The National Catholic Bioethics Center – Concentration in Bioethics

Holy Apostles College & Seminary also offers its Master of Arts in Theology degree with a concentration in Bioethics in conjunction with the National Catholic Bioethics Center.

Program Overview

Holy Apostles and the NCBC are collaborating to provide a unique educational opportunity for professionals and students interested in receiving general or specialized graduate training in the growing field of Catholic bioethics. One result of this collaborative effort is a one-year sequence of graduate-level courses in bioethics available through Holy Apostles’ Online Learning Program. Qualified students pursuing Certification in Health Care Ethics with the NCBC (National Catholic Bioethics Center) may now receive 9 graduate-level college credits through the Online Learning Program at Holy Apostles for the coursework completed leading to certification.

A detailed description of the new course sequence in Catholic Bioethics is presented below.

The sequence of courses in Catholic Bioethics will be taught by Fr. Tadeusz (Tad) Pacholczyk, Ph.D., who is the Director of Education at the NCBC and is recognized as one of the leading experts in the field of Catholic bioethics. Fr. Pacholczyk serves as an adjunct faculty member at Holy Apostles College & Seminary.


Who is Eligible for the Program and How Does One Apply?

Professionals and others interested in obtaining graduate (continuing education) credits while pursuing the Certificate in Health Care Ethics through the NCBC must register as personal interest students in the Online Learning Program at Holy Apostles College & Seminary.

The new bioethics sequence also satisfies the 75% of the core requirements for the Concentration in Bioethics in the Master of Theology Degree Program at Holy Apostles College & Seminary.  Those interested in pursuing a Master of Arts in Theology degree with a concentration in bioethics must become a matriculated graduate student at Holy Apostles.

Admission/Registration Requirements

Those wishing to receive graduate-level college credit for the coursework completed in pursuit of NCBC certification in Health Care Ethics must submit a completed application form and the required tuition and fees (see below) to the Online Learning Program at Holy Apostles College & Seminary.

Students pursuing certification with NCBC may matriculate into the Master of Arts in Theology Degree Program at Holy Apostles any time during the certification program or within two (2) years following completion of the bioethics course sequence.

Those wishing to register as a matriculated student in the Master of Arts in Theology Degree Program at Holy Apostles may do so by completing the Application Process.

Bioethics Course Sequence

The NCBC sequence of courses in bioethics is a one-year program that has both fall and spring start dates. The following courses in bioethics comprise the NCBC bioethics sequence. Students pursuing NCBC certification and/or the concentration in Catholic Bioethics must take the three bioethics courses described below:

BIE 653 Guiding Principles of Catholic Medical Ethics (formerly STM 660 Guiding Principles of Catholic Medical Ethics)
This course explores the extraordinary challenges, both medical and moral, currently facing Health care in the U.S. The Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, will be used to overview critical topics in Catholic medical ethics. Online Only. Taught by Fr. Tad Pacholczyk.

BIE 673 Catholic Bioethics and the Dignity of the Human Person (formerly STM 662 Catholic Bioethics and the Dignity of the Human Person)
This course examines key areas of modern bioethics, and be able to articulate the major ethical concerns raised by these issues and areas where ethical ambiguity may still exist from the vantage point of Catholic teaching. Online Only. Taught by Fr. Tad Pacholczyk.

BIE 675 Case Studies and Applied Topics (formerly STM 665 Case Studies and Applied Topics in Bioethics)
This course examines a number of bioethical topics and critically analyzes case studies from a Catholic perspective, including research ethics, ethics committee process topics, beginning and end-of-life ethical issues, selected clinical issues. Online Only. Taught by Fr. Tad Pacholczyk.

This course of studies includes three curricular components, the first of which begins at the start of the bioethics sequence (attendance at a regional NCBC Seminar in Bioethics), the second is held at the end of the bioethics sequence (attendance at the Case Studies Day/Mock Ethics Committee Session in Philadelphia), and the third is comprised of a final paper due at the end of the course of studies.

NOTE: For all students, the bioethics courses must be taken in the sequence offered and within the same academic year.

Students pursuing both NCBC certification and graduate credits for the bioethics sequence, whether as a matriculated or non-matriculated student, must attend a two-day seminar conducted at the beginning of the fall or spring semester. The two-day seminar is held at various locations throughout the United States (visit the NCBC website at National Catholic Bioethics Center for the specific locations and dates). Following the initial 2-day seminar, students then interact independently with Fr. Pacholczyk (via online learning) as they progress through the course curriculum during the one-year program of study. The program ends with an intensive one-day seminar of case studies at the NCBC offices in Philadelphia.

Students not pursuing NCBC certification but who seek to fulfill the requirements for the Concentration in Catholic Bioethics at Holy Apostles may choose not to pursue studies through the NCBC.

Medical Ethics Resource Page

The links on this page will take you to forms that have been specially prepared to be life protective, to promote your ability to guarantee that medical decisions made on your behalf conform to your wishes, and that any such decisions are consistent with the moral teaching of the Catholic Church. Recognizing that no one is obliged to accept extraordinary or disproportionate treatment or care, these documents will also offer assurance that ordinary and proportionate treatment and care will not be denied.  These documents are not intended for anyone who wants extraordinary care provided while they are incapacitated. If you want to provide for extraordinary care in an advance directive do not execute any of the following documents. The following documents are provided:

  1. Advanced Directive This short form advance directive that provides basic life affirming health care instructions in the event you cannot communicate your own decisions. It is in accordance with traditional Catholic teaching.
  2. Appointment of Health Care Representative This document is a short form appointment of health care representative by which you designate an individual you trust to act as your heath care representative so that your wishes may be carried out in the event you cannot speak for yourself.

These documents were prepared by one of our adjunct faculty, Rev. Deacon Thomas Davis, JD, LLM, MA, who is solely responsible for the content. Deacon Tom would be pleased to discuss these documents with anyone who is interested. He also advises that if you do not understand any part of the directive or listed documents, or any other legal document, be sure to discuss it with your own attorney before signing. Rev. Deacon Thomas Davis may be contacted by email at

Tuition and Fees

For those seeking both certification from the NCBC and 9 graduate (continuing education) credits from Holy Apostles, tuition for the sequence of bioethics courses is $3,780 payable in its entirety at the time of registration.