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Philosophy: Philosophy, Bioethics and Health
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Philosophy: Philosophy, Bioethics and Health


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Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam


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Philosophy: Philosophy, Bioethics and Health at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Tackle healthcare’s hardest dilemmas

 

What are the ethical considerations behind palliative care and euthanasia? Where do we draw the line between preventing serious handicaps in children and creating “designer babies”? Who determines whether a patient’s personality has changed after neurological surgery?The field of bioethics has surged in recent years due to breakthroughs in medicine and technological advances. But these have also led to new and puzzling questions – not just for scientists and doctors but for society as a whole.

 

In the Philosophy, Bioethics and Health specialisation of the two-year Master’s in Philosophy, you’ll tackle challenging ethical and philosophical questions in the context of medicine and health. This is truly a programme for today’s evolving world.


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Philosophy: Philosophy, Bioethics and Health

Join the debate on today’s medical ethics agenda

 

Making decisions in healthcare presents dilemmas every day. Recent evolutions in society have seen a cultural shift towards respecting the individual’s autonomy to make their own choices and manage their own health. 

 

This responsibility impacts both the doctor-patient relationship and the role of health insurers. Other issues include knowledge of the genetic basis of diseases, pre-implantation diagnosis and IVF, the use of plastic surgery for aesthetic enhancement, and the ageing population. This is a fascinating area of research that’s only growing more important in today’s society.

 

This two-year Master’s programme is a unique collaboration between the Faculty of Philosophy at VU Amsterdam and the Department of Medical Humanities at VU Medical Centre. It’s also one of the only such programmes with a focus on mental health and neuroscience. As a graduate with two Master’s degrees – one in Philosophy, Bioethics and Health, and one in your original discipline – you’ll be in great demand by many healthcare organisations.

 

A highly interdisciplinary, practical and small-scale programme

 

The programme is highly interdisciplinary, consisting of introductory philosophy courses, courses in bioethics, and health-related courses that are part of your other Master’s programme. You’ll also do practical training – involving a once-in-a-lifetime study trip to the University of Oxford in the UK plus an internship at a hospital, healthcare institute or other organisation.

 

This is a small-scale programme, meaning you’ll work a lot in small groups and receive plenty of attention from the teaching staff. Many of the teachers work in the field themselves, giving you the opportunity to take advantage of their first-hand experience. But you’ll also benefit from working with students and teachers whose backgrounds are in different disciplines. All students following a Philosophy specialisation take the core introductory philosophy courses, which means you’ll come into contact with people specialising in neuroscience or law as well.

 

 

Year 1

In your first year, you’ll take five courses relating to your other Master’s, four introductory philosophy courses, and one course specifically about bioethics.

As well as studying a basic history of philosophy, from ancient times to modern day, you’ll learn about normative ethics – asking yourself how human beings can co-exist when we subscribe to different ethical theories, such as virtue ethics, utilitarianism, Kantian ethics and so on. You’ll also learn about the scientific method, finding out what makes knowledge scientific knowledge, and asking whether objective knowledge is possible.


In the Bioethics, Technology and Law course, you’ll get to grips with the interface between these three areas. You’ll be confronted with cutting-edge developments in biomedicine, like “designer babies”, asking yourself the extent to which parents should be able to determine the characteristics of their child from both an ethical and a legal perspective.

 

Year 2

Your second year will cover bioethics in more detail, with four courses especially tailored to bioethics students.
In Philosophy of Mind, Life and Death, you’ll look at end-of-life issues from the perspective of the doctor-patient relationship.
In the Moral Reasoning in Healthcare course, you’ll look at the processes used by medical teams to make highly complex ethical decisions on the hospital floor. You’ll use real-life case studies and work as a team.

 

As part of the Ethics of Medical Research course, you’ll get the chance to sit in on a Medical Ethical Committee meeting.
In Ethics, Public Policy and Politics, you’ll understand how politics and cultural values play into medical decisions in different contexts.

 

Your practical training is a highlight of the second year of the programme, giving you the opportunity to visit the University of Oxford during the five-day “Winter School”. You’ll also take a six-week internship, giving you insights into how ethical issues are dealt with in the real world.

