Fellowship in Bioethics

Applications will open on November 1, 2023.

The Harvard Medical School (HMS) Fellowship in Bioethics is a one-year, part-time academic certificate program designed for those with a serious interest in bioethics and who wish to further their knowledge in the history, philosophical underpinnings, and contemporary practice of bioethics.

Weekly meetings will take place from mid-September to May on Fridays from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. ET. Fellows will meet virtually for the seminar meetings on Friday mornings. There may be an in-residence opportunity in February 2024 for a Fellowship retreat, which would take place over the course of 2-3 days in Boston. This retreat is a great opportunity to meet your cohort and would also provide an optional networking event with alumni, staff, and faculty of the Center for Bioethics.

About the Fellowship

Over the course of the program, bioethics fellows explore their interests through weekly seminars on current and emerging bioethical issues, and through individual projects. The keystone of the experience are the strong bonds and community that fellows—who are a diverse group of thought leaders from medicine, nursing, law, social work, and other academic fields—build throughout the year. The program has welcomed fellows from across the globe with a variety of experiences and backgrounds, enabling participants to expand their perspectives, critique, challenge, and hold each other's thinking to the highest standards of rigor and creativity.

Program for Professionals

Working professionals generally continue in their full-time jobs, with the ability to participate fully in all Center for Bioethics activities. Fellows can access all the resources of Harvard Medical School, including auditing courses, or engaging in research or other activities at Harvard or throughout the biomedical community in Boston. Fellows attend a weekly three-hour seminar taught by the Fellowship Director Mildred Z. Solomon, and guest lecturers including members of the Harvard faculty and other leaders in the field.

Fellowship Objectives

  • To deepen one's moral imagination — i.e., the ability to discern, often submerged or unarticulated, ethical questions and to struggle respectfully with alternative views
  • To develop familiarity with the major approaches to ethical analysis and justification, commonly used in bioethics
  • To understand the basic values and concepts central to bioethics
  • To understand the key topics bioethics has addressed to date, including the major questions being asked within each topic and the nature of the debate(s) relevant to each one
  • To develop more refined skills at ethical analysis – both with regard to clinical cases and to issues of national policy
  • To be able to pose new questions worthy of ethical analysis
  • To recognize some of the conceptual limitations of the prevailing bioethical paradigm
  • To integrate intellectual inquiry in bioethics with reflections on one’s personal experiences working in health care to enhance and sustain professional ideals and aspirations