When the number of students that apply to a graduate school is greater than the number of openings available, how does the school determine which applicants to accept? The Bioethics and Natural Sciences (BNS) Department at AJU, under the direction of Chair, David Lennartz, Ph.D., offers enhancements that provide our graduates with significant advantages when applying to medical, dental, pharmacy and other graduate school programs.
AJU is the only undergraduate college which offers a major in Bioethics and in which issues of ethics are prominent across its curriculum. This matters because it leads to the practice of a higher quality of healthcare and raises the possibility of acceptance into professional schools.
Elliot Dorff, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and nationally recognized authority on ethics, explains a dilemma presented by medical progress. “When you are unable to do something, there is no need for a decision, but when something becomes a possibility, then decisions can be required.” For example, before organ transplants were possible, we did not need to decide who gets the transplant. Today oncology, gerontology, obstetrics and most other fields of medicine are often faced with making hard moral decisions.
Jordan Justice, class of ’08, currently attending Sackler Medical School in Israel, says that his ethics classes at AJU gave him a foundation that will help him make crucial decisions which he knows he will face as a physician.
BNS majors not only have the unique advantage of having ethics incorporated into their curriculum, but they also have the extraordinary opportunity, under the direction of Dr. Stuart Finder, Director of the Center for Healthcare Ethics at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, to participate in real-time discussions among physicians about ethical issues facing their patients. These issues, ranging from compassionate care to organ transplantation to conflicts between a patient’s treatment and his or her religion, provide a critical exercise in moral thinking for the student.
Our students participate in rounds where they shadow doctors and other health care providers in various departments so that they acquire a comprehensive understanding of the workings of the hospital. Additionally, all BNS majors have the benefit of two semesters of an internship in a medical center. Due to the small size of AJU classes, internships can be individualized, allowing students to work on leading edge research with some of the best minds in their field of interest.
Our BNS majors graduate with theory and practical experience beyond students from other universities, so it is no surprise that 85%-90% (and in some years even higher) of our students are accepted into the professional and/or graduate programs of their choice.