Saint Louis University

PhD Program: Application Information

Applications to the PhD Program in Health Care Ethics should be completed by December 1 to receive full consideration for admission and funding, though applications for the fall semester may be reviewed until July 1. The board makes final admissions decisions in February. Admissions notifications are distributed in February/March via e-mail and postal mail. The application processes for the JD/PhD program, the MD/PhD program and the MA/PhD program are described below.

Apply Health Care Ethics PhDTo apply to the Interdisciplinary PhD Program in Health Care Ethics you will need to complete the Graduate Education online application. You will be asked to provide the following information:

  • A completed application with application fee
  • A short resumé or curriculum vitae
  • 3 official letters of recommendation (Ordinarily, these letters should be from faculty who have taught you and can speak to your academic performance.)
  • Official transcripts of all university coursework
  • Official GRE scores (in special circumstances, MCAT or LSAT scores may be accepted in lieu of GRE scores)
  • A short (1-2 pages) statement of goals in applying to the PhD program
  • A writing sample. The writing sample ordinarily should be between 15 and 25 pages long and should demonstrate the ability to craft an argument and to integrate the relevant literature. Writing samples may be self-standing essays or appropriate excerpts from a Masters thesis.

Application to the JD/PhD Program

Applications to the JD/PhD program may be made by individuals prior to or during the first year of law school. Individuals seeking admission to the JD/PhD Health Care Ethics Dual Degree Program should do the following:

  • Complete an application to the JD program.
  • Complete an application to the PhD in Health Care Ethics program by December 1st. Applications are sometimes accepted after this date; please contact the program coordinator.
  • The PhD program accepts LSAT scores in lieu of GRE scores. It is also willing to accept letters of recommendation and official university coursework transcripts that are submitted to the JD program. If you choose to use these School of Law application materials in your PhD program application, you must write a letter to the Admissions Office of the School of Law.

    Admissions Office
    School of Law
    3700 Lindell Blvd, Rm. 120
    St. Louis, MO 63108

    In your letter be sure to include your name and social security number to enable them to identify your application materials correctly. Request that the School of Law Admissions Office forward to the Graduate Education Admission office: (a) LSAT scores, (b) transcripts, and (c) all letters of recommendation.

    All other PhD application materials should be sent directly to the Graduate Education Admission office as described above.

Application to the MD/PhD Program

Each applicant to Saint Louis University School of Medicine receives a summary of the MD/PhD Program and a preliminary application. All completed applications received by December 15th are evaluated by the MD/PhD Program Steering Committee for the quality and breadth of students' undergraduate training, including their science/math GPA and MCAT scores. Although the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and advanced coursework are not required, GREs are recommended for the PhD in Health Care Ethics and many applications are strengthened by such information if available. All applicants must have completed at least one year of bench-level research, during which they should have demonstrated their intellectual involvement by writing honors theses, abstracts for scientific meetings, and/or peer-reviewed publications. Three letters of recommendation are solicited from individuals identified by the applicants. These individuals are asked to provide a candid assessment of an applicant's research aptitude, integrity, interpersonal skills, and commitment to completing dual-degree training.

The Steering Committee invites selected applicants to Saint Louis University School of Medicine for on-site interviews at institutional expense, usually in groups of 4-5 students whose visits are scheduled December through February. These 3-day visits are designed to acquaint applicants with the intellectual and physical environment of the University, particularly the available research opportunities and potential mentors in their areas of interest. Applicants meet privately with current trainees and with at least three potential mentors of their choice, as well as with the Associate Dean of Admissions for their MD interview if not completed previously. In addition, applicants are required to make brief presentations of their previous research experience(s) to the members of the Program Steering Committee. These informal presentations may last up to 30 minutes, including time allowed for questions by the faculty, and must be made without audiovisual support except for the chalkboard provided.

Interviewees are subsequently ranked by the Steering Committee both for their perceived competence and the likelihood of their individual success in the University's training environment. Most successful applicants are admitted with offers of full tuition remission plus annual stipends for the duration of their MD/PhD training, the continuation of which are contingent upon their academic performance and progress toward PhD research objectives as stated below. The Steering Committee may also invite applicants to join the MD/PhD Program as non-funded trainees, due either to uncertainty about their aptitude or to insufficient resources to guarantee their training. Such non-funded trainees receive the same intellectual and social support provided to funded trainees in the MD/PhD Program. Most significantly, non-funded trainees receive preferential consideration for funding if academically qualified when such positions become available. The University also holds MD tuition costs for non-funded MD/PhD students to the level paid by their entering medical school class, to reduce the impact of inflation on completing MD training after finishing their PhD degree.

Members of the Year 1 and Year 2 MD classes who are in good academic standing and who meet the other requirements identified above may apply to the MD/PhD Program. Such applicants are rapidly screened and may be considered for acceptance at any time during the year.

Students accepted into the MD/PhD program who wish to enter the PhD Program in Health Care Ethics must have completed a graduate level foundations of ethics course and applied ethics course. Students may satisfy this requirement as a directed reading course during the summer between the first and second years of medical school. Applicants to the health care ethics program must provide a sample of writing in health care ethics that demonstrates the ability to do doctoral level coursework in the field.

Application to the MA(Theology)/PhD Program

The MA/PhD is a collaboration between Saint Louis University and the Aquinas Institute of Theology (AIT).

Applicants seek admission to the MA/PhD program by applying simultaneously to the MA program in Theology at AIT and to the PhD program in Health Care Ethics at Saint Louis University. Applicants should complete the appropriate application for each program and communicate with the CHCE program coordinator to indicate his or her interest in the dual degree program. Application information for the MA in Theology at AI can be found here. Applicants may be admitted to the dual degree program with an unconditional admission to the MA program at AIT and a conditional admission to the PhD program in Health Care Ethics. AIT will determine whether to recommend admission to the MA program, and Graduate Education at SLU evaluates whether applicants may be conditionally admitted to the PhD program in Health Care Ethics. These applications will be reviewed using the same criteria that are used for review of all applications to the PhD program in Health Care Ethics. The conditions for full admission to the PhD program will include:

  • Maintaining a 3.3 GPA in the MA program
  • Earning no grade lower than a B in the MA program
  • Producing an acceptable writing sample within the MA program

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