Advances in medical technology have created amazing improvements in health outcomes—but they have also opened the door to increasingly complex ethical questions. What’s the most compassionate way to approach end-of-life care? How can insurers and social programs increase access to care, and when do they go awry? When is it acceptable to manipulate a person’s genes? Finding a satisfying solution to these seemingly unanswerable questions takes specialized skills.
Harvard Medical School’s Master of Bioethics degree program—one-year, full-time; two-year, part-time; and two-year, part-time online—provides students with rigorous academic grounding in bioethical issues related to clinical practice and research, as well as health law and policy. Students can customize the program to their specific interests by selecting from a wide range of elective courses.
The program culminates in a mentored capstone experience involving field placement or a research project. Our students enroll from diverse educational and professional backgrounds; many already hold a terminal or professional degree in medicine, law, social work, chaplaincy, journalism, and other fields. The common factor is a commitment to wrestling with issues of fairness, equity, and justice in health care and medical research.
Most courses are taught at the HMS Center for Bioethics, which draws faculty from more than a dozen Harvard-affiliated teaching hospitals and institutions united by their passion for the subject matter, faculty and students.
The Harvard Medical School Master of Bioethics program is now offering a two-year, part-time virtual option for mid-career students entering in the fall of 2022. The two-year, part-time virtual option leverages our high-quality, cutting edge bioethics curriculum with a focus on discussion-based and applied learning in a flexible online format that appeals to leaders in a wide range of disciplines at the intersection of health care, law, academia, and public health. The program includes synchronous online required and elective coursework and opportunities to build your Harvard network virtually. Classes are generally held between 4 and 8 p.m. ET with coursework completed and submitted on our e-learning platform.
Plan of Study
Each student will develop a plan of study with faculty members that includes:
Foundational courses covering theoretical and applied ethics, strategies of ethical justification, and historical through contemporary challenges in bioethics.
Options to augment the core study program with course offerings at the Center for Bioethics, Harvard Medical School and across Harvard University.
A mentored, hands-on capstone ethics experience complements the master of bioethics program, tailored to each student’s professional expertise and interests.