Frequently Asked Questions

  • Who is eligible to apply for the program?

    The program is aimed primarily toward mid-career professionals interested in ethical issues related broadly to health care practice, industry, research, and policy. 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.  An essential feature of the program is that our students come from diverse backgrounds but collectively share an interest in bioethics. Common professions 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 and an evident 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. 

  • How much does the program cost?

    The estimated cost of attendance for the program (Years 1 & 2) is outlined here. Please click on the Medical Education tab to view the costs specific to our program. HMS Master's students are eligible to receive financial assistance from certain government programs.

    Master’s Program Tuition Discount for Faculty and Staff at HMS and Affiliated Institutions

    Beginning for the entering class of AY20 (Fall 2019), full-time, benefits eligible faculty and staff at HMS and the affiliated institutions/hospitals are eligible for a scholarship equivalent to 10% of the full time tuition rate for any of the HMS Master’s Degree Programs (tuition only).  Please notify the program if you think you are eligible for this scholarship.  Students who are also considering applying for financial assistance should notify the HMS Financial Aid office of this scholarship opportunity.

  • Can I complete the program while working?

    Yes. There is an option to complete the program full-time or part-time. Some mid-career professionals can take a sabbatical while completing the program full-time and return to their career with relevant experience they have gained from the curriculum. Some students also choose to continue their career while attending but may need to work with their employer to accommodate availability during class 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 primarily occur in the late afternoons, generally beginning at 4 PM. 
    • Part-time alternatives are possible with the expectation that students would complete the 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 is granted only in light of extenuating individual circumstances.  Additional costs for extended time will be applied.
    • 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 2020-2021 academic year.

  • What is the cost of the program?

    Tuition, fees, and expenses comprise the cost of attendance for master’s programs at HMS. Get detailed information here.

  • 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 through Harvard Medical School is available here.

  • How do I apply for financial aid?

    Information about financial aid through Harvard Medical School is available here.

  • 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. You may view other resources offered by Harvard here

  • 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? 

    Top candidates are selected to interview, typically via Skype. As we receive many applications, decisions on some applications may be made without interviews. 

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

    Please email Amanda Chieco, the Education Coordinator, with additional questions. If you are having trouble with the application itself, we recommend you try using an alternative browser. If the issue persists, please contact

International Students - Frequently Asked Questions