and Childress (0,5 ECTS)
    • Rational Decision Theory (0,25 ECTS)
    • Ethics of Dialogue (0,25 ECTS)
    • Ethics of Virtues and Communitarianism (0,5 ECTS)
    • Ethics of Care (0,25 ECTS)
    • Ricoeur (0,25 ECTS)
    • Engelhardt and Singer (0,25 ECTS)
    • Hans Jonas: Ethics of Responsibility (0,25 ECTS)
    • Levinas (0,25 ECTS)
    • Hierarchical Principlism (0,5 ECTS)
    • Summary Session (0,5 ECTS)

These subjects address key ethical problems that arise in professional clinical practice. SUBJECTS:

  • Basic Principles of Clinical Practice (3 ECTS). CONTENT:
    • Health and Illness (0,5 ECTS)
    • Medical History (0,25 ECTS)
    • Care-based Relationships (0,5 ECTS)
    • Healthcare Ethics Committees (0,5 ECTS)
    • Ethics and Profession (0,75 ECTS)
    • Ethics and Nursing (0,5 ECTS)
  • Ethical and Legal Aspects of Applied Clinical Practice (4 ECTS). CONTENT:
    • Ethical Problems in Psychiatry and Case Study (1 ECTS)
    • Ethical and Legal Aspects of the Mature Minor (1 ECTS)
    • Professional Secrecy, Malpractice (0,25 ECTS)
    • Legal Identity, Legal Capacity, Marital Status, Autonomy (0,25 ECTS)
    • Informed Consent and Competence (0,5 ECTS)
    • Case Study Analysis II (0,5 ECTS)
    • Summary Session (0,5 ECTS)

This module addresses issues such as research on vulnerable persons, clinical trials, testing, animals, genetic counseling and other problems to arise from human testing. SUBJECTS:

  • Basic Principles of Research Ethics (2 ECTS). CONTENT:
    • Research Ethics (0,5 ECTS)
    • Genetics and Bioethics: An Interdisciplinary Dialog (0,25 ECTS)
    • The Human Genome Project and its Applications (0,5 ECTS)
    • The Human Genome Project and its Laws (0,5 ECTS)
    • Interdisciplinary Dialog and Bioethics Committees (0,25 ECTS)
  • Ethical Aspects of Applied Research (2 ECTS). CONTENT:
    • Vulnerable Persons (0,25 ECTS)
    • Ethical Problems in Clinical Trials (0,5 ECTS)
    • Genetically Modified Plants and Food (0,5 ECTS)
    • Genetically Modified Animals in Basic and Applied Research (0,25 ECTS)
    • Case Study Analysis III (0,5 ECTS)
  • Legal Aspects of Applied Research (3 ECTS). CONTENT:
    • Research Methods for Planning Research Projects (0,25 ECTS)
    • Law 14/2007 on Biomedical Research (0,25 ECTS)
    • International Declarations on Bioethics. Human Rights and Bioethics (0,5 ECTS)
    • Legal Protection of Biotechnological Inventions (0,25 ECTS)
    • Legal Protection of Genetic Data (0,25 ECTS)
    • Animal Rights (0,5 ECTS)
    • Summary (1 ECTS)

This module provides an in-depth analysis of current key issues such as scientific and ethical aspects of embryos and their status; prenatal diagnosis; sexuality; demography; transplants; neonatology; the mature minor; scientific, legal, ethical and theological aspects of human assisted reproduction, and all other relevant questions concerning the beginning of human life, on both a secular and a Christian level.SUBJECTS:

  • Ethics of Human Sexuality and Demographic Balance (2 ECTS). CONTENT:
    • Biology and Genetics of Gender and Sexual Behavior (0,25 ECTS)
    • Homosexuality and Transsexuality: Psychology and Ethics (0,25 ECTS)
    • Ethical Challenges in Demography (0,25 ECTS)
    • Contraceptives and Interceptives (0,25 ECTS)
    • Ethical Problems in Gynecology (0,25 ECTS)
    • Christian Ethics of Sexuality and the Beginning of Human Life (0,5 ECTS)
  • Ethics of the Beginning of Human Life I (3 ECTS). CONTENT:
    • The Status of the Human Embryo (0,5 ECTS)
    • Ethical and Legal Aspects of Abortion (0,5 ECTS)
    • Stem Cell Research (0,25 ECTS)
    • Cloning (0,75 ECTS)
    • Case Study Analysis IV (0,5 ECTS)
  • Ethics of the Beginning of Human Life II (3 ECTS). CONTENT:
    • Scientific Aspects of ART (0,25 ECTS)
    • Legal Aspects of ART (0,25 ECTS)
    • Ethical Aspects of ART (0,25 ECTS)
    • Ethical Problems in Obstetrics (0,25 ECTS)
    • Genetic Counseling: Scientific and Ethical Aspects (0,25 ECTS)
    • Genetic Counseling and Legal Implications (0,25 ECTS)
    • Ethical Problems in Neonatology (0,5 ECTS)
    • Summary (1 ECTS)

