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Project description of the international master degree program “Integrative Bioethics”

The master degree program “Integrative Bioethics” will be an interdisciplinary and international course of studies. Its assignment is the acquirement of a comprehensive and interdisciplinary competence on the field of bioethics. The concept integrity is to be understood to some degree antithetical and complementary to the reductionism which is inevitable and inherent in most parts of the scientific discourse. The point is to gain contextual knowledge in complex immanent areas in which the results of science apply.

This project of new and innovative bioethics evolved from the results of the “Southeast European Forum on Bioethics” that has been sponsored by DAAD and the Volkswagen Foundation. Its achievements have been proved in interdisciplinary courses in periodic summer schools.

The master degree program “Integrative Bioethics” will implicate bioethical questions in an integrating context of other subjects that arise from the encounter of different discrete sciences, prerequisites and experiences of students. It addresses particularly to graduates in medicine, jurisprudence and philosophy (even other core subjects like economy, theology etc. are possible) that are looking for a continuative qualifying professional expertise. Especially the successful combination of these different subjects in our summer schools in the past five years is the basis of the curricular concept of “Integrative Bioethics” and the key success criteria of our previous work due to which our project has received sponsorship for such a long time. This is where the innovative dimension and the chance the program is offering for our university and its interdisciplinary and international distinction are based on.

Altogether the degree program is designed research-orientated. Its curriculum leads in terms of an inductive model through exemplary situations and questions to well-grounded reflections of ethical problems and anthropological conditions. In this respect the first academic year is at the same time an introductory course for the fundamental reflections that are central in the second academic year. The first two semesters offer, for the three areas of practical philosophy, namely “Moral Philosophy”, “Operational Fields” and “Pluri-Perspectivism”, modules about the basics of bio-law, bio-politics and ethics of science, about paradigmatic problem-situations and casuistic case studies, about the complementarily acquisition of subject-specific terminology in an interdisciplinary discourse as well as in particular introduction courses about the philosophy of culture and society, about anthropology and natural philosophy. The curriculum will be completed with a broad offer of “General and Intercultural Studies” containing inter alia optional language courses.

The second academic year consists of the theoretical consolidation of the analysis of basic ethical problems and principle-theoretical decisions. This contains especially an intensive discussion on philosophy and core areas of the humanities. Therefore modules about ethics and anthropology, fundamental philosophical reflection of bioethics (history of philosophy, metaphysics and phenomenology), about the political and economic aspects of bioethics as well as basics of bioethics in moral-theology and in the philosophy of religion will be offered. The master thesis will be written simultaneous with these consolidations, accompanied with periodic colloquia. The course of studies will be finished with a double master degree.

The degree program’s forms of exams and descriptions of modules will be advanced in continuous feedback-processes and thereby adapted to the current state of university-didactic recommendations as well as to bioethical research.