 

Finally, you’ll write your Master’s thesis, with free rein to choose a topic within the vast domain of bioethics. Past theses have been written on topics like the use of artificial intelligence in healthcare, effects of deep brain stimulation on a patient’s identity, and end-of-life decision-making.


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Philosophy: Philosophy, Bioethics and Health

As a graduate in Philosophy, Bioethics and Health, you’ll have excellent analytical, reflective and reasoning skills.

 

You’ll be experienced in making well thought-out arguments in both written papers and oral presentations. You’ll be able to stand your ground in a debate, but also take on board others’ points of view – finding a way through deeply held conflicting opinions, and combining insights from different scientific disciplines into one coherent argument.


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Philosophy: Philosophy, Bioethics and Health

I have an international degree

 

To be admitted to the programme, you should:

  • have a Bachelor’s degree in Medicine, Health Sciences, Psychology, or related disciplines.
  • be eligible to a health-related Master’s programme (in principle, Faculty of Sciences, VU Amsterdam).

 

Part of the PBH-programme consists of courses (30EC in total) that are offered by a health-related Master's programme (in principle, Faculty of Sciences, VU Amsterdam). Therefore, it is a requirement that PBH-students are admissible to such a health-related Master's programme, too.

 

English language requirements

You must always present official test results proving your proficiency in English. You can apply online without having the test results, but in case you haven’t taken a test yet we advise you to plan a test date as soon as possible. The qualification or test result must have been awarded no more than two years prior to the proposed date of enrolment. Below you will find the minimum English test scores for the English taught programmes at the Faculty of Humanities:

 

  • TOEFL score 600 paper based with a minimum of 55 in each of the subtests plus 4.0 in TWE, score 250 computer based or score 100 internet based with a minimum of 20-23 in each of the subtests).
  • IELTS score of 7.0 overall band score (with none of the separate section scores dropping below a minimum score of 6.5).
  • Cambridge English: Cambridge Proficiency Exam with score A, B, or C; or Cambridge Advanced Exam with score A, B, or C.

 

Exemptions from providing the English test scores are applicable to students, who:

  • have completed an English-taught secondary or higher education degree in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, New Zealand or Australia; or
  • have earned a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in an English-taught programme accredited by NVAO in the Netherlands, or
  • have earned a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in an accredited English-taught programme in another member state of the European Union

 


I have a Dutch university level (WO) Bachelor’s degree (VU Bachelor's degree, VU premaster or Bachelor's degree at another university)

 

To be admitted to the programme, you should:

  • have a bachelor’s degree in Medicine, Health Sciences, Psychology, or related disciplines.
  • be eligible to one of the three Health-related Master's programmes: Medicine, Psychology, or Health Sciences. Most of our students aim at obtaining two Master's degrees, that is to say Philosophy, Bioethics and Health as well as a Master’s degree in Medicine, Health Sciences, or Psychology (another health-related Master's degree may also lead to admissibility, this is up to the Admission Board).

 

Part of the PBH-programme consists of courses that are offered by the Departments of Medicine, Psychology, and Health Sciences. Therefore it is a requirement that PBH-students are admissible to one of these three Master's programmes, too. It is recommended to enroll in two Master's programmes (PBH and: Medicine, Psychology, or Health sciences).


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Institution

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam


Location: Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam De Boelelaan 1105
1081 HV Amsterdam
Niederlande
Nord Holland
T   +31 20 59 89898
E   international@vu.nl

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Facts about the Masters programme

Location

Amsterdam

Field of study

Humanities

Degree

Master

Language

English

Start

winter semester - September

Application deadline

ask the institution

Type of study

Full-time

Duration of study: 2 years

Tuition fees EU: 2168 EUR / year

Tuition fees Non EU: 16630 EUR / year

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Facts about the Masters programme

Location

Amsterdam

Field of study

Humanities

Degree

Master

Language

English

Start

winter semester - September

Application deadline

ask the institution

Type of study

Full-time

Duration of study: 2 years

Tuition fees EU: 2168 EUR / year

Tuition fees Non EU: 16630 EUR / year

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