Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible to apply for the program?
Do I need to have a background or previous experience in bioethics to apply to the program?
What materials are required for application and what is the deadline?
Can I customize the program according to my interests?

What if I can’t enroll in the program full-time?
Do you offer distance learning or any online classes?
What is the cost of the program?

Are scholarships available?
How do I apply for financial aid?
What is the Harvard community like?
Do I need to take the GRE?
Do I need to interview? 
I still have additional questions, is there someone in the program I can speak to?


International Students
Can international students apply to the bioethics program? How can I apply?
Is there financial aid or scholarship options available to international students?
Do I have to take the TOEFL?


Who is eligible to apply for the program?

The minimum requirement for entry into the Master of Bioethics Degree Program is a Bachelor’s degree and demonstrated interest in the field of bioethics. The program is aimed primarily toward mid-career professionals interested in ethical issues related broadly to health care practice, industry, research, and policy.  Our students include (but are not necessarily be limited to) physicians, nurses, social workers, health care administrators, chaplains, attorneys, journalists and writers, scientists and medical researchers, psychologists and therapists.  A limited number of Bachelors-level applicants with strong academic records (minimum GPA 3.5) and demonstrated interest in bioethics will be considered for admission. 

Do I need to have a background or previous experience in bioethics to apply to the program?

No. Previous study or experience in bioethics is helpful, but not necessary. You’ll have the opportunity to describe your interest in bioethics in your personal statement and other application materials.

What materials are required for application and what is the deadline?

Refer to the apply page for detailed information about the application process and deadlines. 

Can I customize the program according to my interests?

Yes. Students will be required to complete a core course of study in the foundations of bioethics and major areas in bioethics.  With the guidance and approval of the academic advisor, students will have opportunities to tailor their experience to their interests with elective coursework, through the capstone project, and by drawing on the vast resources of the Center for Bioethics and Harvard University. 

What if I can’t enroll in the program full-time?

  • Full-time students will complete the Master’s program in one year by completing a total of 36 credits, including a 4-credit capstone project.  Classes offered through the center will occur in the late afternoons. 
  • Part-time alternatives are also possible with the expectation that students would complete their degree in two years. The maximum time from enrollment to completion is three years, however extension of studies beyond two years would require a petition for extension and granted only in light of extenuating individual circumstances.
  • ​Diagrams of the full and part time options are viewable on the Curriculum page.

Do you offer distance learning or any online classes?

We offer only in-person classes at the Harvard Medical School Campus in Boston, Massachusetts.  There are no plans to offer on-line courses for the 2017-2018 academic year.

What is the cost of the program?

View our Tuition and Fees page for additional details.

Are there scholarships available?

No. At this time, the program is unable to offer any scholarship support. Many of our students do receive financial assistance through their employers or through their home government. Information about Financial Aid available through Harvard Medical School is available here: https://hms.harvard.edu/departments/financial-aid/masters-students

How do I apply for financial aid?

Accepted students will receive instructions on applying for financial aid in the Spring.

What is the Harvard community like?

Harvard Medical School is a vibrant and diverse community consisting of the Longwood Campus and 12 affiliated teaching hospitals in the greater Boston area. HMS is a leader in academic medicine through its teaching, research, and clinical resources.

Do I need to take the GRE?

No. The only required standardized test score for admission is the TOEFL exam for applicants whose native language is not English, with the exception of non-native English speakers who earned a bachelor's or graduate degree from an institution at which English was the sole language of instruction. If you have taken the GRE and wish to have your scores considered by the admissions committee, you may submit scores to Institution Code 0550

Do I need to interview? 

Decisions on some applications may be made without interviews. If offered, interviews may occur in person or via video telecommunication such as Skype.

I still have additional questions, is there someone in the program I can speak to?

Please email Brooke Tempesta, the Master’s Program Coordinator, with additional questions. 


Can international students apply to the bioethics program? How can I apply?

International students may apply with the same materials as U.S. students. International students will be responsible for working with Harvard International Office to secure visas permitting study prior to beginning the program. 

Is there financial aid or scholarship options available to international students?

At this time, the program is unable to offer any scholarship support. 

Do I have to take the TOEFL or IELTS?

The TOEFL or IELTS exam is required of applicants whose native language is not English. Exemption from this requirement may be granted for those who earned a bachelor's or graduate degree from an institution at which English was the sole language of instruction.