Curriculum

Successful completion of the Master of Bioethics program is based on two core tenets:

  • each candidate must complete foundational coursework representing broad exposure to and understanding of the foundation, theory, practice, and central challenges in bioethics; and,
  • each candidate must complete a capstone experience that demonstrates facility in and mastery of requisite knowledge, skill, and experience to engage meaningfully in bioethics inquiry and application in the specific field of their professional expertise. 

The course of study for the Master of Bioethics, as described above, requires 36 credits, of which 32 earned in classroom study and four earned through a capstone project broadly taking the form of a mentored academic project or externship/experience with a written paper. 

The backbone of the Master’s curriculum is the year-long, eight-credit foundational course, Foundations of Bioethics. This course is presented as a multilayered approach to the core challenges in bioethics, from the philosophical underpinnings to the application of theory to central challenges in bioethics and, beyond, to how policy and law shape and are shaped by moral challenges in the life sciences.

In addition to the foundational course, degree candidates are expected to complete a minimum of three selective courses (minimum of 12 selective credits) covering critical areas in the field of bioethics.

Selective courses include:

  • Research Ethics
  • Introduction to Clinical Ethics
  • Ethics in Genomics
  • Global Health Ethics
  • Ethics in Reproductive Medicine and Women’s Health
  • Health Law, Policy and Bioethics
  • Neuroethics
  • Methods in Bioethics, and
  • Reasoning and Writing in Bioethics

Students may elect to complete additional selective courses (beyond the three required) towards the credit requirement; however, the course of study for any individual student might benefit from cross-disciplinary study in other parts of the University.

Each student works with their advisor to create an individually-tailored study plan upon the commencement of the program. It is the expectation that, in order to complete a Master’s course of study, students will demonstrate knowledge and analytic ability in a substantial body of the central bioethics topics.  The study plan progresses the student towards that goal.

Cross-registration to courses in other areas of the University will be available on a space-limited basis.  The times and days for electives and cross-registered classes vary.

For more information on HMS requirements, download the HMS Masters Student Handbook or visit the HMS Graduate education website.