This module addresses questions such as old age, nutrition, hydration, futility, quality of life, palliative care, terminality, physician-assisted death and AIDS, in addition to analyzing the anthropological and theological perspectives of pain and death. SUBJECTS:

  • Basic Principles of the Ethics of the End of Human Life (3 ECTS). CONTENT:
    • Fundamental Concepts of the End of Life (1 ECTS)
    • Diagnosis of Death and Vegetative State (0,5 ECTS)
    • Nutrition, Hydration, Futility and Quality of Life (0,5 ECTS)
    • The Terminally Ill (0,5 ECTS)
    • Philosophical and Theological Anthropology of Pain and Death (0,25 ECTS)
    • Pastoral Approach to Illness and Death (0,25 ECTS)
  • Ethical and Legal Aspects of the End of Human Life (4 ECTS). CONTENT:
    • Palliative Cares (0,5 ECTS)
    • Limitation of Therapeutic Effort (0,5 ECTS)
    • Scientific and Social Aspects of AIDS (0,5 ECTS)
    • Old Age: Historical and Ethical Aspects (0,25 ECTS)
    • Old Age: Active Aging Policies (0,25 ECTS)
    • Advance Directives (0,25 ECTS)
    • Legal Aspects of Physician-assisted Death (0,25 ECTS)
    • Case Study Analysis V (0,5 ECTS)
    • Summary (1 ECTS)

This module covers both classical and current theories of Justice, as well as their possible application to underlying problems in the operation of healthcare systems, the distribution of resources, global justice, solidarity, patents and biotechnology, ecology, etc. SUBJECTS:

  • Basic Philosophical Principles of Justice (2 ECTS). CONTENT:
    • Justice in Classical Philosophy: Plato, Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas (1 ECTS)
    • Contemporary Theories of Justice: Utilitarianism, Contractualism, Liberalism and Discourse Ethics (1 ECTS)
  • Justice, Health and Limited Resources (3 ECTS). CONTENT:
    • Global Justice (0,75 ECTS)
    • Distribution of Resources and Restriction on Benefits (0,75 ECTS)
    • Justice and Healthcare Systems (0,5 ECTS)
    • Justice and the Social Doctrine of the Church (0,5 ECTS)
    • Case Study Analysis VI (0,5 ECTS)
  • Ecology, Disability and Global Bioethics (2 ECTS). CONTENT:
    • Ethics and Ecology (0,25 ECTS)
    • Disability Ethics (0,5 ECTS)
    • Global Bioethics and Biotechnology (0,5 ECTS)
    • Summary (0,75 ECTS)

Students will have the opportunity to take part in an Interdisciplinary Seminar on Bioethics that the Chair in Bioethics organizes each year around a particular current theme. Around fifty leading experts from the Spanish and Portuguese world of Bioethics attend these intensive, 2-day seminars. The seminars are organized into eight conferences that approach the chosen theme from various related fields (Philosophy, Psychology, Law, Medicine, Sociology, Theology, Economics, etc.), and are then followed by a range of talks and debates in which all attendees can take part.

These seminars are an invaluable opportunity for students to meet leading experts from the Spanish and Portuguese world of Bioethics, and to take part in and learn from talks, debates and conversations over lunch and during breaks.


The Master's Dissertation (TFM) is an individual research project carried out by the student. It forms a key aspect of the Master's Degree as it involves each student choosing a topic of particular personal or professional interest, which must be accompanied by a detailed bibliography, critical analysis, summary and evaluation of the chosen topic.

This work is performed under the guidance of a lecturer chosen by the student. Finished projects will be presented in class to fellow students, the Director and any lecturers who wish to attend, and the presentation will be followed by a Q&A session.

These presentations allow students to express their mastery of the necessary skills acquired to be awarded the Master's Degree in Bioethics, combining the knowledge gained from the different modules and the complementary learning activities.


Any questions you have with the Official Master's Degree in Bioethics can check the SGAT

Official Master's Degree in Bioethics es internacional, can check the SRI


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